Chess Glossary

There was supposed to be an introduction here, but the idle, work-shy Chess Glossary Team have done their collective best to totally not do one.


Absolute Fork
A specific type of Fork (Chess Tactic) where a Pawn or Piece attacks two enemy pieces, from a single square, but one of the attacked Pieces IS the enemy King.

Absolute Pin
A specific type of Pin (Chess Tactic) that attacks a less-valuable enemy Pawn or Piece, which cannot move, as it's protecting its King who is sitting directly behind.

Absolute Skewer
A specific type of Skewer (Chess Tactic) that attacks the enemy King, which sits in front of, thus protecting, a Piece or Pawn (the actual target). The King will usually be forced to stand aside, to get out of check, but will lose the Piece or Pawn at the rear.

1. Referring to the playing style of an opponent, who shows an eagerness for tactical or aggressive play.
2. More basically, a piece is often described as Active when it serves an active role, such as being advanced to a square where it could, subsequently, threaten the enemy's position.

Active Bishop
A Bishop is described as being "Active" when it serves some sort of Active function - such as patrolling key squares of your opponent's territory. An Active Bishop can be a Good Bishop or a Bad Bishop; yet both situations can be equally productive.

Adjacent File
One of the files to the immediate left or right of the file you're looking at. As in "Black's two Pawns sitting on adjacent files".

Advanced Chain
An Advanced Chain refers to any Pawn Chain where the lead Pawn sits on its 5th Rank (thus, advanced into enemy territory).

Advanced Pawn
Any Pawn which makes it to its 5th Rank (thus into enemy territory), or beyond, is Advanced.

Advanced Salient
When the Salient has collectively advanced so that the middle Pawn is now standing on it's 5th Rank, in enemy territory - it's a Salient in an Advanced position.

Whoever has a greater pawn structure, more material, better positioning of pieces on the board, more space for pieces to roam, or has more time remaining on their clock, is said to have the Advantage during a game.

1. When a game of chess is suspended/postponed, but with a view to continue it again at a later time or date, it is said to have been Adjourned.
2. The Chess Glossary Team said they'd have a go at adjourning their work, but management said they'd have a go at adjourning their pay ... so, work (grudgingly) continued.

When a strong chess player uses their expert chess knowledge to decide upon the result of a game that hasn't finished yet - they Adjudicate the outcome/result. This practice happens mostly in online games of chess, but is hardly ever seen in over-the-board (OTB) chess games.

Applies only to over-the-board games of Chess, where pawns and pieces can sometimes get nudged over the boundary of the square they're currently sitting on. A player who notices this can call out "I Adjust", or "J'adoube", to declare that they're just repositioning the piece, but it's not their actual move.

Advanced Pawn
A Pawn that's made it into the enemy's territory (the opposing side's half of the Chessboard). Any of White's Pawns that reach the 5th Rank and on up to the 7th Rank would be deemed an Advanced Pawn; for Black, the Pawns must reach the 4th Rank and down to the 2nd Rank.

Alekhine's Gun
This refers to a specific type of Battery Attack formation (a Chess Tactic). Alekhine's Gun involves the Queen and 2x Rooks, stacked together on a single File. The Queen is at the base of the formation, with the two Rooks in front, pointing at the enemy, like a big gun.

Algebraic Notation
Algebra is mathematical play with Letters and Numbers; Notation refers to the recorded moves during a game of Chess ... Put the two together and you have a neat system for following Chess matches/tournaments - be it during a live match, or historical games of significance.

Usually a term to distinguish between Professionals - whose sport/activity is their main 'job' (what they do to earn a living) and those who take part but don't earn money as their sole means of income - this latter group are the Amateurs.

As the underpaid, over-worked Chess Glossary Team understands it, Amber isn't some attention-seeking woman running a chess club, but a rather prestigious Chess Tournament.

The Post-mortem of a game of Chess, more significant for the loser to perform, in order to find out where s/he went wrong and what move(s) could have directed them towards victory. But also done by the winner, in order to reinforce what went well, so they can maybe take it into their next game.

According to the Chess Glossary Team, 'tis a poncy way for saying 'Notation' and refers to the system for recording moves during a game of Chess.

Announced Mate
A player who Announces Mate declares - or, announces - a sequences of moves that is believed to lead to a "forced checkmate". This practice was common throughout the 19th Century.

A term used to describe a plan or sequence of moves that goes against the principles of Positional Play. The plan is what's at fault, rather than a player making a blunder when following a good plan. Antipositional Play creates weaknesses in your position.

An Opening sequence. Follows on from the Sicilian Defence sequence (1. e4 ... c5). The sequence known as the Anti-Sicilian begins with White's 2nd move: 2. Nf3 being the most common move, but other variations exist.

An official who takes care of specific duties at chess tournament is known as the Arbiter. Duties include settling disputes and, when players are under time pressure, they'll be involved with keeping score. For international tournament, the person is known as an International Arbiter.

This refers to a specific game situation where Black only requires a draw to win the game, but White needs to win, in order to win the game. In Armageddon games, White does get the benefit of more time (6 minutes versus Black's 5 minutes). When shorter Blitz games havn't resolved the playoff tie-breaker (to decide the overall match winner), Armageddon games will typically be played to decide matters.

Artificial Castling
Also known as "Castling by hand", this is when a player takes multiple turns to manually move his King and Rook, until they end up in the exact positions, as if they had Castled.

1. When a player goes on the offensive with one of his pieces.
2. Preoccupation of the Chess Glossary Team's sadistic Pit Bull Terrier.

1. Bone-idleness is the Chess Glossary Team's biggest attraction.
2. Refers to an attempt to Attract the enemy King into an exposed position, by using one of the Pieces (Knight, Bishop, Rook, or Queen) as sacrificial bait - the selected Piece may be captured by the King, but by doing so, the King will walk into an exposed position, ready for you to attack.


Back Rank
Refers to the base of the Board, where both player's Kings begin each game ... With Algebraic Notation, White's Back Rank is the Rank 1; while Rank 8 is Black's Back Rank.

Back Rank Mate
When a King is on its Back Rank and is put in "Checkmate", this is known as a "Back Rank Checkmate" or, a "Back Rank Mate".

Back Rank Weakness
A weakness in a player's position that puts the player's King at risk of suffering a Back Rank Mate. However, due to time constraints, or specific threats from the enemy, the player is unable to create an escape route for his King. The player's only option is to be vigilant to the enemy attacking his weak position.

Backward Pawn
A somewhat restricted Pawn - it CANNOT advance, as itself or another piece will be captured. There's more, so check out the link (easier to watch the video, than write an explanation).

Bad Bishop
1. A Bishop that has its diagonal paths obstructed by pieces from his own side - most often, these are Pawns that have their own paths blocked, causing the knock-on obstruction. Alternatively, the Bishop may be on the 'wrong color' squares, enabling the enemy to safely land their pieces without the Bishop being able to do anything about them.
2. With its collective brain synaptically treading a somewhat cynical path, the Chess Glossary Team sense another holy scandal amongst the high-ranking God-botherers.

A formation in Chess, made up by two Rooks doubled-up on a single File; or by a Bishop and a Queen, when both are stalking along the same diagonal path.

1. Abbreviation for the now defunct British Chess Federation.
2. The Chess Glossary Team say it stands for Bladder Control Failure.

1. Abbreviation for the British Chess Magazine.
2. The Chess Glossary Team say it stands for Bladder Control Maintained.

Abbreviation for the Batsford Chess Openings, which refers to a specific Chess Opening referenced by Garry Kasparov and Raymond Keene.

1. In honor of the legendary Scandinavian Warriors, who would go into a seemingly maddened, frenzied attack during battle - it's applied, in Chess, to one or two pieces that launch a sudden string of attacks in quick succession.
2. Not applied to the Chess Glossary Team ... But a textbook case was observed in Management, upon finding the office totally devoid the Chess Glossary Team.

If you develop your army into such a position that your opponent finds difficult to attack, or break, your position is called a Bind. As an example, the sequence: 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 g6 5. c4 * reaches a position known as the Maróczy Bind.

Bishop Chess Piece
Each player gets 2 Bishops on their side at the start of a game; they move on the diagonal squares only and have a relative value of 3 (points).

Referring to two Bishops, on the same side, when up against a Bishop and Knight, or two Knights, during a game ... As in, "White's Bishop-pair are hard to nail down for Black's remaining Bishop and Knight".

Bishop Pawn
Descriptive term for the Pawns that sit on the same Files where the Bishops start each game. That is, the Pawns on the c-File and the f-File, respectively.

Bishop v Knight
Generally speaking, a Bishop is usually seen as being slightly superior to a Knight, owing to it's ability to get across an open board much quicker than the Knight. This advantage is seen most clearly in the endgame phase. One caveat: in Closed Game situations, it's the Knight - with its ability to jump over obstacles - that usually has the upper hand.

Describes the player's army who moves second (the player who controls White's army is the first to move, at the start of each game). Typically, the Black army will be colored Black, whereas the White army will, um, be colored White. However, with 'artistic license', manufacturers of Chess sets will play about with different color themes for the pieces. The main distinction is that White's army is a "light" color; while Black's army is a "dark" color.

Blindfold Chess
A specific type of Chess game/match/tournament where the players must use mental visualization to make the correct moves, as either one or both player CANNOT actually see the board.

Blitz Chess
A fast game of Chess, which may also be referred to as Lightning Chess, Speed Chess, Bullet Chess, Rapid Chess. Alternatively, if someone says "want to play Sudden Death?", they mean Blitz Chess ... unless they're a Goth or Emo, then a suspicious Chess Glossary believes it's a mortally hazardous activity.

Your enemy has just put your King in 'Check' by his Bishop ... Say, you move your Knight into the line of sight between the two pieces - you "Block" that Bishop from threatening Check.

When an advancing, enemy Pawn is suddenly stopped in its tracks - preferably by a Knight - it has been prevented from going any further.

1. Agreeing to work with the Chess Glossary Team.
2. A bad move that allows an opponent to make positional advantage and/or capture one of your pieces.

A shortened term referring to the Chessboard - the checker-pattern surface that the Pawns and Pieces move upon. The Board is made up of 64 squares in total, 32 are light-colored; the other 32 squares are dark colored.

Boden's Mate
A specific Checkmate pattern that gets its name from English professional chess master Samuel Standidge Boden, who played this pattern in an actual game: Schulder-Boden, London 1853.

Book Draw
A name applied to a specific position, or pattern of play, during the Endgame phase that is known to end in a Draw (Stalemate) and where the players make the exact same moves, as documented in books on Chess Theory.

Book Move
A name applied to a specific sequence or pattern of moves that has been documented/published in books on Chess Theory, which actually occur during the Opening phase of a game (both players make the exact same moves as in the book).

Book Win
A name applied to a specific position, or pattern of play, during the Endgame phase that is known to end in a Win and where the players make the exact same moves, as documented in books on Chess Theory.

1. Sounds like a good idea to the collective, lazy spirit that makes up the Chess Glossary Team.
2. When a player advances a Pawn or use a Pawn to make a capture that opens a blocked position - you've made a Break in the enemy's position.

1. When you get any of your pieces through to attack the enemy's back row.
2. When you get any member of the bone idle Chess Glossary Team to work without hint of being blackmailed for a pay rise.

1. Refers to a short game of Chess, typically involving no more than 20 to 25 moves, from start to finish. Brevity is mainly a British term for this situation, but such short games are also known as Miniature games.
2. Refers to a short stint of Work, typically involving no more than 20 to 25 seconds of the Chess Glossary Team's time.

1. Whenever any member of the Chess Glossary Team turns up to work.
2. A game of chess regarded as having been played beautifully and spectacularly. A Brilliancy game typically involves unexpected moves, successfully played and sacrificial attacks. Brilliancies don't always have to include the best moves, or sound play, by either player.

Brilliancy Prize
1. Packet of Monster Munch.
2. At some chess tournaments, organizers might award a prize for the best brilliancy played during the event.

British Chess Federation
Formed in 1904, the BCF has over 100 Years of organising Chess in the UK ... Actually, the correct term is had, as this organisation is no more ... apparently, it appears one or two people made it to 'D' in the dictionary, where Devolution happened to be lurking, and chose to give theory some practice.

Bronstein Delay
Refers to a time control method that incorporates a 'time delay'. When it's the turn of the next player (to move), what the Bronstein Delay does is it delays the chess clock for a certain period of time, before continuing to count down the player's remaining time, as usual. The specific method was invented by Soviet Chess Grandmaster, David Ionovich Bronstein, who narrowly missed becoming World Chess Champion, in 1951, in the title match against Mikhail Botvinnik.

Bullet Chess
A fast-paced game of Chess, where each player only gets 1 minute ... for ALL their moves - that's right, the entire game lasts just 2 minutes MAXIMUM.

Refers to an Opening that previous Chess Theory deemed acceptable, but recent developments suggest it's not good - it's broken; doesn't work properly; the Opening's Bust. The late Bobby Fischer referred to the King's Gambit as being "Bust", in a 1961 article, featured in the Summer edition of American Chess Quarterly.

1. Swiftly followed by second, consecutive "bye", as the Chess Glossary Team high-tail it out the office.
2. Owing to an odd number of players, at a Chess Tournament, the player who doesn't get matched-up with an opponent will get a Bye (or, a pass) into the next round. Usually, a Bye scores the player 1 point. That said, certain tournaments allow a player to take a Bye (normally in the first or last rounds, respectively), for which the game they pass-up will be declared a Draw and so score them ½ a point.


