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Over the years, I have seen many recurring chess ideas that had no established names. Therefore, in the course of writing 11 books and over 135 columns, I have had to create names for these features. Some have even become accepted outside my domain, which is very gratifying. I won't list all of them, but here are many of the most common "Danisms" (there will never be a quiz later...):

  • Hand-waving - erroneously using general principles to make a move that should require careful analysis. For more on this common mistake, see "Hand Waving is Worse than Hope Chess" at
  • Micro time management - how well you use your time on every move, i.e., give moves that deserve and need more time that extra time and not play too slowly on moves where extra time is not cost effective.
  • Macro time management - how you use your time over the game as a whole - do you finish your game with more time than you should or, at the other end of the spectrum, get into unnecessary time trouble.
  • Two-way bishop- a bishop that is strong on both diagonals. For example:
    In the King's Indian, Black often plays ...h6 in response to an early Bg5 to "put the question" to the bishop and determine to which diagonal the bishop wishes to go, rather than letting it remain on both the c1-h6 and h4-d8 diagonals.
  • Hope Chess/Real Chess - Hope Chess is when you make a move without checking to see if the opponent has a check, capture, or threat as a reply on the next move which cannot be met. So once they make the move, you think "Uh-oh! What do I do now?" Consistently avoiding Hope Chess is Real Chess, where you do check whether each candidate move is safe, consistently. This is often (understandably) misunderstood to mean "You make a threat and hope the opponent does not see it" or "You make a bad move and hope the opponent does not see how to refute it", both of which are common "Hopes".
  • Floobly - a terrible blunder which immediatel turns an easy win into a draw or loss, or an easy draw into a loss. For example, allowing back-rank mate when ahead two queens because you are not watching what the opponent is doing is a floobly. Another is stalemating your opponent with a K&Q vs. K. For more on this topic, see "Don't Allow the Floobly" at
  • Acquiescing - Quickly deciding that an opponent's fatal threat is not stoppable and just letting him play it, resulting in a completely lost position. Sometimes there is a defense, but the player did not even bother to look deeply for it, even though he had plenty of time. Of course, taking an inordinate amount of time hopelessly looking for something in a completely lost position is bad etiquette and not acquiescing.
  • Move domination - when one candidate move does everything the other candidate move does and more. For example, if a king is on h8 and is contemplating centralizing with Kg8 or Kg7, then, unless there is a tactic involving Kg7, that move dominates Kg8 since a king can go anywhere from g7 that it can from g8, and more. You can sometimes use move domination to eliminate candidate moves.
  • Trigger 1 and Trigger 2: These are the two reasons you would stop thinking and make a move. Trigger 1 means you have found a move which it would not make sense looking for a better one, such as an easy win (i.e., you would sensibly argue with a room full of grandmasters that they can't find a more effective move). Trigger 2 is the reasonable amount of time for a move, given the position, time control, move number, time remaining. Nobody "calculates" Trigger 2, but all good players have a general sense for what it is for each situation. Obviously a reasonable amount of time for a move in a speed game is quite different than the reasonable time in the same position in a slow game (that's why time control is vital). When you hit either Trigger, you should move, and consistently exceeding Trigger 2 will mean you will get into unnecessary time trouble.
  • Counting - the supremely important tactic of determining if any series of exchanges on any squares leads to loss of material for one side. One of my big goals of chess is to get instructors to teach Counting after teaching the rules but before teaching the more difficult multi-square tactical motifs such as pins, double attacks, removal of the guards, etc. At its most basic, Counting is exemplified by "En prise" - at its most difficult it can encompass multiple squares with chain reactions, such as desperado sequences.
  • Overpreparation - wasting tempos preparing a move that is already safe and perfectly playable. For example, in King's Indian positions weak players often play the unnecessary ...Re8 in preparation for ...e5, which is already safe and thus should just be played without ...Re8. At its best overpreparation is a waste of time; at its worst it is a missed opportunity as the opponent may then prevent the overprepared move to be played at all (for a variety of reasons, such as starting a tactic).


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