Update: the glossary below contains the most important keywords in the dictionary in a ‘text format’ only - quick & easy!
A-PA6 is captured
Accumulation of advantages
An approach to positional play where one advantage is used to secure another, or at least is held while another is sought. Link: examples in the Strategy/Themes section [link] of the Canon by Steinitz.
When talking about a person’s style, this word means that a player enjoys playing aggressive or tactical positions. Used in any other context it generally deals with an aggressive position or move. An aggressive move, line of play, or position. When mentioned in regards to a playing style, it indicates sharp or tactical tendencies. Active piece: a developed piece that is actively participating in the conduct of the game. Active pieces form the basis of any attack.
defence involving some form of counterattacking method - either by attacking elsewhere, or by attacks against the opponents’ attacking pieces. Link: example in the Defence section of the Canon. Active defense: the use of attack as a defense, rather than passively trying to cover weaknesses.
An interruption in play to enable both players to obtain analytical help from their chess master-friends, chess libraries, or chess computers. If it is not possible to finish a game within the prescribed time, the players may adjourn to continue at another time. The player whose turn it is to move at the adjournment makes a ‘sealed move’.
Sometimes in amateur events, games not finished within a specified time period are adjudicated by a strong player who determines the outcome of the game. This practice has fallen out of fashion and has been replaced by ‘sudden death’. Adjudication: a binding decision about the outcome of an unfinished game, made by someone who is rated 200 points below you and who renders h/er judgment after spending a total time of 5% of the time that you devoted to the game. If it not possible to finish a game either within the prescribed time or at another time, the game may be adjudicated by an expert. S/he will decide on the result of the game on the assumption that both players make the best moves.
A player whose position is considered objectively better is said to have the advantage. To have more of a chessboard asset - material or positional (time, space, mobility, PA skeleton). Examples [link] all over the Canon. A player is said to have an advantage when their position is better then their opponent’s. How does one know whether they have an advantage or not? It is usually based on the four principles: force, time, space, or PA structure. Where the current position of the game favours one side over another. A material advantage refers to having a higher point count than the opponent. A permanent advantage is one with a lasting effect, such as an advantage in material or superior PA structure. A positional advantage is an advantage in time, space, mobility, pawn structure, or control of critical cells/squares. A temporary advantage is one that may eventually disappear, such as a lead in development.
The form of chess notation by using a combination of letters and numbers - a to h and 1 to 8 - which denote the 64 cells/squares on a board. A modern way to record chess moves of a game that is the most popular around the world. It is the only notation that is recognized by the CFC, perhaps with the exception of Figurine Algebraic (link: Figurine Algebraic Notation). It denotes a value to each of the files (a number) and denotes a value to each of the ranks (a letter), making it one of the easiest notations to follow. Algebraic Chess Notation: a system of recording chess moves which is so logical and mathematically neat that it’s amazing that it actually became popular! The modern and most popular way of recording chess moves, using single letter piece identifiers and unique alphabetic file and numeric rank identifiers.
In chess, someone who plays only for money - cf. Professional!
See ‘Discovered Attack’.
The detailed study of a position. Analysis Usually an examination of variations. Examples in the Analysis (link) section of the Canon. Calculating a series of moves and variations in a current position. You are not allowed to move pieces while analyzing a position in tournament play. Analysis: irrefutable proof that you could have won a game you lost!
Published commentary on a chess game. Comments about a particular position in a chess game. Sometimes variations are displayed in an annotation. Annotator: 01 a “friendly guide” to the complexities of master play, who first cites the MCO column for the game under review, then remains silent until White is a RO ahead, and finally, points out how Black could have held out longer; alternately, someone whose grasp of chess books doesn’t extend beyond his library on the opening. 02 a Grand Master of clichés. Comments about the moves of a game. Written comments about a game or position. May include variations from the main line of play.
It was once the practice to loudly proclaim an inevitable checkmate. Now it is considered very poor form and is not permitted by the rules of chess. In any event, it is unwise to make such pronouncements - one might turn out to be wrong and subject to great embarrassment.
Against good strategical principles, as opposed to being a tactical oversight; Fischer famously described the Winawer Variation [link] as “anti-positional”, as it gives up the good BS and weakens the King’s-side.
Chess does not have referees or umpires, it has Arbiters for the enforcement of the rules, and Directors for the organization of tournaments (a distinction recognized in
Artificial castling, or castling by hand
Trying a bit too hard, or making an odd use of pieces. Simple examples might include blockading a PA with a QU or developing the RO by H02/H04 and RO2-H01/H03. Capablanca’s style was the opposite of artificial - his games have a natural, graceful feel which is easy to recognize (but hard to do).
* (Set play)
Play before the first move of the solution, i.e. in direct ‘two-mover mates’, set for black moves before the key. In helpmate: the line which would solve the problem if white is to play, but cannot be realized due to the lack of black tempo-move.
A threat against an enemy piece. Attack To move with a threat e.g. so that an opponent’s piece may be taken; more generally, to move pieces towards e.g. the king’s side in the hope of mate. Also used to describe some opening systems initiated by :A
, e.g. King’s Indian Attack. To play an aggressive move, or series of moves in a particular area of the board. Attacks often include threatening to take a piece or threatening checkmate so the opponent is forced to react. Attacking Moves: moves that my opponent seems to make much more frequently than I do!
Twins are two or more positions of the same problem which differ in a small detail, i.e. changed position of one piece, added or removed piece, exchanged places of two pieces, piece replaced by another end similar. For instance…….
The rank behind your PAs. After castling the KI’s movement forward is often blocked by PAs on the F, G and H files, and if the ROs are played forwards you may fall into a back rank mate. In order to avoid this, players may create ‘Luft’ (airhole) by a move like H02/H03. There are examples of back rank mates [link] in the Tactics section of the Canon.
Back rank mate
A checkmate carried out by a QU or a RO on the first or eighth rank. Back Rank Mate: A ++CM by QU or RO along the back rank, typically, but not necessarily, with the PAs in front of the KI unmoved. For instance, White RO on A08, Black KI on G08, Black PAs on F07, G07, H07.
