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Just some chess grammar

  • #1

    Just some chess-grammar.

    I read once, and, I am sure, was in English and possible Reinfeld, that there is some special grammar when writing about chess games, movements. . .and so forth. . .and in any idiom.

    You see. When you are talking about the Black Queen Tower, placed in a8, you are talking about a "specific being" in the chess world which is not the same as talking about "black chess towers" (inanimated objets) made out of wood or metal that you may find in any chess set.

    And the same goes with th words White and Black. . . Who plays or wins: white or black. . . or White or Black.? Or are the white or black pieces or side o the White or Black side or pieces?

    What do you think?  Do you have any rule about it?


    So. . . what do you say about it? And can you formulate a some how simple rule about it?

  • #2

    Luis : nice subject, I like it, will do some research, will come back on it, but give me some time to think about it and to realise the ins and outs of the languages used in sports in general and chess in perticular...   Bye, Ger.

  • #3

    When writing about chess in general, certain words are used, known to chess players only, like gambit, prophylaxis, fianchetto, deferred, so a kind of professional jargon.

    In problems they use a lot of terms, even strange for "normal" players, like cyclic play, decoy themes, dual avoidances, reflex chess, these words I found in chess dictionaries...   ( I don't like problems ).

    We all know by now what blitz, bullet, rapid, post-key and lightning chess is,  --  and even self-stalemate and retro-analysis...

    Yes, the special grammer you are asking for, exists, but it's of no use to make a list of all terms, one can find that elsewhere.

    Your remarks about correct usage of words ( black, white ), leads to another subject, philosophy in my opinion :  whether concrete or abstract, a white thing versus whiteness and so on.

    What else can we think of ?  I like any commentary !

  • #4

    I see a rather important psychological effect in it.

    Have you ever wonder why standard players, as well as GM´s, do not feel at easy playing with fancy chess figures? Either we (I am standard) play with Staunton sets or do not play. Even the portable sets are, sometimes, hard to get accustomed to.

    Well. The same with chess notation. If you are given the sentences:

    "the white bishop is closed to the black one. . .)


    "the White bishop is closed to the Black one. . .)

    in which case do you understand that the Kenyan bishop is standing close to the blonde one from Amsterdam or London?

    In Spanish the chess "Knight" is translated "Caballo" (for "horse")

    You should notice a difference if I said (thinking in English)

    "the horse moved to. . . or the Horse move to . . .

    A non-chess-player would say that I misspelled "horse". . . that it should not be written with capital H. . . . . . and that ¡what in hell I am doing in this forum if I do not know how to write "horse"¡

    And similar with black(B) and white(W) pawns, towers. queens etc.


    See you

  • #5

    Hi tabor,

    Regarding the upper-case and lower-case spelling there's a simple rule in the English language:

    You only use upper-case letters for the beginning of a word within a sentence if it's a proper name.

    Therefore, you want to use upper-case if you talk about Black and White as the owner of the party, but not as a description of a piece. Examples:

    In this position White's queen threatens to...


    In this position the white queen threatens to...

    Does this make sence?



  • #6

    Thanks for the answer Spielkalb.

    Fred Reinfeld is considered as one of the best chess writers. In his book "The Complete Chess Course (for the archives. . . it cost me $ 3.5 way back in the 50´s; wonderful book) you read things like these:

    "Of the five moves that Black made, three were Pawn moves and one King move."

    "It is White´s misfortune that he cannot retreat the attacked Knight to. . ."

    (Note the "White" and the "personalizing he")

    Today, Ludek Pachman in his book "Modern Chess Strategy" writes like this:

    "Exchanging the Knight for the Bishop is faulty. . ."

    So I think that in writing chess you should consider de pieces as "players" trying to beat each other in the stadium (board).

    Guess that we forum writers should stick to that way of writing...when writing about chess

    My regards


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