1. Chess has its own deity - the Goddess Caissa. To invoke the luck of this Goddess, the incantation goes like this (you say): "Caissa was with me."
2. The Chess Glossary Team has a deity, too - the Goddess Paymemore. Their incantation goes like this: "Paymemore and I work." Unfortunately, management has a deity for such occasions - the Goddess Youare and it's phrase is short and sweet: "Youare fired."

Calculation of Variations
When anticipating your next move, you - ideally - work out possible sequences of moves, in your head, before selecting what you think is the best course of action. Garry Kasparov is very good at this. The Chess Glossary Team are, er, not.

Candidate Master
Kind of an 'entry level', the 'CM' title is awarded to a player, by FIDE, usually upon achieving an ELO Rating of 2200 or more.

Candidate Move
During your game, after studying the board and analyzing possible moves, you discard potentially poor moves and further analyze the potentially good ones - each good one is a Candidate Move (as it's a candidate for actually being played).

Candidates Match
A Candidates Match refers to a specific knockout match between two players in the Candidates Tournament (see the entry below).

Candidates Tournament
Organized by the World Chess Federation (FIDE), this specific Tournament is held in the third and last qualifying cycles to decide who goes forward to contest the World Chess Championship.

Capped Pawn
Refers to a specific Pawn used by one player to Checkmate their opponent. Playing with a Capped Pawn is something of a handicap. It means one of the players, usually the stronger (more-capable) player must deliver Checkmate with a particular Pawn (just 1 of the available 8 Pawns!), while the weaker player can Checkmate with any Pawn or Piece available, as per normal games of Chess.

Capped Piece
Same principle as the Capped Pawn handicap, only the stronger player must Checkmate their opponent (usually a weaker player) using a specific Piece (e.g. the Kingside Rook).

A move that, under the rules of chess, causes an enemy Pawn or Piece to be removed from the chessboard. The usual Capturing method is for a Pawn or Piece to land directly on a square occupied by an enemy Pawn or Piece. The exception to this is during En Passant. The King is the only Piece that cannot be Captured.

1. A special move that takes place between the King and Rook, on either the King's side or Queen's Side of the board, with the sole purpose being to quickly get your King to relative safety, while releasing a Rook from it passive corner square.
2. What some bankers allegedly had before they spanked your money into sub-prime housing.

Casual Game
Also referred to as a "Skittles Game", or a "Friendly Game", and is one that is not played as part of a tournament, exhibition, or match. Quite often, these games won't be timed.

Short for Correspondence Chess, which is Chess played by post or, now, by email ... You make a move, you post/email it out to your opponent. If you haven't died of boredom, you get then next move back in the post/your inbox and off you go again.

1. The four central squares on the Chess Board - d4-d5-e5-e4 - make up what is known as the Small Center. Securing a controlling majority in the Small Center can be strategically important and can often lead to a player, favorably, dictating the game's outcome. It's the prime reason why so many Chess Openings focus on trying to control this little region of the Board.
2. America's two fingers up at the English's "centre", which they, incidentally, swiped from the French, where all words sound good but are hopelessly spelt.

This refers to the act of moving your Pieces - one or more - toward the Center of the chessboard.

Center Pawn
The Pawns that sit in front of their respective King and Queen - one on the 'd' file, the other on the 'e' file - are known as the Central Pawns.

1. Lidl Baked Beans.
2. A Cheapo is a slang term that refers to a crude trap that a player might set when in a losing position - it's a last-ditch attempt to Swindle their way to a Win or, at the very least, a Draw.

1. Blank, signed and made payable to the "Chess Glossary Team", please.
2. When a King is directly threatened by an opposing piece.

According to the rules, and idly confirmed by the Chess Glossary Team, this is Game Over - if this has happened to your King, you've lost.

A Chess variant (i.e. a tweaked/modified version of the main, International Chess). Played on a regular Chessboard, Chess960 was invented by former World Chess Champion Bobby Fischer and allows players to setup their Pieces (not the Pawns) in a random starting order, on the Back-Rank. Because of the random setup, this variant has also been referred to as Fischer Random Chess.

Chess Annotation
Some say it's witchcraft; others can get the hang of the maths and know exactly where the pieces are on the board, in any chess tournament that they haven't been invited to take part in.

What the Pawns and Pieces sit on. The Chessboard is, basically, flat square tile consisting of a checkered-pattern of 32 dark-colored squares and 32 light-colored squares.

Chess Clock
Alternative name for a Chess Timer and used to keep time during, um, timed games of chess. There are two faces on a typical Chess Clock. When a player finishes their move, they press down the button on 'their' clock, which stops their timer and starts the timer ticking down on their opponent's clock.

Chess Database
A database containing various chess positions for use in all good computerised chess trainers/simulators. Some databases go ballistic with over 30 million positions and half a million programmed games for you to pit your wits against.

Chess Endgame
The final stages of a game of Chess and where the Chess Glossary Team make a concerted effort not to win. By this time, most of the pieces, of either side, have been captured, though it can be a bit of a blur as to when the endgame takes over from the middlegame.

Chess Glossary Team
Not really deserving of a mention, but totally getting one here.

Chess Middle Game
Seasoned Chess players often declare the start of the Middle Game is when a player has moved the last of their major pieces - that is, the Knights, Bishops, Rooks, Queen and King have been moved from their starting place along their back row.

Chess Notation
Another way of saying Annotated Chess, or Chess Annotation ... however you say it, it all amounts to the same thing (and will never, this side of Doomsday, be fathomable by the Chess Glossary tea lady).

Chess Opening
Describes the sequence of moves during the first stage of a game of chess. The Chess Glossary Team doesn't want to over-tax the mind of beginner chess players, but, according to The Oxford Companion to Chess, there are 1327 named openings and variations.

Chess Peices
An entry shamelessly listed for the benefit of the search engines - apparently, in their excitement at discovering a use for Google, there are some who blatantly ignore accuracy in favour of a typo ... Such errors can often be the result of a Polytechnic education.

Chess Problems
The term, Chess Problems, is another name for Chess Puzzles.

Chess Puzzle
To the beginner, these are somthing of a mystery - a bit like Sudoku is to the mathematically-challenged. With time and practice of the basic game, such puzzles become a training aid to improve your powers of chess-logic.

Chess Rating
With the Chess Glossary Team on unpaid leave, it was Wikipedia to the rescue to tell you that this term refers to "systems used in chess to calculate and estimate strength of the player, based on his performance versus other players".

Chess School
Yes, there is such a thing ... if you want to dramatically improve your game, there are detailed courses available specifically to teach the game of chess.

Chess Simul
Simul: short for Simultaneous and refers to an exibition of Chess, usually by a Grand Master or high-ranking, show-boating player, who gets to display his skill by playing games against multiple opponents, at the same time - he makes a move, goes to the next player ... rinse and repeat until all games are finished.

Chess Software
Can range from simple games, played partly for entertainment; to hardcore chess engines, designed to train and develop your level of skill anywhere from beginner up to Grandmaster.

Chess Success Secrets
What beginners think Grandmasters have, but in actual fact turns out to be due to dedicated study of the art of chess ... along with an unhealthy liking for coffee.

Chess Supplies
Coffee, Red Bull, and your favorite selection of high-energy, low nutritional value snacks from the sweet shop.

Chess Timer
Basically, a siamese-clock - it's got two heads, one to count time taken for White's moves, the other to do ditto for Black's moves. When it's your move, you start the timer; when you've completed your move, you stop your timer and your opponent's timer starts automatically ... and this pattern repeats itself until the game is over.

Chess Tournaments
Get good, enter Tournaments - some you can invite yourself along to; others are more select and invitation-only (such as the Amber Chess Tournament) ... prizes can range from trophies to, more sensibly, cash (such as the Amber Chess Tournament) ... The Chess Glossary Team are resigned to the fact they'll never be invited to such a cash happy tournament and face an unfair life picking peanuts out of poo for this hackneyed website.

Chess Trainer
Similar to the Chess School concept, but in a more one-on-one environment and totally out of fiscal reach for the low-rent, low-yielding Chess Glossary Team.

Chess Tutorial
Similar to both the Chess School concept and Chess Trainer concept, but nobody wants to face personal responsibility, so it's usually a $27 eBook or a faceless website (like this one).

Classical Style
Refers to the playing style that focuses on trying to create a full pawn center. An alternative style is that of the Hypermodernist players, who are anti the center pawn play, prefering to control the center from the Flanks.

Is a piece of your own side getting in the way of a good move? One solution is to sacrifice said piece, for the benefit of a superior positional gain - Such a sacrifice is often referred to as a "Clearance Sacrifice".

Clock Move
The Chess Glossary Team failed to wrap their collective mind around this one, gave up without protest and resumed farming Gold in World of Warcraft. Luckily, those good fellas down the road at Wikipedia Towers had done their homework and came up trumps with: A timed game is played clock move if a move is completed only when the clock has been pressed. It is therefore possible to touch one piece, but then decide to move another piece. This way of playing is common in casual games, in favour of touch move.

Closed File
At the start of the game, each side has one Pawn on a single File (from 'a' to 'h'). All Files begin as Closed Files ... A File only becomes an Open File when BOTH Pawns (White & Black) leave the File (either to capture enemy or because they've been captured). If only one of the two opposing Pawns remains on that File, it's known as a Half-Open File.

Closed Game
Where either side has a Pawn Structure that blocks the diagonal paths of the Bishop, this is known as a Closed Game - if you spot this during one of your games, should it come to an Exchange of pieces, protect your Knights, as their ability to jump over pieces is now more tactically valuable than the Bishop's long-range, but stuck-on-the-ground movements.

Closed Position
Another way of referring to a Closed Game - the Center is claustrophobic with Pawns, which block movement of Bishops, Knights and Queens ... Knights are good in these situations.

Closed Tournament
1. The Chess Glossary Team missed the bus, got there late, only to find it closed. On the bright side, they found a good pub with a pool table, so the day wasn't totally lost.
2. Refers to an invitation-only type of Chess Tournament - if your name's not down, you ain't playing.

Abbreviation for the Candidate Master Chess Title, which is awarded by FIDE to players who reach an Elo rating of 2200 points or more. The title abbreviation will go before the player's name, e.g. CM Jon Doe.

Refers to the respective armies (White & Black) and also to the checkered-pattern of squares on the chessboard, which is made up of "light-color squares" and "dark-color squares".

1. When a forced series of moves is accompanied by a Sacrifice, which 'combine' to take advantage of any potential for positional and/or material advantage.
2. Sausage, Chips & Gravy = Good Combination; Mentos & Diet Coke = Interesting Combination; Child + Pick 'n' Mix + Long Car Journey = Bad Combination.

1. Sounds like a good idea to the Chess Glossary Team, but they'll only take cash payments.
2. If, for instance, you sacrifice a Rook (worth 5 points), to capture 2 Pawns (2 points) and a Knight (3 points), you'd have received Compensation for the loss of your Rook. There may be an imbalance in your Compensation, but it returns an equivalent benefit. Gambits sacrifice Pawns or Pieces, but can gain you an advantage in development, which would be the Compensation.

Compromised King-side
You have a Compromised King-side if your opponent can attack your King's position, with advantage, hence the spelling of "King-side", to represent the side the King is on, as opposed to "Kingside" or "Queenside", which refer to the two specific chess board zones.

Computer Chess Game
Non-hardcore game of chess that can be played on a computer... examples include Chess Titans and Lego Chess ... If you want hardcore, Fritz looks good for your money - there are others, but the idle lay-abouts in the Chess Glossary office have neglected their research duties in favour of watching reruns of Battlestar Galactica.

Connected Major Pieces
The Major Pieces are the Rooks and Queen(s). At the beginning of each game, these pieces are separated by Knights (x2), Bishops (x2) and the King. Connecting your Major Pieces enhances their collective strength, making them a potent force, for both attack and defence.

Connected Passed Pawns
Two or more diagonally-connected Pawns of an opponent, which can no longer be prevented from getting to the enemy's back row - thus enabling Promotion.

Connected Pawns
Two or more Pawns that belong to the same army and are on adjacent Files, are referred to as Connected Pawns - one can provide a support point for the other.

Connected Rooks
When both Rooks that belong to the same army have clear sight of each other - there's no Pawns or Pieces blocking the way - then these are Rooks are Connected ... Connected Rooks become more powerful, because they can work together in attack or defence. Castling, besides getting the King to safety, also speeds up the process of getting your Rooks Connected.

1. A player whose pieces dominate any area, file or rank, on the board, is said to control that region.
2. When in reference to the Chess Glossary Team, "Out of" is the prefix you want, first.

Control Of The Center
The army who has more units controlling the Center Zone of the chessboard, is said to have Control of the Center. E.g. White has 2 Knights and 5 Pawns controlling a combined total of 12 squares in Center; Black has 1 Knight and 6 Pawns controlling a combined total of 10 squares in the Center ... In this example, White has Control of the Center, by a controlling majority of 2 squares.

Correspondence Chess
Another failure to do their fair share of research has resulted in a copy-and-paste raid on Wikipedia: "Correspondence chess is chess played by various forms of long-distance correspondence, usually through a correspondence chess server, through email or by the postal system; less common methods which have been employed include fax and - we in the Chess Glossary Team kid you not - homing pigeon".

Corresponding Squares
Also known as Relative Squares, Sister Squares and Coordinate Squares, the Corresponding Squares can sometimes be seen in the Endgame phase and are squares that can result in reciprocal zugzwang.

A Gambit which is attempted by Black. White offers Gambits; Black offers Countergambits.

