Questions tagged [terminology]

Questions about the particular terminology used in chess

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27
votes
6answers
4k views

How is “fianchetto” really pronounced?

I have heard "fianchetto" for four decades now, and I have always pronounced it "fēənˈCHetō", but I have heard many people also pronounce it "fēənˈketō". It is of Italian origin, so I am wondering if ...
24
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3answers
5k views

How to describe two knights defending each other?

How to describe two knights defending each other? Linked knights? Doubled knights? In Chinese Chess, two 马 (horse/knight)s protecting one another is quite common, and there is a standard ...
24
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5answers
4k views

What does it mean to play “positionally”, and how do you train that?

I often hear this term thrown around when people are analyzing chess, but I don't really know what it means. I assume it's a generic term that means to play defensively, or to set up for the future. ...
20
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2answers
45k views

Why are the corner pieces referred to as “rooks” in English?

Various sources like those quoted in Wikipedia say that it's a mistake, or old-fashioned, to refer to rooks as "castles". Why is this, though? Other languages generally refer to these pieces as "...
18
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3answers
7k views

What is a tabiya and what is their importance?

I've heard the term Tabiya used online though I've never really run into it in any chess book I've read. I have an idea of what the term means but I'm not sure I'm correct, so first I'll say what I ...
17
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3answers
4k views

Term for checking piece whose opponent daren't capture it

What if any, is the term for a piece whose owner gets a draw by keeping up a relentless series of checks with it -- a paradox being that even if this player puts it en prise, the opponent daren't ...
17
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1answer
2k views

Was the value of thorn pawns fully appreciated in decades past?

Many videos on YouTube channel "Kingscrusher" which discuss the play of new neural-net engines like Leela Chess Zero focus considerable attention upon the development of "thorn pawns" which are pawns ...
16
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2answers
5k views

Is there an origin or story of where the pieces that make a chess game got their name from?

I understand why there would be a king and queen but I would love to know where the idea to call pieces what they are - such as the Rook, Knight, Bishop and Pawn - came from. Is there any background ...
15
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1answer
3k views

What are the origins of the words 'zwischenzug' and 'zugzwang'?

I've heard chess analysts use the words Zugzwang (being forced to make a bad move) and Zwischenzug (making an intermediate move which improves the outcome of the next move) in commentary. Does anyone ...
14
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10answers
18k views

Is chess a sport? If yes, then why?

Sometimes (e.g. at some schools) chess is considered to be a sport. Is chess a sport? I view sport as a physical activity. For instance, if a doctor asks you "Are you doing any sports?" would your ...
13
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3answers
2k views

What term is used to describe the following situation?

A situation where the movement of the opponent's pieces gets more and more restricted as the attack develops. The opponent can't make moves easily without losing something.
13
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3answers
3k views

What does it mean to call a line “sharp”?

I am a chess newbie and I was watching a video on four knights opening and the person was discussing another variation and he said that one is dramatic and quite sharp. From what I saw, it seems "...
13
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1answer
3k views

How did the Fried Liver Attack get its name?

Many chess openings get their name from a player who invented it and/or played it and/or documented it. Place names are also frequently used, denoting where an opening was first played or became ...
13
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2answers
693 views

Did any authors ever try to adopt Hans Kmoch's pawn structure terminology?

In response to an earlier question, I mentioned the 1959 book Pawn Power in Chess by IM Hans Kmoch. One of the book's most well-known aspects it that it introduced a glut of less-than-useful ...
13
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1answer
3k views

What is a “tornado” in chess?

I am going to ask and answer this question since I played in one for the first time in almost 40 years yesterday, and because I find it surprising that no one has asked this previously. So, "what is ...
13
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1answer
456 views

Does Boris Gelfand share his surname with a chess piece?

Boris Gelfand was just narrowly edged out by Anand in their match's rapid tiebreaks, and I thought I'd ask an oddball question related to him. The bishop chess piece is known by several different ...
12
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1answer
25k views

What is the Bong-Cloud opening?

I have heard the Bong-Cloud opening mentioned on Chess.com, but I have never heard of that. Is this a real opening? What is this opening?
11
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2answers
961 views

What is a fortress in chess?

Throughout the 2016 World Championship match, analysts have made many references to the term "fortress". What does it mean, and how can I use it to my advantage?
11
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3answers
1k views

What is a blunder?

I am looking for a precise definition for a blunder. Computers often flag moves as blunders for any move that loses a point advantage or more. But what if I am completely winning and I decide to ...
10
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3answers
27k views

Is it technically a checkmate if the king is not in check, but all moves will result in check?

In other words, after white's move, black king is not in check. It is now black's move, but any move that black could make results in check. Is this a checkmate? Is there a chess term for this ...
10
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3answers
794 views

Help needed to find a Swedish opening

It appears that openings are named after almost any country or city in the world. Spanish opening, Italian game, French defense, Hungarian gambit, London system and so on. Because I am from Sweden I ...
9
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1answer
987 views

Is a gambit still a gambit if it's calculated through to the end?

I recently gambitted a knight (I call it a gambit as I gave away a knight without being able to take back). However I had calculated through all the possibilities and five moves or so later I have an ...
8
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12answers
3k views

What is the English maxim for “Rather losing a material / piece, than losing a tempo / an initiative”?

Chess, Xiangqi (Chinese Chess) and Go all highly value the tempo/initiative. The Chinese saying "宁失一子,不失一先" literally means It is better to lose material/piece, than a tempo/initiative. (宁=...
8
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5answers
1k views

Is there a word to count one moving by one player?

