Questions tagged [terminology]

Questions about the particular terminology used in chess

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29
votes
6answers
6k 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 ...
25
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3answers
6k 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. ...
22
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2answers
59k views

What is the Bongcloud opening?

I have heard the Bongcloud opening mentioned on chess.com, but I have never heard of that. Is this a real opening, and if so, what is it?
21
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2answers
51k 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 "...
20
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3answers
8k views

What are "full piece" and "half piece" in chess?

I'm reading Kasparov's Deep Thinking and I came across this sentence: In one computer championship, a machine blundered a full piece early in the game but its opponent declined to capture it. When I ...
20
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2answers
2k views

Definition of "theoretical" in chess context

I am a novice who has only picked up my first chess book recently. I want to study some common opening positions, and pick a line to go with & practice for the time being. While investigating the ...
20
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3answers
7k 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 ...
19
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3answers
8k 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 ...
18
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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
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 ...
17
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1answer
3k 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
4k views

What does "White is down a rook for a pawn" mean?

I am not a native English speaker and I'm learning to play online chess. I often find a sentence with this pattern. White is down a rook for a pawn. What does it mean? Could you elaborate on this ...
16
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3answers
4k 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 "...
14
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3answers
2k views

What is a pawn hook?

On my question (Why is 11. .. h6 such a bad move?) someone commented that I should read about the concepts of hooks. One definition that I found was: A hook is an advanced pawn which can be exploited ...
14
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10answers
20k 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 ...
14
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1answer
4k views

How does the "French Defense, Winawer Variation, Fingerslip Variation" get its name?

Why is this particular iteration of the "French Defense, Winawer Variation" called the "Fingerslip Variation"? [fen "rnbqkbnr/pppppppp/8/8/8/8/PPPPPPPP/RNBQKBNR w KQkq - 0 1"] 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. ...
14
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1answer
519 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 ...
13
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4answers
3k views

Difference between chess puzzle and chess problem in this episode of The Queen's Gambit?

While a chess puzzle is any puzzle involving aspects of chess, a chess problem is an orthodox puzzle in which one must play and win or draw a game, starting with a certain composition of pieces on the ...
13
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4answers
3k views

What is the meaning of "dead draw"?

I heard the term "dead draw" a lot, but I don't know its meaning and when a position is "dead draw".
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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2answers
1k 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?
13
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1answer
5k 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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1answer
4k 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 ...
12
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4answers
33k 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 ...
12
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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 ...
12
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2answers
832 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 ...
12
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1answer
4k views

What do DTM, DTZ, DTC, DTR, DTZ50, and DTZR mean?

I need help clarifying the abbreviations and acronyms used in endgame tablebases. Just what do DTM, DTZ, DTC, DTR, DTZ50, DTZR mean?
11
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4answers
3k views

What is meant by openings with lot of theory versus those with little or none?

I just started playing chess one week ago. I've done a bit of reading but can't find anything that explains what is meant by openings with a lot of theory versus ones with a little or no theory. Can ...
10
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3answers
2k views

What defines the name of a gambit?

What defines the name of a gambit? To be obvious, if someone were to use a gambit often (of their own theory), you would name that gambit after them or so, right (like the Ruy Lopez opening)? How then ...
10
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3answers
1k 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 ...
10
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2answers
404 views

German chess composition glossary

I'm trying to look through some puzzles at http://www.wenigsteiner.de/, but there are some abbreviations I'm not familiar with that I'm having a hard time finding through Google; I guess they are ...
10
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1answer
2k views

Term for checkmate where every participating piece attacks exactly one square around king

I am looking for the term for a checkmate position which is an aesthetic feature for a chess composition. It is closely related to pure mate. I shall say that a piece (incl. pawn) participates in the ...
9
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3answers
3k 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 ...
9
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1answer
1k 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 ...
9
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1answer
1k 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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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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3answers
751 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 ...
8
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4answers
960 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
409 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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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 ...
8
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2answers
1k 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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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=...
7
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5answers
4k views

Is there a terminology for "the worst winning move"?

What do people call a move which maintains a winning position but is the worst among all such moves? For example, h8=N+ is such a move in the following game: [FEN "8/7P/6k1/8/8/8/B1K5/8 w - - 0 1&...
7
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5answers
4k views

What are key squares and critical squares?

What is the best definition of key squares in king and pawn vs king endgame theory? Please provide graphics if possible. Is there a difference between "key squares" and "critical ...
7
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3answers
300 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
2k 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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1answer
256 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
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2answers
465 views

Is there a name for fork-protected pieces?

Sometimes the reason a piece should not be captured isn’t the recapture, but rather the threat of a fork because the capturing piece would find itself in just the wrong spot. The 1926 game between ...