Chess Terms 2-B

Aug 30, 2008, 4:20 AM |


Symbol used for the bishop when recording chess moves in English.

Back rank

A player's first rank (the one on which the pieces stand in the initial array); White's back rank is Black's eighth rank and vice versa.

Back rank mate

A checkmate delivered by a rook or queen along a back rank in which the mated king is unable to move up the board because the king is blocked by friendly pieces (usually pawns) on the second rank.

Backward pawn

A pawn that is behind the pawns of the same color on the adjacent files and that cannot be advanced with the support of another pawn.

Bad bishop

Image:chess zhor 22.png
Image:chess zver 22.png a8 b8 c8 d8 e8 f8 g8 h8 Image:chess zver 22.png
a7 b7 c7 d7 e7 f7 pd g7 pd h7
a6 b6 c6 d6 bd e6 pd f6 g6 h6 pd
a5 b5 pd c5 d5 pd e5 f5 g5 h5
a4 b4 pl c4 d4 pl e4 f4 g4 h4
a3 b3 c3 bl d3 e3 pl f3 g3 h3 pl
a2 b2 c2 d2 e2 f2 pl g2 pl h2
a1 b1 c1 d1 e1 f1 g1 h1
Image:chess zhor 22.png
White has a bad bishop, Black has a good bishop (Evans 1967:66).
A bishop which is hemmed in by the player's own pawns.


An arrangement of two pieces in line with the enemy king on a rank, file, or diagonal so that if the middle piece moves a discovered check will be delivered. The term is also used in cases where moving the middle piece will uncover a threat along the opened line other than a check.



An abbreviation sometimes used for the chess opening reference Batsford's Chess Openings. The second edition is often called BCO-2. Cf. ECO and MCO.


A strong grip or stranglehold on a position that is difficult for the opponent to break. A bind is usually an advantage in space created by advanced pawns. The Maróczy Bind is a well-known example.

Bishops on opposite colors

A situation in which one side has only its light-squared bishop remaining while the other has only its dark-squared bishop remaining. In endgames, this often results in a draw if there are no other pieces (only pawns), even if one side has one or two pawns extra, since the bishops control different squares. In the middlegame, however, the presence of opposite colored bishops imbalances the game and can lead to mating attacks, since each bishop attacks squares that cannot be covered by the other.

Bishop pair

In open positions, two bishops (on opposite colors) are considered to have an advantage over two knights or a knight and a bishop. (In closed positions knights may be more valuable than bishops.) The player with two bishops is said to have the bishop pair.

Bishop pawn

A pawn on the bishop's file, i.e. the c-file or f-file.


The designation for the player who moves second, even though the corresponding pieces, referred to as "the black pieces," are sometimes actually some other (usually dark) color. Similarly, the dark-colored squares on the chessboard are often referred to as "the black squares" even though they often are not literally black. 

Blindfold chess

A form of chess in which one or both players are not allowed to see the board.

Blitz chess

A fast form of chess (Blitz being German for lightning) with a very short time limit, usually 3 or 5 minutes per player for the entire game. With the advent of electronic chess clocks, it is often the case that the time remaining is incremented by 1 or 2 seconds per move.


A very bad move, an oversight (indicated by "??" in notation).


A strategic placement of a minor piece directly in front of an enemy pawn, where it restrains the pawn's advance and gains shelter from attack. Blockading pieces are often overprotected.

Book draw

An endgame position known to be a draw with perfect play. The name reflects that traditionally the analysis has been found in the chess endgame literature, but in simplified positions (currently six pieces or fewer) computer analysis in an endgame tablebase can be used.

 Book move

An opening move found in the standard reference books on opening theory. A game is said to be "in book" when both players are playing moves found in the opening references. A game is said to be "out of book" when the players have reached the end of the variations analyzed in the opening books or if one of the players deviates with a novelty (or a blunder).

Book win

An endgame position known to be a win with perfect play. The name reflects that traditionally the analysis has been found in the chess endgame literature, but in simplified positions (currently six pieces or fewer) computer analysis in an endgame tablebase can be used.


A pawn advance or capture that opens up a blocked position.


Destruction of a seemingly strong defense, often by means of a sacrifice.



A spectacular and beautiful game of chess, generally featuring sacrificial attacks and unexpected moves. Brilliancies are not always required to feature sound play or the best moves by either side.

Brilliancy prize

A prize awarded at some tournaments for the best brilliancy played in the tournament.

Bronstein delay

A time control method with time delay, invented by David Bronstein. When it becomes a player's turn to move, the clock waits for the delay period before starting to subtract from the player's remaining time.

Bughouse chess

A chess variant played with teams of two or more.

Bullet chess

A form of chess in which each side has 1 minute to make all their moves.


A tournament round in which a player does not have a game, usually because there are an odd number of players. A bye is normally scored as a win (1 point), although in some tournaments a player is permitted to choose to take a bye (usually in the first or last round) and score it as a draw (½ point).