A PA which cannot be guarded by a PA, or which cannot advance to such a position. A PA which has “fallen behind” the other PAs and it thus left without the protection of other PAs. PAs are generally much stronger when they are side by side, rather than background or fragmented in other ways. Backward PA: A PA which, though not isolated, has no PA of the same colour on an adjacent file either on the same rank or behind it. If this PA is on a ‘half-open-file’ and cannot advance it can become a target of attack. Place an A-PA on E04 and B-PAs on D06 and E05. If there is no B-PA6 on the board, or if it is on, say, C05, then B-PA5 is backward.
If a BS is hemmed in by PAs, and therefore has limited mobility, it is considered bad. Bad bishop: a BS hemmed in by its own PAs, on the same colour cells/squares. Examples in the Bishops [link] handout and in the Canon. A BS which runs along the same diagonals as ones which its own PAs are on and thus block it in and keep it from reaching its full potential. Bad BS: the one that you still have left on the board!
Placing a number of pieces on an open diagonal, file or rank. Pieces are generally much stronger when placed in a battery. QU and ROs go well on files, BSs and QUs on diagonals. A lineup of pieces that move similarly on a single file or diagonal, usually pointing toward a critical point in the enemy’s camp. Batteries can be created by QU and ROs on a file or rank, and QU and BSs on a diagonal.
The situation where one player has both BSs whereas the other does not. In many positions, especially those of an open nature, this is said to represent a strategic advantage. Refers to two BSs of one colour playing against a single BS and KT or two KTs. Two BSs are often stronger than one alone because they can control diagonals of both colours. The two compliment each other. Two BSs against a BS and KT or KTs. Two BSs are effective together because they control diagonals of both colours, and work very well in open positions. See ‘Opposite colour BSs’.
A situation where each side has only one BS left and those BSs travel on cells/squares of the opposite colour. The significance of this situation is that it often brings about a drawn endgame, even if one side has extra PAs.
Having holes on the black cells/squares. Examples include Bernstein-Mieses and Znosko-Borovsky vs. Mackenzie in the Strategy/Themes [link] section of the Canon. Black-cell/square Weakness: a term usually given to describe the state of the dark coloured cells surrounding ones own KI (cf. white cell/square Weakness)!
Chess played without sight of the board. Some players have been able to take on dozens of opponents simultaneously in this fashion. Blindfold Chess: a skill, through which minor masters can gain a world-wide reputation; outlawed in Russia because Morphy and Pillsbury died crazy! Blindfold Chess: a game in which the players play without a board, calling out the moves to each other.
Another name for rapid, or lightening chess. Blitz: an extreme form of rapid transit chess, where the players move faster than they can think - thus ensuing the game a rare profundity! See ‘lightning chess’.
The blocking of a PA or PAs by a piece or pieces. e.g. KT1-B02/D03! (Nd3!). Blockade: usually of PAs - a PA may be blockaded by an enemy piece or PA standing in front of it. The same effect may be achieved by good control of the cell/square in front of it so that it would be taken without compensation if it advanced. example? [link]. The act of placing a piece in front of an opponent’s PA to prevent it from moving, KTs are usually ideal for this job. Immobilization of an enemy PA by placing a piece (preferably a kt) on the cell/square directly in front of it.
A PA where the cell/square in front is occupied (or strongly controlled) by opposing pieces. An isolated pawn on C06 can be blockaded by KT-C05; there are lots of examples in the Pawn mobility handout [link].
A very bad move. A typical excuse for a game one has lost is “He didn’t outplay. I simply blundered”. Such excuses are not considered good form. Blunder: An oversight; the Tactics [link] section of the Canon is full of them. A horrible move giving up a lot of material or even the game. Don’t make blunders, enough said. A horrible mistake where material is lost, serious tactical or positional concessions are made, or the game is lost.
Often taken to stand for the current theoretical opinion. A book move is a move which is expected to be played, based on recent chess articles or theoretical manuals. Book-Player: a chess slave, who fills a relatively empty head with information that makes it even emptier. BOOK: The written body of high-level chess play. ‘Book’ moves are standard. A book player memorizes openings and their variations, and goes to pieces if his opponent strays from the accepted line. 01 Published opening theory. 02 The library of opening moves maintained by a computer chess playing program.
A PA move with the hope or intention of opening lines, particularly files. In blocked positions like the French Defence [link] it’s important to organize your own PA break. A PA move that proposes a PA trade in order to increase space or relieve a cramped position.
The breaching of an apparently secure formation, often with sacrifice of material, as in the Pillsbury-Lasker game in the French Defence [link]. When a player is able to penetrate directly into the camp of the opponent. Penetrating the enemy’s position, whether by a ‘PA break’ or the sacrifice of pieces or PAs.
A prize given for the most exciting game, or most artistic combination. Brilliancy: a combinative sequence which is understandable to anyone once the solution is revealed! A game containing a very deep strategic idea, a beautiful combination, or an original idea or plan.
The working out of variations mentally, without moving the pieces. Calculating strings of moves without moving the pieces. Mikail Tal was famous for his ability to calculate variations of moves with ease.
A tournament or match to decide the challenger for the World Championship. Candidates’ Tournaments were held between 1950 and 1962. Since then the challenger for the World Championship has been decided by Candidates’ Matches.
A move considered as a starting point in the analysis of variations. This term was made popular by Kotov’s classic Think Like a GM [link], the first chapter of which has been very influential; there are some examples in the Analysis [link] section of the Canon. O ne of a number of possible realistic moves. There may be a number of legal moves available but only moves that can achieve something positive within the framework of the current game can be called candidate moves.
Sometimes the RO is referred to as a castle, but this refers to a special move in chess in which you move two pieces (the only move allowing you to do this) and get your KI to the safety of the wings behind a row of PAs and get your RO to the center in one move. A player will nearly always castle during a game, often in the opening and without a player castling the game is usually quite irregular. A combined move of KI and RO permitted once for each side during a game. The KI moves two cells/squares to either side, and the RO toward which it moves is placed on the cell the KI passed over. This is the only move in which the KI moves more than one cell at a time and in which more than one piece is moved. Castling cannot be done when the KI has already moved, when the affected RO has already moved, when the KI is in +CH, when the cell over which the KI must pass is under attack, when the KI would be in check after the move was completed, or when any of the cells between the KI and the affected RO are occupied. 01 The act of moving the KI and RO simultaneously. This is the only time in the game where two pieces can be moved in the same turn. Castling consists of moving the KI two cells either right or left, and placing the RO on the cell beside the KI closest to the centre. There must be no pieces between KI and RO, neither piece may have already moved, and the KI may not move out of check, over it, or into it. Castling is usually worthwhile because it moves the KI to a safer position in the wings behind PAs, and the RO to a more powerful position in the centre of the board at the same time. 02 Unsophisticated term for RO. Castle long: Queenside castling. Castle Short: Kingside castling.
