used to name the third column of the Chess board from left to right.
(muse) of Chess. The name is taken from a
nymphin a poem composed by Sir William
Jones in 1763. It is based on Vidas
Scacchia ludus, in which the nymph is referred to as Scacchis.
To precisely work out a series
of moves considering potential replies.
Calculation of variations:
The working out of chains of
moves without physically moving the pieces.
who competes in the eliminating contest for the privilege to challenge
World Chess Champion.
the final eliminating stage of the competition to decide the World
Champions opponent in the title match.
movement of a minor or major piece from the departure cell to the
arrival cell and to capture a enemy piece in the process. To capture, a
player must make a legal move that lands a piece on a cell containing an
enemy piece. The captured enemy piece is taken from the board and
removed from the game. To capture a MP/mp means to deprive your
:B) of the use of that MP/mp. The
MP/mp has been taken and leaves the board.
A combined move of King and Rook permitted once for
each side during a game. The King moves two squares to either side, and the Rook toward
which it moves is placed on the square the King passed over. This is the only move in
which the King moves more than one square at a time and in which more than one piece is
The four squares in the geometrical center of the
board. The opening moves are meant to gain control of the center. The “e” and
“d” files are the center files.
A clever tactical combination or trap
usually made by a losing side to hold a draw or even
It refers to a King that is
being attacked by an enemy piece. The King should move out of check,
place another piece between the King and the attacking piece, or the
attacking piece must be captured.
An attack against the
opponent’s King which the King cannot escape. Any
position where a King cannot avoid capture. The objective end of a Chess
When a player checkmates his enemy’s King, he wins the game.
A move that sacrifices an obstructing piece to make
way for a strong or better move.
Paired clocks used in all official tournaments and in
club games. After a player moves, he depresses a lever that stops his clock and starts his
opponent’s. Each clock, therefore, registers only the elapsed time for one player. If a
player exceeds the time limit set on his clock, a flag falls and he loses the game, even
if he has a clear winning position.
A term used to describe a position where Pawns block the mobility of the
pieces around some or all of the board. The opposite of an open
file blocked by both black and white Pawns.
A game which the position is obstructed by blocking
Pawns. Such a position favors Knights over Bishops since Pawns often block diagonals.
A series of moves
or a tactical exploitation of a position which will force an immediate win by
an overwhelming advantage in material or position. Most combinations sometimes start
with a sacrifice of material.
Connected passed Pawns:
Two or more passed Pawns of the same color on adjacent files which can
Pawns adjacent to one another.
Chess game played by post or an electronic transmission.
A strategy in which a minor piece
or Pawn is offered for sacrifice in response to an earlier gambit by the
When the player who has been on the defensive starts
his own aggressive action.
The quality of a Chess
position that inhibits mobility or freedom of movement for pieces behind
Pawns of the same color. A cramped position
lacks space. When a player’s position is judged to be cramped, then that
player has less freedom of maneuver than his opponent. A player that is
cramped cannot switch the play from one side of the board to the other
as quickly as his opponent. A cramped position is one key quality in
assessing a Chess position.
(lowercase) used to name the fourth column of the Chess board from left
System of recording the moves of a
Chess game based on the names of the pieces and places they occupy
before the game begins. A move is given by the name of the piece or
Pawn moving, followed by the square to which
it moves. This notation is now almost completely replaced by algebraic
The process of moving pieces from their starting
positions to new posts, from which they control a greater number of squares,
have greater mobility or where they can better aid
the player’s plans.
A row of squares running obliquely across the board
rather than up and down (a file) or side to side (a rank).
A player, by moving a piece, uncovers an attack on an
A discovered attack that
involves checking your opponent’s King by moving a
piece so that the piece behind it can give check. This term describes an
often powerful move where a line is opened allowing an otherwise blocked
piece to give check to the enemy King. If the moving piece also gives
check, then the move is described as a ‘double check’.
Distance to conversion:
phrase used to describe the number of positions or plies
in a tablebase between any given endgame position and a conversion of
material. A conversion of material may be either a promotion or capture.
Such conversions often indicate a major shift of endgame advantage.
Distance to mate:
phrase used to describe the number of positions or plies
in a tablebase between any given endgame position and checkmate.
that oppose or are separated by more than one square,
rank or file one another and still have the
relation of opposition (e.g. Kings on g1 and g5) are said to be
in “distant opposition.”
Kings in distant opposition can often maneuver to a more simple position
of direct opposition but such maneuvering often requires careful
An attack against two pieces or Pawns at the same
A powerful type of discovered attack, which checks the
King with two pieces. The King is forced to move because no other means
are available to extricate the
King from this special type
of check by two pieces simultaneously, thus frozen for at
least one tempo or move.
Kmoch’s term for the situation where a
Pawn may be captured by either of two
Pawns, each in a different lever.
Two Pawns of the same color lined up on a
file. This doubling come about only as the result of a capture
and generally considered a disadvantage because the Pawns cannot defend
Rooks of the
same color positioned on the same file or rank.
Draw: A tied game.
A common result in a game of Chess when neither side wins or loses. A draw can result from a stalemate,
the 50-move rule, the three-move repetition
rule, if neither side has enough material to mate, by adjudication or by an agreement between the players.
The probability in any complex and roughly
equal position that one or both sides may successfully draw a game of
Chess. The game of Chess
is extremely complex. Neither humans or machines can determine with
certainty the outcome of a game when given a complex position. However,
skilled and experienced players can often estimate the probability that
one side can win, lose, or draw the game. Such an estimate is based on
an understanding of sometimes subtle criteria such as board position,
player skills, time pressure, and strategy both on the board and off.
Any Chess game
position from which a draw must result from accurate play. Many complex
drawn positions may still offer winning chances for one or both sides
with alert play. The phrase “drawn position” is rarely used by
experienced players to mean an artistically rendered, or randomly
selected position. It is unknown whether the starting position is also a
Disparaging term to describe a very poor player.
(lowercase) used to name the fifth column of the Chess board from left
Encyclopedia of Chess
Openings. A collection of texts detailing the moves
of common Chess opening lines with commentary. Common opening lines are
classified by a de facto standard ECO code such as B01 (Center Counter
Game or Scandinavian Defense). A list of ECO codes in text and in PGN.
The “outside” squares
of the Chess board, namely the first and eighth ranks and the a-
The system by which players
are rated. Devised by Professor Arpad Elo (1903 - 1993) of Milwaukee and
adopted by FIDE in 1970. A beginner might have 900 rating, the
average club player 1600, a state champion 2300, a
Grandmaster above 2500, and world class players commonly achieve ratings
above 2600. Some strong Grandmasters earn a rating in excess of 2700 and the World Champion
2800. This system in some form is used by most major
Also called the ending.
This is the third and final state of the game
after the opening and middlegame,
characterized by the relatively few Chessmen on the board. The
King is typically used more aggressively in
the ending than in the opening or middle-game. One of the most common
concerns in the endgame is promotion of Pawns.