When a player has undergone sustained attack and now begins his own attacking maneuvers, he is responding with his own Counterplay ... It's a more-involved attacking sequence, than a single Counter-attack.

1. When a player's pieces are lacking available squares to move, resulting in tactical disadvantage. Also known as having Cramped Position
2. Perennial fib, tactically used by the resident salad-dodger to explain sudden non-involvement during School Sports Day and, suspiciously, timed-to-perfection, to coincide with the start of any event that involves commitment to run.

Cramping Pawn
A 'Good' Pawn to have and one which puts Cramping pressure on the enemy's position ... Typically the Pawn will be a 'Passed Pawn' which is one square away from Promotion.

Crippled Majority Wing
A Crippled Majority Wing is one where an army has more Pawns on one of the Flanks, but those Pawns contain some sort of crippling weakness, such as Doubled Pawns or Isolated Pawns, which prevents the Majority Wing from forcing a Passed Pawn against the Minority Wing facing it.

Critical Position
1. Stage of a game where the player's next set of moves could equally win or lose the battle.
2. When it comes to war, the cowardly spirit is evergreen in the Chess Glossary Team. When it comes to a fight, their Critical Position is, "After YOU".

Critical Square
Also referred to as a Key Square, this is a specific square that is strategically important. It allows either side to realize an important goal or objective. For instance, one Critical Square might allow greater positional control, from which you can plan stronger attacks. Another example of a Critical Square would be one that allows allows your army to protect a Pawn, so it can safely head for Promotion.

When a player gets their King out of Check by blocking with a piece which delivers a Check, or reveals a Discovered Check, against the opposition King, this latter Check becomes the "Cross-Check".

After each game in a tournament, the results are updated from everyone to see. The results are in tabular form and the arrangement allows players to cross-reference the results of the participating players.


Dark Squares
Refers to the color or shade of 32 of the 64 squares that make up the checkered-pattern of the chessboard.

Dark-Square Bishop
Refers to the Bishops that start each game on the dark-colored squares. Both sides have a Dark-Square Bishop and, like the light-square Bishops, they will remain on their starting color, until either the end of the game, or until they are captured (whichever is the sooner).

Dead Draw
Refers to a position that will most likely end in a Draw (Stalemate), but for one side making such a major blunder that would gift their opponent a clear chance for snatching victory.

Demonstration Board
A 2D chessboard, fixed in an upright position - usually on a stand or easel - that allows Chess tutors to demonstrate games/tactics/strategies/etc. The Pawns and Pieces are usually magnetic, or they slot conveniently into cut-holes in the board itself.

1. A tatic with 'added cunning', used to tempt an opponent to move a certain piece to a specific square, so you can play something more devious.
2. One who distracts the boss, while the other pockets the pay slips.

1. A sequence of moves made to position your pieces in such a way that they obstruct a specific enemy attack. Historical Defences of significance include: The Sicilian Defence and The Nimzo Indian Defence
2. When it comes to the Chess Glossary Team, you simply cannot defend the indefensible.

This is where one piece of the enemy is burdened by being the protector of another piece or area on the board that you would, in fact, like to attack. Before you can get there, you must 'persuade' that defending piece to kindly take a hike. In other words, it's Deflected away from its defensive position, allowing you to begin your main assault.

Descriptive Notation
Once the most popular way of recording moves in a game of Chess, Descriptive Notation has been superseded by the more-efficient Algebraic Notation.

1. A piece destined for definite capture following a banzai raid on the enemy - often, such a Desperado piece will be the Knight, which will hop over and capture a handful of the opposing personnel, before being captured himself.
2. A piece sacrificed to help secure a draw.

1. When moving your pieces from their original, starting positions, at the beginning of a game, to what you see as their more-influential squares, you're causing their Development.
2. We're afraid it's always "backwards", for the Chess Glossary Team.

Discovered Attack
A tactic that requires two of your pieces to work together to form a surprise attack on your opponent ... It could be that your Knight moves to threaten the enemy Queen, while your Rook that remains stationary is, at the same time, threatening an enemy Bishop.

Discovered Check
Working on the same principle as the Discovered Attack, only one of the attacking pieces happens to be Checking the enemy King.

When a piece is going to be captured even though there is plenty of space to move across the board, the situation is referred to as Domination.

Double Attack
When a piece attacks two of the opponent's pieces, at the same time, it's making a Double Attack. Making a Fork Attack is a classic example of a Double Attack.

Double Check
A Check delivered by two pieces at the same time and, often, the only escape is if the King can capture one of the threatening pieces in a move that ALSO gets/keeps him out of Check.

Doubled Pawns
When a Pawn is used to make a capture, it does so by moving diagonally, one square forward, left or right - depending on where the enemy piece is ... This can result in your conquering Pawn finding itself "Doubled-up", on the same File as one of its fellow Pawns. In most cases, this structure isn't wanted; though, there are times when Doubled Pawns can be a strong, defensive arrangement.

Doubled Rooks
This sees two Rooks of the same side, sitting on the same File or Rank. A Battery Attack, involving two Rooks, is a Doubled Rook formation, but Doubled Rooks don't form a Battery Attack if they're spread apart, even though they're on the same Rank or File.

1. Also known as "Stalemate", it's a game that ends in a tie, either because Kings cannot attack each other and they're suddenly the only remaining pieces on the board; or, through certain rules, like the 50 Move Rule, and the Three Repetitions Rule. In a Tournament, both players score ½ a point each.
2. Someone irresponsibly gave the Chess Glossary Team a box of crayons and an Etch-A-Sketch and told them to draw something ... What they drew was rude.

Drawing Line
A specific Opening sequence that is known to regularly end in a Draw.

Used to describe a game or position that will most likely finish in a Draw.

Drawing Weapon
An Opening sequence that is known to result in a Drawn game, but that is deliberately used by a player who intends to get a Draw - the sequence itself is their Weapon, strategically employed for the purpose of gaining ½ a point, which is earned through a Draw. If you feel you're less likely to win against your opponent, whom you perceive to be a stronger player, you might consider playing for a Draw, as your best bet for adding to your points tally.

Refers to a player who isn't very good. Also known by some as a "patzer", "woodpusher", or "fish", which is a nicer term than the one used by the Chess Glossary Team. They'd call 'em "$#%T!"

When positional considerations are demoted in favor of more activity, the style of play is seen as being more "Dynamic".


Easy Chess
1. A free online game written by Ed Friedlander;
2. A free online game by James M. Burton, leaving the Chess Glossary Team thinking brown.

1. Abbreviation for the English Chess Federation - formerly the British Chess Federation, until they belatedly realized the Welsh, Scots and those sea-separated folks from Norn Iron didn't give a monkeys.
2. The Chess Glossary Team feel it's a subliminal advertising conspiracy by dairy producers who really want us all to Eat Cheese Frequently.

1. Abbreviation for the Encyclopedia of Chess Openings, which basically a large dictionary of known Chess Openings.
2. A system that classifies Chess Openings, known as an ECO code. Each Open receives an alphanumeric code from A00 to E99.

Electronic Chess Sets
Take one standard chess board, add electronic wizardry to include pre-programmed moves and games, pretend you're both White and Black at the same time, play with yourself. Made in Taiwan.

ELO Rating System [External Link - Gif]
1. Scoring system created by Hungarian-born American physics professor (thanks Wikipedia!), Arpad Elo.
2. Any reference to a certain 1970s/80s symphonic rock group should be dealt with by a swift Noogie in a headlock or a Chinese Burn.

En Prise
A French term, translated as "in take" and used when referring to an undefended Pawn or Piece that can be captured. To the receiver, it's kind of like a free gift or present.

The last stage of a Game of Chess, culminating in either a Win - by Checkmate - or a Draw (Stalemate). By the time it gets to the Endgame stage, not always, but there are usually very few pieces on the board and the King is becoming more exposed to attack, from all sides.

Endgame Tablebase
A database, held on computer, that contains lots and lots and lots of pre-calculated analysis of an endgame position, is known as an Endgame Tablebase. If you play Chess using software like Fritz 12, or Rybka 4, and you reach the Endgame phase, the computer program (known as the Chess Engine) will analyze its Endgame Tablebase in order to combat your chosen move(s).

English Style
Style of Chess, briefly popular during the mid 1800s and championed by the English powerhouse, of the time, Howard Staunton.

En Passant
French for "In Passing", it's the name of a Rule, involving Pawns only, that was a introduced to curb a player from attempting to avoid capture by advancing his Pawn, beyond an enemy Pawn, in the enemy's half of the board ... With the En Passant Rule, if this fight-avoidance move happens, once the cowardly Pawn is level, the enemy Pawn can make his diagonal capturing move "In Passing the enemy Pawn", and his opponent will lose that Pawn, as if it had been like a normal capturing opportunity.

Epaulette Mate
A Checkmate Pattern where the Checkmated King is prevented from escaping Check by a 'friendly' Pawn or Piece on either side of the King. The appearance can be likened to a military General, whose jacket has golden braids on the shoulders - these braids are known as Epaulettes.

1. Both sides have the same number of pieces on the board and neither player has greater positional advantage than the other.
2. Some say everybody's equal ... Others suggest there are those more equal than others ... The exception to both philosophies is the Chess Glossary Team's newest member, who's IQ is that of a duck.

Escape Square
Also known as a "Flight Square", the term refers to a square that allows a Piece to escape capture. The process of creating an Escape Square is known as making "Luft".

Also known as the "Swap-Off", it's when you tactically choose to put your piece on a square where it can be captured, usually by a piece of similar relative value, so you can, in turn, capture your enemy's piece.

Exchange Variation
Refers to an alternative sequence - the Variation - in the Opening that includes a mutual Exchange of Pawns or Pieces. An example of this is the Exchange Variation of the French Defence: 1. e4 e6; 2. d4 d5; 3. exd5 exd5 (on Move 3, both players Exchange a Pawn).

A single game or multiple games of chess played by well-known, and/or expert players (typically Grandmasters), to entertain the general public. Quite often, the players themselves usually take the games quite seriously.

Expanded Center
The 16 squares in the Center of the board are sometime, collectively known as the Expanded Center. It's the region of the chess board consisting of the squares c3-c6-f6-f3, with the most-critical squares - from a strategic point of view - being e4, d4, e5 and d5.

Expansion takes place after the initial Development phase (the Opening sequence of moves), where you seek to gain Greater Space than your opponent, often with the view to attacking the position of the enemy King.


Family Fork
A Fork Attack (Chess Tactic) delivered by the Knight, against two or more enemy Pieces (Knight, Bishops, Rook, Queen), in a single turn.

Family Check
Same principle as the Family Fork, except one of the Pieces being attacked happens to be the enemy King.

Abbreviation for Forsyth-Edwards Notation. Once a rival to Descriptive and Algebraic Chess Notation, respectively, the FEN version now only exists to help Chess Software (such as Fritz 12) to determine where to place the Pawns and Pieces on the Chessboard, so they can be setup in any random position.

1. The spectacularly ignorant Chess Glossary Team neglected to look up this word; took a wild stab in the dark, said it was a type of Italian sandwich and got it wrong.
2. It was, therefore, left to management to deduct the Chess Glossary Team's weekly allowance of Pork Scratchings and inform you that Fianchetto refers to a Bishop Chess Piece being placed on one of the squares in front of where the Knights start a game, so as to patrol one the two longest diagonals.

FIDE [External Link - Gif]
International Chess Police. Bow down, worship and don't break their rules. The Chess Glossary Team would like to point out that they're still waiting for an invitation to one of their higher-paying tournaments and wish to reserve judgement over their authority until they're dead certain they'll (a) get one and (b) get paid in CASH, no questions asked.

FIDE Master
After Candidate Master, FIDE's next title-award is the FIDE Master - abbreviated to 'FM'. It's ranked below both the International Master (IM) and Grand Master (GM), respectively and is often granted to a player with a FIDE Rating score of 2300 or more.

Fifty Move Rule
1. If the coffee machine is more than 50 paces away from your table, the Chess Glossary Team's idealistic-without-being-realistic Rule involves the option to leave the Tournament with 50 percent of the prize fund.
2. If your only remaining piece, with a legal move, is the King, and your opponent has other pieces in active play, should you manage to make 50 Moves without succumbing to Checkmate, the game will end in a Draw (Stalemate).

These are the 8 vertical columns of squares, labelled a to h by the Chess Notation system. If you see that a piece is on the d4 square, you instantly know it's on the d-file ... As for the number '4', that refers to the Rank (the 'horizontal row') that piece is on.

First Board
Also known as "Top Board", it's a term used in team chess games, matches and tournaments, and refers to a player who is pitched into battle against the strongest player of the opposition team. The remaining players are assigned to Second Board, Third Board, etc.

First-Move Advantage
Some refer to White as having a slight advantage as this army gets to move first, in each game.

Fischer Delay
A specific type of time control method that incorporates a time delay, which former World Chess Champion Bobby Fischer invented. The delay adds a portion of time to the clock of the player who moves next.

On analog Chess Clocks, there's usually a little red Flag. When the Flag falls, it indicates the precise moment when a player's time has expired.

When an enemy attacks from the 'Flanks', they're coming from, or moving along, the outside edges of the battlefield. The 'Flanks' on a Chess Board are the Queenside Files: a, b and c; and the Kingside Files f, g, and h, respectively.

Flank Openings
A specific Opening where White's first move advances either one of the Pawns, or one of the Knights, on one of the Flanks.

Flank Pawns
The Pawns that start each game on the Flanks (Queenside files a, b & c; Kingside files f, g & h) are often referred to as Flank Pawns.

Flash Chess III
The original name for the game now called SparkChess, which you can play for free, here.