A move in which the KI and a RO move simultaneously and the only move where the KI is allowed to move more than one cell. It may only be carried out if neither the KI nor the RO concerned have not previously moved at any time in the game and provided the KI and none of the cells involved are currently under direct attack by an opposing piece. However, when castling the RO can immediately give check as a result of the move should the opposing KI be on E01 or E08, as appropriate, and there are no other pieces on the E-file. Castling kingside with the white [:A] pieces takes the KI from E01 to G01 while the RO from H01 moves to E01, replacing the KI. Castling queenside takes the KI from E01 to C01 while the RO from A01 moves to E01. Castling with the black [:B] pieces is self-evident from the foregoing explanation. Once this move has been employed in a game the pieces involved resume their normal moving powers and castling cannot be repeated even if the pieces resume their original positions. A defensive move played by a cowardly opponent.; a special move solely done for KIs safety only to be dismantled by your opponent later! A double move in which an unmoved KI moves two cells towards an unmoved RO and the RO moves over the KI to the next cell. If white castles kingside his KI goes to G01 and the RO to F01. If black castles queenside the KI goes to C08 and the RO to D08. Castling is not possible if the KI is ‘in check’, moves ‘through check’ or moves ‘into check’. You castle by moving your KI first or both pieces together. A player who touches the RO first may not castle but instead has to play a RO move.
Cells D04, D05, E04 and E05 - the four cells in the very centre of the board. Centre: the central four squares E04, D04, E05, D05 (block-A) or the sixteen cells including these and those next to them (Block-A and B. The E and D-files are referred to as the center files. See also Extended Center [link]. The middle of the board. In the opening, both players should strive to occupy or control the centre. The four cells in the geometrical center of the board. The opening moves are meant to gain control of the center. The area bounded by C03, C06, F03 and F06 is also considered central. The centre of the board is of great strategic significance, as pieces placed there generally have the greatest scope. Centre Break: the attack on two or more PAs abreast on the 4th rank by an opposing PA in order to break up their formation. Centre Fork Trick: a series of moves where a KT is sacrificed for a centre PA, knowing that it can be recovered by a PA fork and the enemy’s central PA structure will be destroyed by doing so. Centre PAs: the KIs and QUs pawns. Centralize: placing of pieces and PAs so they both control the centre, and influence other areas of the board. Pieces usually have maximum mobility (and therefore power) when centrally placed.
percentage of his games by such a manoeuver; a move which threatens something so obvious that only an idiot would fall for it, and he does! Slang expression for an invitation to a blunder, usually played in desperation by a player who is loosing badly.
When the KI is directly attacked. The game is lost unless the KI can be moved out of check, or another piece can be placed between the KI and the attacking piece, or the attacking piece can be captured. The act of attacking one’s opponent’s KI. When +CH takes place, a player usually will call out “check” to his opponent so that he is aware of the threat. See the check [link] section of the tutorial. An attack on the KI. In games between inexperienced players it is usual to announce “+CH” to your opponent when attacking h/er KI. If you play in adult tournaments you will find that your opponents will probably not do this, expecting you to see for yourself if you are in check. The act of attacking the opponent’s KI. When check takes place, a player usually calls out “check” so the opponent is aware of the threat. The opponent must get out of check on the next move, either by moving the KI, capturing the attacking piece, or moving another piece between the KI and the attacking piece.
If the KI is in check and there is no legal move that can get h/er out of check he is checkmated and the game is lost. An attack on one’s opponent’s KI from which it cannot escape using one of the three methods. When checkmate occurs, the game has ended and the person playing the checkmate has won. See the check [link] section of this tutorial. A self-inflicted torture by novices who don’t know the word “resigns”! A check which cannot be parried by moving the KI to a safe cell, blocking the attack or capturing the checking piece. ++CM ends the game: the player who is checkmated has lost. Mate has the same meaning as checkmate and is frequently used in its place. Threatening the capture of the enemy KI such that it cannot escape. This wins the game for the attacking side.
A timing device used in tournament play. After making a move, a player depresses the button on his side of the device which stops his timer and starts that of h/er opponent. Beginners are often intimidated by chess clocks but one quickly adjusts to their use, without which many games could drag on for hours, days, weeks or even months.
A position on the chessboard with associated stipulation, i.e. Mate in 2 moves, Helpmate in 3 moves etc. Normally, there should be only one way to satisfy the stipulation, otherwise problem is unsound (cooked). Sometimes, typically in helpmates, there are two or more solutions stipulated. ‘Mat Plus’ accepts direct mate, helpmate and selfmate original problems.
When referring to a player’s style, it means that the player bases h/er play on a full PA center. It also refers to an era where all players used this style and those that did not were considered irregular. 01 a playing style based on the formation of a full PA centre. The strategic concepts involved are seen as ultimate laws, and therefore rather dogmatic.
See vacating sacrifice The act of giving your opponent one of your pieces because it is blocking a cell that would be advantageous for another piece to be placed there. Clearance: moving a piece, often as a sacrifice, in order to make way for another piece. A move that clears a cell for use by a different piece. The new piece can use the cell to better advantage. A “clearance sacrifice” is where the vacating piece is sacrificed to make room.