From the French, “in passing.” Abbreviated
e.p. One Pawn can capture another e.p. if the capturing Pawn has reached the fifth
rank and the captured Pawn is moved two squares forward on an adjacent file. The capture
is made as though the opponent’s Pawn had moved only one square forward.
This complex rule was created to prevent a Pawn from using the
two-square first-move rule to pass an opponent’s Pawn and avoid capture.
French for “in a position to be taken”.
A Chessman is ‘en prise’ if it is left or
moved to a square where it can be captured without loss to the capturing
player. A piece ‘en prise’ is often the result of a
blunder. Commonly used by English-speaking players that means “in
Checkmate where the losing
King is on the edge of the board with one of his own Chessmen on
both sides of the King on the edge.
Extended Position Description is a standard
for describing Chess positions along with an
extended set of structured attribute values using the ASCII (American
Standard Code for Information Interchange) character set. It is intended
for data and command interchange among Chess
playing programs. It is also intended for the representation of portable
opening library repositories. The first four fields of the EPD
specification are the same as the first four fields of the closely
related FEN specification. Like FEN, EPD can also be used for general
position description. However, unlike FEN, EPD is designed to be
expandable by the addition of new operations that provide new
functionality as needs arise. A text file composed exclusively of EPD
data records should have a file name with “.epd” as the suffix.
is what the board position after 1.e4 looks like in EPD format:
“rnbqkbnr/pppppppp/8/8/4P3/8/PPPP1PPP/RNBQKBNR b KQkq e3 0 1”
A common intermediate result in a game of
Chess that either side may win, lose, or draw.
To achieve a position where the opponent’s
initiative is negated. For example, white
usually has the initiative in the opening and black
works to equalize, or overcome this initiative. At
this point, both sides have an equal chance of winning.
Any Chess game
position from which a player can win, lose, or draw. Equal positions
offer equal chances for both sides with alert play.
A square to which a King
in check can move, also
called flight square.
A closed Knights tour.
game played in 1852 by Anderssen and
It was thus named because Steinitz felt it would always remain as fresh
as the day it was played.
The trading of a piece for
an enemy piece, usually pieces of equal value.
However, the presence of amplifying verbiage signifies an unequal trade;
most often the advantage of a Rook for a Bishop or Knight. If you have a
Rook and your opponent has a less valuable Bishop, you are said to have
“won the exchange”. You are “up an exchange” or an “exchange ahead.”
Likewise, “sacrificing the exchange” is giving up a Rook for a less
valuable Knight or Bishop.
The trading of a piece for
an enemy piece of greater value.
(lowercase) used to name the sixth column of the Chess board from left
problem compositions. A problem or puzzle where some official rules of
the traditional game of Chess are suspended or
Bogoljubow’s lighthearted term for a
Knight fork which includes an attack on the
FEN is the standard for describing Chess positions using the ASCII
(American Standard Code for Information Interchange) character set. It
is intended as a standard position notation for Chess programmers, for
page layout programs, and for confirming position status for e-mail
competition. Six FEN fields specify the piece placement, the active
color, the castling availability, the en passant target square, the
half move clock, and the full move number. The first four fields of the
FEN specification are the same as the first four fields of the closely
related EPD specification. Like FEN, EPD can also be used for general
position description. However, unlike EPD, FEN is not as expandable. FEN
provides no means to add new operations that provide new functionality
as needs arise. A text file composed exclusively of FEN data records
should have a file name with “.fen” as the suffix.
The medieval name for the piece we now call
the Queen, derived from the Persian word
An Italian term that means “on the flank”
and applies only to Bishops. A Fianchetto involves placing a white Bishop on
g2 or b2 or a black Bishop on g7 or b7. This
maneuver places the Bishop to a position from which it controls the
longest diagonal. A word derived from the Italian word ‘fianco’ meaning
The acronym for Federation Internationale des
checs, the international Chess Federation
which organizes the titles, awards and the international rating system.
Title awarded by
FIDE and is ranked below International Master.
A system of recording the moves of a
Chess game similar to Algebraic Notation except that small pictures of
the pieces and Pawns are substituted for their
names. This method has been popularized by published articles in
newspapers and other periodicals.
A vertical column of eight squares.
This column of squares runs from the top of the board
to the bottom. Designated
in algebraic notation as the a-file, b-file, c-file, d-file, e-file, f-file, g-file and
h-file. The players’ Kings start the game on the same
German for finger-slip, a description
of an obvious but bad move made without thinking.
Also called top board, a term to describe the
board in a team match which usually has each team’s strongest player.
A clock which, in addition to serving the
usual functions of a Chess clock, adds a certain amount of time to each
player’s clock after each move, in order to avoid desperate time
scrambles at the end of a game, which often result in poor moves.
Derogatory term for a Chess player of little
skill, poor experience or a
A Pawn whose advance is
blocked by an enemy piece.
Part of an analog Chess clock. As the
minute hand on the clock nears the 12, the flat is pushed upward. When
the minute hand reaches 12 it no longer holds up the flag and it falls.
The falling of the flag indicates that the player’s time has expired,
and if the requisite number of moves have not been played, the player is
said to “lose the game on time” (i.e. the game is lost because time ran
out, not because of the position on the board, although many games are
lost on time when the position is poor and the losing player uses large
amounts of time in an effort to try to find a way to save the game).
The a, b, and c files on the Queenside and the f, g,
and h files on the Kingside.
A square to which a
King in check can move,
also called escape square.
The shortest possible Chess game ending in
1. g4 e5 (or e6)
2. f4 (or f3) Qh4 mate.
It is so named because white must play foolishly to allow this mate.
A move or set of moves that are required
(forced) to avoid a lesser game result.
A sequence of moves that lead to a checkmate no matter
what the opponent responds.
A move for which there is only one reply (or
if more than one reply, all but one are undesirable).
An attack on two or more pieces simultaneously. Though
any Chess piece (except a Rook- Pawn) can execute a fork, the Knight makes a specialty of
Compact and simple means of
recording a Chess position also known as “FEN”
devised by Scottish player
David Forsythe. Beginning at the top, left-hand corner of the board (a8)
the position of the Chessmen as well as the unoccupied squares are
recorded, rank by rank. White’s men are recorded with capital letters,
and Black’s with lowercase letters.
For example, the
starting position is notated:
A Chess position that
cannot be effectively attacked or broken down even with superior
Nimzowitsch’s term for an imaginary line
running between the fourth and fifth ranks.
(lowercase) used to name the seventh column of the Chess board from
left to right.
An opening maneuver in which at least a
offered in return for a strong position, a chance to attack or gaining tempo which permits
development. A gambit usually involves the sacrifice
of a Pawn or minor piece when a game is in a complex phase such as the
opening or middlegame. A gambit is difficult, but possible to refute. An
apparent sacrifice of material for a clear advantage is called a
combination, not a gambit.
