Capricorn and their Strategy

by Dagmar Seifert
1/1/2023 – There are currently 40 female chess players worldwide who have been awarded the grandmaster title. Nine of them are Capricorn! Then there were the two legendary elite players Paul Keres, and world champion Emanuel Lasker. Capricorn doesn't mess around, works hard and never gives up. That's why his strategy seems easy to see through, but there's a lot more to it than that. | Photo: Pixabay

Master Class Vol.5: Emanuel Lasker Master Class Vol.5: Emanuel Lasker

The name Emanuel Lasker will always be linked with his incredible 27 years reign on the throne of world chess. In 1894, at the age of 25, he had already won the world title from Wilhelm Steinitz and his record number of years on the throne did not end till 1921 when Lasker had to accept the superiority of Jose Raul Capablanca. But not only had the only German world champion so far seen off all challengers for many years, he had also won the greatest tournaments of his age, sometimes with an enormous lead. The fascinating question is, how did he manage that?


Capricorn and their strategy

Those born between 22 December and 19 January are not particularly concerned with proving anything to others. It is often enough for them to prove it to themselves. This understatement taken to the extreme can easily make them seem arrogant or inaccessible.

It can happen that a Capricorn player spends the entire night solving a chess problem for himself, only to not apply this solution at all the other morning, in the game.

In the typical Capricorn, there is the constellation, somewhat unusual at first glance, of intensely pronounced ambition on the one hand and a somewhat limited will to win on the other. Yes, he wants to win — but not necessarily to be celebrated for it, to be in the limelight or on the winner's podium. He sometimes finds that rather embarrassing. In principle, he doesn't dislike being the inconspicuous runner-up.

Such a 'perpetual runner-up' was the Estonian/Soviet chess master Paul Keres, * 7 January. He never became world chess champion, but almost fifty years after his death he is still considered one of the strongest players of the 20th century, winning games against nine current or future world champions, from Capablanca to Fischer.

Paul Keres is considered by many to be the strongest chess player never to become world champion

Because a true Capricorn is usually deliberate, he can give others the impression that speed is not one of his talents. It doesn't suit him to rush things, he can wait for the right moment.

His greatest strategic strengths lie in his merciless patience and tenacious perseverance. Giving up is simply not an option for his nature. In the end, what matters most is who can say 'check mate!'

Against Aman Hambleton, many thought boxing veteran Lawrence Trent was the favourite when the recent chess boxing event took place. But Capricorn Hambleton won after the first round in boxing by a technical knockout | Photo: Twitter

The German Emanuel Lasker, for example, *24 December, (the second official World Chess Champion after Wilhelm Steinitz, who incidentally held the crown for 27 years), was considered a master of the endgame. Thus he composed many endgame studies, including of course the Lasker Manoeuvre. Emanuel Lasker defeated Steinitz and Capablanca without any imaginative refinements or flourishes, simply by pragmatic reason: a great strength of the earthy Capricorn. In 1895 he wrote his book Common sense in chess, and he liked to lecture in English chess clubs on just that: common sense in chess.

Emanuel Lasker is the world champion among the Capricorns (Alexander Khalifman became FIDE world champion). Eduard (Edward) Lasker, probably distantly related to Emanuel, was also a Capricorn.

Common sense, by the way, is a favourite theme of Capricorn. It was the former German chancellor and enthusiastic amateur chess player Helmut Schmidt, * 23 December, who said that anyone who had visions should go to the doctor.

The ruler of the zodiac sign is Saturn, the 'old man'. An unusually large number of people born in Capricorn retain a crystal-clear upper mind into old age. The Czech-German chess grandmaster Vlastimil Hort, * 12 January, of course, became senior world champion in the Chess960 variant in Mainz in 2006.

Vlastimil Hort played excellent simultaneous chess. In 1985, he faced a whopping 636 opponents. During these matches, he told stories from the chess world in between his breaks.

Of all the twelve signs of the zodiac, Capricorn is the least playful. Perhaps that is why some brilliant chess greats have not devoted themselves exclusively to the board, but to more 'serious' pursuits.

A prime example is the English grandmaster and world-class player Luke James McShane, * 7 January. The former chess prodigy with the alert eyes (as a 16-year-old he was the youngest British grandmaster to date) quite logically studied mathematics and philosophy — like probably two thirds of all great chess players. But instead of dedicating himself to the 64 squares, McShane preferred to make a high-class living as a trader at Goldman Sachs. After all, he is considered the strongest amateur chess player in the world...

Luke McShane is considered to be the strongest amateur chess player in the world. In 2012 he achieved an Elo rating of over 2700 when he was already a full-time professional.

Capricorn, because it is assigned to the element earth, is a 'feminine' sign — but via Saturn it confers masculine intellect, factual and capable of abstraction to the highest degree. Perhaps this is because most female chess masters are actually born in Capricorn.

We have, among others, Grandmaster Nino Batsiashvili, * 1 January, Grandmaster Nana Dsagnidze, * 1 January, Grandmaster Irina Krush, * 24 December, Grandmaster Dronavalli Harika, * 12 January, Grandmaster Zhansaya Abdumalik, * 12 January, Grandmaster Ekaterina Lagno, * 27 December, Grandmaster Elisabeth Pähtz, * 8 January, Grandmaster Nadezhda Kosintseva, * 14 January, and Grandmaster and World Champion Maia Chiburdanidze, * 17 January.

Only recently, the GM women got an addition. Elisabeth Paehtz finally received her title and thus became the ninth Grandmaster of the Capricorn ladies.

There is a special reason why the girls — gender-phobically — are not called grandmasters, but women grandmasters. These WGMs can be achieved even with 200 Elo points less than the grandmaster title. The female grandmasters listed above, however, could even take on the 'superior' male intellect!

The chess cake in this respect was taken by World Champion (1978 to 1991) Maia Chiburdanidze. In Banja Luka in 1985, she was able to beat thirteen men — including eight grandmasters!

Dina Belenkaya is another Capricorn who, just like Aman Hambleton, was victorious in the chess boxing event in 2022. In boxing she struggled against Andrea Botez, but in chess Belenkaya won confidently against the Canadian. | Photo: Twitter

How do you defeat a Capricorn in chess? Maybe it's better to choose a male opponent...

Famous Capricorn Chess Personalities + Birthdays:

Enclosed are a few nice victories for the Capricorn women:



Dagmar Seifert is a North German journalist, author and astrologer. She loves chess, but is by no means an overly good player. After all, she was the one who taught ChessBase staff member Arne Kähler how to move the pieces, when he was six years old.