In serious tournaments and matches each player has a fixed amount of time to play either a certain number of moves or the whole game. A player who exceeds the time limit loses as long as h/er opponent has enough material left to get checkmate. A chess clock has two faces. On making a move the player presses the button on top of his clock to start his opponent’s clock ticking. Digital clocks are now being used in many tournaments. A mechanical device used to time tournament games which no one ever pays attention to until that little red marker is about to fall! Paired clocks used in all official tournaments and in club games. After a player moves, s/he depresses a lever that stops h/er clock and starts h/er opponent’s. Each clock, therefore, registers only the elapsed time for one player. If a player exceeds the time limit set on h/er clock, a flag falls and s/he loses the game, even if s/he has a clear winning position. Paired clocks used in all sanctioned tournaments and in many club games.
Often slow, partly blocked positions, often arising from e.g. 01A PA4-DO2/D04 01B PA5-D07/D05, with locked chains of PAs. There are several examples discussed in the Pawn formations [link] handout. A position where the PA structure is fixed, the centre cluttered with interlocked PAs. KTs thrive in such positions, and play is generally focussed on the flanks.
Refers to the type of position being played. A “closed game” is one in which the center is cluttered with PAs that are interlocked. Play usually focuses on the wings. Closed game: one in which the maneuvering is tight and the pieces, as a rule, lack long-range operating space. Such games are sometimes called “positional”, because they are quiet, with the opponents struggling for subtle advantages, rather than open and alive with tactical possibilities.
A forcing sequence involving threats (of capture, check and/or mate), probably involving a sacrifice. There are examples in the Tactics and Attacking [link] sections of the Canon. Any long series of moves that the average player cannot understand! A sequence of moves involving a sacrifice played in order to gain a specific advantage, usually to win material or to force checkmate, sometimes to force a draw from an inferior position. A series of moves which, unless the player has miscalculated, will force an immediate win or an overwhelming advantage. A combination sometimes starts with a sacrifice of material. A sacrifice and forced sequence of moves to gain a certain advantage.
Something that I tell myself that I have for being down that PA! An equivalent advantage that offsets an advantage of the enemy’s, for example material versus development, space versus superior KT or BS, or three PAs versus KT.
One of the most artistic aspects of chess is the composition, which is an artificial position composed by a problemist. There are many rules governing the creation of a composition, one of the most important of which is that only a single solution is allowed.
Two or more PAs which are unobstructed by enemy PAs and thus have the threat of queening. These PAs rest on files beside one another and thus are more dangerous because they each provide support of the others. Two or more same-colour passed PAs on adjacent files. See Passed pawn.
PAs which can protect or be protected by a PA on an adjacent file. Connected passed PAs are considered most valuable in the endgame. Connected PA: a PA with a PA on an adjacent file; a group of connected PAs form a pawn island. There is a nice example from Capa in the handout On manoeuvres [link], and another from Karpov in the style [link] section of the Canon. PA-Island.
A player controls a cell by occupying or by having more pieces which can occupy it with a single move than h/er opponent. To dominate an area or aspect of the board. You can control the light diagonals, an open file, or sector of the board. You can even control a particular cell. The domination or sole use of a cell, group of cells, file or diagonal. One is also “in control” when one has the initiative.
The controlling influence of one side over the central squares. See the rules for openings, and the opening section and under centralisation [link] sections in the Canon. The hypermoderns [link] pointed out that need not mean its occupation.
A general term used to describe the way pieces work together - for example, in an endgame, QU+KT coordinate better than QU+BS, a circumstance in which it is no disadvantage to have a KT while the opponent has a BS (see minor exchange). There are some nice examples of coordination in the Strategy/Themes [link] section of the Canon.
Chess played by post or by electronic transmission. A system of play which in gaining in popularity because you cannot lose USCF rating points in this sort of competition; a method of play to determine who owns the strongest chess computer. Chess played by post: the players take it in turns to send their moves to each other by letter. The term is also used loosely for chess in which moves are communicated by other means, for instance phone, radio or fax.
When a player who is being attacked counter thrusts with an attack of h/er own rather than defending. A move which replies to the opponent’s threat by setting up a threat of its own. A name given to some openings or variations of an attacking nature selected by black :B. The launch of an attack by the defender, rather than making more defensive moves. Designed to place the opponent on the defensive. Counter Threat: See “Counter attack”.
When a player who has been defending for several moves begins an attack of h/er own. Aggressive actions by the defender. Counterplay may equalize the chances, may be not quite enough to equalize, or may seize the initiative and gain an advantage.
A player is said to have a cramped position or is cramped when s/he is at a disadvantage in space and thus very little room to move h/er pieces around in. That which you must obtain as a necessary preliminary to freeing your game.
A very important move in the position which the game may be decided on. If played poorly the player will lose, if played well, they will win. A point where the evaluation of the position will obviously favour one side, or where it will equalize. The position is delicately balanced and the slightest mistake could be disastrous.
A move which alters or makes certain the result of a game: a decisive move may make an advantageous position a winning one, a decisive error may lose the advantage, or the game. Examples are to be found in the handout on Planning [link] and Kotov’s Think Like a GM [link]. A move which alters or makes certain the result of a game.
A diversion, as in the model game [link] Morphy-Meek. Decoy. A tactic in which a player tries to lure an opponent’s piece to a cell that is particularly vulnerable. These sequences can sometimes be forced. To force an enemy piece either away from or to a particular cell or line, often by means of a sacrifice. Some authors use ‘decoy’ only for forcing ‘to’ a cell or line and ‘deflection’ for forcing ‘away from’ a cell or line. The offering of material in order to get an enemy piece to move.
To move to defend against a threat, e.g. to protect a piece that is attacked; more generally, a period of the game where the player is meeting and anticipating threats during an attack. Also used for opening systems chosen by :B, e.g. King’s Indian Defence. There is a section in the Canon on Defence [link]. Defence. A move or series of moves that are played to stop an opponent’s attack. An answer to a threat, or that which prevents an attack from being a threat. After 01A PA5-E02/E04 01B PA4-E07/E05 02A QU1-D01/H05, the RO on H08 provides a defence to the attack on H07 and the KI provides a defence to the attack on F07. A good move for black would be 02B... KT2-B08/C06, providing a defence to the threat of QU1-H05*E05+CH. A name given to an opening or variation chosen by :B. For instance the Sicilian Defence or French Defence. Any move or plan that is intended to meet or stop an enemy’s threats or attack. Name used for openings initiated by black, such as Petroff Defense, French Defense etc. These systems are called defenses due to black having the second move, and being forced to respond to white’s first move.
