Left-Handed Players

Recently I read a short article on lefthanders in the August 1988 issue of the British Chess Magazine (BCM). The first paragraph was very interesting for us lefties. Here is the noteworthy first paragraph;

“Some research has shown that there is a higher-than-normal proportion of left-handed amongst chess players”.

This is something I have observed when I was playing Over The Board (OTB) tournaments. But among strong players, say Expert and above, the percentage of left-handed players actually drops below the norm.

And if we look at World Champions, we find no left-handed players. Not just the Men’s World Champion, but the Women’s as well. And correspondence World Champions have all been right-handed players as well. I have not researched the handiness of all the Junior World Champions, but I suspect you won’t find any lefties there.

Why is this so? There are many factors for this occurrence. And all have to do with brain physiology.

Right-handed people tend to use the left part of the brain. That side is where logic, calculations, and focusing (among other things) are located.

Left-handed people access the other side of the brain, the right part. (yes, left-handers are fond of saying, “I’m one of those few people who regularly use the right side of my brain. I don’t know about those right-handed people”. Usually, they say this only to their left-handed friends.

OK – back to the topic.

The right side of the brain is concerned with intuition, ability to see more across the spectrum of things (at the cost of narrow focusing), and ability to actually see chess positions that have not occurred yet.

Briefly, a lefty can actually see what positions may occur during a game. But it takes a right-hander to figure out how to get there.

OK, so you probably want some examples of left-handed players and their games. Just for research, right? ; )



Christopher Briscoe-GM Mark Hebden
British Ch.
Torquay, England, July 27 2009

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O Be7 6.Qe2 (Known as the Worrall Attack.) 6…b5 7.Bb3 O-O 8.c3 d5 9.exd5 Bg4 10.dxc6 e4 11.d4 exf3 12.gxf3 Bh5 13.Bg5 Re8 14.Nd2 Nd5 15.Bxe7 Rxe7 16.Qd3 Bg6 17.Ne4

17…Nf4! 18.Qd2 Rxe4! 19.Kh1 Qg5 20.Rg1 Qf6 21.Rg4 h5 22.fxe4 Bxe4+ 0-1


Peter J. Oakley-
Yury Nikolaevich Shaposhnikov
World Championship V, ½ Final
ICCF, 1962

1.c4 Nf6 2.Nc3 e6 3.e4 c5 4.e5 Ng8 5.d4 cxd4 6.Qxd4 Nc6 7.Qe4 d6 8.Nf3 Nxe5 9.Nxe5 Nf6 10.Qe2 dxe5 11.Qxe5 Bd6 12.Qb5+ Bd7 13.Qxb7 Rb8 14.Qf3 Qc7 15.Bd3 Bc6 16.Qh3 Bf4 17.O-O Bxc1 18.Raxc1 Rxb2 19.Nb5 Qf4 20.Nxa7 Be4 21.Bxe4 Nxe4 22.Qa3 Rd2 23.Nc6 Kd7 24.Rb1 1-0


GM Daniil Dubov-
Renato R. Quintiliano Pinto
Blitz Game
Titled Tuesday
chess.com, May 11 2021

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 dxc4 5.e4 b5 6.Be2 e6 7.O-O Bb7 8.Rb1 b4 9.e5 Nd5 10.Ne4 Nd7 11.Bxc4 c5 12.Bg5 Qb6 13.Re1 h6 14.Bh4 cxd4 15.Nxd4 Bc5 16.Nf5 O-O 17.Nxh6+ gxh6 18.Qg4+ Kh8 19.Qh5 f5 20.Qxh6+ Kg8 21.Qg6+ Kh8 22.Ng5 1-0

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