Flash Chess 3D
A free online game leaving the Chess Glossary Team thinking: "green", "brown", and "if you're programming a game, try looking up at the screen once in a while to make sure it doesn't look hokey."

Flight Square
Also known as an "Escape Square", the term refers to a square that allows a Piece to escape capture. The process of creating a Flight Square is known as making "Luft".

Abbreviation for the FIDE Master Chess Title, which is awarded by FIDE to players who reach an Elo rating of 2300 points or more. In addition composers and solvers of applicable Chess problems can also be awarded the FM title. The title abbreviation will go before the player's name, e.g. FM Jon Doe.

Fool's Mate
1. No names mentioned, but lots of finger-pointing went on in the Chess Glossary office.
2. Quickest ever route to Checkmate - achieves 'Mate in 2 Moves.

1. Only way to get the Chess Glossary Team to put into practice the concept of work. And when that fails, it's left to financial bribery as the only means for getting anything done.
2. Refers to material advantage when one player has more pieces than his opponent - be it on the entire Chess Board, or within any given area of the board.

1. In order to avoid an important piece being captured, or to prevent certain loss of the game, the piece moved is said to have been "Forced".
2. Word often used in complaint, arising from any member of the Chess Glossary Team who, claiming unfairness, had to put in a proper day's work.

In tournament conditions, when a player exceeds the time on their Chess Clock, they lose the game by a Forfeit of time. A player can also lose - or, forfeit - the game if they fail to turn up for it.

A tactical move designed to attack 2 or more of your opponent's pieces from a single square. The most common piece used in a Fork Attack is a Knight, as it makes good use of its L-shape pattern of movement to give it an option of threatening ahead and left, or ahead and right.

Forsyth Notation
19th Century method for recording, or describing, a particular position in a game of Chess. Created by Scotsman, David Forsyth, for use in Newspapers. No longer used with Newspapers, after the introduction of Algebraic Notation, the Forsyth Notation has a role in computer games, enabling you to copy the Notation into programs, such as Fritz 12. Steven J. Edwards was the chap behind the conversion for computers, hence this system is now known as the Forsyth-Edwards Notation (FEN).

A Defensive Tactic used when losing a game of Chess and trying to salvage ½ a point from a Draw (Stalemate) ... The Fortress is usually a structure of Pawns in front of the King, to keep out the enemy, while enabling your King to repeat the same move 3 times, triggering Stalemate by the Three-time Repetition Rule.

Friendly Game
Any game of Chess not played under tournament conditions is usually referred to as a Friendly Game. Such games usually are not timed. However, if they are, then players often use Rapid time-controls (10 to 60 minutes per player, sometimes with a small time increment per move - e.g. 5 to 10 seconds).

Name of a powerful and highly sophisticated Chess Engine - so good, in November 2003, Garry Kasparov could only draw a four-game match against it.

Fritz 12
One of the most popular Chess programs ever created. To call this a "computer game" is to seriously under-value the engineering that's gone into creating a serious training simulation.

Full Pawn Center
When either player gets both 'd' & 'e' File Pawns into the Small Center, it's known as having a Full Pawn Center.


A player - usually White, as they move first - who moves with the strategy of sacrificing a piece - typically the Pawn - with the aim of getting into a more advantageous position on the board.
The Chess Glossary Team play Gambits on a daily basis - it usually involves a sacrifice of work, with the aim of getting into a more advantageous position in front of the telly, at their local boozer.

Abbreviation for the Grandmaster Chess Title, which is awarded by FIDE to players who reach an Elo rating of 2500 points or more at one time, but they don't need to maintain this level to retain the title. The title abbreviation will go before the player's name, e.g. GM Jon Doe.

Good Bishop
A Bishop that has free run of its diagonals. Basically, it's free of all obstructions, caused by its own side - often, the culprits are Pawns being stuck on the same-color squares.

Grande Combination
1. A series of Chess moves, involving mutliple tactics - i.e. Pins, Forks, Deflections, etc.
2. The Chess Glossary Team likens it to a Full English Breakfast and any choice of warm caffeinated beverage (read: Tea or Coffee). Cholesterol has never tasted so good.

Grand Fork
A smug-inducing Fork Attack that simultaneously attacks the enemy's King, Queen & either one or both Rooks.

Gods of the chess world and, ultimately, sacrificial caffeine addicts. The Chess Glossary Team would like to point out that it's not necessary to drink coffee while playing chess, but life doesn't always pan out the way you want.

Grandmaster Draw
To avoid playing out a boring game, the two players will quickly agree to end the game with a Draw result, without making any effort to win.

Greek Gift Sacrifice
Another term for the Combination known as the Classical Bishop Sacrifice, which plays to sacrifice a Bishop, against the position of their opponent's Castled King, in order to mount a Checkmate attack.


Half-Open File
Where a player doesn't have any Pawns, on a File (e.g. a-h), but his opponent does, the File is said to be Half-Open.

A way of giving a weaker player a chance to win against a stronger player. The Handicap could be removal of Pieces; advantage/restriction of moves; etc. Also referred to as an "Odds" game - e.g. "Queen Odds" would see the stronger player have to compete without their Queen, against their weaker opponent, who has their FULL army. "Knight Odds", "Rook Odds", and "Bishop Odds" are other examples, using the same principle.

1. Management say that's too good for the Chess Glossary Team.
2. Leaving a Pawn or Piece exposed to capture through failing to protect it, rather than being deliberate (such as a Sacrifice).

Hanging Pawns
A fourth-rank phalanx isolated from other pawns and under frontal attack.

Hanging Phalanx
The term Hanging Phalanx refers to two friendly Pawns, both of which are Backward, having to be guarded by pieces (not pawns), with neither of the two Pawns, in the Phalanx formation, being able to advance without serious disadvantage.

Hanging Piece
Same principle as a Hanging Pawn, except the unprotected unit is one of the Pieces (Knight, Bishop, Rook, or Queen).

Harrwitz Bishops
Two Bishops on the same side, sitting on adjacent diagonals, are known as Harrwitz Bishops. For instance, White would have Harrwitz Bishops if the light-square Bishop was sitting on the b1-g8 diagonal, while the dark-square Bishop was sitting on the adjacent a1-h8 diagonal. This Bishop formation takes its name from Jewish German Chess Master, Daniel Harrwitz (1823-1884).

1. The Chess Glossary Team were about to write something rude, when management wisely took over the entry, shrewdly distracting the low-rent dole queue professionals with the latest box set of Battlestar Gallactica and a packet of Monster Munch.
2. A square unguarded by Pawns, that cannot be defended, making it an ideal spot for any of your other pieces (Knight, Bishop, Rook, or Queen).

Hypermodern Style
A playing style seen as an antidote to the Classical style. Hypermoderns prefer to control the Center of the Board from the Flanks, beginning with Chess Openings like The English Opening.


The official site of cricket's world governing body. Includes member, rules and ... Sorry, the Chess Glossary Team's work experience lad was reading from the wrong result in Google.
Try again, with added relevancy: "Internet Chess Club". Er, apparently it's "Where the Grandmasters Play Online Chess" - though, the Chess Glossary Team suspect it's because they didn't get an invite to Amber's cash-happy Chess Tournament, either.

1. Abbreviation for the International Correspondence Chess Association, which was founded in 1945, but now no longer exists (see ICCF, below).
2. The Chess Glossary Team say it stands for Incapacitated Completely Cause Alcohol.

Abbreviation for the International Correspondence Chess Federation, which replaced the ICCA, in 1951.

1. Abbreviation for the Irish Chess Union, who publish the Irish Chess Journal (ICJ).
2. Victory in Hide 'n' Seek, played by text-messaging, but didn't really catch on and the Chess Glossary Team wish they'd not wasted time bringing it up.

Abbreviation for the International Grandmaster Chess Title, which is an old term. These days, most just refer to this title as Grandmaster, which carries the GM abbreviation and goes before the player's name, e.g. GM Jon Doe.

Illegal Move
Any move not allowed under the official Rules of Chess. If discovered during a game, that an Illegal Move has been made, it must be corrected before the game can continue.

Illegal Position
A position that occurs after an Illegal Move has been played.

Abbreviation for the International Master Chess Title, which is awarded by FIDE to players who, typically, reach an Elo rating of between 2400 and 2500 points. It is possible for strong International Masters to have over 2500 Elo points, but who have yet to qualify for the Grandmaster Title, so they stay remain as an International Master, for the time being. The title abbreviation will go before the player's name, e.g. IM Jon Doe.

1. Hmm, sounds like a dictionary definition of the Chess Glossary Team.
2. Also known by the term "passive", it's used to describe a Piece that can only move to, or control, a relatively small number of squares.
3. The opposite of active.

Refers to the Time Control system that adds a certain amount of time to each player's clock, prior to each move. The added Increment is in seconds, such as 10 seconds, which would add 10 seconds to each player's clock, either after the move they've just made, or before the move they're about to make (depending on the clock's method).

Indian Bishop
Any Bishop that's been Fianchettoed is referred to as an Indian Bishop. Often seen in the Indian Defence Openings such as the "King's Indian" and "Queen's Indian" respectively.

Indian Defence
A specific Defence Opening that's initiated by Black. The Indian Defences begin from the following sequence: 1. d4 ... Nf6.

1. When a player makes an attacking move that forces their opponent to react, they're playing the Initiative.
2. When management weren't looking, the Chess Glossary Team slipped out of the office and high-tailed it to Laser Quest, proving they too can play the Initiative.

Instant Chess
Where no-nonsense coffee addicts forget the world's troubles, dose-up and play chess online ... if anybody will give you time of day and not simply end the game before you can say King's Gambit (as happened to an un-named member of the Chess Glossary Team).

Insufficient Material
When one player's army is whittled down to just their King, while the other player still has at least one Pawn, the latter player Wins, because the former player has Insufficient Material. When only the two Kings remain, the game ends in a Draw, due to Insufficient Material.

Meaning 'Intermediate Move', Intermezzo is a tactic in Chess that involves a player first moving an unexpected piece - the intermediate move - prior to doing what was originally expected, such as an obvious opportunity for capturing. Another name for this is Zwischenzug.

International Arbiter
An official who takes care of specific duties at International chess tournaments is known as the International Arbiter. Duties include settling disputes and, when players are under time pressure, they'll be involved with keeping score.

International Master
You have to play a strong game of chess to be awarded the IM title. It's sort of an intermediate step on the journey to becoming a Grand Master (GM) - although players have been known to rank immediately as GM without ever being awarded IM status (Vladimir Kramnik, Larry Christiansen and Boris Gelfrand are notable examples). The IM title is usually held by players with an ELO Rating between 2400 and 2500.

Internet Chess
Chess played on the Internet, hopefully for free, usually by people who want to put off paying for another version of Fritz.

Internet Chess Club
Rejected from the school chess club at lunch time? Hey, no problem - pretend you've got mates and sign up online! Who needs friends when you've got moderators, anyway.

Internet Chess Games
Copy > Paste > Bingo: "Chess played on the Internet, hopefully for free, usually by people who want to put off paying for another version of Fritz."

Internet Chess Server
A computer, filled with computery-jiggery-pokery (no, we don't know) that allows people to play games of chess (as well as discuss and view games) over the Internet. Often abbreviated to ICS, such as FICS (Free Internet Chess Server).

1. When you move a piece in front of another of yours that's being attacked, you place it in between it and the enemy attacker.
2. The Chess Glossary Team took a while to get it and chose to calm their hyperactive frustrations with an mixture of Ritalin and Garibaldi biscuits.

Interzonal Tournament
A specific type of Chess Tournament that's organized by FIDE and takes place as the second qualifying for players who wish to contest the World Chess Championship. FIDE splits the qualifiers into geographical zones and the top players from each zone progress through to the Interzonal Tournament.

1. A "gut feeling" for the right moves, rather than methodical Calculation of Variations.
2. A "gut feeling" that Slip 'N' Bleed's gonna hurt.

Abbreviation for Isolated Queen Pawn. Refers to an Isolated Pawn (see entry below) that's on the Queen's File - that's the d-File.

Irregular Opening
Refers to any Chess Opening sequence where the first move by White is unusual. For example, 1. a3; 1. a4; 1. e3; among, others, are all considered to be Irregular Openings.

Alternative name to describe an Isolated Pawn, such as the Isolated Queen's Pawn, when a player's d-file Pawn doesn't have any friendly Pawns on either the c-file or e-file.

Isolated Pawn
A single Pawn which doesn't have a fellow Pawn on either side is an Isolated Pawn - it's also a single Pawn Island ... Bottom line, it's definitely vulnerable.

Italian Bishop
Refers to White's light-square Bishop when sent out to the 'c4' square; while Black's Bishop becomes an Italian Bishop when sent out onto the 'c5' square. The Chess Opening known as the "Guioco Piano" sees an Italian Bishop on both sides, on the 3rd Move of the sequence: 1. e4 e5, 2. Nf3 Nc6, 3. Bc4 Bc5.


J'adoube [External Link - Gif]
The Chess Glossary goes a bit French here. Pronounced "zha-doob", it translates as "I adjust" and is to be used - said out loud - during a game of Chess when a player touches a piece without intending to move it.


The Algebraic Notation symbol used to record actions made by the King.

Keizer System
A system used in tournaments/competitions to pair two players against each other who are close in the ranking. In other words, the Keizer System aims to avoid pitting a significantly stronger player against a significantly weaker player.