Game of the century:
Widely-used, descriptive term for the
Fischer-Byrne game (a Gruenfeld Defense) in the 1956 Rosenwald
tournament. Bobby Fischer, 13 year’s old at the time, mated IM Donald Byrne using a
Queen and Rook
sacrifice. Kmoch used the term “Game of the Century” in his Chess Life
article to refer narrowly to Chess played by youngsters.
Tie-breaking system applicable to tournaments
where players do not all play the same number of rounds. An individual’s
Gelbfuhs Score equals the sum of scores of the players beaten, divided
by the number of games played; plus one-half the sum of scores of
players with whom draws were scored, divided by the number of games
played. The Gebfuhs Score is equal to the Sonneborn-Berger score when
all players play the same number of games.
Latin for “We are
one family or
We are one race”. The official motto of FIDE.
GM: Abbreviation for International
ill-fated Grandmasters Association (GMA) under Koks chairmanship showed
how Chess should be organized with a professional circuit that hosted
the memorable World Cup series under the tournament directorship of
A Bishop free to operate
without interference from its own Pawns and thus is
very mobile. Such Bishop is very active because it is positioned on a
square of the opposite color to the squares on which most of its Pawns
A Latin document of 33 pages containing
analysis of openings and Chess problems. Housed in the University of
Gttingen Library, it is believed to have been written by Lucena, circa
A numerical representation of the strength of
a Chess player based upon his results in games against other graded
players. In the US, the term rating is used in place of grading.
Grandmaster: A title awarded by FIDE to players who meet an
established set of performance standards, including a high Elo rating. It is the highest
title (other than World Champion) attainable in Chess. Once earned, a Grandmaster title
cannot be taken away.
Great Bare King:
Type of win where the victor checkmates the opponent on the same move
that also leaves the loser with a bare King.
French for pedestal table. A position where a checkmated
King has two defenders on diagonally adjacent
squares and is attacked by the enemy Queen which sits on an immediately
(lowercase) used to name the eighth column of the Chess board from left
A file that contains none of one player’s Pawns but
one or more of his opponent’s.
A pin in which the Chessman subject to
the pin may move along the same line (file, rank or diagonal) which it
shares with the attacker.
means of trying to equalize chances in a game played between opponents
of greatly different strengths. There are numerous methods of
implementing a handicap; the stronger player might (among other things):
treat a draw as a loss; play several opponents at the same time; give
his opponent more time on the clock; give his opponent two moves in a
row at the opening of the game; or remove one or more of his men from
the board before play begins.
To be unprotected and exposed to capture.
Slang term to describe a piece left en prise.
Steinitz’s term for two adjacent
Pawns which are on the fourth rank, cannot be
supported by other Pawns, are not passed
Pawns, and which are on half-open files.
Tie-breaking system applicable to Swiss
tournaments. The scores of the opponents of each of the tied players are
summed, first leaving out the highest and lowest scores. In tournaments
with a large number of rounds, two or more of the highest and lowest
scores may be deleted. Also called the Median Score.
A town in Sussex, England, on the south
coast. Since 1920, a Chess congress is held there which begins in late
A Queen or
Rook. Sometimes called a major piece.
special Chess problem invented by Max Lange where both sides cooperate
in mating the black King.
Black moves first. Helpmate problems are a form of fairy Chess.
A square that cannot be defended by a Pawn. Such a
square makes an excellent home for a piece because the piece cannot be chased away by
hostile Pawns. Also known as outpost.
Kmoch’s term for the Pawns in front of the
term for the flank which contains the castled King.
An informal word for a Knight. This
term is used most often by children.
A bad move. A mistake that overlooks a simple tactical response.
(See also Blunder)
Hypermodern: A school of thought that arose in reaction to the
classical theories of Chess. The Hypermoderns insisted that putting a Pawn in the center
in the opening made it a target. The heroes of this movement were Richard Reti and Aaron
Nimzovich, both of whom expounded the idea of controlling the center from the flanks.
Computer Chess Association.
association which organizes the World Computer Chess Championship held
every three years, and the World Microcomputer Chess Championship held
Illegal move: A
move which is in violation of the Laws of Chess. If an illegal move is
discovered during the course of a game, the game will be returned to the
point it was before the illegal move was made. The player who made the
illegal move must move the piece he had previously moved illegally, if
he can make a legal move with that piece. Otherwise, he is permitted to
make any legal move.
Illegal position: A
position which is not the result of a series of legal moves. Thus, an
illegal move necessarily leads to an illegal position. Other sources of
illegal positions include: incorrect positioning of the Chess board and
incorrect arrangement of the Chessmen either at the beginning of the
game or at the time an adjourned game is resumed. If it is possible, the
position must be corrected, otherwise a new game must be played.
Abbreviation for International Master.
Chess game played between Adolf Anderssen and Lionel
established a glittering reputation for Anderssen and an example of the
which was played at Simpsons-in-the-Strand (one of London’s finest Chess
A family of openings in which Black replies 1.
... Nf6 to
White’s 1. d4. There does not seem to be much agreement on the origin of the term, but
most historians believe it derives from the style of play in India where, because Pawns
did not have the right to make a two-square initial move, games tended to be leisurely and
to describe the advantage held by the player who has the ability to
control the action and flow of the game thus forcing the opponent to
play defensively. A player able to make threats to which his opponent
must react, he is said to “possess the initiative.”
This is usually due to better placement of the chessmen and easier
access to weaknesses in the opponent’s position.
term for a Pawn on any file except the a- or
Inside Chess: Chess
magazine founded in 1988, with Yasser Seirawan as editor. It is
published in Seattle, Washington (USA).
International Arbiter: A
title first awarded by FIDE in 1951. A candidate is nominated by his
federation, and may be selected by the qualification committee if he:
has a complete knowledge of the rules of Chess and FIDE regulations; is
objective; has knowledge of at least two FIDE languages (English,
French, German, Spanish, and Russian); has experience in controlling
four important tournaments, two of which must be international.
International Chess Magazine:
Magazine founded and edited by Wilhelm Steinitz and
published in New York from 1885 to 1891. Steinitz wrote most of the
International Grandmaster: Title established in 1950 and awarded by FIDE.
FIDE has detailed requirements for the title, which is awarded to only
the best players in the world. A player with a FIDE Grandmaster title,
often abbreviated GM, usually has an Elo rating of at least 2500.
International Master: Title established and awarded by FIDE, often
abbreviated IM. An IM is a stronger player than a FIDE Master, but not
as strong as an International Grandmaster, and usually has an Elo rating
of at least 2400.
International Rating list: A list of the world’s strongest players,
compiled by FIDE using the Elo rating scale. It was first published in
International Woman Grandmaster: Title established in 1976 and awarded
by FIDE to the world’s strongest women players.
Internet Chess Server: Any of several computers on the
Internet (an international computer network) which permit computer users
to play real-time Chess games with other players on the Internet. People
connected to the ICS can also observe other games in progress and
communicate with each other.
