If it is not possible to finish a game within the prescribed time, the players may ADJOURN to continue at another time. The player whose turn it is to move at the ADJOURNMENT makes a SEALED MOVE.


If it not possible to finish a game either within the prescribed time or at another time, the game may be ADJUDICATED by an expert. he will decide on the result of the game on the assumption that both players make the best moves.




A tournament in which every player plays (one or more games) against every other player. Sometimes knows as American or Round Robin.

Algebraic Notation





Comments about the moves of a game, as, for example, in the Masters of the Universe games in this book.




a) A situation in which a piece could capture an enemy piece: after 1. e2-e4 e7-e5 2. Qd1-h5, the White Queen ATTACKS the pawns on e5, f7 and h7. The word is also sometimes used in the same sense as THREAT

b) A plan of campaign against a specific target: we may talk of a KING-SIDE attack, a QUEEN-SIDE attack and so on.

c) A name given to some openings or variations chosen by White, for instance the Fried Liver Attack.

Back Rank Mate

A CHECKMATE by Queen or Rook along the back RANK, typically, but not necessarily, with the pawns in front of the King unmoved. For instance, White Rook on a8, Black King on g8, Black Pawns on f7, g7, h7.

Backward Pawn

A pawn which, though not ISOLATED, has no pawn of the same colour on an adjacent FILE either on the same RANK or behind it. If this pawn is on a HALF-OPEN FILE and cannot advance it can become a target of attack. Place a White Pawn on e4 and Black Pawns on d6 and e5. If there if no Black c-pawn on the board, or if it on, say, c5, the Black d-pawn is BACKWARD.

Blindfold Chess

A game in which the players play without a board, calling out the moves to each other.

Blindfold Simultaneous Display

A SIMULTANEOUS DISPLAY in which the player giving the display cannot see the boards but has the moves called out to him on each board in turn.

Blitz Chess


Candidates' Tournament/Match

A TOURNAMENT or MATCH to decide the challenger for the World Championship. Candidates' TOURNAMENTS were held between 1950 and 1962. Since then the challenger for the World Championship has been decided by Candidates' MATCHES.


A double move in which an unmoved King moves two squares towards an unmoved King and the Rook moves over the King to the next square. If White castles KING-SIDE his King goes to g1 and his Rook to f1. If Black castles QUEEN-SIDE his King goes to c8 and his Rook to d8. Castling is not possible if the King is IN CHECK, moves THROUGH CHECK or moves INTO CHECK. You castle by moving your King first or both pieces together. A player who touches his Rook first may not castle but instead has to play a rook move.


The middle of the board: specifically the squares d4, e4, d5 and e5. In the OPENING, both players should strive to occupy or control the CENTRE.


An ATTACK (definition a)) on the King. In games between inexperienced players it is usual to announce "Check" to your opponent when attacking his King. If you play in adult tournaments you'll find that your opponents will probably not do this, expecting you to see for yourself if you are in check.


A CHECK which cannot be parried by moving the King to a safe square, blocking the attack or capturing the checking piece. Checkmate ends the game: the player who is checkmated has lost. MATE has the same meaning as checkmate and is frequently used in its place.


Moving a piece, often as a SACRIFICE, in order to make way for another piece.


In serious TOURNAMENTS and MATCHES each player has a fixed amount of time to play either a certain number of moves or the whole game. A player who exceeds the time limit loses as long as his opponent has enough MATERIAL left to get CHECKMATE. A chess clock has two races. On making a move the player presses the button on top of his clock to start his opponent's clock ticking. Digital clocks are now being used in many TOURNAMENTS.


A sequence of moves involving a SACRIFICE played in order to gain a specific advantage, usually to win MATERIAL or to force CHECKMATE, sometimes to force a draw from an inferior position.




The person who oversees a TOURNAMENT or MATCH and who has the responsibility of ensuring that the Laws of Chess are obeyed. Also ARBITER.