Key Square
Refers to an important square on the board - either from an offensive or defensive perspective. In the Pawn endings (where it's just Kings and Pawns on the board), a Key Square is one that achieves a specific objective, e.g. gaining Pawn Promotion; preventing Pwn Promotion by an enemy Pawn; capturing an enemy Pawn; etc.

Abbreviation for the Chess Opening known as the King's Gambit Accepted.

Abbreviation for the Chess Opening known as the King's Gambit Declined.

Abbreviation for the Chess Opening known as the King's Indian Attack.

Describes someone who offers meddlesome advice. In Chess, a spectator who makes comments about a game in progress, which the players can hear, is a Kibitzer (and that's being polite!). At tournaments Kibitzing is seen as bad etiquette. "It's just not cricket".

1. What you get for Kibitzing.
2. To attack a Piece in order to get it to move ... You Kick the Piece off its current square.

Abbreviation for the Chess Opening known as the King's Indian Defence.

King Bishop
A descriptive reference for both player's respective Bishops that sit on the Kingside of the board, at the start of each game. You may see this abbreviated to KB.

King Chess Piece
The only piece on the board that CANNOT be captured ... It can be checked; it can be totally stuck for a legal square to move to - thus, "checkmate" (game over). But you get no swap-offs with the King. Protect it, or lose.

King Held In Center
A King can be held in the Center, for example, by an adverse Queen or Bishop attacking down to the 1st Rank of the enemy's camp, crucially between the King and Rook, preventing the King from Castling to (relative) safety.

King Hunt
When a player sustains an attack against the enemy King, it's sometimes referred to as a King Hunt. Such attacks can drive the King far from its original position.

King Pawn
A descriptive reference for both player's respective Pawns that sit on the King's file, on the board. You may see this abbreviated to KP.

All four Files on the right-hand side of the Chess Board - e, f, g and h - are on the King's side, or Kingside.

Knight Chess Piece
The piece that often looks like a horse and is unique as the ONLY piece on the board that can jump over any other piece to capture opposition pieces or for positional movement, which it does in an L-shape.

Knight Pawn
A descriptive reference for both player's respective Pawns that sit on either of their Knight's files ('b' and 'g'). You may see this abbreviated to NP.

Knockout Tournament
1. The Chess Glossary Team sense something's about to kick off ...
2. A Chess Tournament involving a series of matches, where the loser of each match is eliminated. The winning goes through to the next round.

Kotov Syndrome
A psychological factor where a player studies the board for a long time, to try and find a clear path through a complicated position. After thinking hard for long enough, due to time pressure, they then proceed to make a very poor move - typically a blunder. The syndrome was described by Russian Grandmaster Alexander Alexandrovich Kotov, in his 1971 book, Think Like a Grandmaster.

When using Descriptive Notation, this is the abbreviation for the Knight Chess Piece. In contrast, Algebraic Notation uses the capital letter 'N'.


Lego Chess
Lego, THE brand that all parents love for their kids ... safe (well, as safe as anything can be around a child in cunning-mode), fun, bright colors. The Chess Glossary Team raised the point that it's more often the parents who love to play with the Lego, while the child will happily make do with the box.

Lightning Chess
A type of Chess game played at an extremely fast pace, typically lasting a maximum of 4 minutes, with 1 or 2 minutes given to each player, to make all their moves.

Light-Square Bishop
Refers to the Bishops that start each game on the light-colored squares. Both sides have a Light-Square Bishop and, like the dark-square Bishops, they will remain on their starting color, until either the end of the game, or until they are captured (whichever is the sooner).

Also known as "Simplification", it involves exchanging Pieces of equal value, often as a defensive strategy to reduce the size of your opponent's army. Their Pieces are Liquidated and, with less of them on the board, the position is Simplified.

An invitation-only Chess Tournament, in Linares (Spain).

1. Refers to a specific sequence of moves, typically associated with Chess Openings, or in the analysis of a certain position.
2. Can also refer to a clear path allowing access for a Bishop, Rook, or Queen to move, or target a specific square.

Little Chess
A simple, free, downloadable chess program that's not worth bothering to download.

Long Diagonal
Refers to one of the two diagonal lines of squares that run from corner to corner, of the chessboard. The Long-Diagonals are a1-h8 and a8-h1, respectively.

Er, the opposite of a Win ... Refers to the outcome of a game of Chess. A player can lose if 1) their King is "Checkmated"; 2) they're in a hopeless position, so choose to "Resign"; 3) in tournament conditions they "run out of time"; 4) they're caught cheating and the tournament director finds out (expect lots of tutting; hard-stares; and a Loss of the game).

Lucena Position
The Chess Glossary Team thought they'd find this in the Kama Sutra. Management knew they were wrong, but had a look anyway, before, um, sometime later, pointing to what Wikipedia had known all along, which is that the real Lucena Position is an Endgame position that involves a Rook and Pawn versus a lone Rook.

1. A German word meaning "Air" and applied to Chess when describing a Pawn move that makes space - or Air - for the King to roam, or escape an attack.
2. A newly-butchered Chess Glossary Team verb, following release of a cheeky air biscuit.


Main Line
Refers to a specific Opening sequence, or variation of it, that is played most often.

Major Pieces
Also known as Heavy Pieces, these are the Rooks and Queens.

When referring to Pawns, the army who has more Pawns on one flank (e.g. Kingside, or Queenside) than their opponent, they are said to have a Majority (may be referred to as a Pawn Majority). When a player gets a Majority on one flank, it usually leads to the same player having a Minority on the other flank.

Maróczy Bind
A specific type of Bind named after Hungarian Grandmaster Géza Maróczy (1870-1951), who played it in his games. The Maróczy Bind is reached after 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 g6 5. c4 *

A Chess competition played either between two teams or two individuals, involving a minimum of 2 games. Matches can either last for the entire duration of the competition, or it can be a specific round of a chess tournament - could be a Knockout Tournament or a Team Tournament.

Short for "Checkmate", where a King is attacked but has no legal moves to escape and results in the sudden end of a game of Chess. If your King is in this situation, you've just lost.

Another name to refer to Chess Pieces; often a collective reference, as in "White currently has less Material than Black".

Mating Attack
A sustained attack that aims to Checkmate the enemy King.

1. Abbreviation for Modern Chess Openings, an Openings reference book, first published in 1911 by British Chess players Richard Clewin Griffith and John Herbert White and referred to as "the first scientific study of the openings in the twentieth century".
2. The burger-munching, cholesterol collectors that are the Chess Glossary Team think it could also be a warning: McDonald's Causes Obesity.

Medieval Chess
1. Any game - so the Chess Glossary Team say - of chess not played either on the Internet or on a computer;
2. Chess sets to make a craftsman go weak at ankles and weep for pure joy.
3. (According to Edinburgh University Chess Club), Medieval Chess Rules had it that the Pawn could only move one square on the first move; the Bishop was restricted to two moves, but could also jump; and the Queen was shackled to just one diagonal square move per turn ... no wonder the rules were re-hashed.

Stage of a game of Chess when carnage reigns supreme and is where you'll start to see Exchanges, Pins, Forks and Skewers, among other sneaky Chess Tactics.

1. If at a tournament you can't reach the table, you're a Miniature.
2. A short game of chess, typically lasting no more than 20-25 moves, is known as a Miniature game.

Minor Exchange
When a Bishop is exchanged (traded) for a Knight, it's known as a Minor Exchange.

Minor Pieces
These are the Knights and Bishops.

Minority Attack
When you advance Pawns on the side of the board where your opponent has more Pawns, you're launching a Minority Attack.

1. What the legs of the Chess Glossary Team lack after a night on the razz.
2. When a player has lots of space on the Chess Board, his pieces are said to have plenty of Mobility.

Mobile Pawn Center
If you have Pawns in the Center that can advance without becoming weak, you have a Mobile Pawn Center.

Mobile Pawn Wing
The group of three Pawns, on either Flank (or "Wing") that are free to advance together, without threat of capture. In order to have a Mobile Pawn Wing count as a point, you must already have Control of the Center and Superior Development, on a small sector of the board. Your King must also be safe from attack, at the point of advancing the wing pawns.

When each player has their turn, that's classed as ONE Move. White moves/captures/etc. (that's White's 'turn'); then Black moves/captures/etc. (that's Black's 'turn'), and ONE Move has been completed.

Move Order
Refers to a specific sequence of moves that a player makes, to successfully complete their Plan or Opening.

Mysterious Rook Move
When a move by a Rook appears not to carry a threat or attacking intent, yet the actual move causes the opponent to avoid playing a specific type of action, it's referred to as a Mysterious Rook Move.


The Algebraic Notation symbol used to record actions made by the Knight. As 'K' was already assigned to the King, the kNight gets a capital N.

Abbreviation for the book of Openings referenced as Nunn's Chess Openings, which is compiled by English Grandmaster John Nunn (twice World Champion in chess problem solving).

NN / N.N.
Used to refer to a game score when one of the player's names is unknown. Likely to come from the Latin phrase nomen nescio, which translates roughly as "Names uNknown ".

Names of All Chess Pieces
In order of lowest relative value - so, after the Chess Glossary Team - you have: Pawn (1), Knight* (3), Bishop (3), Rook** (5), Queen (9), King (∞).
* often looks like a horse's head; ** often looks like a castle turret.


1. Referring to a Rook or Queen, when either has control of a full Rank or File - e.g. The Rook on a8 is Occupying the a-File and the 8th Rank.
2. A difficult question to answer for all members of the Chess Glossary Team. As a result they neither have a Passport or legal Drivers License between them.

Odds Game
Refers to a type of game played that gives some sort of 'handicap' to a stronger player, in order to give a significantly weaker player a chance. For instance, a game played at or with Queen Odds would mean the stronger player has to do battle without their Queen, while the weaker opponent gets their full army for the game. Other Odds games could be played with a time imbalance; an imbalance in the number of moves allowed; a combination of different handicaps; and so on.

Offhand Game
A term used to describe a casual game, often without a chess clock, played for a bit of fun.

Official Chess Rules
The Chess Glossary Team have produced a corker of an excuse, saying something about "lots to mention, too little space" and have triumphed in not writing anything for this entry.

Offside Pawn Majority
An Offside Pawn Majority is a Pawn Majority on the opposite side of the board (to where the adverse King is positioned).

Also referred to as a Chess Olympiad, it's a team event and FIDE-organized tournament, played by teams from all across the world, over a period of two years.

Online Chess Games
So idle there was a bone in it, the Chess Glossary Team simply said to replace Online with Internet, Jump to I in the glossary and put two and two together.

Online Computer Chess Games
Yes, this page is going to be similar to the previous entry. There is method to the Chess Glossary Team's madness ... It's just a shame that madness seems to be marshaling their method.

The way Kingside Castling is recorded in PGN format (for use with computer chess software). When recording Kingside Castling in Algerbraic Chess Notation, two zeros are actually used: 0-0.

The way Queenside Castling is recorded in PGN format (for use with computer chess software). When recording Queenside Castling in Algerbraic Chess Notation, three zeros are actually used: 0-0-0.

1. Quick way of referring to an "Open File".
2. A Chess Tournament category that anyone can enter - in other words, "it's Open to everyone", as opposed to an Invitation-only Tournament, or as the Chess Glossary Team point out, for obvious reasons, the "Women's World Chess Tournament".

Open File
If, on any File - a to h - neither player has any Pawns, meaning the long-distance pieces can attack the enemy's back row, it is known as an "Open File".

Open Game
1. Where there is lots of space - with multiple Open Ranks/Files/Diagonals - and the board has few Pawns in the Center of the Chess Board, this is known as an "Open Game".
2. The Chess Glossary Team's favorite put-forth when about to tuck into a delicious-looking roasted Goose.

Open Position
Another way of referring to an Open Game - the Center is largely clear, with few Pawns to block the long paths needed by the Bishops, Rooks and Queens.

A series of moves made at the start of a game of Chess. Typically, this will include Developing pieces as quickly as possible; aiming for control of the Center of the Chess Board; and Castling the King to relative safety, which has the added benefit of bringing one of the Rooks inwards, where it can be far more effective.

Specific opening sequences that lead to good piece Development. The names of these Chess Openings honor either the player who invents them - such as The Ruy Lopez; the country where the Openings were popular - such as The English Opening; or after a special feature of the sequence - such as in The Four Knights' Game.

Opposite-colored Bishops
When players are down to a single Bishop each, with one on the light-colored squares and the other on the dark squares - thus, they're on opposite colors.

1. The Chess Glossary Team vs. Management. The latter wants work done, the former is in total Opposition to the idea.
2. Not to be confused with the two opponents (the players). Opposition actually refers to a situation where two Kings are sitting on the same Rank, File, or Diagonal, with just a single empty square between them. The King that has to move is often disadvantaged by doing so.

Outpost Station
A square in or close to the enemy's base-camp. The Outpost is protected by a Pawn, for the benefit of getting another Piece - usually a Knight - onto the key square, in the build-up to launching an attack against the enemy's position.

Outside Passed Pawn
Any Passed Pawn that's on the outer two Files - the 'a' & 'b' Files, on the Queenside'; or the 'g' & 'h' Files, on the Kingside of the Board.

When a player rushes to get his Pawns out into the thick of the action, without developing a solid defensive structure and, at the same time, leaving channels open to attack from the enemy, he is said to have Overextended.

The concept of para-phrasing was suddenly lost on the Chess Glossary Team and the emergency reference kit that is Wikipedia suddenly came to the rescue with this: "Overloading is a chess tactic in which a defensive piece is given an additional assignment which it cannot complete without abandoning its original assignment."