Interpose: To place a piece or a Pawn between an enemy attacking
piece and the attacked piece.
The movement of a piece in between a piece which is attacked and its
Kmoch’s expression to denote the number of squares on a file that
separate Pawns of opposite color. The greatest
interspan occurs at the beginning of the game.
One tournament in a series of competitions held by FIDE to select a
challenger to the World Champion. Winners of the 14 Zonal championships
compete in the Interzonal tournaments, which were first held in 1948.
The top players from the Interzonals play in the Candidate matches which
conclude when a challenger emerges.
A Pawn whose adjacent files contain no
Pawns of the same color. An isolated
Pawns is weak because it, and the square in
front of it, cannot be defended by other Pawns.
An isolated Pawn is consider a fundamental weakness in a Chess position
because it can be attacked. Its defense requires pieces that are better
employed in other plans.
A French word
commonly used by English-speaking players that means ‘I adjust’. A
notice to one’s opponent that one is about to adjust the position of a
piece on its square with no intention to move the piece to another
Uppercase letter abbreviation for King. This is used when recording
or annotating King game moves in a score sheet.
Persian epic written about 600 AD.
Possibly the first piece of literature to refer to Chess.
The unique, first move in the solution to a
King’s Indian Attack.
To comment during a game, or during
analysis following a game, within the hearing of the players. The term
is often used in a pejorative sense, and is in many occasions applied to
the comments of a spectator for whom the players have little respect.
One who kibitzes.
Observing and commenting on a
Chess game, usually in a manner that disturbs
The most important of the Chessman, and
consequently usually the largest. The King may
move one square in any direction, and a game is over when the
King is checkmated.
A prolonged attack on the opponent’s
King which usually dislodges it from a
shielded, defensive position with a series of checks and sacrifices. A
successful King-hunt ends in checkmate.
The half of the board made up of the e, f,
g, and h files. Kingside pieces are the King, the Bishop next to it,
the Knight next to the Bishop, and the Rook next to the Knight.
King’s Pawn opening: The move 1. e4. Bobby Fischer’s favorite
opening. Moving the King Pawn opens lines for the King Bishop and the Queen,
occupies a key central square and prevents the opponent from occupying squares diagonally
in front of the Pawn.
A Chess piece which moves either two
squares vertically and one square horizontally or two squares
horizontally and one square vertically. In the first step of this move,
the Knight may pass “through” squares already
occupied. The Knight’s move has not changed
since Chess was devised.
Any double attack by a
A Chess puzzle whereby the
Knight is moved 64 times, landing on each
square only once. A solution is called “re-entrant” if the
Knight finishes on a square which is a
Knight’s move away from the square where it
Old abbreviation for Knight.
fluid method of ranking Chess players within a club or other group. The
ladder is usually established by listing players according to their
Chess rating. Any player may challenge someone one step above them on
the ladder (sometimes two or more places). If the challenger wins, he
moves up the ladder and his opponent moves down.
A trap in the Albin Counter-Gambit, resulting
in a winning position for Black: 1.
d4 d5 2.
c4 e5 3.
dxe5 d4 4.
e3 Bb4+ 5.
Bd2 dxe3 6.
Bxb4 exf2+ 7.
Laws of Chess:
The rules which govern the play of the game.
During the 1850s, Staunton was one of many players who first sought to
establish a unified set of Chess laws. FIDE established its own laws of
Chess in 1929.
The first Chess magazine, published in Paris
from 1836 to 1840. La Bourdonnais was the editor and claimed he had 236
magazine published from 1925 to 1939. It was the first to use Figurine
expression for the part of a rank divided by a Pawn
having the fewer number of squares.
by the Laws of Chess.
sequence appearing in the game between M. de Kermar Legal and Saint Brie
in about 1750: 1. e4 e5 2.
Bc4 d6 3.
Nf3 Bg4 4.
Nc3 g6 5.
Nxe5 Bxd1 6.
Bxf7+ Ke7 7. Nd5
expression for a lack of control of the light squares.
for a white and a black Pawn which are
diagonally adjacent so that either can capture the other.
made of walrus tusk discovered on the Isle of Lewis (outer Hebrides) in
1831. They were probably made in the 11th or 12th century and now are on
display in the British Museum.
Bishop which moves on light-colored squares.
expression for minor piece: a Bishop or a
term for speed or Blitz Chess.
Small city in
south-central Spain which has been the site of numerous strong,
Little Bare King:
A win which
includes baring the King, but in which the
capture which bares the King does not also
performance of a Chess game where the Pawns
and pieces are represented by real people. The performance may be a
re-enactment of a famous game or a new game.
Long Algebraic Notation:
A form of
algebraic notation. A move is designated by a letter indicating the
piece moved, plus the square the piece moves from as well as the square
the piece moves to (e.g. Bc1-g5). Pawn moves are designated by the
starting square an the destination square (e.g. e2-e4).
sometimes used to describe castling Queen-side.
game played by top players was played in Belgrade in 1989. I. Nikolic
and Arsovic drew in 269 moves.
for a lever such that either side have the option of capturing or moving
past the opponent’s Pawn.
result in a game of Chess when the losing side
is checkmated or resigns before checkmate. A lose may result when a
player makes the last mistake or blunder.
probability in any complex and roughly equal position that one side may
successfully lose a game of Chess by
thoughtless play. Usually, winning, losing, and drawing chances are
judged as either good or poor. If a position is sufficiently unclear
that either side may win, lose, or draw, then that position is estimated
to give both sides equal chances.
Losing on Time:
A player loses
on time if he has not completed the required number of moves in the
allotted time. If the opponent does not have sufficient material to
prove a win, the game is drawn.
Losing the Exchange:
To exchange a
rook for either a Bishop or
Chess game position from which a player must
lose with accurate play. Many complex lost positions may still offer
winning or drawing chances with alert play. It is unknown whether the
starting position is also a lost position.
and well-analyzed Rook and
Pawn ending first analyzed in a book by Lucena, published in
Kmoch’s expression for the part of a rank
divided by a Pawn having the greater number of
Luft: A German term that means
‘air’. In Chess, it means to
give the King breathing room. It describes a Pawn move made in front of
the King of the same color to avoid back rank Mate possibilities.
The Queen and Rooks. Because of the number
of squares they command (a Queen can command 27 squares,
not counting the one she occupies, a rook 14) they are considered the heavy
artillery of Chess.
A player’s numerical
superiority of Pawns on one flank. Such a
majority is important because it may lead to the creation of a passed
Tournament won by Rubinstein and
Nimzowitsch, followed by Marshall, Torre, Reti, and Tartakower.
In the U.S., a player with rating of 2200 or more. If
a player’s rating drops below 2200, the title is rescinded. There are about 90
Grandmasters in the entire world. It is also the highest ranking in Chess earned by
competing in major tournaments.
