The Devil's Dictionary of Chess
Christian: One who follows the teachings of Christ in so far as they are not inconsistent with a life of sin.
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While I do not claim to have Bierce’s satiric wit, I hope some of you may find minor amusement in a few of these chess definitions.
Backward Pawn: A pawn that doesn’t realize how good your position really is.
Blunder: The only way that you ever lose games.
Brilliancy: The only way that you ever win games.
Calculation: For many players, this refers to the mental process of visualizing the future course of the next move.
Checkmate: A term mostly uttered in the hotel restaurant of the Australian Open.
Compensation: Tactical barter.
Counterplay: Female chess player’s response. (see Mating Net below).
Development: Placing your pieces en prise faster than your opponent.
Discovered Check: A move that is sometimes a surprise to both players.
Doubled Pawns: Serfs up.
Endgame: Transition to the loss.
En passant: French term for “drive-by shooting”.
En prise: French for ‘a prize’.
Fianchetto: An oft-mispronounced Italian term for ‘funky cleric.’
File: A dangerous place for royalty to hang out in the open.
Gambit: Pouring a libation to the chess Gods.
Grandmaster: A chess player whose sole skill exceeding your own is that of selecting a chess move.
Hypermodern: Nimzovich on speed.
Isolated Pawn: A pawn that is an island entire of itself, ringing a bell that tolls for he.
Luft: An embarrassing noise that emanates from beneath the table when your opponent threatens your king.
Master: An expert who has lost his humility.
Material: Any information that may be collected into a good blog.
Mating Net: A ring of desperate males who lurk on the edges of women’s open tournaments.
Middlegame: Portion of the game that consists exclusively of Zwischenzugs.
Mobility: The degree to which one can flee from a pawn storm.
Opening: A position that occurs in every game during which you are the equal of any chess master.
Opposition: A form of arm wrestling where the king that gets the jump loses.
Overprotection: What pieces do when they suffer from neurotic paranoia.
Passed Pawn: A serf with delusions of grandeur.
Patzer: Anyone who thinks you are a patzer.
Pawn Chain: A connected archipelago.
Pawn Island: No pawn is an island entire of itself.
Poisoned Pawn: A tempting morsel offered by Satan for the instruction of innocents.
Prophylaxis: A chess move frowned upon by the Pope.
Rank: Atmospheric condition of the hall at the end of a long tournament.
Sacrifice: What a chess player’s spouse has to endure.
Skittles: A casual game marked by players who vie for the cleverest insult.
Stalemate: A skittles game where the players have exhausted their wit.
Tactics: What you try to do when you are otherwise clueless.
Tempo: The metronomic rhythm of pieces hitting the board during speed chess.
Zugzwang: You are required to supply this definition.
Zwischenzug: Any chess move modeled after the German military re-armament of the 1930’s.