Guarding a specific square or Pawn/Piece, with more Pawns and/or Pieces than is currently necessary, is seen as Over-protecting it. It's not necessarily a bad thing to do, as it can serve to dissuade your opponent from attacking that point. Overprotection can be used as a smoke-screen, to get your opponent to alter their plan(s) for your particular benefit.

Over-The-Board (OTB)
A game played in-person, face-to-face, with a proper Chessboard and pieces, is said to be played Over-The-Board.

1. Yes, we are. (spat The Chess Glossary Team).
2. Another term "Overloading".


Refers to assigning opponents in chess tournaments, as the players are Paired up.

Passed Pawn
Refers to any Pawn that makes it into the enemy's half of the Chess Board and can no longer be prevented from reaching the back row, whereupon it'll get Promoted to either a Knight, Bishop, Rook, or Queen.

Slang term for a Passed Pawn ... As in "White has a Passer on the b-file ".

A piece that doesn't have many squares to control or move to is said to be Passive. Also known as an Inactive piece.

Passive Sacrifice
Instead of moving a piece into to position so it can be captured (a normal Sacrifice), you leave the piece where it is, exposed to capture and, instead, choose to move another unit. The sacrificial piece is inactive, or "passive", in the process, hence the term Passive Sacrifice.

Pawn Chain
A formation of Pawns, arranged in a diagonal line, which is stronger at the front; weaker at the base (the last Pawn, at the bottom of the Chain).

Pawn Chess Piece
Humblest of all chess pieces ... Has a clever trick called Pawn Promotion - which, heard in isolation, could be confused with a risqué career choice; something guaranteed to raise eyebrows or childish sniggers following the surprise attack of a double entendre.

Pawn Island
One or more Pawns separated by a clear File - that is, no Pawn from the same side is on an adjacent File - are known as Pawn Islands ... They're weaknesses to exploit in your enemy's position.

Pawn Majority
One army has a greater number of Pawns on a single side of the board than their opponent. This requires looking at each side of the board in isolation (Kingside or Queenside). For instance, looking at the Queenside only, if there is an imbalance of Pawns, then whichever army has the greater number of Pawns has a Queenside Pawn Majority (e.g. one army has 3 Pawns, versus the opponent's 2 Pawns).

Pawn on 4th v Pawn on 3rd
The Chess Glossary Team have a distinct feeling they're not going to get this one and suggest clicking the link and finding out for yourself. They have a vague idea it's to do with Ranks ... but the only Rank thing they're familiar with, is currently in the corner, growing a life form of its own (it could well have been an old cheesy Ritz Cracker from the last Christmas party, but no one can tell for sure).

Pawn Storm
When a player advances a group of Pawns on one of the Flanks, to attack the enemy's position, the attacking group is referred to as a Pawn Storm.

Pawn Structure
1. The Chess Glossary Team were already on the phone to Hugh Heffner, when management brought attention to the differences in the spelling and told everybody to stop acting like tits ... at which point Hugh perked up.
2. Refers to the arrangement of Pawns on the Chess Board and is sometimes known as a Pawn Skeleton.

PC Chess Game
Chess computer game played by those who cannot afford a Mac.

Abbreviation for the Professional Chess Association - a short-lived rival to FIDE. The PCA was formed in 1993 by Englishman GM Nigel Short and GM Garry Kasparov. The organization went belly-up when Intel, their main sponsor, decided not to renew their funding, in 1996.

Performance Rating
A score given to players to assess their playing performance, following games, matches and tournaments that award ratings points.

Perpetual Check
A situation in chess where stalemate (a draw) can be forced by a merry-go-round, never-ending series of Checks.

Perpetual Pursuit
Whereas Perpetual Check is a merry-go-round of never-ending series of Checks, Perpetual Pursuit is where either a Knight, Bishop, Rook, or Queen is being pursued but can forever escape and can end up triggering the Three Repetitions Rule, whereby a Draw (Stalemate) can be declared.

Personal Chess Trainer
Idleness has crept back into the Chess Glossary Team without protest and has led to the request that you ignore the Personal bit, and the creation of this link.

Petite Combination
1. A short sequence of moves - likely to involve a single Chess Tactic, like a Pin or Discovered Attack, followed by an extra, standard move.
2. The Chess Glossary Team likens it to Bacon and Eggs on Toast - a decent attempt, but not quite a Full English Breakfast.

1. The Chess Glossary Team finally worked out it's not short for pigeon.
2. Abbreviation for Portable Game Notation, which allows games of chess to be copied and then pasted into capable chess software (such as Fritz 12 and similar programs).

A Phalanx is an attacking Pawn formation and occurs when two or more friendly Pawns sit alongside each other, on adjacent Files, on the same Rank.

Philidor Position
Refers to a specific Endgame position, which was analyzed by Frenchman François-André Danican Philidor (one of the best players, during the 18th Century), involving a Rook and Pawn versus a Rook.

A Knight is a Piece. A Bishop is a Piece. A Rook is a Piece. A Queen is a Piece. A King is a Piece. A Pawn is NOT a Piece (it's just a Pawn).

1. Apparently a slang term for the Rook. There's even a saying to go along with it: Pigs on the 7th.
2. The Chess Glossary Team muttered something spiteful. They don't get it and think slang is being far too abused these days.

In the physical world, a 'Pin' is used to "hold something in place" ... In Chess, a Pin is a tactical move design to trap and hold an enemy Pawn or Piece on it's square, unable to move because it is guarding a higher-value piece immediately behind it.

A Pitfall a is term that helps to distinguish itself from Traps and Swindles. Proposed by IM Israel Albert Horowitz and leading Chess author, Fred Reinfeld. They state: "In a "pitfall", the beneficiary of the pitfall plays an active role, creating a situation where a plausible move by the opponent will turn out badly".

1. Over the desk, down the fire escape, cross the road, down the alley, rubberneck passed the strip joint, and into the boozer.
2. Can be either a Short-term or Long-term objective during a game of Chess. Short-term could be to set up a capture by way of a Chess Fork; Long-term would be more like noticing a weakness on your opponent's Kingside and planning to focus your attacks on that side of the board.

If a move or Opening sequence is plausible (i.e. it's not likely to spring any nasty surprises), then it's considered to be "Playable ".

Refers to a single turn by one player. In a single move, each player makes a single Ply. This concept is important in computer chess programs as it helps the computer to determine which side's turn it is and when a full move has been made. The term is based on the word "reply", which was adopted by computer gaming and artificial intelligence pioneer, Arthur L. Samuel (1901-1990).

Point Count
1. The Chess Glossary Team know of a game - it's great on car journeys in built up, urban areas: dogs score 10 points, kids 20 points, grannies 30 points ... You deduct points for every one you fail to hit and the winner is the one with the biggest Point Count. We know what you're thinking and it's okay - points are arbitrary and can be easily changed.
2. A numeric system for valuing Chess Pieces: Pawns (1 point), Knights (3), Bishops (3), Rooks (5), Queen (9). As for the King, due to its importance, it's invaluable - protect it, or lose the game.

Poisoned Pawn
A Pawn that causes positional problems or the loss of material, should it be captured. By the way, it's the player who captures the Poisoned Pawn who gets lumbered with the problems.

Portable Game Notation
A format that allows computers to process chess moves and positions. Games of chess can be copied and then pasted into capable chess software (such as Fritz 12 and similar programs). Portable Game Notation is usually abbreviated to PGN.

Positional Play
When you aim for a slow development of moves, your style of play is aiming for positional advancement, over a sudden attack and capture maneuver. Such players are known as Positional Players, which distinguishes them from Tacticians, who focus on tactical play.

When the game has finished, if players want to learn from their game, they'll conduct a Post-mortem, to analyze what went on. Sometimes, both players will sit and carry out the Post-mortem, together.

Prepared Variation
This is what makes elite players favorable contenders for World Chess Championships and other high-ranking Tournaments - they'll train themselves to memorize many "Textbook Openings" (like The Ruy Lopez) and, during their study, they'll hope to find a new move or Plan that might stand a good chance of succeeding in competition - these are their Prepared Variations.

A Greek word for "guarding" or "preventing beforehand"). In chess, a "Prophylactic move " is one that prevents an opponent from taking action in a particular region of the board, in order to stop a possible attack.

1. Something totally alien to every member of the Chess Glossary Team.
2. Advancing a Pawn to the enemy's back row resulting in advantageous exchange for either another: Knight, Bishop, Rook, or Queen (those are the 'promoted' pieces involved in this special move, also known as 'Pawn Promotion').

Protected Passed Pawn
When a Passed Pawn has rearguard support, from a fellow Pawn, it is referred to as being a Protected Passed Pawn - the Pawn behind is protecting it on its way to Promotion.

Also known as a "Sham sacrifice", it's when a player offers a Pawn or Piece, as a sacrifice, but there's no risk in making the sacrifice, as the player stands to make an equal or greater gain in material or will succeed in Checkmating their opponent, should they accept the sacrificial offering.

When you advance a Pawn, you Push it forward.


The Algebraic Notation symbol used to record actions made by the Queen.

Abbreviation for the Gambit Opening sequence known as the Queen's Gambit Accepted.

Abbreviation for the Gambit Opening sequence known as the Queen's Gambit Declined.

Abbreviation for the Defence Opening sequence known as the Queen's Indian Defence.

When four players have to play each other once, in a round-robin style chess tournament, it's known as a Quad.

Qualitative Pawn Majority
Qualitative Pawn Majority involves looking at the 'quality' of the Pawns of one army versus the adverse Pawns, as they face each other. "Qualitative" means looking at both sides and seeing which side has the least weakness (think weak pawns).

Queen Chess Piece
In terms of moves per turn, your Queen is your most prized attacking piece on the board ... Because of this power of movement, beginners can lose strategic advantage by being totally unwilling to sacrifice the Queen.

Queen Bishop
The two Bishop that sits on the Queen's side of the board, at the start of each game, is known as the Queen Bishop. You may see it abbreviated to QB (in chess books or magazines, for instance).

Queen Pawn
Descriptive term for the Pawns that sit on the same Files where the Queens start each game. That is, the Pawns on the d-File.

The act of promoting a Pawn to a Queen is often referred to as Queening. All other forms of promotion (i.e. to a Knight, Bishop, or Rook) are known as Underpromotion.

All four Files on the left-hand side of the Chess Board - a, b, c and d - are on the Queen's side, or Queenside.

Quick Chess Game
1. Sometimes used in reference to Blitz Chess;
2. A brilliant little, free-to-play, online chess game by Joe Miccio, which is great for when you just can't face a long battle with a proper game of Chess.

Quickplay Finish
1. What happens down the pub, when the local nutter slaps their quid down on the side of your pool table.
2. A type of time control in chess where each player gets a fixed portion of time to make their remaining moves. Also known as "Sudden Death", which, as it happens, brings us right back to the nutter at the pub.

Quiet Move
1. Made by the Chess Glossary Team when attempting to slip below the radar and out of the office.
2. Any move that doesn't result in a piece being captured, making a capture, Checking the opponent's King, or directly threatening an enemy piece. It's simple, safe, unassuming - it's Quiet.


Raking Bishops
Two Bishops sitting on adjacent diagonals are sometimes referred to as Raking Bishops, but they're also known as Harrwitz Bishops.

Each of the horizontal rows, numbered 1, at the front of the board (where White's King starts the game) - to 8, at the rear - (where Black's King starts the game).

Rapid Chess
A quick game of chess where times are usually limited to 30 minutes per player.

Also called "Rankings" and refers to a numerical value used to guage the relative strength of a Chess player ... A higher value = a better player.

Also known as a "Bust", it's when a player shows that an Opening sequence, move, or strategy isn't as sound as previously thought - so, they Refute it. Usually, the position that had been considered sound, turns out to lead to a loss. Former World Chess Champion, Bobby Fischer refuted the opening known as the King's Gambit, which he said was "Bust".

Relative Fork
A specific type of Fork (Chess Tactic) where a Pawn or Piece attacks two enemy pieces, from a single square, but excluding the enemy King.

Relative Pin
A specific type of Pin (Chess Tactic) that attacks a less-valuable enemy Pawn or Piece, which sits in front of, thus protecting, a more-valuable Piece.

Relative Skewer
A specific type of Skewer (Chess Tactic) that attacks a more-valuable enemy Piece, which sits in front of, thus protecting, a less-valuable Piece or Pawn (the actual target).

1. The Chess Glossary Team don't need any encouragement, thank you very much.
2. An option to end any game prematurely, should a player realize he's going to lose ... No point in wasting anybody's time; Resign like a good chap and get on with the next game.

Reverse Salient
When you have three Pawns on adjacent files, on the same Rank, and then the outer two Pawns step forward, to form a v-shape in the direction they're traveling, the three Pawns are said to be in a Reverse Salient formation.

Romantic Style
1. Referring to an era of Chess, during the 1800s, when it was thought of as cowardly to refuse the capture, if offered as a Sacrifice ... To play just for position was seen as a disgrace - only Attacks and Sacrifices were worthy objectives.
2. Like a proper day's work, the Chess Glossary Team don't do Romantic very well.

Rook Chess Piece
The piece that most often looks like a castle ... Your Rooks operate along straight lines (forward/back, left/right); they CANNOT move along diagonal lines, so beware threats, in particular, sneaky long-range efforts from your opponent's Bishops and Queen ... On the flip side, be on the lookout for such positional weaknesses of your opponent, whereby you may threaten to capture either of the enemy Rooks, instead.

Rook Lift
This simply involves moving - 'Lifting' - a Rook off its starting point, on the back-row, so that it's free from being blocked by the front-line of Pawns, so that you can move it to a new File (e.g. from 'a' to 'h', or vice versa), in order to support an attack.