Short for Checkmate.
When a King cannot avoid capture.
A common Chess
problem where white on the move must checkmate black in two moves
despite black’s best reply. Mate in three, four, or more moves are also
common training exercises.
The total value in
points of a player’s pieces on the Chessboard.
A material advantage is when a player has more pieces on the board than
his opponent or has pieces of greater value. Material
advantage is one key quality in assessing a
contest between two players only, as distinguished from a tournament.
The term often refers to a contest of many games, but is sometimes used
to describe a single game. The first major Chess match was between La
Bourdonnais and McDonnel in 1834. Also, a
contest between two teams, played on several boards.
An attack which aims at
A position or series of moves that leads inexorably to
one in which the King must be mated or,
a position where one player has mating
threats. This can be accomplished with the pieces
working together to trap and checkmate the enemy King.
A material sacrifice made to achieve
Abbreviation for Modern Chess Openings.
A move made with little thought because it
seems to be obvious.
A tie-breaking system applicable to Swiss
tournaments. The scores of the opponents of each of the tied players are
summed, first leaving out the highest and lowest scores. In tournaments
with a large number of rounds, two or more of the highest and lowest
scores may be deleted. Also called the Harkness Score.
Mephisto: Constructed by Charles Godfrey Gumpel and first
demonstrated in London in 1878, Mephisto was described as a Chess
playing automaton. It was in fact a device which contained a person who
played Chess. Operated by Isidor Gunsberg, it was the first automaton to
win a Chess tournament.
phase of the game following the opening, and
the one in which much of the action takes place. The development
of the pieces is complete or nearly complete and many pieces are
captured or traded as the players pursue their creative plans. With many pieces on the board
and possibilities of attack on all sides, the King normally stays well hidden in this
called brevity, a short game usually about 20 moves or less. Many
writers use the term only for entertaining games and therefore do not
generally include draws in this category. Any Chess problem featuring
seven or fewer pieces.
Minor Exchange: Tarrasch’s
term for the exchange of a Knight for a
Bishop. Because he preferred
Bishops, he described the player who gave up
the Knight as winning the minor exchange.
The Bishops and Knights. A Knight can command
eight squares, a Bishop thirteen.
The advance of one or more
Pawns on a flank where the opponent has a
Pawn majority. The
objective of a minority attack is to create a isolated Pawn weakness in
the enemy position.
Mobility: The ability to move about freely on the board.
Morals of Chess, The:
A 1779 essay by Benjamin Franklin outlining
the merits of Chess and advocating a specific set of rules of etiquette
Muse of Chess:
Another term for Caissa.
immensely influential work describing his theory of Chess, first
published in English in 1929.
Mysterious Rook Move:
The movement of a Rook to a
closed file to discourage the opponent from making a freeing move
because such a move would bring the Rook into play, a strategy advocated
Uppercase letter abbreviation for Knight. This is used when
recording or annotating Knight game moves in a score sheet.
National Chess Day:
October 9th, 1976. US President Gerald
Ford set the day aside “to give special recognition to a game that
generates challenge, intellectual stimulation, and enjoyment for
citizens of all ages”.
Title granted by national federations to strong
players, usually those with a sustained ELO rating of 2200 or above.
style of play developed in the twentieth century. This style
incorporates the romantic tradition of aggressive attack, and couples
this aspect of play with a strong defense.
Another name for the Sonneborn-Berger
New in Chess:
Monthly Chess magazine edited by Jan
Timman and quarterly volumes edited by Gennadi Sosonko published in
Holland since 1984.
Nimzo-Indian Defense: One of the Indian defenses, characterized by the
sequence: 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4. Named after
Abbreviation for National
The number of points a player in an
international tournament must score to gain one qualification for a FIDE
title. The weaker the tournament, the more points a player must score
for any given norm.
An old name for the French Defense.
The position in the Evans Gambit after: 1.
e4 e5 2.
Nf3 Nc6 3.
Bc4 Bc5 4.
b4 Bxb4 5.
c3 Ba5 6.
d4 exd4 7
.0-0 d6 8.
System for recording
moves and positions of a Chess game - Algebraic
Notation, Long Algebraic Notation, Descriptive Notation, Figurine
Notation, Forsythe Notation, Udemann Code, etc.
A material sacrifice to hinder an
A Rook or Queen that controls a file or rank is said
to occupy that file or rank. A piece is said to occupy the square it is
Official Rules of Chess:
publication setting forth the Laws of Chess.
Open: Short for Open game or Open file.
A term used to describe a position where Pawns
do not block the mobility of the pieces around some or all of the board.
The opposite of a closed position. Also refers to
a type of tournament in which any strength of player can participate.
A file cleared of Pawns. It offers a corridor for
attack, especially if occupied by doubled Rooks. A
file is still open even if it is occupied by pieces other than Pawns.
A position characterized by many open ranks,
files, or diagonals, and few center Pawns.
A tournament which is open to any
The start of a
Chess game. The first phase
of the game before the middlegame and endgame, in which players try to
rapidly develop their pieces, gain room for their pieces to maneuver,
and on bringing their Kings to safety. Many promising opening lines of
play are analyzed and documented extensively in texts and computer
databases. The basic goals of the opening are to develop pieces as quickly as
Openings: The more-or-less standardized and analyzed patterns of
moves that both sides make at the start of a game. Some are named after people (Ruy
Lopez), some after places (Budapest Counter-Gambit), some after pieces or
moves (Four Knights Defense). Some are descriptive (Giuoco Piano, or quiet game).
Abbreviation for Over-The-Board.
Bishops can only move on one
color square determined by their original position. Thus we have light-
and dark-colored squared Bishops. If only two
opposing Bishops on opposite colored squares
are captured from the board, then opposite colored Bishops
remain. (See also Bishop pair.) The opposite
colored Bishops characterize
Chess play as asymmetrical. The opposite
colored Bishops cannot challenge or capture
each other. Therefore, the attacking side often has the advantage in a
middlegame with opposite colored Bishops.
However, opposite colored Bishop endgames are
often drawn, because neither site can control both colored squares to
force the advance of a Pawn.
A position in which opposing Kings stand on the same
rank, file or diagonal, usually in an endgame, separated from each other by only one square. The player whose
move brings the Kings into opposition holds an advantage that, in an endgame, can be
A square that supports a piece.
Term coined by Nimzowitsch; a piece
placed on a square (on an open or half-open file) on the opponent’s side
of the board, protected by a Pawn, which
cannot be attacked by an enemy Pawn. The power
of the piece on the outpost can be so strong the opponent may be forced
to exchange it, even at the cost of material or positional loss.
Outside Passed Pawn:
A passed Pawn away
from most of the other Pawns on the board.
Over the Board:
A description of games played
face to face, as opposed to correspondence Chess or
A situation where a
Pawn or piece must perform too many defensive functions, so that
if one it is forced to perform one function a weakness will be created.
concept of concentrating many pieces
and/or Pawns -even more than might seem necessary- on an important square. This creates a strong square which
interacts beneficially with the over-protecting pieces.
