Jokes and one-liners

  • Question: What should I do in time trouble?
    Answer: Think quicker!
  • From a discussion on the English Chess Forum 22-March-2020 about how chess openings get their names...
    NickFaulks: "I think the Hedgehog is self-explanatory."
    MJMcCready: "Oh you mean it's easily flattened by anything coming at it?"
  • Question: What if we play with more time?
    Answer: Then you just lose slower.
  • A recruit is being talked through his survival gear by his sergeant. "A knife, rations, map, chess set, compass, flares..."
    “Wait a minute,” asks the recruit, “Why do I need a chess set?”
    “If you are alone and need help, take out the chess set and play over an ending. Sooner or later someone will appear to tell you where you are going wrong.”
    - Geoff Chandler.
  • "Greatest chess success: once helped Boris Spassky to find his reading glasses."
    - John Saunders (Associate Editor, CHESS Magazine) blog self-description.
  • "A friend of mine reported that an opponent suddenly said 'En passant', then adjusted a piece. [...] It would make a great dispute, but he decided not to complain. It appears that he would accept any phrase in French... If I play him again, I'll say 'Folies Bergere'."
    - Kevin Thurlow in a posting on the English Chess Forum (21-Jul-2018).
  • "Recall a club who were a Knight missing and instructed one of it's members to nick a Knight at an away match....They was the wrong colour!" [sic]
    - Geoff Chandler.
  • Question: My girlfriend is sick of me playing my chess computer all the time and she says I have to stop playing it or she'll leave me. What should I do?
    Answer: That depends. How strong a player is your girlfriend?
    - Paul DeStefano in his otherwise serious Q&A section in "Computer Chess Reports" (Fall/Winter 1988-1989).
  • "My wife and I were like bishops of opposite colour."
    - Boris Spassky explaining the failure of his first marriage.
  • Question: How do chess players eat?
    Answer: They use a fork!
  • "We were only testing the equipment."
    - Anatoly Karpov after a short, dull draw.
  • A man was completely addicted to online blitz. His wife, romantically inclined, whispers to him, "Come over here, honey..." "Right after this game," he stalls. "Before!" she orders. And without thinking he replies "e5"!
  • "I was playing chess with my friend and he said, 'Let's make this interesting'. So we stopped playing chess."
    - Matt Kirshen.
  • Question: Do you prefer chess or sex?
    Answer: It depends on the position!
  • "I got arrested for playing chess in the street the other day. I said to the officer, 'it's because I'm black, isn't it?'"
    - Milton Jones.
  • "A chessplayer died recently leaving a dozen chess clocks. The executor had quite a busy time winding up the estate."
    - David Morgan.
  • "I like to play chess with bald men in the park although it's hard to find 32 of them."
    - Emo Phillips.
  • "Life's too short for chess - Not for blitz it isn't!"
    - Anon.
  • Question: What's the difference between an International Master and a Grand Master?
    Answer: A Grand Master is local, an International Master is across the world.
  • "Ignorance is blitz." Alfieri.
  • "So I was having dinner with Gary Kasparov (world chess champion) and there was a check tablecloth. It took him two hours to pass me the salt!"
    - Peter Kay.
  • Question: Which football team has a couple of chess pieces missing?
    Answer: QPR
  • "The pin is mightier than the sword."
    - Albert Horowitz.
  • Question: How do we know that Neanderthal Man played blindfold chess?
    Answer: In excavations of their sites no chessboards or pieces have ever been found.
  • "Can you buy an entire chess set in a pawnshop?"
    - George Carlin.


In 2016 Quality Chess asked for suggestions for the title of a new training book about becoming a Grandmaster. One that stood out (submitted appropriately enough by "Depressed Cynic") was:
Waste your Life Achieving a Devalued Title

On 28-Jan-2011 the following appeared in some chessplayers' email inboxes:

In 2004 Gambit Publications ran a competition for eye-catching titles for chess books. Not the winner, but our favourite, was this entry from the staff of the British Chess Magazine:
Garry Kasparov’s Ultimate Gambit Guide to the 101 Easy Winning Secrets of Beating Your Dad and Bobby Fischer for the Attacking Player