Gemini and their strategy

by Dagmar Seifert
6/2/2022 – Anatoly Karpov and Tigran Petrosian are two Gemini world champions with outstanding positional and defensive skills. Alireza Firouzja and Hans Moke Niemann are also Gemini but will they be able to follow the path of Karpov and Petrosian and become world champion? Gemini are sometimes the fastest thinkers of all the signs of the zodiac, but they sometimes also have to deal with lapses of concentration. | Photo: Pixabay

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In this video series, it's all about understanding middlegame strategies better. Pawn structures, manoeuvres and concepts are being shown through model games. New: now also available as stream!


Star sign of the current weeks: Gemini

A person born between 21 May and 21 June, astrologically 'Gemini', is quick, nimble (also and particularly so when it comes to thinking), and cunning. Of course, in every sign of the zodiac there are the intelligent and the less intelligent. However, it might be difficult to find a really abysmally stupid Gemini. Yes, they have emotions and desires, but in the end - and if they are a true representative of their sign - the mind always reigns.

Nigel Short, born on 1 June 1965, and a Gemini like Karpov and Petrosian. Check out his spectacular career in the ChessBase Shop - that would certainly be a nice birthday present for him. | Photo: David Llada

Only Virgo shares this to this extent. Both signs are ruled by Mercury. Gemini is the faster, Virgo the more thorough thinker.

Geminis often seem almost unpleasantly highly gifted. And sometimes they really are, like Gata Kamsky, born 2 June 1974. As a six-year-old he started school in third grade but still was bored. In 1987, as a twelve-year-old, Kamsky won the USSR Junior Championships U18.

Gata Kamsky over the years: from 1989 (photo: Nigel Eddis), to 1996, to 2006 (photo: Carsten Straub) to 2021 (photo: Pascal Lautenschläger)

This is what Mercury does with his children. And Mercury is the messenger of the gods, travelling on winged sandals. He is the lord of (car) dealers, guardian of information, master of thieves and, yes, the liars.

Gemini is by no means as sworn to the truth as many other people. First of all, you have to prove to them what truth is - since they consider everything to be relative. Therefore, their conscience doesn't bother them at all when shape facts around according to their wishes. They can disguise themselves wonderfully. The chameleon and also the nimble lizard are assigned to this sign. A talented poker player, a dangerous chess opponent.

In the controversial World Championship match 1978 between Karpov (pictured) and Viktor Kortschnoi in Baguio City both sides pulled several tricks out of their sleeves: reflective sunglasses, hypnosis, yoghurt or refusing to shake hands with the opponent. Kortschnoi lost the match, and Mercury and his young student Karpov, were happy about this outcome. | Photo: V. Savostianov, Novosti Press (via D. Griffin)

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The gods of thunder and lightning

A great talent of Gemini is their blazingly fast thinking and a couple of strong chess players are witness to that:

  • Alireza Firouzja - is currently considered one of the best bullet and blitz players in the world.
  • Klaus Bischoff - has won more German Blitz Championships than any other and is popular live commentator with a quick grasp of the situation on the board
  • Eric Hansen - the "Chessbrah" from Canada is a first class commentator and well-known for his blitz and rapid skills.
  • Gukesh D - the Indian has won several gold medals in blitz and rapid chess as a junior.
  • Ivan Sokolov - the Dutch grandmaster, who was born 13 June 1968 in Bosnia, is an excellent blitz and rapid player, and a popular trainer and commentator.

A very bright, quick mind! Klaus Bischoff is currently commentating the Norway Chess Tournament for ChessBase Germany, and is very popular with the spectators, not only because of his presence of mind. | Photo: Bernd Vökler

Gemini are also known for the smoothness with which they escape difficult and dangerous situations.

In a large queue of people waiting in the cashier line, the gemini, even when one of the last to arrive, somehow inevitably gets nimbly to the front. Gemini is not a jostler, but a shifter, agile, flexible and refined. Unlike the Capricorn, for example, who wants to get ahead out of sheer ambition, the Gemini is driven forward by his impatience. He finds standing still very boring.