When space is gained too fast. By rushing his Pawns
forward and trying to control a lot of territory, a player can leave weaknesses in his
camp or can weaken the advanced Pawns themselves. He is then said to have
overextended his position.
Overworked piece: A piece that is required to single handedly defend too
many other pieces.
Abbreviation for Pawn.
A listing of who plays whom
at a tournament.
The first Chess magazine.
It was founded in 1836 by La Bourdonnais and named after the ancient
Greek inventor Palamedes. Publication ceased in 1847.
Parry a Check:
To place a Chessman between
the King in check and the checking piece. This is one of three ways to
meet a check, the other two being moving the King or capturing the
checking piece. If a player in check cannot employ one of these three
ways to meet the check, the King is checkmated and the game is over.
for use by NL (natural language) parsing researchers and others
interested in the automated extraction of
Chess data from text articles. A more complete usage requires
actual game parsing. After reading the game, a
parse_game() method is called, and as a result we have the moves
available in an array, comments and errors in two hashes, where
the keys are the move numbers and the values
are comments or errors.
A Pawn unopposed, on its own or adjacent files, by a
Pawn of another color. By being advanced to the eighth rank it can become any
piece its owner chooses. A passed Pawn, therefore, is a source of worry for the other side
and a precious advantage for its owner. Two united passed Pawns on adjacent files
constitute a formidable weapon.
Description of a move which contains no
threats. Also, refers
to a piece with limited mobility, i.e. a piece which is not
A weak player. Sometimes used more
specifically to describe a weak player who either does not recognize his
deficiencies or who may boast of his ability.
Pawn: Physically, the smallest unit on the
Chessboard. A Pawn moves straight ahead but
captures diagonally. Originally, a Pawn could
only ever move a single square forward. During the renaissance a player
was given the option of moving a Pawn forward
two squares on its first move. If a Pawn
reaches the eighth rank, it must be promoted to another piece.
break: The possibility of
opening up a blocked Pawn structure by advancing a Pawn.
Pawn centre: A pair or group of Pawns of
the same color that occupy the central squares of the board.
A string of two or
more Pawns of the same color along a diagonal.
Pawn grabbing: Deprecating term to describe the act of
winning Pawns at the expense of development or
countering an opponents attack. Also
known as Pawn snatching.
Pawn island: A Pawn or group of Pawns
separated from other Pawns of the same color.
Pawn push: Another term for Pawn Storm.
Pawn roller: Another term for Pawn Storm.
Pawn storm: The general advance of two or more
connected Pawns. A Pawn
storm may be employed to attack the King, to
promote one of the Pawns, to keep some of the
opponents pieces away from another part of the board, among other
All aspects of the Pawn setup. Also referred to as the Pawn skeleton
or the arrangement of a player’s Pawns on the board.
for Professional Chess Association. After a long term friction with
the International Chess Organization (FIDE), Garry Kasparov
and Nigel Short created in
rival Organization: The Professional Chess Association (PCA).
A sort of infinite cycle in which one side gives
check, the other side gets out of check, the first side checks again in the same way -
being unable to do otherwise without risking the loss of the game - and so on. It
constitutes a draw.
Perpetual pursuit: Similar to a Perpetual Check, except that the pursued
piece is a Bishop, Knight, Rook, or Queen, instead of the King.
A combination that involves only a few moves.
Portable Game Notation, a standard text system of Chess notation used on
Chess viewers programs and designed for the representation of Chess game
data using ASCII text files. PGN is structured for
easy reading and writing by human users and for easy parsing and
generation by computer programs. A text file composed exclusively of PGN
data records should have a file name with “.pgn” as the suffix.
Pawn structure where two or more Pawns
of the same color are side-by-side, i.e. on the same rank and on
Any Chess piece
other than the Pawn, but usually referring to a Bishop or Knight.
Slang for Rook. Rooks doubled on the 7th rank are
commonly referred to as pigs on the 7th.
A position in which a piece may not be moved because
another piece would be subject to capture. If the piece subject to capture is the King,
the Pin is absolute and the pinned piece cannot legally be moved. When the piece is not
the King, the tactic is called a ‘relative Pin’.
A short or long range goal on which a player bases his
moves. A method or line of play designed to improve a
position. A Chess player should always have a plan.
Ply: One play in a Chess game -white
or black, which is one half of one complete move pair. Computers have
the capability to consider the probable result of an almost infinite
number of move/countermove stratagems against each move made by a player
(except for book openings). These levels of move combinations are
referred to as “plies” or half-moves in
A system that gives the pieces the following numeric
values: King= priceless; Queen= 9 points; Rook= 5 points; Bishop= 3 points; Knight= 3
points; and Pawn= 1 point.
A Pawn (often
White’s Pawn on b2) which is undefended during
the opening but which if taken, often permits the player who gave up the
Pawn to engage in a strong attack or to later
win the piece taking the Pawn.
The arrangement of
Chess pieces. The player whose pieces have
better placement is said to have a “positional advantage”.
A move or style of play based on long range
considerations. The slow buildup of small advantages is said to be positional.
A sacrifice of material which improves
the position of the sacrificing player.
Preventive Sacrifice: A
Sacrifice made to prevent the opponent from castling.
Also called ‘Queening’. When a Pawn reaches the 8th
rank, it can be promoted to a Bishop, Knight, Rook, or Queen of the same color.
A Pawn who survives to reach the eighth rank is rewarded by
promotion to a piece of higher value.
Protected passed Pawn: A passed Pawn that is under the protection of another
Uppercase letter abbreviation for Queen. This is used when
recording or annotating Queen game moves in a score sheet.
piece on the board (but second in size to the King)
and which combines the moves of the Bishop and
the Rook, namely is able to move along
diagonals, ranks, or files as far as such lines are unobstructed.
Queening a Pawn:
A special case of Pawn promotion to a Queen.
This phrase is often used to describe promotion in general, because a
Pawn is usually promoted to a Queen; the highest valued option.
The 8th rank square to which a Pawn is moved,
and then must be promoted. This promotion square is called the Queening
square because the promotion choice is nearly always a Queen.
Queen’s Gambit Accepted.
Queen’s Gambit Declined.
The half of the board that includes the d, c,
b, and a files. The Queenside pieces are the Queen, the Bishop next to
it, the Knight next to the Bishop, and the Rook next to the Knight.
Quiet move: An unassuming move that is not a capture, a check, or
a direct or immediate threat. A Quiet move often occurs at the end of a maneuver or combination
that drives the point home.
Uppercase letter abbreviation for Rook. This is used when recording
or annotating Rook game moves in a score sheet.
A horizontal row on a
Chessboard. A row of squares running from side to side of the
board. Each side numbers the ranks from one to eight starting with the rank nearest him
and running to the rank nearest his opponent.