Correspondence Chess

Chess played by post: the players take it in turns to send their moves to each other by letter. The term is also used loosely for chess in which moves are communicated by other means, for instance phone, radio or fax.


a) A move which replies to the opponent's THREAT by setting up a THREAT of its own.

b) A name given to some openings or variations of an attacking nature selected by Black.


A GAMBIT played by Black, for instance the Falkbeer Counter-gambit.


To force an enemy piece either away from or to a particular square or line, often by means of a SACRIFICE. (Some writers use DECOY only for forcing TO a square or line and DEFLECTION for forcing AWAY FROM a square or line.)


a) An answer to a THREAT, or that which prevents an ATTACK from being a THREAT. After 1. e2-e4 e7-e5 2. Qd1-h5, the Rook on h8 provides a DEFENCE to the ATTACK on h7 and the King provides a DEFENCE to the ATTACK on f7. A good move for Black would be 2... Nb8-c6, providing a DEFENCE to the THREAT of Qh5xe5+.

b) A name given to an opening or variation chosen by Black: for instance the Sicilian Defence or French Defence.

Descriptive Notation



To capture a defending piece, often as a SACRIFICE.


To develop a piece is to move it from its starting square to a more effective position. In the OPENING both players strive for rapid DEVELOPMENT.


A line on the chess board from North East to South West or from North West to South East, as traversed by bishops and queens. The diagonals from corner to corner are the LONG DIAGONALS.

Discovered Attack

A move which opens up an attack from a bishop, rook or queen. After the moves 1. e2-e4 e7-e5 2. Qd1-g4?, a move by the Black d-pawn would be a DISCOVERED ATTACK on the White Queen. Also called an AMBUSH.

Discovered Check

A move which opens up an ATTACK from a bishop, rook or queen n the opponent's King.

Double Check

A CHECK from two pieces at once: a DISCOVERED CHECK where the piece moving away itself gives CHECK. A DOUBLE CHECK can only be met by a King move.

Doubled Pawns

Two pawns of the same colour on the same FILE. Three pawns of the same colour on the same FILE are TRIPLED PAWNS. Such pawns can often become targets of attack.


A game which neither player wins. A draw can be achieved in four ways:

1. Both players have insufficient MATERIAL to force CHECKMATE.
2. By threefold REPETITION of the position.
4. By agreement between the two players.

En Passant

A pawn capture in which a pawn on its fifth RANK can capture a pawn on an adjacent FILE moving from the second to the fourth rank as if it moved only one square. After the moves 1. e2-e4 e7-e6 2. e4-e5 d7-d5, White may, if he chooses, capture Black's d-pawn EN PASSANT, but only on his next move. His e-pawn will move to d6 and Black's d-pawn will be removed from the board.


The final stage of a game of chess, when there is little MATERIAL left on the board; where most of the pieces (but not necessarily the pawns) have been captured.

Exchange (The)

a) Trading pieces of equal value: for instance, queen for queen, rook for rook, bishop for knight.

b) The advantage of Rook for Bishop or Knight. If you win Rook for Bishop or Knight you are said to WIN THE EXCHANGE while your opponent LOSES THE EXCHANGE. If you give up Rook for Bishop or Knight deliberately you SACRIFICE THE EXCHANGE.

Family Fork



The DEVELOPMENT of a bishop on the LONG DIAGONAL (b2 or g2 for White, b7 or g7 for Black) after moving the b-pawn or g-pawn.


The International Chess Federation (Fédération International Des Echecs in French): the ruling body for world chess.

FIDE Master (FM)

The lowest MASTER title awarded by FIDE, below the rank of INTERNATIONAL MASTER. Players qualify for this title by performing at a specified level in MASTER TOURNAMENTS. The title of FIDE Master is also awarded to World Junior Champions. FM is an abbreviation for FIDE Master. FIDE also award the title of WOMAN FIDE MASTER, with a lower level of qualification.