Rooks On The 7th Rank
The title says it all ... Getting a Rook to the 7th Rank is often devastating - for the enemy - as it can attack all the remaining, enemy Pawns, from their weak sides or from behind.

Rook Pawn
Descriptive term for the Pawns that sit on the same Files where the Rooks start each game. That is, the Pawns on the a-File and h-File, respectively.

Round-robin Tournament
A type of chess tournament where each player has to play every other player, once. If they have to play each other twice, it's known as a Double Round-Robin Tournament.

Royal Fork
1. Knicked from Buckingham Palace, hawked on eBay for a cheeky ton.
2. A Chess Fork Attack against the King and Queen.

Rule of the Square
During the Endgame phase, when there are no other Pieces to help out, the Rule of the Square helps determine whether a King can catch an enemy Pawn, before it reaches its Promotion square.


Short for Sacrifice. Speaking of which ...

To freely allow the capture of any of your Chess pieces in order to achieve or maintain the advantage during a game - be it to economize your playing time; to gain a better position; or for the sake of an improved Pawn Structure.

Sans Voir
Sans is a French verb, meaning "Without". Voir, another French verb, which translates as "to see". In other words, it means an "inability to see" and, for our purposes, it refers to Blindfold Chess, where players must make there moves, but they're not allowed to see the board. This type of game helps to train the brain to visualize the moves and resulting positions during a game of chess.

When you have three Pawns on adjacent files, on the same Rank, and then the middle Pawn steps forward, to form a sort of arrowhead shape in the direction they're traveling, the three Pawns are said to be in a Salient formation.

Scholar's Mate
A famous Checkmating sequence and that's because it's a very fast Mating sequence, achieving Checkmate in 4 just Moves!

Usually written-up in Algebraic Notation, the Score is a record of all actions (moves, captures, etc.) that took place in a game of chess.

Score Sheet
A piece of paper that the players write on to record their score. Under tournament/competition conditions, both players will usually have a Score Sheet to record the moves, which they typically sign once the game has ended.

Sealed Move
When over-the-board games last exceptionally long, they can be adjourned, to be continued at another time. In order to stop players "revising" what to do, it can be agreed that the next player to move will write down their intended move, in secret, which will then be placed into a Sealed envelope - hence the term Sealed Move. When the game resumes, the arbiter usually makes the Sealed Move and the game continues.

Someone who is hired by a player, usually to assist in preparing for and during a major tournament or match, is known as the Second.

Another name for a Windmill Attack.

Semi-Open Game
Also known as a Half-Open Game or Asymmetrical King Pawn Opening, it's an Opening sequence that begins with White playing 1. e4, and Black's response is any other legal move, except 1. ... e5.

Semi-Closed Game
Also known as a Half-Closed Gameor Asymmetrical Queen Pawn Opening, it's an Opening sequence that begins with White playing 1. d4, and Black's response is any other legal move, except 1. ... d5.

Sham Sacrifice
Also known as a "Pseudo sacrifice", it's when a player offers a Pawn or Piece, as a sacrifice, but there's no risk in making the sacrifice, as the player stands to make an equal or greater gain in material or will succeed in Checkmating their opponent, should they accept the sacrificial offering.

A move that is extremely tactical, but that carries such a risk that it could prove painful for the attacker. You can get a "Sharp move", "Sharp position", "Sharp style of play", etc.

Simultaneous Exhibition
Also referred to as a 'Simul' or 'Chess Simul' - it's Chess played by one player against multiple others, at the same time ... and requiring the strongest coffee the organizers can grind.

1. The Chess Glossary Team had a sudden, collective brain wave that included the spiffing idea of simplifying their work - chiefly by doing no work ... To which management suggested they simplified things, by doing no payroll ... All of which contributed to the following entry:
2. Chess ... Simplify ... Trading Pieces, to clear most or all of the 'heavy hitters' off the Board, until you're down to the Kings, Pawns; perhaps one or two Pieces maximum - there's less threats on the Board; the game has become "Simplified".

Imagine there are two enemy pieces at either end of a line of squares on the board - could be either on the straights or the diagonals ... The tactical threat known as a Skewer arises when you're able to place one of your long-distance pieces inbetween, such as a Bishop, Rook, or Queen, which is also safe from capture. Your enemy will then have to decide which piece to rescue and which piece to forgo to inevitable capture.

Also referred to as a "Friendly Game", or a "Casual Game" and is one that is not played as part of a tournament, exhibition, or match. Quite often, these games won't be timed.

Small Center
Also known as the "Center", it's the region of the chessboard consisting of the squares e4, d4, e5 and d5.

Smothered Checkmate
When the King is totally blocked in by pieces of its own color, it's said to be Smothered ... If that King is subsequently put in Check, with no legal move to escape, it's a "Smothered Checkmate".

A move that carries little risk and has the characteristics of a Quiet Move, instead of being more tactically aggressive, is referred to as a Solid move.

Any correct maneuver is referred to as being Sound. E.g. An Opening that hasn't been refuted is a Sound Opening; a Sacrifice that provides sufficient compensation is a Sound sacrifice; etc.

1. Face it, if there's really life up there ... after over 4 Billion Years already ... Odds-on, THEY'RE NOT COMING.
2. The area - or territory - on the Chess Board, controlled by each player.

Space Count
1. One billion stars ... Two billion stars ... THREE billion stars, ah, ah, ah ... This Chess Glossary Team entry - and Sesame Street rip-off - was brought to you by the numbers 1.2.3. and by the letters I.D.L.E.
2. According to Yasser Seirawan's 'Winning Chess Tactics book, Space Count refers to: "A numerical system used to determine who controls more space, in which 1 point is allocated to each square ..." - take a deep breath - "... on one player's side of the board that is controlled by a piece or pawn belonging to the other player".

Spanish Bishop
The King Bishop (the one that starts each game of chess on the Kingside), when moved to the 'b5' square, is known as a Spanish Bishop. It's typically seen during White's 3rd move, in the Chess Opening, known as the Ruy Lopez 1. e4 e5, 2. Nf3 Nc6, 3. Bb5. As such, this Opening sequence is also known as the "Spanish Opening", or the "Spanish Game".

1. Any member of the Chess Glossary Team getting a better job when this lousy gig's over.
2. If you understood the principle involving the entry about Calculation of Variations, then you'll understand that a Speculative move or action is one that relies more on intuition - you have a "gut feeling", cross your knickers and give it a go.

Spite Check
When a player is about to be Checkmated and they make a move that temporarily puts their opponent's King in Check, it's known as a Spite Check, because it's made out of "spite", just to delay the player's inevitable Loss.

1. Never let the fat lady give you a hug.
2. Sometimes another name for a non-mutual Zugzwang.
3. When in a bind and the pressure is gradually increased, the player whose army is facing more and more restrictions on the board is being gradually Squeezed to death.

St. Andrew's Cross
1. We bet he is ... No TV, No Internet = No Nitro Circus!
2. Attack in chess formed by TWO diagonal Pins - with the two, crossing lines of attack taking the name from the appearance of the two diagonal white lines seen on the Scot's Flag.

1. A game that ends in a Draw
2. That suspicious-looking kebab in the Chess Glossary Team's fridge. As in, "You know that kebab in the fridge? I think by now it's ..."

Staunton Chessmen
A style of chess pieces that is the standard used for all Chess Tournaments and Competitions. In other words, if you go to compete in a Chess Tournament, the pieces you'll use are all Staunton Chessmen.

Stem Game
A particular game of chess that features the first use of a specific Opening Variation.

Like having a battle plan for a war, Chess Strategies are used to secure a variety of advantages, throughout your game ... Rather than moving any old piece, to any old square, employing effective Strategies will give you a greater degree of control over your army and how you intend to handle the enemy.

Strong Outpost Station
A Strong Outpost Station is one where a Knight is defended by a Pawn, which cannot be dislodged without disadvantage to the attacker, or which is ahead of a Pawn which it is blocking from advancing, and is not easily forced away by a Pawn on an adjacent square.

1. An alien concept to all of the Chess Glossary Team ... They do try, it's just that laziness offered a better lifestyle promise.
2. Like the popular, textbook Chess Openings, a Study refers to possible situations that could arise and the practice of these theoretical positions can help to improve your understanding of different tactics, strategies and concepts of this fantastically intruiging game called Chess.

Refers to a person's playing style ... They could be more aggressive in their approach and like to attack as soon as possible; or they may be more of a patient personality, preferring to slowly develop their pieces and control the game at a more leisurely pace.

Sudden Death
1. To quote Ren and Stimpy: "Don't whiz on the electric fence".
2. A specific type of Time Control where each player gets a set amount of time in which to complete all their moves. The game finishes when they run out of time.

Superior Development
Superior Development involves comparing the number of pieces of each color off the back row, plus any developing moves on ... the first rank itself (castling; a rook move to a central file).

Support Point
A square that's already protected by one or more of your own troops, providing back-up - or "Support" - to another piece.

1. It's what the Chess Glossary Team do best.
2. A Swindle is a term that helps to distinguish itself from Traps and Pitfalls. Proposed by IM Israel Albert Horowitz and leading Chess author, Fred Reinfeld. They state: "A 'Swindle' is a Pitfall adopted by a player who has a clearly lost game" ... Basically, a Swindle is a perceived poor move, which actually rescues a player from near-certain doom.

Swiss Tournament
1. Smells of cheese, but the competition runs like clockwork.
2. Refers to a Chess Tournament that determines who plays who, using the "Swiss system" for pairing players based on roughly equal ability (as determined by their score).

When both players make identical moves, the positions on the Board are totally mirrored - the pattern is "Symmetrical".


Tabia / Tabiya
An Arabic word for the position of the pieces at the start of a game of Shatranj.

A database, held on computer, that contains lots and lots and lots of pre-calculated analysis of set positions. See also Endgame Tablebase

Refers to a player whose speciality is tactical play. A Tactician prefers to seek out short-term opportunities to gain some sort of advantage (usually material gain). It's a more aggressive style of play than those whose game is considered to be more Positional.

Usually mistaken for Strategies and vice-versa. Tactics are to do with small-scale moves - like capturing a Pawn vs. Knight - they're kind of like mini-plans that happen as part of your overall Big Plans, better known as: Strategies.

When both players agree to undo one or more moves, it's known as a Takeback. Naturally, this situation only occurs in casual games; not in a tournament environment.

Tarrasch Rule
Siegbert Tarrasch, one of the strongest and most influential chess players during the later 19th century and early 20th century, had a rule that, in general, wherever there is a Passed Pawn - be it your own, or your opponent's - you should seek to place a Rook 'behind' it. A Rook attacking an enemy Passed Pawn, should be moved above, then on the same File, now directly behind the Pawn. A Rook defending a friendly Passed Pawn, should be positioned directly behind it, on the same File.

An abbreviation for the Tournament Director.

This is similar to the concept of being above or below par, during a round of Golf - where the average (par) number of shots to find the hole might be 3 ... If the golfer makes it in 2 shots or less, he's below par, thus ahead of the course average; 4 shots and he's 1 over par (one shot crapper than the average) ... In Chess, where one move is equal to one unit of time, if a player aims to get a piece to a specific position in 3 moves, but does it in 2, he's gained Tempo ... Should it take 4 moves or more, he's lost Tempo.

Territorial Domination
A strategy adopted by the Pawns, Territorial Domination is about acquiring and controlling squares on the board - the more squares you control, the greater your Territorial Domination, which in turn gives you greater options for planning your attacks.

Text Move
In books on chess theory, the author may use a particular game to give an example and, along with the main moves - the Text Moves - the author might provide alternative moves, to the ones that featured in the actual game. The Text Moves are usually printed in bold text, to distinguish them from the variations (the alternative moves).

Thai Chess
Popular in both Thailand and Cambodia and known as Makruk, this variation, of the more widely known international chess (what you're learning about on this website), is said to require more strategic thought when playing.

The Ruy Lopez Question
After the Opening: 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Bxc6 dxc6, Black has the Bishop-pair, but has also gained a structural weakness in the form of Doubled Pawns (c7,c6). White has the two Knights, and structural superiority. And so, The Ruy Lopez Question: "Which has the better game?"

Theme Tournament
Refers to a chess tournament where a particular Opening sequence is specified, which both players must stick to, such as the Ruy Lopez: 1. e4 e5, 2. Nf3 Nc6, 3. Bb5.

Theoretical Novelty
Refers to a particular move in the Opening that has never been seen before. Often abbreviated to "TN". Sometimes just referred to as a "Novelty".

1. Management have an accurate one: The Chess Glossary Team will be bumming the dole queue sooner than they think.
2. Popular manoeuvres or sequences of moves - such as Openings, Middlegame strategies and Endgame positions - that are well documented in Chess books, explained on DVDs and so forth.

A move or plan that can result in a serious disadvantage, for your opponent, if they don't act to neutralize the Threat. For example, such actions that might neutralize the Threat could be to relocate a piece that's in danger of capture; or to advance a pawn in order to protect/guard a critical square.

Three-time Repetition of Position
1. The Chess Glossary Team say it's a first sign of Alzheimers ... though they chronically forget the rest.
2. When the exact same position is repeated, three times in succession, a game results in a Draw (Stalemate) ... Both Perpetual Check and Perpetual Persuits can cause a Drawn game ... And it's a strategy used, if possible, by any player who faces losing the game - far better to Draw and get ½ a point, than lose and get nothing at all.