To distract a MP or PA away from a task example? [link]. A tactic which forces an opponent piece off of a cell where it had to be, either because it was defending a piece or cell or because it was blocking a threat.
An antiquated form of notating a chess game, employed in the English and Spanish-speaking worlds to some extent. It has almost disappeared from contemporary use, but there is much great literature written using it, so it is worthwhile to learn it. A typical example is 1. P-K4 (1. pawn to King four) for 1. e4. Descriptive Notation.
The art of bringing out one’s forces. The bringing-out of pieces at the start of the game - one of the aims of the opening [link]. Examples in the Openings [link] Canon. Development. The act of moving pieces from their original cells to places where they are more effective, usually in the center, and have more mobility. To develop a piece is to move it from its starting cell to a more effective position. In the opening both players strive for rapid development. The process of moving pieces from their starting positions so they can protect their own territory and put pressure on the opponent. The moving of pieces from their starting positions to new positions where their mobility and activity are increased. To bring pieces into play.
The chain of cells/squares of the same colour running diagonally across the board: A01/H08 and A07/G01 are diagonals example? [link]. A line on the chess board from North East to South West or from North West to South East, as traversed by BSs and QUs. The diagonals from corner to corner are the ‘long diagonals’. A row of cells running obliquely across the board rather than up and down (a file) or side to side (a rank) or a block. A diagonal row of cells. Diagonals are named by the coordinates of their starting and ending cells.
In direct mate problems white [:A] plays first and for every black [:B] defence mates not later than in given number of moves. The stipulation is “Mate in n moves”, or shorter “Mate in n”, or symbolically “#n”.
To attack by moving a MP or PA out of the way of a ‘Line-Piece’ such as RO, BS or QU. 01A-PA5-E02/E04 (e4) discovers an attack on B05 and H05. There are examples in the Tactics [link] section of the Canon. Discovered Attack. An attack which occurs when a piece moves out of the way of another piece. This can be particularly effective if the piece that moves to discover the attack can attack something as well, thus revealing two threats in one turn. A move which opens up an attack from a BS, RO or QU etc (see ‘table of monograms’). After the moves 01A PA5-E02/E04 - B-PA4-E07/E05 02A QU1-D01/G04?, a move by B-PA4 would be a discovered attack on A-QU1. Also called an ambush. The creation of an attack from one piece caused by the moving away of another piece that was masking it. These are potent moves, as they may enable a piece to move away from a threat in safety, or enables two attacks to be launched simultaneously.
A +CH delivered by a piece whose line of attack has previously been blocked by a member of the same side which has moved away on the given move. discovered check: to deliver +CH by moving a MP or PA out of the way of a ‘line-piece’ such as RO, BS or QU. There are examples in the Tactics [link] section of the Canon. +DC. A move which opens up an attack from a BS, RO or QU on the opponent’s KI. A player, by moving a piece, uncovers an attack on an opponent’s piece. If the attacked piece is the KI, the move is called discovered check. Check given by one piece as the result of the moving away of another piece that was masking it.
PAs on the same file, often one obstructing the other, as in the booklet on Pawn mobility [link]. Two PAs in tandem on the same file. Ordinarily, a liability because, unable to protect each other, they are vulnerable.
ROs on the same file; if the QU is also on that file the MPs are tripled. We can see doubling in the handout on Rooks [link], tripling in the one on Pins [link]. Two ROs in tandem on the same file. Because they protect each other and act in concert, their power is more than double the power of a single RO.
To attack two pieces at the same time with one move; 01A-PA5-E02/E04 attacks D05 and F05. Chernev and Reinfeld say that this is one of the two central themes of tactical play (the other being concentration of force). Lots of examples in the Tactics [link] section of the Canon. An attack against two pieces on the same turn. The launch of two threats simultaneously. It is different from a fork in that either or both threats need not be a capture.
+CH from two pieces at once, always obliging a KI move. Examples in the Tactics [link] section of the Canon. +DO. Similar to the discovered attack, only the piece which the attack is revealed upon is the KI. Occurs when the KI is checked twice on the same turn. This can only occur by discovery. It can be extremely effective because the only response to a double check is fleeing. This can sometimes lead to an unexpected mate. A check from two pieces at once. A discovered check where the piece moving away itself gives check. A double check can only be met by a KI move. A simultaneous check given by moving one piece to give check, thereby also unmasking another piece which also gives check.
Typically to allow a QU to play B-QU1*A01+CH, KI moves, QU1*H01 (...Qxa1+, K moves, Qxh1), hoping to decoy the QU away from defence. The Immortal Game features such a sacrifice, included in the attacking [link] section of the Canon.
Two PAs of the same colour on the same file. These are generally considered a liability. A characteristic of PA structures that occurs when more than one PA of the same colour reside on the same file. Doubled PAs occur as a result of a capture. Three PAs of the same colour on the same file are tripled PAs. Such PAs can often become targets of attack. Two PAs of the same colour on the same file, put there by a capture. These PAs are generally considered to be weak, but they can control valuable cells and create open or half-open files.
A game in which neither side wins. Draws can occur by mutual agreement or in accordance with specific rules of chess, such as stalemate. A tied game in which neither side wins. See the Interesting Cases [link] section of this tutorial. A game that ends in a tie, where each player is awarded half a point. A draw occurs when…….
The suggestion by one player to the other that they agree to call the game a draw. When playing manually, the correct way to make a draw offer is to make your move, say clearly ‘Draw?’, and then start your opponent’s clock. Never make a draw offer when it is your opponent’s turn to move.
Dynamics are represented by the aggressive potential in a move or position. Dynamic Play: Dynamic play occurs as a result of frequent structural changes that demand constant reevaluation of one’s strategy. These changes are usually as a result of tactical threats or significant changes in the PA structure.
Two functionally identical positions on the same board, one the mirror image of the other, due to the arrangement of the defender’s pieces being effectively symmetrical. This allows the same attack to be made down either side of the board.
A sacrifice to remove an important defender e.g. B-RO-C08*C03-KT1 (...Rc8xNc3). Compare with examples of ‘removing the guard’ from the Tactics [link] section of the Canon, which are without sacrifices.