Fifty Move Rule

This rule states that if fifty moves have been played since the last capture or pawn move the game is a draw. It can only be enforced if the players are recording their moves (or, in junior chess, counting their moves). Contrary to popular opinion it has nothing at all to do with one player only having a King left. The FIFTY MOVE RULE was extended for certain positions in the 19802 but in 1992 it reverted to fifty moves for all positions, except if announced in advance by the TOURNAMENT organiser.


A vertical line of squares on a chess board. The eight FILES are assigned the letters from a to h, so, for instance, the FILE on which the Kings start is referred to as the e-FILE.

Forced (Move)

a) The only legal move in the position.

b) The only reasonable move in the position.

Forcing Move

A move which restricts the opponent's choice of reply: a THREAT, CHECK or capture.


A situation in which one piece THREATENS two enemy pieces (or squares). For instance: 1. e2-e4 c7-c5 2. d2-d4 c5xd4 3. Ng1-f3 e7-e5 4. Nf3xe5? Qd8-a5+ is a QUEEN FORK: a CHECK and a threat of Qa5xe5. A Knight FORK threatening King, Queen and Rook is known as a FAMILY FORK.


An OPENING or variation in which one player (usually White) SACRIFICES MATERIAL for the sake of a lead in DEVELOPMENT or occupation of the CENTRE. Examples are the King's Gambit and the Danish Gambit. Openings where Black makes the SACRIFICE are sometimes known as COUNTER-GAMBITS.


A number indicating a player's strength. FIDE and national chess organisations issue regular lists of grades. The system used in England is not the same as the one used both by FIDE and in most other countries. Grades are more often known (in most countries except England) as RATINGS.

Grandmaster (GM, IGM)

The highest title awarded by FIDE, sometimes also called INTERNATIONAL GRANDMASTER and abbreviated to either IGM or GM. It is awarded to players who perform at a specified level in GRANDMASTER TOURNAMENTS. The title of WOMAN INTERNATIONAL GRANDMASTER (WGM) is awarded to women and has a lower qualification level. Separate Grandmaster titles are also awarded for CORRESPONDENCE CHESS.

Half-open File

A FILE with a pawn or pawns of one colour only on it.


A situation in which a piece is played (often as a SACRIFICE) to a square in order to cut off a line of defence.

International Master (IM)

A title awarded by FIDE to players performing at a specified level in MASTER TOURNAMENTS. It is abbreviated to IM. It ranks above FIDE MASTER and below GRANDMASTER. The title of WOMEN'S INTERNATIONAL MASTER (WIM) is also awarded, with a lower qualification level. Separate International Master titles are also awarded for CORRESPONDENCE CHESS.

Isolated Pawn

A pawn with no pawns of its own colour on the FILES either side of it.


A warning (in old French - there is no such word in modern French) to your opponent that you are going to adjust a piece which is not in the centre of its square rather than make a move with it. It must be announced BEFORE you touch the piece. The English 'Adjust' is often preferred.

King's Side

Also KING-SIDE. The side of the board on which the Kings start: the e, f, g and h files. We talk about CASTLING KING-SIDE, or playing a KING-SIDE ATTACK.

Legall's Mate

A mate in the early stages of the game following a Queen SACRIFICE by moving a PINNED Knight. An example is 1. e2-e4 e7-e5 2. Bf1-c4 d7-d6 3. Ng1-f3 Bc8-g4 4. Nb1-c3 g7-g6? 5. Nf3xe5! Bg4xd1? 6. Bc4xf7+ Ke8-e7 7. Nc3-d5#.

Lightning Chess

Speed chess: there are two varieties. It can be played with a CLOCK, with, say, five our ten minutes per player for the game, or with a buzzer when moves have to be played, say, every ten seconds. Also known as BLITZ CHESS.

Line Piece

A piece which moves in a straight line: Queen, Rook or Bishop.

Long Diagonal

The DIAGONALS from corner to corner (a1 to h8, h1 to a8) on the chess board.

Major Pieces

Queens and rooks: bishops and knights are MINOR PIECES.


