The Beginner's Guide to Chess Chat

The Beginner's Guide to Chess Chat

| 10 | Fun & Trivia

TEN | threesixtyfive

Chess players have a reputation of being a bit antisocial, and it's not suprising when the average chat log looks something like this:

Chess_Guy 1: hey

Chess_Bloke 2: hey

Chess_Bloke 2: hurry up about it

Chess_Guy 1: gg

Chess_Bloke 2: want another 1?

You may want to be like Bobby Fisher in his play, but you certainly don't want to be like him in his anti-social behaviour!  So I just want to give you a brief guide to chatting in chess:


The Dos of Chess Chat:

  • Do talk about the game: You both enjoy playing it, why not talk about it? All it takes is "Good move", "I didn't see that", "I've never played this opening before".
  • Do give advice:  I'm very grateful to MM78 & Bunkerputt for the chess lessons they've given me in unrated games. But you don't have to be as good as them to tutor. Did they miss a move? Let them know, they'll be grateful to learn! Indeed, why not both have a post game debrief looking at where you could both improve? 
  • Do ask chess questions: "How did you start playing chess?" "What's your favourite opening?" "Have you been following the Anand-Kramnik games?". They're great starting points!
  • Do ask about a person's other interests: Do they have children? Where do they work or study? What other hobbies do they have?
  • Do ask about a person's country: You're playing a person from Nepal. You have no idea about anything in Nepal. Why not ask them?
  • Do talk about the deeper things in life: Chess players are often quite intelligent people, why not ask intelligent questions? Talk about literature, or philosophy, theology or politics, something with a bit more to it. Rick1275 and I have had conversations ranging from Marcus Aurelius to Jesus Christ. Who else could you have such lofty discussions with, except for the great minds you'll find at

The Don'ts of Chess Chat

  • Don't taunt or try to put off your opponent: Be a good sport. I played a player today who was constantly rude to me. Although he was thrashing me, that gave him no right to insult me. You'll end up with no opponents if you do that.
  • Don't make abusive remarks: Using bad language or making racist remarks is unnecesary and spoils the game. Don't do it.
  • Don't come on to members of the opposite sex: Every time a girl comes onto the live game they receive incredible amounts of unwanted attention. "Hey Chess_BaBe. u luk hot". Not only is that terrible flirting it gets on everyone's nerves. Go on a dating site if that's what you want to do. We're here to play chess!
  • Don't be aggressive about your views: In live chess we are banned from talking about religious or political views in the public chat, which is unfortunately a good thing. Remarks like "Obama is a ****" are offensive and won't persuade anyone. But, in your games, you can have an amicable discussion, without it descending into unnecessary discussion if you be courteous.
  • Don't force conversation: You may think discussing evolution is the most fascinating thing in the world, but if your partner says drop it, drop it.
  • Don't chat to distract: It's tempting in a live game to run down the clock by asking questions to your opponent. That's bad sportsmanship and it's a big no no.
  • Don't say good game when it wasn't one: If you've had a challenging and thought provoking game you've enjoyed say good game (or gg). But if your partner has made a mistake that led to a surprise victory for you, while you can celebrate it to yourself, don't say good game. It could be interpreted as arrogance. Also, remember to say good game when your opponent has played out of his skin, not just when you have.

So there you have it, a guide to chatting in chess. If anyone wants to have a good chat about the deeper things in life with me then give me a challenge


Photo: TEN | threesixtyfive "Chess" byortizmj12 under the Creative Commons licence