Rating using Professor Arpad Elo’s rating system. A system in which players all over the world are ranked according to their skill. It was devised by Arpad Elo (hence the name of the system) in 1970 and continues to be in effect today [:L01]. An internationally accepted mathematical system for ranking chess players, created by Arpad Elo. International Grandmasters are typically in the range 2500+ to 2700, world champions often 2700+. The standard deviation is 200 points. The scale is such that a player at 1800 would be expected to beat one at 1600 by the same margin as a player at 2600 against one at 2400. Many games must be played before an Elo rating can be estimated with confidence. The Elo rating is the foundation for the award of FIDE titles.
The last stages of a game, involving few pieces, usually without QUs for either side. A game where several pairs of pieces have been exchanged, probably including the Queens, and where play is concerned not with checkmate or tactics as much as with gaining, and promoting, Pawns. See Endgame Handouts [link]. The final of three phases of the game. Although it is a very definite phase of the game, it is very difficult to tell when you have left the middle game and entered the endgame. The endgame is said to be when there are few pieces left on the board and usually after the QUs are exchanged. This is the final phase in a chess game. Your last opportunity to miss a win or a draw! The final stage of a game of chess, when there is little material left on the board; where most of the pieces (but not necessarily the PAs) have been captured. The final stages of a game. Most pieces have disappeared from the board, and the KI, instead of hiding, becomes an active participant. The endgame generally starts after QUs have been exchanged or when the immediate goal is to promote a PA.
In passing: a special PA capture which can only be effected once by each side in a game. If, for example, black [:B] has a PA on his fifth rank (say E04) and white [:A], taking advantage of the facility to move a PA two cells forward on its first move, moves (say) PA4-D02/D04, black can capture this PA - but only on the very next move - placing the capturing PA on D03. A most modern rule in the game of chess [:L01]. It is a French phrase which literally means ‘In Passing’. The rule comes into effect when a PA, on its first move goes up two cells and lands beside an enemy PA. When this happens the enemy PA is allowed to take the PA as if it had only advanced one cell. It was introduced because when a PA landed on the fifth rank and an enemy PA used the two cell move, it could dodge the fight of the enemy PA which was deemed unfair. This move is only allowed to be invoked the instant the PA moves two cells, afterwards it would be too hard to tell which PA had moved two cells or had moved one cell and then another, etc. A PA capture in which a PA on its fifth rank can capture a PA on an adjacent file moving from the second to the fourth rank as if it moved only one cell. After the moves 01A-PA5-E02/E04, 01B-PA4-E07/E06, 02A-PA5-E04/E05, 02B-PA5-D07/D05, white may, if s/he chooses, capture B-PA4 by ‘en passant’, but only on h/er next move. A-PA5 will move to D06 and B-PA5 will be removed from the board. From the French, ‘in passing’. Abbreviated :ep. One PA can capture another :ep if the capturing PA has reached the fifth rank and the captured PA is moved two cells forward on an adjacent file. The capture is made as though the opponent’s PA had moved only one cell forward. It occurs when a PA moves two cells from its starting position, and passes an enemy PA that has advanced to its fifth rank. The advanced PA on the fifth rank may choose to capture the PA as if the PA had only moved forward one cell. This capture must be made immediately after the two cell advance, or else the right to capture “en passant” is lost. In the Chesmayne notation an en passant capture is labelled :ep.
This is said of a piece (other than the KI) which can be captured. en prise: In a position to be taken. ‘En Prise’, ‘To Leave’: a method of relieving oneself of extraneous material! French. A piece is en prise when it is left exposed to capture with nothing to show for it. French “in take”. A piece or PA that is unprotected and exposed to capture.
An equal but not lifeless position is in balance or equilibrium; if this is not disturbed the correct result should be a draw. However, unduly slow or unduly rash moves may disturb the balance and give the opponent the advantage. See latitude of the draw.
The capture of pieces belonging to both sides during the course of a few moves. (See also ‘Winning the Exchange’). exchange: used in two senses - to swap off for equal material, or unequal material. To lose the exchange usually means to lose RO for BS. The minor exchange refers to the loss of BS for KT, but this is not always a disadvantage. example? [link]. The trading of pieces, where one piece captures another and then this piece is recaptured back. You are said to have ‘won the exchange’ when the trading of pieces results in you winning more material, based on the points system (i.e. RO - 5 points, for BS - 3 points. The Exchange: trading pieces of equal value: for instance, QU for QU, RO for RO, BS for KT. The advantage of gaining a RO for a BS or a KT. If you win RO for BS or KT you are said to ‘win the exchange’ while your opponent ‘loses the exchange’. If you give up RO for BS or KT deliberately you ‘sacrifice the exchange’. The trading of a piece (BS or KT) for a RO. A trade of pieces. See ‘Point count’.
A +CH with other pieces attacked at the same time e.g. to play KT-C07+CH (Nc7+) with B-KI-E08, B-RO-A08, B-QU-D05 (black Ke8, Ra8, Qd5). There is an example in Capablanca-Treybal in the handout On manoeuvres [link] and in the Canon.
An Italian term, now in general use, to describe the positioning/development of a BS in the penultimate cell of the ‘long diagonal’ (ie white’s [:A] B02, G02, black’s [:B] B07, G07). fianchetto: to develop a BS to the long diagonal by e.g. PA2-B03 and BS-C01/B02. An Italian method of developing BSs; popularized by Russians! The development of a BS on the ‘long diagonal’. A BS played to the side of the board is said to be fianchettoed. Usually, the BS is played to G02 or B02 (G07 or B07 for black), from which position it sweeps along the ‘long diagonal’ to the opponent’s A08 or H08 (A01 or H01 for black) cell. The word is from the Italian fianco - the flank or side. Italian ‘on the flank’.
Federation Internationale des Echecs. Short for the ‘Fédération Internationale des Échecs’, or, in English, ‘The International Chess Federation’. They govern over world champions [:L01], master, IMs, GMs, etc. See also IM; GM [link]. The ruling body for traditional western chess. FIDE Master (FM): the lowest master title awarded by FIDE, below the rank of ‘International Master’. Players qualify for this title by performing at a specified level in ‘Master Tournaments’. The title of FIDE Master is also awarded to World Junior Champions. FIDE also award the title of ‘Woman FIDE Master’, with a lower level of qualification. Founded in 1924, it organizes world championship competitions, draws up rules of the game, and awards the international titles to top players.