Is there a word to count one moving by one player? For example, the following series of moves: e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 is counted as three moves. But if I want to denote "e4" as a unit ...
8
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4answers
3k views

What is it called when opposite colored pawns up against each other?

When a white pawn and a black pawn are touching on a file, what is it called?
8
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4answers
889 views

What common patterns should I look for in chess?

When I started learning, I had lots of games where I lost lots of material through not being familiar with these sneaky attacks. I am talking about these: There are many more (two minor pieces being ...
8
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2answers
330 views

Question on chess commentary in written form

I'm new to English chess notation and have never read or heard chess commentary in a broadcast or publication form. I'm trying to decipher the following commentary ICGA's footnote to caption: ACM CCC,...
8
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2answers
887 views

What is a logical move?

I'm not sure as to what constitutes as a logical move. Sometimes I hear that chess is a discussion using statements, arguments, questions and answers. Can someone explain to me what a logical move ...
7
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3answers
211 views

Must chess studies be composed?

My question is on the definition of the term "study." If there is an interesting endgame position that occurs in a real game between two real players, and the position is later posed to somebody who ...
7
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3answers
1k views

Pieces, pawns and chessmen

In English as far as I know, pawns were once not pieces. A player had eight pieces and eight pawns which, together, totaled 16 chessmen. When did this usage change? Why? And (if you happen to know) ...
7
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3answers
2k views

What does it mean to win “by force”?

I occasionally see annotations/commentary where a move / line is said to make (for example) white win "by force". I am unsure if it has the general sense of "this move initiates a forcing sequence ...
7
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1answer
1k views

When was the term 'Super Grandmaster' first used?

According to the following wiki link, The unofficial title, "Super Grandmaster", is often used by players to refer to those with a 2700+ rating to distinguish the most serious world ...
6
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2answers
730 views

Is there any other notation system other than algebraic notation?

Other than the current coordinate notations used in chess, are there any other notations that anybody knows about? I am looking for anything that does not employ the coordinate system like naming all ...
6
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2answers
593 views

Term for sacrifice that causes opponent to block an escape square?

A decoy or deflection typically lure an opponent's piece away from a square. What is it called when you sacrifice in order to lure/force an opponent to a certain square in order to prevent another ...
6
votes
6answers
545 views

How to determine if a position is open or closed in a “rigorous” fashion?

I am creating a set of chess positions to be used [as a data set] for a project. It's based on supervised machine learning, but I need to have labeled data (see more italicized text below) before any ...
6
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2answers
297 views

Endgame Tablebase-What is it?

I've been reading and enjoying the site immensely. What is the "Endgame Tablebase"? I see it referenced frequently.
6
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1answer
236 views

What does [6/10]-611 stand for?

I am using Chess for Android app by Aart Bik. Fairly easy to use and understand (and difficult to beat). I get these numbers displayed below the noted moves and I think these are analysis symbols ...
6
votes
1answer
697 views

What kind of gun is Alekhine's gun?

This question is about chess linguistics. Alekhine's gun is the pattern where the queen is placed behind two rooks. Who came up with the phrase? Is it clear which kind of gun they had in mind? In ...
6
votes
1answer
203 views

Is there a name for the a position where King is on the first/last row and an enemy pawn is directly in front?

I'm trying to figure out if there is any name for this particular position so that it might be easier for me to research it more - not so much the rook as much as having king behind the pawn. I play ...
5
votes
4answers
386 views

En Passant vs In Passing

In Lasker's Manual of Chess (written 1932 or earlier) I have just read the phrase 'in passing' referring to the en passant capture. I wonder if this expression is old-fashioned or still in use. ...
5
votes
3answers
2k views

What does “penned in” mean in Chess?

Bishops are worth more than knights except when they are penned in. What is meant by penned in? Does that mean that they are blocked by other pieces?
5
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2answers
560 views

What is “Chronological Order” in chess?

I have heard about "chronological order" in chess. But I don't know what it is exactly. Can someone tell me what this is?
5
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4answers
4k views

What is a “club player”?

I often see this phrase being used in chess articles, apparently used to distinguish these players from professional chess players, grandmasters, etc. But what exactly are they? What Elo range? Only ...
5
votes
1answer
212 views

Can these chess terms be used interchangeably?

I am confused by the usage of the following chess terms: 'positional advantage', 'initiative', 'attack', 'pressure', 'aggressive/active moves' and 'play/counterplay'. Do they mean the same thing? Can ...
5
votes
3answers
156 views

What's the difference between “White is winning” and “White is better”?

Many times in literature there are statements like "White/Black is winning" or "White/Black is better". How does one differentiate between the two? How could it be possible for White to be better and ...
5
votes
1answer
756 views

What is a pure checkmate?

Recently I heard something about pure checkmate. This is a special kind of checkmate where each of the squares around the king has to be covered by just one single piece. One simple example of this ...
5
votes
2answers
592 views

What is the definition of an “outpost”?

The Wikipedia definition of an "outpost" is this: “A position on the chess board where a knight is defended by a pawn from its same side.” Does it have to be a knight?
5
votes
2answers
128 views

Definition of Soundness

What exactly does it mean for a gambit to be unsound? I see this term being used a lot but I have yet to come across a precise definition. Is it enough for white to lose the advantage that comes ...
5
votes
1answer
488 views

What does “U2000: ($600 b/25) $250-150-100.” mean?

When looking for tournaments I keep finding myself confused by abbreviations used (I just found a reference which has been slightly helpful). This one for example is from a Marshall club tournament in ...
5
votes
2answers
625 views

What does chess theory refer to?

I hear some people say certain players only win because they know/memorized a lot of theory? I don't know the "official" term for these types of players but it makes me concerned because hopefully I'm ...