A Chess game where each player has 30
minutes in which complete the game; previously called Active Chess by
FIDE. In the US, the preferred term is Action Chess and in the UK the
expression Quick Play is employed.
Another name for the Modern Defense.
A number that measures a player’s relative strength.
The higher the number, the stronger the player.
In the UK, the term grading is used in place of rating.
To prove that a previously
accepted move, line, or opening is deficient when best play is pursued
by both sides.
German for draw.
Repetition of Position:
A player may claim a draw if he can
demonstrate that a three-fold repetition of the position has occurred,
with the same player having the move each time.
When a player realizes that he is going to lose and
graciously gives up the game without waiting for a Checkmate. When resigning, a
player can simply say, “I resign”, or he can tip over his King in a gesture of
To analyze a position to deduce
previous moves or to explain how the position was reached.
Tournament where each contestant plays one
game with every other contestant.
A straight line or number of squares arranged in a vertical or
horizontal way. A vertical row is called a “File” and
a horizontal row is called a “Rank”.
Royal Fork: A Fork that attacks both the King and the Queen.
Commonly used description for the game of Chess.
Lopez: One of the
oldest Chess openings. Also known as the Spanish Game, it was analyzed
by Ruy Lopez in his 1561 book “Libro del Ajedrez”.
The voluntary offer of material for compensation in
space, time, Pawn structure, or even force. A sacrifice can lead to a force
advantage in a particular part of the board. Unlike a combination, a sacrifice is
not always a calculable commodity and often entails an element of uncertainty.
Also known as ‘sac’.
Medieval poem by Vida (the
title means “The Game of Chess”), written in 1513. It inspired Sir
William Jones’s 1763 poem “Caissa”.
The name given to an attack that leads
to an early checkmate: 1. e4 e5
2. Bc4 Bc5
3. Qh5 Nf6
The attack is easily refuted, and therefore rarely attempted except
against beginners. Other similar lines of play are also justly known as
scholar’s mate. Scholar’s mate requires more coordination in the attack
than fools mate.
A written record of
a game containing all the moves; a players result in a game, match, or
The sheet of paper on which
a Chess score is recorded.
A method of secretly
recording the next Chess move of an adjourned game (an unfinished game)
until play is resumed. The last move made before a
game is adjourned. The move is not played on the board, but recorded on
the players score sheet. Both players score sheets are then placed in
an envelope which is sealed and presented to the arbiter.
A Chess problem in which white player who
plays first, must force black to give mate in a specified number of
moves. Black player, who is not cooperating in any way, try his level
best not to checkmate the white King. Selfmates were once known as sui-mates.
A file in front of a Queen
or Rook that is occupied by just one enemy Pawn and none of your own. A
file is still semi-open even if it contains pieces other than the Pawn.
A move which on the face of it appears
to be a sacrifice, but if accepted will yield the player offering the
piece a gain in material or a strong positional advantage.
Castling on the Kingside.
To trade pieces to quiet down the position, to
eliminate the opponent’s attacking potential, or to clarify the situation.
The player with the better position is more likely to simplify than the
player with the worse position.
Another term for Simultaneous Display.
When one person plays Chess with two or more opponents at the same time.
Event where a single player (commonly a strong
player) play several people all at the same time. Numerous boards are
set up, in a circle or rectangle, and the single player stands inside
this area, moving from board to board, usually playing a single move at
a time. Also known as Simultaneous Exhibition or Simul.
A threat against a valuable
piece that forces that piece to move, allowing the capture of a less
valuable piece behind it, on the same rank, file, or
diagonal, after the attacked piece is moved. A tactical concept when a
piece attacks two or more enemy pieces on a row (with a Rook or Queen)
or diagonal (with a Bishop or Queen).
A form of checkmate
with a Knight where the
King is unable to move because all the squares
around him are occupied by Chessmen or its own pieces
block all escape routes.
A tie-breaking system applicable to
Swiss tournaments. A player’s Solkoff Score is equal to the scores off
all his opponents.
Sonneborn-Berger Score: A
tie-breaking system. An individual’s Sonneborn-Berger score equals the
sum of the scores of the players beaten plus half the sum of the scores
of players with whom draws were scored.
Soul of Chess: Philidors
description of Pawns in Analyse du Jeu des
Echecs (Analysis of Chess).
The territory controlled by each player.
The quality of a Chess position that permits greater mobility or freedom
of movement for pieces behind Pawns of the same color. Space is the
opposite of cramped. When a player’s position is judged to have more
space, then that player enjoys greater freedom of maneuver than his
opponent. A player that enjoys more space can switch the play from one
side of the board to the other more quickly. Space is one key quality in
assessing a Chess position.
Kmochs expression for the squares in
front of and behind a Pawn.
Also known as the Ruy Lopez. One of the oldest
Chess openings, it was analyzed by Ruy Lopez in his 1561 book “Libro del
A check by a player facing a mating attack
which does not prevent the mating attack but only delays it.
A situation in which one side is unable to make a
legal move although the king is not in check. A stalemate is a draw.
For over 100 years this has been deemed a draw. Before that, stalemate
was treated differently in different places, for example it has been
held to be a win, a loss, and illegal, among others.
A pattern of Chessmen (the
ordinary design found in plastic, wood, jade or whatever) named
after Howard Staunton (1810 - 1874), a British Chess Champion.
It was designed in 1835 by
Nathaniel Cook who convinced Howard Staunton in 1852 that they should be
designated Staunton Chessmen. They are the Chessmen required by FIDE.
The reasoning behind a move, plan, or idea as opposed
to the tactics: the carrying out of that plan.
Strategy is more concerned with distant future moves than the
calculation of tactics for the next move.
A term used to describe a composed
endgame position where very artful play and a lot of thought (study) is
required to win or draw. Commentators often refer to a game position as
a study if it is unusually difficult and artistic.
Style: A player’s way of playing Chess, which reflects his
personality and preferences. Typically, in a game between players of opposing styles
(for example, an attacker vs. a quiet positional player), the winner will be the one who
successfully imposes his style on the other.
A time period in a game of Chess
in which all remaining moves must be completed. The rate of play
required by many international tournaments is 40 moves in two hours,
followed by 20 moves in one hour, and then half an hour extra for the
rest of the game. The third and last part of this time control is known
as sudden death, and does not require adjournment.
A combination employed by a player with a losing position which converts
his position into a win or draw. Such a combination is generally
considered to be either avoidable by the opponent or the result of luck.