This rule states that if fifty moves have been played since the last capture or PA move the game is a draw. It can only be enforced if the players are recording their moves (or, in junior chess, counting their moves). Contrary to popular opinion it has nothing at all to do with one player only having a KI left. The ‘50-Move-Rule’ was extended for certain positions in the 1980’s but in 1992 it reverted to fifty moves for all positions, except if announced in advance by the tournament organizer. A game can be drawn when fifty moves have been made by each player without a capture or PA advancement.
The row of cells from the first rank to the last. file: the columns of cells, e.g. A01-A08 is the A-file (QUs-RO file). The vertical columns of the chessboard which, in Algebraic Notation are each assigned a letter, beginning with A-file, B-file, etc. A vertical line of cells on a chessboard. The eight files are assigned the letters from A to H, so, for instance, the file on which the KIs start is referred to as the E-file. The rows running from player to player, named for the pieces that occupy them at the start of the game. From left to right they are, for white [:A], the QU-RO file, QU-KT file, QU-BS file, QU-file, KI-file, KI-BS file, KI-KT file, KI-RO File. The order, read from right to left, is correct for the black [:B] side. A row of eight cels from one end of the chessboard to the other. In Algebraic Notation these are labelled A to H, starting from the queenside of the board.
The A, B, C, F, G and H files. The files that do not belong to the center: the A-, B- and C-files on the queenside and the F-, G- and H-files on the kingside. Certain openings that focus on flank development are called ‘flank openings’. Typical first moves for these openings are 01A-PA3-CO2/CO4; 01A-PA2-B02/B03; 01A-KT2-G02/F03; etc.
Loosely, material. Chernev and Reinfeld see this as the other great defining theme of tactical play. See the model game [link] by Kasparov in the Canon. Usually defined as material. One is said to have an advantage in force when they have more material than their opponent. However, you can also be said to have an advantage in force if you have a number of pieces directed at a certain part of the board where the enemy pieces are not. Thus, you control this area of the board. Your army. All PAs and pieces are units of force.
A forced move or series of moves are ones which must be played, either legally, or because if the opponent does not play them, h/er position will be destroyed. A move or series of moves that must be played to avoid loss of the game or catastrophic loss of material.
A move which must be made lest the player lose material or even be checkmated. Forced Move. The only legal/reasonable move in the position. A move which restricts the opponent’s choice of reply: a threat, check or capture. A move which leads the opponent into a forced move or moves.
An advanced cell which cannot be attacked by a hostile piece of inferior rank. Foreposts are ideal cells for attacking KTs as they have a short range. An absolute forepost is where the position is unassailable. A contingent forepost can only be attacked at the cost of creating a weakness elsewhere.
An attack made on more than one enemy by piece by a single piece. fork: to attack two pieces, usually with a KT e.g. KT-F07 (Nf7) attacking QU-D08 and RO-H08 (Qd8 and Rh8). Examples in the Tactics [link] section of the Canon. A move in chess in which, on one move, a piece attacks two of its enemy’s pieces at the same time. An instrument used chiefly for the purpose of putting dead animals in one’s mouth! (A. Bierce). Family Fork. A situation in which one piece threatens two enemy pieces (or cells). For instance: 01A-PA5-E02/E04, 01B-PA6-C07/C05 02A- PA4-D02/D04, B-PA6-C05*D04-PA4, 03A-KT2-G01/F03, B-PA4-E07/E05, 04A- KT2-F03*E05?, B-QU1-D08/A05+CH is a QU-fork: a +CH and a threat. A KT-fork threatening KI, QU and RO is known as a ‘family fork’. An attack on two or more pieces simultaneously. Though any chess piece - except a RO-PA can execute a fork, the KT makes a specialty of it. A form of double attack where one piece threatens two enemy pieces at the same time. In a triple fork, three enemy pieces are threatened.
A defensive blockade, keeping out the enemy forces, especially the KI. One of the earliest known examples is the fortress :A-KI-C01, PA4-D03, RO-E03 (white Kc1, Pd3, Re3) which can hold the ++DR against B-KI-C08, QU-D08 (black Kc8, Qd8. Try it!).
A sacrifice in the opening. gambit: usually to sacrifice a PA in the opening to gain development. Examples in the Openings [link] section of the Canon. A gambit occurs in the opening when a player voluntarily gives up material (usually a PA) for a positional or developmental superiority over their opponent. They tend to be very risky and lead to very interesting games. An opening or variation in which one player, usually white [:A] sacrifices for the sake of a lead in development or occupation of the centre. Examples are the KIs Gambit and the Danish Gambit. Openings where black [:B] makes the sacrifice are sometimes known as ‘counter gambits’. An opening maneuver in which a PA is offered in return for a strong position or a chance to attack. Italian ‘a trip-up’.
A BS that is not on the same colour as its own PAs, thus it has great mobility and its PAs do not obstruct it. Your opponent’s BS! A BS free to operate without interference from its own PAs. A BS with adequate scope.
A number indicating a player’s strength. FIDE and national chess organisations issue regular lists of grades. The system used in England is not the same as the one used both by FIDE and in most other countries. Grades are more often known (in most countries except England) as ratings.
A very strong chess player. The title of Grandmaster is awarded by the World Chess Federation - FIDE. GM = Grandmaster A title awarded by the FIDE for outstanding international play. A player must meet a number of standards and once this status is reached, it cannot be taken away, even if the player’s rating drops. Anyone who has reached the point in chess where s/he is acclaimed for drawing all h/er games! Grandmaster Draw: a friendly conclusion due to mutual fear! The highest title awarded by FIDE, sometimes also called ‘International Grandmaster’ and abbreviated to either IGM or GM. It is awarded to players who perform at a specified level in Grandmaster Tournaments. The title of Woman International Grandmaster (WGM) is awarded to women and has a lower qualification level. Separate Grandmaster titles are also awarded for Correspondence Chess. The highest title (apart from World Champion) that a chess player can achieve. It is bestowed by FIDE upon players who have achieved certain performance norms. Abbreviation GM. Other titles (in order of importance) are International Master and FIDE Master.