They fight neither brutally nor death-defyingly; rather, they see to it that they are not caught. In return, they can suddenly slow down theur bewildering speed and, even more bewildering, become exceedingly deliberate and attentive.

When the twelve-year-old Anatoly Karpov, born 23.5.1951, was invited to Mikhail Botvinnik's training courses for talented juniors in Moscow in 1963, the former world champion was initially not particularly impressed by the strikingly cautious play of the slender little fellow - until it turned out what a shrewd calculation lay behind it.

Hjörvar Steinn Grétarsson is jokingly called "Ginger Karpov" by his friend Simon Williams. The GM from Iceland, and Anatoly Karpov, have a very similar playing style. And they are both Geminis.

Tigran Petrosjan, born 17 June 1929 and world champion from 1963 to 1969, was considered one of the greatest defensive players in chess history. He also used his supple mind to crawl into his opponent's brain and guess their tactics: Petrosian is famous for his prophylactic play, his uncanny ability to prevent the ideas of his opponents. But he was also a great tactician and a brilliant blitz player.

Moreover, he used a disability to his advantage! He was hard of hearing and not disturbed by noise. Unlike some of his opponents.

In 1971 Petrosian played against German grandmaster Robert Hübner in the quarterfinals of the Candidates. After six draws Hübner lost the seventh game and gave up the match because he found the noise in the paying hall in Seville unbearable. Petrosian simply turned off his hearing aid and was able to concentrate on the games.

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Considered a master of prophylaxis, Petrosian sensed dangers long before they actually became acute on the board. In his prime, Petrosian was almost invincible. Let our authors introduce you into the world of Tigran Petrosian.

This is one of the weaknesses of the Gemini: they are endlessly distractible, the downside of their ability to take in so much. Since they can hardly avoid registering and processing everything that is happening all around, they tend to be distracted and must constantly struggle to concentrate. This star sign has too many nerves.

An example of this is Alireza Firouzja,  born 18 June 2003, the new supertalent, just 18 (soon to be 19) years old, but already one of the best players in the world, and often seen as possible successor to Magnus Carlsen. But Firouzja sometimes seems to feel disturbed by noise and struggles to gather his amazing wits.

It's certainly not easy for a young chess genius like Firouzja to deal with the pressure on him. Distracting cameras, noises, but also one's own thoughts like to distract, and that can be upsetting.

Which suggests a possible strategy to overcome the sharp mind of a chess playing Gemini. It might be enough to keep drumming on the table with your fingertips ...

Famous Gemini Chess Personalities + Birthdates:

Fun facts:

  • Zeng Chongsheng, Liu Qingnan, Liang Jinrong, Ni Hua, Wang Zili, Wei Yi, Yu Yangyi, Xu Yi, and Zhou Jianchao are nine, male grandmasters from China. There are a little less than 40 Chinese GMs in the world, this means, almost every fourth Chinese, male grandmaster is a Gemini.
  • With Petrosian, Karpov and Kamsky in their line-up Geminis had the most appearances in FIDE World Championship matches. They clashed most often with Kasparov and Kortschnoi who were born under the sign of Aries, the sign that with the help of Vassily Smyslov, comes to twelve World Championship matches:
  1. 1963: Tigran Petrosian - Mikhail Botvinnik
  2. 1966: Tigran Petrosian - Boris Spassky
  3. 1969: Boris Spassky - Tigran Petrosian
  4. 1975: Anatoli Karpov - Bobby Fischer
  5. 1978: Anatoli Karpov - Viktor Kortchnoi
  6. 1981: Anatoli Karpov - Viktor Kortchnoi
  7. 1985: Garry Kasparov - Anatoli Karpov
  8. 1986: Garry Kasparov - Anatoli Karpov
  9. 1987: Garry Kasparov - Anatoli Karpov
  10. 1990: Garry Kasparov - Anatoli Karpov
  11. 1993: (Garry Kasparov - Nigel Short, not a FIDE match)
  12. 1993: Anatoli Karpov - Jan Timman
  13. 1996: Anatoli Karpov - Gata Kamsky
  14. 1999: Anatoli Karpov - Viswanathan Anand

Here is a selection of exceptional rapid chess and blitz victories by geminis:



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.