A method of pairing players at a
tournament, developed in Switzerland in the 19th century by Dr. Julius
Muller and first employed in 1895. The three fundamental rules of the
Swiss System are:
a). No player meets the same opponent
b). Pairings should match players with scores
which are as similar as possible;
c). The number of games as White and as Black
for each player should be kept as close as possible to equal throughout
the Chessmen of one side mirrors the position of the Chessmen of the
A computer Chess database of endgame
positions (calculated by retrospective analysis) designed to enable
perfect play from any position. Currently tablebases are limited to
positions of 7 or fewer pieces. Tablebases come in two content types;
Distance to Mate (Eugene Nalimov, Steven J Edward), and Distance to
Conversion (Ken Thompson). Current tablebases range from 8Gb compressed
to 30Gb uncompressed. The Nalimov tablebase is most popular because it
is efficient, nonproprietary, compressed, and most complete (ignoring
only uncastled positions which are very unusual in the endgame). John
Tamplin’s popular interface to these tablebases is found at Logical
A term used to describe a
short-term sequence of moves involving threats and counter threats.
Maneuvers that take advantage of short-term
opportunities. A position with many traps and combinations is considered to be
tactical in nature.
Abbreviation for tournament director.
As in music, time. Plural, tempi. In
Chess, there are basically three elements - space, time and
material. Space and material are self-evident. Time, however, is more
subtle. Initially, White, having the first move, has a time advantage
(and thus, the initiative). But White can, by making useless moves,
To make a wasteful move is to “lose a tempo”. Over the board, tempi,
space and material can be exchanged back and forth for one another.
Well known opening, middle game, and endgame positions
that are documented in Chess books.
A move which contains an implied or
expressed attack on a piece or Pawn or the
position of the opponent.
Occurs when the players have been moving back and
forth, repeating the same position. Often happens when a player, behind in material and
facing eventual loss, sacrifices for a perpetual check. A three-time repetition of
position results in a draw.
A method used to determine a single
winner when tournament play produces a tie. One tie-break is the
play-off, but due to the time it takes to play additional games, this is
often not feasible. Ties are sometimes resolved in favor of the player
who won the most games, the player who won the individual game between
the tied players, or the player who had Black if the individual game
between the players was drawn.
A tie-breaking system sometimes used to spread
out the prize fund in a round robin tournament.
Time is a measure of development and also refers to
thinking time, as measured on a Chess Clock.
The amount of time in which each player must play a
specified number of moves. In international competitions, the typical time control
is 40 moves in 2 hours for each player.
One of the most exciting moments in a tournament Chess
game. When one or both players have used up most of the time on their Clocks but still
have several moves to make before they reach the mandatory total of 40 or 45, they start
to make moves with increasing rapidity, some times slamming down the pieces in frenzied
panic. Terrible blunders are typical in this phase.
Situation where a player has a small
amount of time to make a large number of moves and to
describe the difficulty faced by a player who must complete a
disproportionate number of moves before a time-control.
Abbreviation for “Theoretical
Novelty” -- a new
move in an established opening.
In a team match, the player who competes
against the strongest opponents. Sometimes referred to as first board.
Chess rule which requires a player who touches
a piece to actually move that piece (if it is his own) or take that
piece (if it belongs to his opponent). If the piece touched cannot be
legally moved or captured, then the player may make any move. A player
may touch and piece and not be compelled to move or capture it if he
first announces J’adoube (French) or I adjust.
A contest among more than two Chess players.
A collection of all the games of a tournament
(or selected games if the tournament is very large). Generally a
tournament book will also include some or all of the following:
crosstables, complete or partial results, annotations of interesting or
important games, background information on players or the tournament,
Reaching an identical opening position by a different
order of moves. For example, the French Defense is usually reached by 1.e4 - e6,
2.d4 - d5, but 1.d4 - e6, 2.e4 - d5 transposes into the same position.
Same as exchange.
A way of surreptitiously luring the opponent into making a mistake
or a move whose natural reply results in a disadvantage to the replying
A process whereby a King is
moved twice to reach a square which could be attained in a single move.
The beginning square and the two squares to which it is moved form a
triangle. Triangulation is generally employed only in endings
and usually involves Kings -- one King is forced to shuttle between two
squares while the other King has three squares (the ‘triangle’) at its
Three Pawns of the same
color on a single file, one in front of the other.
(nickname) made in (1789) by Baron Wolfgang von
Kempelen and operated by a hidden
player (reputedly Allgaier, Viennas strongest player of the day), who
was ingeniously concealed inside the machine. It was operated by many
strong players and was the subject of great speculation.
Chess notation created to be transmitted via
1 .e4 g6
2. d4 Bg7.
Promoting a Pawn which has
reached the eighth rank to a piece other than a Queen.
A player may choose to under-promote his Pawn to gain advantage, or
To move one of a set of doubled Pawns
onto an adjacent file which contains no Pawns
of its own color, via a capture.
A term which refers to both pieces and
United States Chess Federation. Official
governing body for Chess in the United States. Often referred to by its
A sequence of moves, or line of play. There are many variations
(possible moves) in a game of Chess.
Any non-threatening Chess
move that attempts to gain the advantage because one’s opponent now must
The World Chess
Council. During the opening ceremony at Linares,
organizer Luis Rentero and Kasparov announced the creation of the World
Chess Council (WCC). The two men proposed to sponsor a 10 game match
between Kramnik and Anand in Cazorla, Spain, beginning on 20 May.
Weakness: Any Pawn or square that is attackable and therefore
hard to defend. A flaw in a position. An isolated or
blockaded Pawn, lack of space, bad Bishop, or any other positional flaw
that increases losing chances are examples of weaknesses.
An important square which cannot be easily defended.
A comment about a Chess
game not intended for the players. A command commonly used by spectators
to comment on a Chess game played on the
Internet via remote computers.
Austrian Chess periodical published from 1898-1916,
1923-38, and 1948-9.
A common result in a game of Chess
when the winning side checkmates or accepts the resignation before
checkmate of his opponent. A win may result when a player makes the
second to the last mistake or blunder.
The probability in any complex and roughly equal
position that one side may successfully win a game of
Chess with alert play. Such an estimate is based on an
understanding of sometimes subtle criteria such as board position,
player skills, time pressure, and strategy both on the board and off.
Usually, winning, losing, and drawing chances are judged as either good
or poor. If a position is sufficiently unclear that either side may win,
lose, or draw, then that position is estimated to give both sides equal
A move which creates a position in which the player
can or does win.
Any Chess game position
from which a player must win with accurate play. Many complex winning
positions may still offer losing or drawing chances with alert play by
one’s opponent. It is unknown whether the starting position is also a
Winning the Exchange:
Giving up a Knight or a
Bishop for a Rook.
Derogatory term for a player who shows no
understanding for Chess but rather appears to simply push his pieces
around the board.
International Woman Grandmaster.
A German term that means “time
A German term that means “compulsion to
move”. It refers to a situation in which a player would prefer to do nothing
because any move leads to a deterioration of his position, but he moves something because
it is illegal to pass.
Swiss tournament featuring seven foreign players and seven Swiss
players, won by Alekhine (13), followed by Euwe and Flohr (12),
Zwischenzug: A German term that means
“in between move”.
A surprising move that, when inserted in an apparently logical sequence (for
example, a check that interrupts a series of exchanges), changes the result of that