A file with PAs of only one colour. Look at the handouts on Rooks [link] and, if you are brave, the ‘Minority Attack’ section of the handout on Pawn mobility [link]. A file that contains only one colour of PAs because of trades or captures. This file is closed to the PA owner, and open to the other player.
A solid defensive arrangement with PAs on the third rank e.g. PA-B06, C05, D06, E06, G06, BS-B07, KT2-B08/D07, KT1-G08/F06 and BS-E07 or BS-G07 (Pb6, c5, d6, e6, g6, Bb7, Nbd7, Ngf6 and Be7 or Bg7). There is a comment [link] on the potential of this formation under Nunn-Olafsson in the planning section of the Canon, and an example game Webb-Hartston elsewhere in the Canon.
Openings in the defensive front are called holes - usually holes cannot be defended by PAs. To play B-PA7-G07/G06 creates a hole at H06. See Steinitz-Blackburne in the Strategical Themes [link] section of the Canon. A cell in a player’s position which cannot be defended by a PA and thus is vulnerable. A player must learn to find holes and take advantage of these cells. A cell that cannot be guarded by one’s own PAs. Holes can become outposts for KTs. A cell that is undefendable by PAs. Such a cell serves as an excellent home for enemy pieces, especially the KT.
The treatment of the opening by the Hypermodern school, a description given them by Tartakower - booklet [link] on the treatment of this opening. A type of player that believed that placing a PA in the center would make it vulnerable (the exact opposite of classical players). Hypermoderms tend to try to control the center indirectly from the flanks rather then directly. Richard Reti and Aaron Nimzovich are examples or hypermodern players. Any opening system where an early checkmate is impossible!
A family of openings in which black [:B] replies 01B-KT2-G08/F06 to white’s [:A] 01A-PA4-D02/D04 (1...Nf6 to white’s 1. d4). There does not seem to be much agreement on the origin of the term, but most historians believe it derives from the style of play in India where - because PAs did not have the right to make a two cell initial move - games tended to be leisurely and conservative.
You possess the initiative when you are able to make threats to which your opponent must react. It was said by Steinitz that the person who possesses this initiative must willingly go over to the attack. The player that is on the attack, or otherwise applying pressure to the opponent on the defensive, is said to ‘have the initiative’.
An in-between move or apparent diversion from the main line of events. The term appears in the Tartakower-duMont book, in an annotation to the Tartakower-Capablanca game which is included in the Tactics [link] section of the Canon.
A title awarded by FIDE to players performing at a specified level in Master Tournaments. It is abbreviated to IM. It ranks above FIDE Master and below Grandmaster. The title of Women’s International Master (WIM) is also awarded, with a lower qualification level. Separate International Master titles are also awarded for Correspondence Chess. The next highest title below Grandmaster. Abbreviation IM.
The act of placing a piece in between an enemy attacking piece and the actual attacked piece. To place a PA or piece between an attacked KI and the attacking piece. Placement of a piece between an attacking enemy QU, RO or BS, and the piece being attacked.
The ability to find the correct move or strategy to play or in a certain position based on a “feeling” or hunch rather than actually calculating a sequence of moves. A ability of an experienced player to decide on a move or plan by feel, rather than by extensive analysis.
Nimzovitch’s term for an isolated pawn. Isolani. A PA with no friendly PAs on immediate files, sometimes called an ‘isolani’. Isolated PAs and isolated groups of PAs were termed ‘island’ by Capablanca.
A PA with no friendly PAs on the next-door files. There are always negative features, but may be compensating advantages - and these benefits are seen in the most positive light with an isolated QUs-PA. See the many examples in the Planning [link] section of the Canon. A PA is said to be isolated when there are no PAs of the same army on adjoining files. Generally, isolated PAs, or isolani's, are considered to be weak. A PA that will QU in the endgame (cf. Passed PA). A PA with no PAs of its own colour on the files either side of it. A PA with no friendly PAs on the adjacent files. It cannot be protected by PAs, and the cell directly in front of it can be a safe haven for enemy pieces as they cannot be threatened by PAs.
An isolated pawn on D04 or D05 - here the compensating extra space and influence over the centre are at their maximum and can compensate for its weakness in the middle game. IQP positions often arise in the early middle-game from the QGD (QUs Gambit Declined) and Caro-Kann. See the many examples in the Planning [link] section of the Canon.
A referee at international chess events.
An internationally recognised chess expert. This title is immediately below that of Grandmaster.
A PA is said to be isolated when there are no PAs of the same army on adjoining files. Generally, isolated PAs, or isolani's, are considered to be weak.
This is a legal way of announcing that one is going to adjust the pieces without making a move. A phrase customarily emitted when you are caught starting your opponent’s clock on your move! French for “What the hell am I doing? If I move that piece I’m dead!” French for “I adjust”, an expression signifying one wishes to reposition a MP/mp on the center of a cell without incurring the ‘touch-move’ rule. A warning (in old French - there is no such word in modern French) to your opponent that you are going to adjust a piece which is not in the centre of its cell rather than make a move with it. It must be announced ‘before’ you touch the piece. The English ‘Adjust’ is often preferred. French ‘I adjust’. Expression used prior to a piece being adjusted on its cell.
The move 01A-PA4-E02/E04 (1. e4.). Bobby Fischer’s favourite opening. Moving A-PA5 opens lines for BS2 and QU1, occupies a key central cell and prevents the opponent from occupying cells diagonally in front of PA5.
The E to H files. One half of the board which belongs to the E-, F-, G-, and H-files. It is called the kingside because it is the half of the board which the king is on. See also queenside [link]. KIs Side. The side of the board on which the KIs start: the E, F, G and H files. We talk about ‘castling KI-side’, or playing a ‘KI-side attack’.
To retain enough access and control over all disputed areas of the board to avoid the risk of losing, assuming with fair play on both sides. It may be that commitment to an attack in one area risks losing the game because of loss of control elsewhere. This is an underlying theme of the Averbach-Keres game in the Errors [link] section of the Canon.