Libra and their strategy

by Dagmar Seifert
10/1/2022 – Wesley So, Levon Aronian, Leinier Dominguez and Sam Shankland all have something in common. They play for the US national team, and they are all Libra. Although many Libra grandmasters play excellent chess, none have won a world championship title, except for Ruslan Ponomariov, who won the FIDE title in 2002. Even legends like Ossip Bernstein, Viacheslav Ragozin and New York-born Reuben Fine were close, but not close enough. Maybe it's because Libras bring too much lightness to the game? | Photo: Pixabay

My Secret Weapon: 1.b3 My Secret Weapon: 1.b3

Meanwhile, 1.b3 has also found its way into the practice of today's world elite, and now finally a modern top ten player has taken on the subject for ChessBase: none other than Grandmaster Wesley So!


Libra and their strategy

War planet Mars is the ruler of Aries, and Aries is exactly opposite Libra in the zodiac. In astrological terms, Mars is in exile in Libra, so anything but home. A Libra is, at first glance and typically, not a warrior at all.

A true Libra person is too cultured, too in need of harmony, to appreciate warfare, blood, sweat & tears and all the chaos that goes with it. (Unlike real Aries or Scorpios, who sometimes get intoxicated with the dark beauty of violence).

Grandmaster Reuben Fine shows actress Jane Nigh some interesting moves | Photo: LIFE Magazine

Is Libra therefore a helpless something, easily taken by surprise?

Not at all. Diplomacy was invented in Libra, the elegance of intelligent self-defence, elusive dodges. A Libra chess player is able to think eight corners ahead, make a deceptive hook in the middle, tell a few charming jokes without losing sight of his goal and also confuse his opponent with his cheerful composure and attractive smile before uttering in a gentle voice: "Oh, by the way - mate!"

You should keep this young man in mind. The Belgian Daniel Dardha is expected to join the world elite soon. | Photo: Facebook Daniel Dardha



A gigantic victory by Dardha, against Veselin Topalov

The world's top Armenian grandmaster, Levon Aronian * 6 October (formerly he played for the Soviet Union, since last year for the US Chess Federation), former world champion in rapid and blitz chess, says of himself in amiable exaggeration that he is a 'cheap tactician', endeavouring at first to create oblique, unclear positions. It may well be that he confuses his opponents by quite deliberately obfuscating his intentions.

However, the fact that he himself can effortlessly keep an eye on the matter is shown in the endgame, which he masters brilliantly. He explains this with his Caucasian ancestry and claims to play emotionally, 'with the heart', not subject to logic. An emotional Libra chess player? Then it would be origin against astrology ...

Levon Aronian has been among the world's top players for decades and for some time was second in the world rankings behind Magnus Carlsen | Photo: Grand Chess Tour, Lennart Ootes

If you look at the statistics, one thing stands out: A disproportionately large number of chess players born in Libra, although brilliant players, are rarely at the absolute top of the rankings.

Are they 'not that good'? This cannot be true, quite the contrary. As we've seen above, they excel at clever prancing on the board thanks to an incredible memory for prepared moves.

Jon Speelman was also once on the fourth place in the world ranking, and has been showing us interesting chess positions for many years in his articles for ChessBase - Speelman's Agony | Photo: David Llada

Whether it is the British mathematician Jonathan Speelman, * 2 October, (three times English Champion), Wesley So, * 9 October in the Philippines, one of the chess prodigies, (for eight years also on the board for America), or the elf-faced Canadian Svitlana Demchenko, * 4 October in the Ukraine, Woman International Master - their play is striking for its lightness and elegance, a calm detachment. Hardly ever does a person born between 23 September and 22 October appear as if they are doggedly going about their work.

Svitlana Demchenko has been on the road for more than a year with her weekly chess show "Svitlana's Smart Moves", and is very popular due to her way of teaching.

It has to do with the fact that normally in a Sun sign Libra, ambition doesn't exactly waft like crazy. Sure, they like to win - but their entire happiness in life doesn't depend on it. Nature's fame addicts like real Capricorns, genuine Taurus or one hundred percent Aries will find it difficult to understand that a typical Libra can sometimes do without a victory if they think something else is more important. Or because they might even calmly think (well, quite unthinkable!) that the opponent now somehow deserves to win more, which is why they, perhaps unconsciously, slacken off a little.

We mustn't forget another superstar - Maxime Vachier-Lagrave. MVL has also been considered a serious candidate for the World Championship for quite some time | Photo: Lennart Ootes

The slogan: "It's not winning, it's being there that counts!" for the revival of the Olympic Games in 1894 is said to have been invented by their initiator, Pierre de Coubertin. However, he was born on 1 January - a Capricorn. A Capricorn who doesn't want to stand at the top of the podium? I just couldn't believe it.

After some drilling on the internet, I found out: Coubertin never claimed to have invented the phrase. Rather, he declared that he had taken it from one Ethelbert Talbot.

This Talbot, a bishop of the Episcopal Church, expressed at the time: "The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not so much winning as taking part, because the essential thing in life is not conquering but fighting well." And Bishop Ethelbert's birthday was, of course, 9 October!

Famous Libra Chess Personalities + Birthdays:



Ponomariov is the only Libra player to snatch the FIDE World Championship title. Here you can see all his games leading up to the final against Vasyl Ivanchuck.


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.