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The Open File - Chess Limericks

  • NM Zug
  • | Nov 2, 2009

The Open File

by Life Master Mike Petersen (Zug)

Chess Limericks

I don’t know of anyone who doesn’t like limericks.  However, since they are a type of humor distinct to the English language, a good definition might be in order.  According to Wikipedia:

“A limerick is a five-line poem with a strict form (AABBA), which intends to be witty or humorous, and is sometimes obscene with humorous intent. It may have its roots in the 18th century Maigue Poets of Ireland.  However, there are examples of such verse in English dating back to Anglo-Saxon times.  It was popularized in English by Edward Lear in the 19th century.”

Of course, none of us would ever write an obscene limerick, would we?  Also, note the words, “a strict form (AABBA)”.  Just what does that mean?  Well, it has to do with poetic meter.  Let’s go a little farther with Wikipedia here:

“The standard form of a limerick is a stanza of five lines, with the first, second and fifth usually having eight or nine syllables and rhyming with one another, and the third and fourth usually having five or six syllables, and rhyming separately. Lines are usually written in the anapaestic meter, but can also be amphibrachic."

"The first line traditionally introduces a person and a place, with the place appearing at the end of the first line and establishing the rhyme scheme for the second and fifth lines. In early limericks, the last line was often essentially a repeat of the first line, although this is no longer customary.”

Uh-oh.  What the heck is anapaestic or amphibrachic meter?  Anapaestic meter is two short syllables followed by a long one. A very good example of a poem using this meter is “Twas the Night before Christmas.”  Amphibrachic meter is a long syllable between two short syllables.  An example of this type of meter is the Dr. Seuss book, “If I Ran the Circus.”

Okay, so big deal.  Yeah, I say big deal because I’ve never seen any chess limericks.  This has recently been remedied by a clever soul on Chess.com who goes by the handle of “theweaponking.”  You may want to check out the forum entry on chess limericks started by this individual at the link http://www.chess.com/forum/view/community/chess-limericks?page=1, but I must warn you!  There are many limericks in this forum thread that do not follow the rules.  You’ll enjoy most of them anyway.  I have even added a few (clean) limericks myself.

On Internet chess:

I like to play Internet chess.
The positions are fun to assess.
Lose or win it's okay
'Cause I can pass through the day
Without ever having to dress.

On my quality of play:

My game is no good, God knows.
It's wrecked by multiple blows.
I tried the Lopez
And Breyer then says,
"Your game is in its last throes."

And finally, my most genius chess limerick of all:

My column is "The Open File."
You really will like its style.
I write one a week
With tongue firmly in cheek
In order to give you a smile.

Well, in this case, I hope I’ve succeeded.


Click here for links to Mike's other work on Chess.com


  • 5 years ago


     there was a chess wizard named zug,whose chess rating was high the old lug,his IQ so high, we worried he'd fly, the flighty old blighter we dug

  • 5 years ago


    a pawn once went on a bender
    and became most confused as to gender
    he advanced cross the ranks
    without notice or thanks
    and now? I must plan how to end her

  • 6 years ago


    Old Russia's Queen Catherine the Great

    Bore chess infamy as her fate

    As the first queen to prove

    With her very own move

    That a queen and a horse truly could mate!

  • 6 years ago


    There was a place called chess dot com.

    Which appealed to each one and their mom.

    It was like chess heaven,

    Playing 24-7,

    All levels of players welcome.

  • 6 years ago


    Zug tired of correcting their posts
    Especially those of ZekesGhost's
    When no one remains
    To hear Mike complain
    He'll whip up some more tripe to boast

  • 6 years ago


    A good poem's tough to obtain,

    And uses the right side of the brain,

    Chess uses the left,

    So ours aren't so deft,

    Perhaps we had better refrain?

  • 6 years ago


    By Zug, I think Phil's got it.

  • 6 years ago


    There was a chess player called Phil

    Who thought that's Zug's boots he could fill

    But he messed up his meter

    So was branded a cheater

    But now he's got hold of the drill

  • 6 years ago

    NM Zug

    Tmattb86 -

    You're the second person to have pointed this out, so I have corrected the article. 


    - Zug

  • 6 years ago


    American humour ? Isn't Limerick an Irish town, the place where they originated and hence spread throughout the Unitied Kingdom ?

  • 6 years ago

    NM Zug

    RoyalFlush1991 -

    Har!  Good one, but your meter is off as well.  You could correct it by changing the second line to:

    "I never realized Zug's such a pest."

    And, of course, my work's not the best.  I only think it is.

    Tongue out

    - Zug

  • 6 years ago


    As I read this article with zest

    I never realized Zug could be such a pest

    He just laughs at our rhymes

    Changes our lines

    And praises his work as the best

  • 6 years ago

    NM Zug

    Zekesghost -

    Another fun limerick, but once again the meter is off.  Change the last line to this:

    "Looks like someone's in need of a hug"

    and you'll have it.  Meter is the hardest thing to get right in a limerick.

    Regards, Zug

  • 6 years ago


    There once was a player named Zug

    Who could beat you like a bug on a rug

    He said with a zing

    As I tipped over my King

    Aw, looks like someone needs a hug


    Sorry, couldn't resist. :)

  • 6 years ago

    NM Zug

    MM78 -

    Hmm...you're right.  Perhaps I should have said "distinct to the English language" instead, eh?

    Good limerick, except your meter is off.  Try this for the first line:

    "I know of a writer named Mike"

    In this way you keep the meter.

    - Zug

  • 6 years ago


    So something invented in Ireland is now distinctly American?  You'll be claiming Guinness as a distinctly American beer next hehe 

    There was a writer called Mike

    Who wrote articles he hoped we would like

    They were written in fun

    Particularly this one

    Now I've commented I'm off on my bike.

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