Chess Terms
Chess Turn

Chess Turn

Do you know what a chess turn is, and how it differs from a chess move? The term can be slightly confusing for some players. Read this article to understand precisely what a "chess turn" is.

What Is A Chess Turn?

To understand what a chess turn is, you first need to know what a chess move is.

For a chess move to be completed, the following events must take place:

  1. The clock from the player who will make the move starts to run.
  2. The player makes a legal move completely—that includes performing the required actions for capturing a piece or promoting a pawn whenever needed.
  3. The player hits the clock, stopping their time and starting their opponent's time.
White starts the turn.
In chess, White always has the first move.

These events seem like too much work just to complete a single move, but luckily you do not need to agonize over those things when you are playing on We handle all of these aspects of the game for you, so you can simply relax and enjoy the game.

Now that you have learned what a chess move is, understanding the concept of a chess turn is very simple. A chess turn is only completed when both players have made their moves. The only exception to this rule is when White plays a move that ends the game.

A complete chess turn.
After Black moves and White's clock starts again, a turn is completed.


Now that you understand what a chess turn is, it is time for you to test your knowledge!

Take a look at the diagram below. It depicts the famous Fool's Mate. Can you count how many turns it took for Black to win the game using this mating pattern?

Well done! It took Black only two turns to finish the game! This mating pattern is the fastest one in chess.

Now take a look at another well-known type of checkmate, the Scholar's Mate. Can you count how many turns were played in this game?

You are correct! This was another fast game with only four turns. The fourth turn ended with White's move because it delivered a checkmate.


You now know what a complete chess turn is. You also understand the difference between a full turn and a single move. Now head over to the Lessons page and learn how you can make the best out of every turn in chess!