Chess terms every Chess Player must know
Giant Garden Games
Chess Demo Set
Other Games & gifts
Create your Website
Products on rent
Hire our Classroom
Chess Book/Software Library
Activities of our trust
Glossary of all Chess terms that a Player must know
Adjournment: An unfinished game may be adjourned & continued at a later time/date.
Adjudication: In amateur events, games not finished within a specified time period, sometimes are adjudicated by a strong player who determines the outcome of the game.
This practice has fallen out of fashion & has been replaced by "sudden death".
Advanced Pawn: This term describes a Pawn which has passed the central line of the chessboard which is between the 4th & 5th ranks.
Annotation: Written comments about a position or a game. It can be narrative, Chess notation or both.
Minority Attack: an attack of minor pieces against a majority of minor pieces of the opponent with the objective of creating a weakness in his position.
Back rank mate: A checkmate made by a Queen or Rook along the 8th rank where the opponent's King is blocked in by its own Pawns.
Backward Pawn: A Pawn that has trailed behind & is no longer supported by other Pawns.
Bad Bishop: When a Bishop has little or no mobility because of being hemmed by Pawns positioned on squares of the same color as the Bishop's square, it is said to be a "bad Bishop".
Battery: Doubling Rooks on a file or a Queen & a Bishop on a diagonal.
Bishop pair: Two Bishops vs. a Bishop & a Knight or two Knights.
Blitz: Rapid or lightning chess games. Usually with 5 minute time control.
Blunder: A very bad move that loses material or initiative without any or little advantage.
Center: The four squares in the geometrical center of the board. The opening moves are meant to gain control of the center. The "e" & "d" files are the center files.
Closed file: A file blocked by both black & white Pawns.
Closed game: A game which the position is obstructed by blocking Pawns. Such a position favors Knights over Bishops since Pawns often block diagonals.
Combination: A series of moves which will force an immediate win or an overwhelming advantage in material or position. Most combinations sometimes start with a sacrifice of material.
Connected passed Pawns: Two or more passed Pawns of the same color on adjacent files which can protect themselves.
Connected Pawns: Pawns adjacent to one another.
Correspondence Chess: Chess game played by Post or by email.
Counter Gambit: A strategy in which a minor piece or Pawn is offered for sacrifice in response to an earlier Gambit by the opponent.
Counter play: When the player who has been on the defensive starts his own aggressive action.
Descriptive Notation: System of recording the moves based on the names of the pieces & places they occupy before the game begins. A move is given by the name of the piece or Pawn moving, followed by the square to which it moves. This notation is now replaced by algebraic notation.
Discovered attack: A player, by moving a piece, uncovers an attack on an opponent's piece.
Discovered check: A discovered attack that involves checking your opponent's King by moving a piece so that the piece behind it can give check.
Distant opposition: Kings that oppose or are separated by more than one square, rank or file one another & still have the relation of opposition (e.g. Kings on g1 & g5) are said to be in "distant opposition." Kings in distant opposition can often maneuver to a more simple position of direct opposition but such maneuvering often requires careful calculation.
Double Pawns: Two Pawns of the same color lined up on a file. This doubling comes about only as the result of a capture.
Escape square: A square to which a King in check can move, also called flight square.
Fish: Derogatory term for a Chess player of little skill or experience.
Fixed Pawn: A Pawn whose advance is blocked by an enemy piece.
Fool's mate: Shortest possible Chess game ending in checkmate: 1.g4 e5 (or e6) 2. f4 (or f3) Qh4 #
Forced move: A move for which there is only one reply (or if more than one reply, all but one are undesirable).
Fork: An attack on two or more pieces simultaneously. Though any chess piece (except a Rook- Pawn) can execute a fork, the Knight makes a specialty of it.
Gambit: An opening maneuver in which at least a pawn is offered in return for a strong position, a chance to attack or gaining tempo which permits development.
Good Bishop: A Bishop free to operate without interference from its own Pawns & thus is very mobile. Such Bishop is very active because it is positioned on a square of the opposite color to the squares on which most of its Pawns are stationed.
Grandmaster: A title awarded by FIDE to players who meet an established set of performance standards, including a high Elo rating. It is the highest title (other than World Champion) attainable in Chess. Once earned, a Grandmaster title cannot be taken away.
Half-open file: A file that contains none of one player's Pawns but one or more of his opponent's.
Half-pin: A pin in which the Chessman subject to the pin may move along the same line (file, rank or diagonal) which it shares with the attacker.
Hang, Hanging: To be unprotected & exposed to capture. Slang term to describe a piece left en prise.
Hole: A square that cannot be defended by a Pawn. Such a square makes an excellent home for a piece because the piece cannot be chased away by hostile Pawns. Also known as outpost.
