some VERY COMMONLY used CHESS terms...

Nov 1, 2009, 11:50 PM |

Action Chess:  A game where each player has 30 minutes to make all his moves.

Amateur:  In chess, a non-master. At the US Amateur, masters cannot play. At the US Amateur Team tournaments, the team has to average below master rating. Note: in chess, amateurs can win money, sometimes quite a bit at tournaments like the World Open.

Analysis:  The part of the thought process where you generate the move tree, e.g. "If I go there, what would he do?"

Annotation:  To not only show the moves of a game, but provide additional text and moves showing more detail of what happened - or could have happened.

Attack:  When you move a piece to a square where you could capture an opponent’s piece NEXT move. Also, when you have the initiative and can put pressure on specific squares, e.g. I am attacking the kingside.

Back Rank:  The rank where a player sets up his major pieces (1st for White; 8th for Black)

Back-Rank Mate:  A checkmate on the 1st or 8th rank with a Rook or Queen.

Backward Pawn:  One that cannot safely advance, taking into account only the pawns on both sides. A pawn that is fixed (cannot move because another pawn is directly in front, i.e. a "ram") is, by definition not backward. Nor is the rearmost pawn in a pawn chain usually a backward pawn.

Battery :  Lining up two pieces that move similarly, like a Queen and Rook or  Queen and Bishop.

Blitz:   Fast chess.  Many blitz games are 5 minutes per player for the entire game. Chess played at a fast enough time control where good moves are generally less important than the time remaining.

Calculation:  The part of analysis involving forced sequences.

Closed File:  A file with pawns of both sides.

Closed Position:  A position without any open or semi-open files.

Coordination:  The ability for various pieces to work together harmoniously to achieve a goal.

Desperado:  A piece that is going to be captured anyway so it can "sacrifice" itself at the highest cost.

Discovered Attack:  An attack by a piece that was opened up via another piece’s move.

Double Attack:  An attack on two (or more) pieces by a single move.

Double check:  A discovered check where both the discovering and discovered piece both deliver check. In that case, the opposing king must move.

Doubled Pawns:  Two pawns of the same color on the same file as a result of a capture.

Doubled Rooks:  Two Rooks forming a battery on a rank or file.

Exchange (the):  Trading a Bishop or Knight for a Rook is winning the Exchange. Losing a Rook for a Bishop or Knight is losing the Exchange. NOT the same as trading pieces.

Expert:   Someone with a US Chess Federation rating between 2000 and 2199.

Fianchetto:  To develop a Bishop on a long diagonal (b2 or g2 for White; b7 or g7 for Black).

Flag:  The part of an analog clock that rises when the minute hand nears the hour and falls at the hour. To "flag" someone is to call them on a time forfeit.

Fork:  A double attack, usually by a Knight or Pawn (thus looking like a “fork” in the road).

Hole:   A weak square on the opponent's side of the board.

Master:  Someone with a US Chess Federation rating between 2200 and 2399 is a national master (NM).

Pawn structure:   How the pawns for one side are currently placed on the board.

Pin:   An attack by a Rook, Bishop, or Queen, on a piece that cannot/should not move because a piece behind the attacked piece along the line of attack is worth even more (if the piece behind is a King, this is an “absolute” pin) and the piece is not allowed to move, or it would put the King into check, which is illegal.

Removal of the Guard:  A chess tactic where the defender is captured or forced to move so that it is no longer defending.

Sandbagger:   Someone who purposely keeps his rating low in order to qualify for easier sections and a better chance to win money.

Semi-Open File:  A file with a only pawns of the opponent.

Sudden Death:  A time control period where all the moves have to be played within a certain amount of time (on that player’s clock).

Tie:   When two players have the same score in a tournament or match. Not when a game is drawn.

Tiebreak:   A method used for differentiating places between two players with the same score. It is usually based on how well the opponents did in an event.

Zugzwang:   When you have to move, but any move is bad for you. Note: Some contend it is not true zugzwang unless your opponent could not win without this compulsion (in other words, if you could pass but your opponent can still win, then although any move is bad for you it is not a true zugzwang).

Touch Move:   The rule that says:

1.If you touch a piece you have to move it,

2.If you let go of a piece you have to leave it there

3.If you displace an opponent’s piece, you have to take it.