In chess tournaments, a system that is used to break results when two or more players (or teams) tie for the same position, is known as a Tie-breaker. The organizers wish to have a single winner, so they usually setup a game and the winner of that game wins the tie and claims the higher, overall position in the tournament.

1. A measure of material development by a player.
2. Can also refer to a player's thinking time.

Time Control
1. Possible without a DeLorean, but only if (a) your alternative can hit 88mph and (b) some scally hasn't made of with the Flux Capacitor.
2. Refers to the time each player is given to make a specific number of moves. For international Chess Tournaments, players usually get a Time Control of 2 hours in which to make 40 moves; while, the various Blitz games grant you much less time ... But, whatever the game, you lose if you run out of time, before you've made your move quota.

Time Delay
A time control that delay a portion of time on a player's clock. Examples include the Bronstein Delay and the Fischer Delay, respectively.

Time Pressure
Comes about when players are fast approaching their Time Control limit, but still have many moves left to make ... If both players happen to be in this situation, it can make for a frantic finish to a game, inviting mistakes and opportunities in equal measure.

1. Um, two-thirds of an explosive device.
2. Abbreviation for "Theoretical Novelty".

Toilet Move
1. Not funny, if you're in the portaloo at the time. Hilarious, for everyone else.
2. Englishman and chess Grandmaster Nigel Short came up with the name, which he described as being "any move which doesn't immediately jeopardize your position" allowing you nip out for a quick Jimmy Riddle, as your opponent contemplates their move.

Top Board
Also known as "First Board", it's a term used in team chess games, matches and tournaments, and refers to a player who is pitched into battle against the strongest player of the opposition team. The remaining players are assigned to Second Board, Third Board, etc.

Touch Piece Rule
Also referred to as the "Touch Move Rule", it manages a situation in over-the-board chess games where, if a player touches one of their Pawns or Pieces, they must then move it. The only time this rule can be bypassed is if, before they touch the piece, they say "J'adoube", to let others know they're simply adjusting their piece(s).

Tournament Book
The scores of all the games at a chess tournament are recorded in the Tournament Book.

Tournament Bulletin
In between tournaments, all the scores from the most recent tournament(s) are compiled and entered into the Tournament Bulletin, which provides a snapshot of the results, albeit it's less comprehensive than the data recorded into the Tournament Book.

Tournament Director
(Known as the "Tournament Controller", in Britain), this is the person who organizes the chess tournament and fulfills the duties of the arbiter, is known as the Tournament Director (often abbreviated to "TD"). TDs are responsible for ensuring all games are played in accordance with FIDE's Laws of Chess.

Can happen during the Opening stage of a game, where, after a certain number of moves, you reach the exact same positioning of your pieces, as if you'd played them in a different order.

1. Devious positional play made for the sole purpose of luring your opponent into making a mistake, from which you benefit - be it a capture, Check, Checkmate, or better positional play that gives you advantage on the board.
2. Often to be found accompanied with relish, during Chess Glossary Team discussions, with the words "Shut" and "Your".

Trapped Piece
1. A piece on the board that is under threat from capture - or Checkmate, if it's the King - but is either totally blocked in, without chance of escape, OR no matter where the threatened piece moves to, it'll still be threatened and will most likely be captured.
2. "... We got a bleeder!!"

Travel Chess
1. Game of chess played on a special board and involving chess pieces with magnetic bases, so you can play a game even on the most poorly maintained roads, anywhere in the world, except England;
2. Stretching the imagination almost to breaking point, the Chess Glossary Team plan to link global tourism with playing chess, in the hope of work suddenly becoming a wicked disguise/excuse for being anywhere but in the office.

1. A siege engine that hurled very large rocks at castle walls, which was used in the Middle Ages and has absolutely nothing to do with chess.
2. The Chess Glossary Team were just about to answer this one properly (honestly), when Wikipedia beat them to it: "A position of mutual zugzwang in which either player would lose if it is their turn to move ".

A tactic used to put your opponent in Zugzwang. On their next move, the opponent will be disadvantaged in some way. Occurs most often in the Endgame phase, notably with a King and Pawn Endgame situation; but can also include other Pieces, such as the Rook and Queen, respectively.

Tripled Pawns
Three Pawns, of the same side, on a single File, are known as Tripled Pawns and they are Weak ... Try and avoid this formation, where possible.

Two Against One In The Center
This is specific to the Pawns ... and, even more specific, focusing solely on the Pawns on the Center files (d and e, respectively), to the exclusion of all other Pawns on the board.


A tactic also known as "removal of the guard". It involves attacking a specific enemy unit that is serving a defensive role. The removal of that guard then leaves one or more of your opponent's other units either "undefended" or "underdefended".

When you get a chance to Promote a Pawn and you DON'T exchange for a Queen, but choose either a Knight, Bishop, or Rook ... that's known as Underpromotion.

A maneuver that allows a Pawn or Piece to move, which had until then been held, due to a Pin attack. The Pin has been broken, or Unpinned.

United States Chess Federation
Some would argue claim for being mightiest of all Chess Federations in the world, as long as everybody agrees to hold on to a mirage concept that Russia doesn't exist.

Unorthodox Opening
Also known as an "Irregular Opening", it refers to any Chess Opening sequence where the first move by White is unusual. For example, 1. a3; 1. a4; 1. e3; among, others, are all considered to be Unorthodox Openings.

Useful Open File
The 'useful' bit refers one side having a Rook on an Open File that cannot be immediately challenged by an adverse Rook.


Vacating Sacrifice
Also known as a "Clearance Sacrifice", it's a sacrificial maneuver played in order to clear a square for a different piece, belonging to the same army.

Refers to a move that opens up one particular path or line (of squares) and closes another (as the Pawn or Piece moves forward, it blocks a pathway that had, until then, been open).

Also known as a "Chess Variant", it's a game that is like chess in some respects, but is slightly different - e.g. the board is different (might allow for 4 players, instead of the usual 2); the pieces might be different (or have different abilities); the rules might be different (such as Chess960, which allows the Pieces to be setup in a random order).

1. An alternative line of play, most notably attributed to popular Chess Openings - such as in The French Defence, where you get different ways to develop your pieces, like in The Exchange Variation, The Advance Variation and The Tarrasch Variation.
2. Any alternative excuse, expertly delivered by the Chess Glossary Team to disguise the guilt of outright plagiarism, brought on by a seismic fit of idleness.


Waiting Move
A move that doesn't threaten, but waits passively for your opponent to take their turn, is known as a Waiting Move - you're waiting until the position presents an opportunity for you to take the initiative.

Weak Pawn
There are a variety of situations where a Pawn is considered to be Weak (they make the best targets! Hit 'em where they're weakest, and all that!!). Weak Pawns include "Backward Pawns", "Doubled Pawns" (most of the time), "Tripled Pawns", "Isolated Pawns", "Hanging Pawns", "Hanging Phalanx", and a "Crippled Majority Wing".

Weak Square
Refers to a square that an opponent can easily attack, because it's either not defended or under-defended. A Hole is an example of a Weak Square, as it's undefended by Pawns, making it easy for an enemy Piece to safely land upon it.

Weak-Square Complex
The Weak-square Complex as being a "whole series of squares of one color", which "may become Holes through the disappearance of the Bishop tied to squares of that color".

1. Any square that's difficult for a player to defend - find your opponent's Weakness(es), exploit it/them and you'll greatly improve your chances of victory.
2. Greed is the Chess Glossary Team's ultimate achilles heel ... Every time they're on the cusp of idleness, management's promise of another tenner reels 'em back to the belly of serfdom.

Abbreviation for the Woman Candidate Master chess title.

Abbreviation for the Woman FIDE Master chess title.

Abbreviation for the Woman Grandmaster chess title.

Describes the player's army who moves first, at the start of each game. Typically, the White army will be colored White, whereas the Black army will, typically, be colored Black. However, with 'artistic license', manufacturers of Chess sets will play about with different color themes for the pieces. The main distinction is that White's army is a "light" color; while Black's army is a "dark" color.

Who Invented Chess
With the opportunity to avoid any whiff of responsibility for getting this one wrong, the Chess Glossary Team would like to pass the buck on this matter, in favor of a link to Wikipedia.

A position or move that's significantly unclear, or bonkers-complicated is known either as a Wild position, or a Wild move.

Abbreviation for the Woman International Master chess title.

A player who gains victory - they Win the game. It's achieved either by Checkmate of the enemy King; or, if their opponent Resigns; or, if an opponent runs out of time; or, if the Tournament Director deems it appropriate that one player has forfeited the game (such as by not turning up).

1. Mechanized building that replaces hard labor done by people for work done by nature's ready-supply of Wind power ... The Chess Glossary Team like Windmills.
2. A little-seen Chess Tactic that features: a Discovered Check, followed by a standard Check, in turn followed by another Discovered Check, which is subsequently followed by yet another standard Check ... and round and round it goes, like the sails of a ... (Windmill ). Also known as a See-saw attack.

Another name for a "Flank", of which there are two on the chessboard. he Wings on a Chess Board are the Queenside Files: a, b and c; and the Kingside Files f, g, and h, respectively.

Wing Gambit
A Gambit in which the sacrificial unit is one located on the Wings/Flanks. A typical Wing Gambit would feature the intended sacrifice of the 'b' Pawn.

Winning Chess Moves
Capture more pieces than you surrender and checkmate the King of your opponent, before said opponent has the minerals to put a checkmate on you, instead.

Winning Percentage
A value, stated as a percentage, that shows the proportion of games that ended in a Win. The Winning Percentage is calculated by adding half of the percentage of Drawn games to the entire percentage of Won games. W+½D=WP (W=Win, D=Draw, WP=Winning Percentage). For example, say 100 games were played with 62 Wins, 12 Draws and 26 Losses. The Winning Percentage would be 68% (62+(12/2)=WP ... 62+6=68).

Winning Position
A position on the board that - providing it's played correctly - leads, eventually, to Checkmate, no matter what sort of defence the opponent can muster.

Winning The Exchange
When a player trades pieces, but ends up either with an extra piece, or a more potent piece than the one lost. For example, when a player loses a Knight or Bishop (both worth 3 points) to capture their opponent's Rook (5 points), they are said to have won the Exchange.

Woman Candidate Master
The lowest-ranking chess title awarded to Women chess players, by FIDE. An Elo rating of 2000 points is usually enough for a woman to be awarded the Women Candidate Master title. The title abbreviation (WCM) will go before the player's name, e.g. WCM Jen Doe.

Woman FIDE Master
After the WCM title, the next award given to women chess players, by FIDE, is the Women FIDE Master title. The title abbreviation (WFM) will go before the player's name, e.g. WFM Jen Doe.

Woman Grandmaster
The highest award (usually) given to women chess players, by FIDE, is the Women Grandmaster title. "Usually" is in brackets, because it is possible for women of such high chess ability to be given the full Grandmaster title that men receive (prime examples include both Alexandra Kosteniuk and Susan Polgar). Back to the Women Grandmaster title, the abbreviation (WGM) will go before the player's name, e.g. WGM Jen Doe.

Woman International Master
The second-highest award given to women chess players, by FIDE, is the Women International Master title (the next one up is the WGM title). The title abbreviation (WIM) will go before the player's name, e.g. WIM Jen Doe.

World Chess Championship
1. A series of chess matches played to determine who is the best chess player in the World.
2. Something the Chess Glossary Team dreams of getting to, but never will because they're too work-shy to study chess, in favour of another run of Battlestar Gallactica.

World Chess Rankings
Global scoresheet displaying who's good and who's best at chess and dominated by countries with links to the former USSR.

Wrong-colored Bishop
Refers to an Endgame situation where a player's Bishop is unable to help win the game, because it's on the wrong-colored square and incapable of putting a carefully maneuvered enemy King in Check.

Wrong Rook Pawn
Similar concept to the Wrong-colored Bishop. The Rook Pawn is one of the Pawns on the Rook's File - the 'a' Pawn, on the Queenside; the 'h' Pawn, on the Kingside. In this situation, the Pawn is unable to gain promotion, usually because the enemy's King is preventing it from advancing and, on the same side as the Wrong Rook Pawn, there is also a "Wrong-colored Bishop", which is incapable of putting the enemy King in Check, so it cannot force the King to move out of the way, in order to help its Pawn advance to its Promotion square.


X-Ray Attack
A sudden case of transparent research and look what the Chess Glossary Team found at Wikipedia ... "In chess, the term X-ray or X-ray attack is sometimes used (1) as a synonym for skewer. The term is also sometimes used to refer to a tactic where a piece either (2) indirectly attacks an enemy piece through another piece or pieces or (3) defends a friendly piece through an enemy piece."


Nothing for this, yet ... try another letter in the Chess Glossary.


Zonal Tournaments
A chess tournament that's organized into specific geographical zones is referred to as a Zonal Tournament. The aim of these Zonal Tournaments is to find the best players, from each Zone, who will then be eligible compete against the top players from the other Zones, in an Interzonal Tournament.

A German name meaning "compulsion to move"; it's used in chess to refer to a situation where, no matter what move is to be made, it's a bad one ... which makes it remarkably like a career choice for the Chess Glossary Team.

Where the "in-between move" - the Zwischenzug - happens to be a Check.

The Chess Glossary Team's foreign-exchange lad has been bothering the Germans, again. Turns out Zwischenzug (pronounced "Zvishen-zoug") means to make an "In-between Move", or "Intermediate Move" - the same as Intermezzo.

You've made it! Congratulations - no more reading through the Chess Glossary, and no more work for the Chess Glossary Team, which initially sounded a great concept, until the mercenary instinct suddenly conjured the words "pay cut".

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