International Arbiter: A title first awarded by FIDE in 1951. A candidate is nominated by his federation, & may be selected by the qualification committee if he: has a complete knowledge of the rules of Chess & FIDE regulations; is objective; has knowledge of at least two FIDE languages (English, French, German, Spanish & Russian); has experience in controlling four important tournaments, two of which must be international.
International Grandmaster: Title established in 1950 & awarded by FIDE. FIDE has detailed requirements for the title, which is awarded to only the best players in the world. A player with a FIDE Grandmaster title, often abbreviated GM, usually has an Elo rating of at least 2500.
International Master: Title established & awarded by FIDE, often abbreviated IM. An IM is a stronger player than a FIDE Master, but not as strong as an International Grandmaster, & usually has an Elo rating of at least 2400.
Interpose: To place a piece or a Pawn between an enemy attacking piece & the attacked piece.
Interposition: The movement of a piece in between a piece which is attacked & its attacker.
Isolated Pawn: A Pawn whose adjacent files contain no Pawns of the same color. An isolated Pawn is weak because it, & the square in front of it, cannot be defended by other Pawns.
J' adoube: A French word meaning "Adjust". This can be announced before a piece is touched so you can adjust is position on a square, yet not move it.
Kibitz: To comment during a game, or during analysis following a game, within the hearing of the players. The term is often used in a pejorative sense, & is in many occasions applied to the comments of a spectator for whom the players have little respect.
Laws of Chess: The rules which govern the play of the game. During the 1850s, Staunton was one of many players who first sought to establish a unified set of Chess laws. FIDE established its own laws of Chess in 1929.
Material: The total value in points of a player's pieces on the Chessboard. A material advantage is when a player has more pieces on the board than his opponent or has pieces of greater value.
Match: A contest between two players only, as distinguished from a tournament. The term often refers to a contest of many games, but is sometimes used to describe a single game.
Mating Attack: An attack which aims at Checkmate.
Mating net: A position or series of moves that lead inexorably to one in which the King must be mated or, a position where one player has mating threats. This can be accomplished with the pieces working together to trap & checkmate the enemy King.
Mating Sacrifice: A material sacrifice made to achieve Checkmate.
Mechanical Move: A move made with little thought because it seems to be obvious.
Norm: Number of points a player in an international tournament must score to gain 1 qualification for a FIDE title. The weaker the tournament, the more points a player must score for any given norm.
Obstructive Sacrifice: A material sacrifice to hinder an opponent's development.
Occupation: A Rook or Queen that controls a file or rank is said to occupy that file or rank. A piece is said to occupy the square it is sitting on.
Open file: A file cleared of Pawns. It offers a corridor for attack, especially if occupied by doubled Rooks. A file is still open even if it is occupied by pieces other than Pawns.
Open game: A position characterized by many open ranks, files, or diagonals & few center Pawns.
Opposition: A position in which opposing Kings stand on the same rank, file or diagonal, separated from each other by only one square. The player whose move brings the Kings into opposition holds an advantage that, in an end-game, can be decisive.
Outpost: Term coined by Nimzowitsch; a piece placed on a square (on an open or half-open file) on the opponent's side of the board, protected by a Pawn, which cannot be attacked by an enemy Pawn. The power of the piece on the outpost can be so strong the opponent may be forced to exchange it, even at the cost of material or positional loss.
Overload: A situation where a Pawn or piece must perform too many defensive functions, so that if one it is forced to perform one function a weakness will be created.
Over-protection: Nimzowitsch's concept of concentrating many pieces &/or Pawns--even more than might seem necessary--on an important square. This creates a strong square which interacts beneficially with the over-protecting pieces.
Overextension: When space is gained too fast. By rushing his Pawns forward & trying to control a lot of territory, a player can leave weaknesses in his camp or can weaken the advanced Pawns themselves. He is then said to have overextended his position.
Overworked piece: A piece that is required to single handedly defend too many other pieces.
Passed Pawn: A Pawn unopposed, on its own or adjacent files, by a Pawn of another color. By being advanced to the eighth rank it can become any piece its owner chooses. A passed Pawn, therefore, is a source of worry for the other side & a precious advantage for its owner. Two united passed Pawns on adjacent files constitute a formidable weapon.
Passive: Description of a move which contains no threats. Also, refers to a piece with limited mobility, i.e. a piece which is not active.
Pawn break: The possibility of opening up a blocked Pawn structure by advancing a Pawn.
Pawn center: A pair or group of Pawns of the same color that occupy the central squares of the board.
Pawn chain: A string of two or more Pawns of the same color along a diagonal.
Pawn grabbing: Deprecating term to describe the act of winning Pawns at the expense of development or countering an opponent’s attack. Also known as Pawn snatching.
Pawn Island: A Pawn or group of Pawns separated from other Pawns of the same color.
