I have heard about "chronological order" in chess. But I don't know what it is exactly.

Can someone tell me what this is?

  • I just means "in time order", so it lists things in the order in which they happened. What it means in the place you read it depends on context, so could you please give some more of it? Nov 25, 2019 at 8:30

2 Answers 2


Chronological order is just the order, in time, in which you do things. The "chronological order" in which you move can make a big difference in chess and there are two obvious areas where this applies:

  • openings
    You want to play a particular opening but avoid some unpleasant (for you) lines. Examples would be replying to 1. d4 with 1... e6 intending 2... f5 to play the Dutch but avoid the Staunton Gambit (2. e4 from White). Or playing the moves 1. d4 2. c4 3. Nf3 instead of 1. d4 2. c4 3. Nc3 which would allow the Nimzowitsch Defence.

  • tactics
    Consider this position.

Normally you check for - 1) checks 2) captures 3) threats. One obvious move, Rxh6+, is a check and a capture. If black responds with Kg8 then Rg5 is checkmate. But black will play Kg7, not Kg8, and then take the rook on h6, so it doesn't work. Reversing the order, playing Rg5 first, leads to checkmate.

 [fen "r4r1k/pbp2p2/3np2p/1p2R3/3P1P2/b1PB3R/P1Pb2PP/6K1 w - - 0 1"]

 1. Rxh6+ (1. Rg5 null 2. Rxh6++) 1... Kg7! 2. Rg5+? Kxh6
  • 2
    +1 Nice example for a non-opening position where order of moves is critical Nov 24, 2019 at 8:32
  • Still I have never seen something like this described as "chronological order", I don't think this is what was meant. Nov 25, 2019 at 8:31

To be frank, chronological order is not really a chess thing as much as a general thing that is just defined by English.

In 40 years of playing, and reading (at my peak, I had 1800 chess books, and have read 300 cover to cover), that is the first time I have heard the term "chronological order" attempted to be used as a pure chess term.

So to be clear, what I am saying is that it is not a standard chess term, however, it is a common general English term (speaking as a native English speaker) that can be applied to chess or anything else. The person, who wrote that was just using common English lexicon, not common chess lexicon, and it does, indeed, mean "the order in time that you do things".

P.S. To back this up, I also just searched 615 digital chess books, and "chronological order" was found in 20 books, however, after looking at every one of them, and how it was used, it was just used to describe layouts of the material in the book....still not as a pure chess term.

  • 2
    You spelled chronological wrong in your search
    – user20644
    Nov 24, 2019 at 1:57
  • 1
    @user20644 Thank you. You are right...I did typo it there. I searched it again, and edited my answer to reflect what I found. Nov 24, 2019 at 2:21

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