17 Chess Hand Positions You Must Know
Happy Star Wars Day! May the 4th be with you mastering the 17 Chess Hands Positions You Must Know.

17 Chess Hand Positions You Must Know

| 254 | Fun & Trivia

You thought chess was all about making the right moves, but you're only half right. The other half—and arguably the most important—is mastering the art of hand positions. If you need proof, look no further than the 2023 Chessable Masters.'s commentary team spent more time analyzing hand positions than they did the games! 

So, whether you're a grandmaster or a chess punk, crack your knuckles and get ready to master...

17 Chess Hand Positions You Must Know

Shake n' Bump

You plan to start the game with a friendly handshake, but of course, your opponent sidesteps your preparation with a fist bump. When chess players are involved, things are never easy.

Dr. Evil

Your early attempts at setting an evil opening trap—Preparations A through G—were a complete failure. But finally, Preparation H worked wholly. Dr. Evil lets your rival know their dead frickin' lost, and that you have a whole bag of 'Shhhh' with their name on it.


Shhhh is both Dr. Evil and Giri approved after checkmating a troll who's been trash-talking in chat. Lemme tell you a little story about a troll named 'Shhhh!'


You've been on tilt for an hour, lost 200 rating points, and finally, rage quit by disconnecting. You think, "I'm never playing bullet again; whatevs, it's not even real chess." Who are you kidding? We all know you'll be back tomorrow.


You outplayed your opponent in blitz and have a completely winning position. All you have to do is be a little bit careful...

When you blunder this badly, immediately assume the OMG hand position! Then slowly count backward from 10. Failure to take this basic safety precaution may result in a broken mouse, airborne laptop, and/or epic tilt.

Thumb Post

Since this hand position provides minimal cranial support, the thumb post is only recommended for quiet middle games. If the post breaks during a tense game, your head and chess position will completely collapse!

The Matrix

This hand position can help a player calculate the matrix of variations in a complex chess position. However, when the likes of GM Hikaru Nakamura plugs in, "It means fasten your seat belt, Dorothy, 'cause Kansas is going bye-bye."

Onion Peeler

Your position is so bad that you attempt to peel back a layer of reality, only to find it's worse than you realized and it brings you to tears.

The Bridge

The bridge dramatically reveals your chess masterpiece to the world. Your distraught opponent will resign by jumping off it.

Palm Pillow

Don’t get lulled to sleep by the serene palm pillow because there are violent tactical ideas hiding under the bed. GM Ian Nepomniachtchi employed it brilliantly in Game 2 of the World Championship Match.

Fist Of Fury

The fist is a versatile hand position. You can use it in defeat when you blunder in a winning position...

Fist Of Glory

... or you can use it in victory when you checkmate your opponent with 0.01 seconds left on your clock.

Chin Gazer

You go for the chin gazer as a last resort when you have absolutely no idea what to do. Perhaps pieces will appear on the ceiling and show you the best move? It worked for Beth Harmon!

Robot Claw

The machines can make all the right chess moves, so it's only a matter of time before the robot claw masters the art of hand positions.

And let's not forget about that time a chess-playing robot broke a 7-year-old's finger! Fortunately for humans, this AI is not on the cusp of passing the Turing test anytime soon.

Chess Mask

Put on the chess mask when your position is so hideous you can't even bear to look at it.

Follicle You

You lose your queen on a mouse slip and gift your rival first place, but what do you care? You have the locks of a Norwegian chess god.

Prodigy Punch

You're an "improving adult" at your first over-the-board tournament. All you have to do is beat some little kid... time to find a new hobby! #chesspunked

Which hand position is your favorite? Which one do you rely on in your games? Make your case in the comments below! is experiencing insane growth! If you're one of our tens of millions of new members, then you've missed out on great written content over the years. This was a reboot of an article originally published in July 2014: 17 Hand Positions Every Tournament Player Must Know.


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