Famously, Bobby Fischer describes the first move 1. e4 as "best by test". However,

Bobby Fischer exclusively opened his games with 1.e4...
“Best by test: 1.e4” (Bobby Fischer)

Actually, Fischer didn't play 1.e4 100% exclusively, but it's very close. So it seems like Bobby Fischer didn't actually test non-e4 openings during tournaments all that much. As black, he scored better against 1.e4 than almost any other opening.

Bobby Fischer's statistics as black, e.g. 1.e4 led to 58.9% black wins whereas 1.d4 led to 49.2% black wins

Hence the question:

Question: What test is Fischer referring to when describing 1.e4 as "best by test"?

  • 5
    It's more of a slogan than a serious argument for the virtues of 1.e4. You'd be hard pressed to find a specific "test" that Fischer was referring to here since he probably wasn't referring to something specific when making the claim.
    – Scounged
    Feb 23 at 10:40
  • 1
    I always took it to mean best in the history of chess. Not sure what Fisher meant. Feb 24 at 14:36

1 Answer 1


"Best by test" simply means he derived his conclusion from experience - trial and error.

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