Pawn storm: The general advance of two or more connected Pawns. A Pawn storm may be employed to attack the King, to promote one of the Pawns, to keep some of the opponents’ pieces away from another part of the board, among other things.
Pawn structure: All aspects of the Pawn setup. Also referred to as the Pawn skeleton or the arrangement of a player's Pawns on the board.
Perpetual Check: An infinite cycle in which one side gives check, the other side gets out of check, the first side checks again in the same way - being unable to do otherwise without risking the loss of the game - & so on. It constitutes a draw.
Piece: Any Chess piece other than the Pawn, this term is usually referring to a Bishop or Knight.
Pig: Slang term for a Rook. Rooks doubled on the 7th rank are referred to as pigs on the 7th.
Pin: A position in which a piece may not be moved because another piece would be subject to capture. If the piece subject to capture is the King, the Pin is absolute & the pinned piece cannot legally be moved. When the piece is not the King, the tactic is called a 'relative Pin'.
Poisoned Pawn Opening: A Pawn (often White's Pawn on b2) which is undefended during the opening but which if taken, often permits the player who gave up the Pawn to engage in a strong attack or to later win the piece taking the Pawn.
Queenside: The half of the board that includes the d, c, b & a files. The Queenside pieces are the Queen, the Bishop next to it, the Knight next to the Bishop, & the Rook next to the Knight.
Rating: A number that measures a player's relative strength. The higher the number, the stronger the player. In the UK, the term grading is used in place of rating.
Repetition of Position: A player may claim a draw if he can demonstrate that a three-fold repetition of the position has occurred, with the same player having the move each time.
Royal Fork: A Fork that attacks both the King & the Queen.
Scholar's Mate: 1. e4 e5 2. Bc4 Bc5 3. Qh5 Nf6 4. Qxf7#.
Simplify: To trade pieces to quiet down the position, to eliminate the opponent's attacking potential, or to clarify the situation. The player with the better position is more likely to simplify than the player with the worse position.
Skewer: A threat against a valuable piece that forces that piece to move, allowing the capture of a less valuable piece behind it, on the same rank, file, or diagonal, after the attacked piece is moved.
Smothered Mate: A mate with a Knight where the King is unable to move because all the squares around him are occupied by other pieces.
Space: The territory controlled by each player.
Stalemate: A situation in which one side is unable to make a legal move although the king is not in check. A stalemate is a draw. For over 100 years this has been deemed a draw. Before that, stalemate was treated differently in different places, for example it has been held to be a win, a loss, & illegal, among others.
Symmetry: Position where the pieces of one side mirrors the position of the pieces of the other side.
Tactics: Maneuvers that take advantage of short-term opportunities. A position with many traps & combinations is considered to be Tactical.
Tempo: As in music, time. Plural, tempi. In chess, there are basically three elements - space, time & material. Space & material are self-evident. Time, however, is more subtle. Initially, White, having the first move, has a time advantage (& thus, the initiative). But White can, by making useless moves, waste time. To make a wasteful move is to "lose a tempo." Over the board, tempi, space & material can be exchanged back & forth for one another.
Theory: Well known opening, middle game & endgame positions that are documented in books.
Threat: A move which contains an implied or expressed attack on a piece or Pawn or the position of the opponent.
Three-fold repetition: Occurs when the players have been moving back & forth, repeating the same position. Often happens when a player, behind in material & facing eventual loss, sacrifices for a perpetual check. A Three-fold repetition of position results in a Draw.
Transposition: Reaching an identical opening position by a different order of moves. For example, the French Defense is usually reached by 1.e4 - e6, 2.d4 - d5, but 1.d4 - e6, & 2.e4 - d5 transposes into the same position.
Trade: Same as exchange.
Tripled Pawns: Three Pawns of the same color on a single file, one in front of the other.
Under promotion: Promoting a Pawn which has reached the eighth rank to a piece other than a Queen.
Undoubling: To move one of a set of doubled Pawns onto an adjacent file which contains no Pawns of its own color, via a capture.
Weakness: Any Pawn or square that is attackable & therefore hard to defend.
Weak Square: An important square which cannot be easily defended.
X-Ray Attack: Same as a skewer.
Zugzwang: A German term that means "compulsion to move". It refers to a situation in which a
Player would prefer to do nothing because any move leads to a deterioration of his position, but he moves something because it is illegal to pass.
Zwischenzug: A German term that means "in between move". A surprising move that, when inserted in an apparently logical sequence (for example, a check that interrupts a series of exchanges), changes the result of that sequence.
We never compromise with our principles
For any suggestions, queries or feedback, do write to us at email@example.com or call +91 9702333480
All Rights reserved
For any suggestions, queries or feedback, do write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call +91 9702333480
All Rights reserved