Taurus and their strategy

by Dagmar Seifert
4/30/2022 – Two world champions, Steinitz and Euwe; a chess family, the Cramlings; and plenty of 1.d4 practitioners, Moiseenko, Gaprindashvili, and Miles are born under the zodiac sign of Taurus. Their power lies in their calmness. A proper Taurus acts thoughtfully, prudently, deliberately. They calculate what they do, everything else is considered unreasonable. They may allow their opponent a refreshing nap while they think about the next move. It would be fatal to consider them limited for that reason. | Photo: Pixabay

Marin's English Love Vol.1 and 2 - A complete repertoire for White after 1.c4 Marin's English Love Vol.1 and 2 - A complete repertoire for White after 1.c4

The aim of these Dvd's is to build a repertoire after 1.c4 and 2.g3 for White. The first DVD includes the systems 1...e5, the Dutch and Indian setups. The second DVD includes the systems with 1...c5, 1...c6 and 1...e6.


Star sign of the current weeks: Taurus

The common marching direction of a typical Taurus is — straight ahead. Spanish bullfighting could not work with any other animal. Although a fighting bull is deliberately bred for sensitivity, hawkishness and aggression, and their strategy remains basically the same: forward. This makes them predictable to a certain extent for the torero.

This could also make someone who is born in the Taurus predictable for the opponent over the board. Certainly, chess is not a bullfight, the possibilities are diverse, and it is not directly a matter of life and death. And yet, taken as a whole, one could possibly observe an astonishing straightforwardness in the playing style of a chess player born between April 20 and May 20. No nervous move repetitions, no surprising sacrifices. Taurus is, astrologically speaking, an earth sign. They are grounded and need structure, something to hold on to.

A rock in the surf — Mihail Marin has already published several Fritztrainers with solid and positional openings

The big bushy bearded Wilhelm Steinitz, b. 14 May 1836, the first generally recognized world chess champion (from 1886 to 1894) wasn't a keen compatriot for the 'romantic attacking chess', commonly played in his time. (Although it must be said that he did engage with it at the beginning of his playing career, before he began to analyse the principles of the game scientifically). Steinitz had studied mathematics, he stuck to facts, he thought strictly logically, and he conceptualized the Modern Chess Theory. He gave strategic-positional principles to a game that was mainly impulsive and spontaneous in his time. 

Wilhelm Steinitz was one of the first chess players to masterfully represent positional play in his own games. | Photo: Austrian National Library

Another chess Taurus, Grandmaster Josif Dorfman, b. 1 May 1952, followed him consistently in this. He completed this kind of observation with his assessment of critical positions and charted up a 'positional plan', a kind of grid. In his method, he advised the 'statically better' player not to be carried away by rash pawn moves or reckless exchanges, i.e. dynamic manoeuvres. He only advised such moves to the 'statically worse' player.

A great joy for the astrological Taurus is possession. They want to have and keep something, and find real satisfaction in it. Accordingly, it grieves them considerably more than most other players to lose something. If, for example, a reckless sign like Aries can cope with the temporary loss of one or more pieces emotionless, or if ice-cold tacticians like Virgo or Aquarius might sacrifice a pawn without shedding a tear, then it causes the Taurus chess player real pain to lose a pawn or piece - even if only briefly. They might steadily be able to improve their position by sacrificing a pawn - but this is basically against their nature. From then on, a part of their subconscious will ponder whether they could not have used this lost pawn later in the game. Of course, they will hide it quite cool, but it bites them anyway.

The Taurus sign has another world champion besides Steinitz — Dutch Grandmaster Max Euwe. The mathematician rarely got carried away with shenanigans on the board, and was known for his logic in the game. | Photo: Harry Pot - Dutch National Archives (Wikipedia)

Taurus can also do the opposite

No, of course not all Taurus-born people play deliberately, statically, with an eye on structure. We are only dealing with the sun sign, and a horoscope contains much more.

Jan-Krzyzstof Duda, Emil-Josef Diemer, Dragoljub Velimirović, Vasily-Borisovich Malinin or Anthony-James Miles love, and loved, the wildest positions on the board. (Perhaps the number of names plays a role in this?) 

Up-and-coming talent Jan-Krzyzstof Duda is happy to set the board on fire because his fans enjoy it, too. | Photo: katowice2021.eu

The English chess grandmaster Tony Miles, b. 23 April 1955, who died at an early age, behaved quite untypically, despite being born a Taurus. He played unpredictably, sometimes eccentrically, anything but slowly and deliberately and yet often breathtakingly brilliantly. Was he playing against his own, Taurus nature?

In his horoscope, Mercury sits directly next to the Taurus Sun in a so-called conjunction. This is called "combusted Mercury" in the language of astrologers. It is considered unfavourable because, although it enables quick and sharp thinking, it harbours the danger of going overboard...

Anthony J. Miles with back problems in a game from 1985. But the British GM was not only known for finding interesting positions on the board. | Photo: Persbureau van Eindhoven

But normally a Taurus prefers a structured, and safe position. They prepare a solid opening repertoire, and rely on it. They play positionally, and engineer favourable changes to the pawn structure. Taurus prefers connected pawns and closed positions, and despises having an 'Isolated Pawn'.

Another distinctive characteristic of a real Taurus is stubbornness or bullheadedness. This enables them - positively - to not give up. (In this respect, only Capricorn surpasses them.) It can - negatively - lead them to remain unwavering, undaunted and mistaken in a particular strategy that by no means leads them to success.

On the other hand, if the Taurus sticks to their strategy to the end -

  • The material must be in balance
  • Certain lines and diagonals must be controlled
  • The pawn structure must remain solid

this may wear down the opponent so much that they eventually make rash moves. Surely, there must be more to it than that? But there isn't.

Can you prepare well against a Taurus?

Indeed. And probably even better than against most other signs of the zodiac. The question remains, however, how much can you prepare well for an opponent if they simply don't care?

Juan Manuel Bellón López, Anna Cramling and Pia Cramling. A strong, fighting chess family, and all born in Taurus. | Photo: Swedish Chess Federation

Famous Taurus Chess Personalities + Birthdays:

Interestingly, according to Mega Database 2022, the majority of the listed Taurus personalities slightly prefer to play 1.d4, rather than 1.e4.

Name 1. e4 1. d4 1. c4 1. Nf3 Total
Marin, Mihail 15 446 424 195 1080
Miles, Anthony J. 102 777 264 247 1390
Cramling, Pia 92 1247 90 380 1809
Kosteniuk, Alexandra 1589 91 27 68 1775
Nunn, John D. M. 948 2 0 0 948
Mamedov, Rauf 1117 17 71 53 1258
Duda, Jan-Krzysztof 550 245 69 79 943
Trent, Lawrence 434 205 23 8 670
Sonis, Francesco 88 305 58 143 594
Van Foreest, Jorden 716 141 64 55 976
Tolush, Alexander 177 135 21 5 338
Dorfman, Josif 74 181 181 155 591
Bruzón Batista, Lázaro 547 242 138 163 1090
Gaprinda­shvili, Nona 361 800 26 63 1250
Gallagher, Joseph G. 1109 73 13 12 1207
Gormally, Daniel W. 304 502 7 29 842
Lilienthal, Andor 48 340 6 10 404
Dzindzi­chashvili, Roman 80 175 107 100 462
Lobron, Eric 309 296 95 233 933
Stoltz, Gösta 162 153 20 4 339
Eljanov, Pavel 190 764 111 240 1305
Harikrishna, Pentala 458 562 128 119 1267
Pachman, Luděk 158 416 191 122 887

Agdestein, Simen

82 473 142 44 741

Steinitz, Wilhelm

332 62 9 16 419
Sadler, Matthew D. 68 400 16 12 496
Maurizzi, Marc Andria 157 52 4 8 221
Moiseenko, Alexander 29 1313 1 1 1344
O'Kelly de Galway, Albéric 192 321 177 28 718
Euwe, Max 213 513 41 61 828
  10701 11247 2524 2653 27125

Source: Mega Database 2022

Enclosed is a collection of particularly beautiful 1. d4 Taurus victories:



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.