A general term for a strong player. FIDE awards GRANDMASTER, INTERNATIONAL MASTER and FIDE MASTER titles. Countries can also award National Master titles.


a) A series of games between two players, for instance a World Championship Match.

b) An encounter between two teams, usually playing in order of strength with the strongest players on each side playing each other and so on, all the way down. Teams may represent, for example, schools, clubs or countries.




The value of the pieces on the board: counting queens as worth 9 points, rooks as 5, bishops and knights as 3 and pawns as 1, if you have rook against bishop and pawn you are ahead on material: you have a material advantage.

Middle Game

That part of the game between the OPENING and the ENDING, when the pieces have been DEVELOPED and the amount of MATERIAL left on the board is not reduced enough for the position to be considered an ENDING.

Minor Pieces

Bishops and knights: queens and rooks are major pieces.


The notation for chess moves used in this book is known as ALGEBRAIC or STANDARD NOTATION. The first eight chapters use LONG ALGEBRAIC NOTATION and the last eight chapters use SHORT ALGEBRAIC NOTATION. You may come across some books (published before about 1980) using a different notation: P-K4 instead of e2-e4. This is DESCRIPTIVE NOTATION.


The Chess Olympics are held every two years: every country affiliated to FIDE is allowed to enter a team in both the Open and Women's competition.


a) The first 10-15 moves of the game, when the PIECES are being DEVELOPED.

b) A name given to a particular sequence of moves at the start of the game, like the Giuoco Piano or Ruy Lopez. Some may have the word 'Opening', 'Game', 'DEFENCE', 'ATTACK' or 'GAMBIT' attached to them.

Opposition (The)

A situation in the ENDING where two Kings stand two squares apart. The side NOT having the move is said to have THE OPPOSITION, which, in most castes, is an advantage. Place the White King on e4 and the Black King on e6: we have VERTICAL OPPOSITION. With the Black King on c4 we'd have HORIZONTAL OPPOSITION, and with the Black King on c6 we'd have DIAGONAL OPPOSITION. Now move the Black King to e8. With three squares between the Kings we have DISTANT OPPOSITION.


A square in or close to enemy territory which can never be attacked by an enemy pawn and which is (usually) supported by a friendly pawn. For instance, the square in front of a BACKWARD PAWN can be an outpost: with a White Pawn on e4, Black pawns on e5 and d6 and no Black c-pawn, d5 is an OUTPOST for White. Knights are particularly effective stationed on OUTPOSTS.

Overworked Piece

A piece which has to, but is unable to, perform two defensive tasks at the same time. Such a piece can be DECOYED to advantage.

Passed Pawn

A pawn with has no enemy pawn either on its FILE or on adjacent FILES on the RANKS in front of where it now stands.

Perpetual Check

A situation in which one player is checking his opponent continuously and his opponent is either unable or unwilling to evade the checks. Perpetual Check is not a rule of chess but will eventually lead to a draw by REPETITION.


a) Any chess piece (also chessman or man).

b) a MAJOR PIECE or MINOR PIECE: anything except a pawn.


A situation in which a piece is shielding another piece from attack by a LINE PIECE. After the moves 1. d2-d4 Ng8-f6 2. c2-c4 e7-e6 3. Nb1-c3 Bf8-b4 4. Bc1-g5, the Knights on c3 and f6 are both PINNED. The Knight on c3 is PINNED against the Queen, and is not allowed to move. The Knight on f6 is PINNED against the Queen, and is allowed to move, but doing so would give White the opportunity to capture the Queen.

Positional Chess

A style of playing which emphasises aspects of chess such as pawn weaknesses rather than TACTICS.

Postal Chess



On reaching the eighth RANK a pawn is promoted to a knight, bishop, rook of queen. Usually a queen is chosen, so we talk about either promoting or QUEENING a pawn. If a lesser piece is chosen we talk about UNDERPROMOTION.



Queen's Side

Also QUEEN-SIDE. The side of the board on which the Queens start: the a, b, c and d files. We talk about CASTLING QUEEN-SIDE or playing a QUEEN-SIDE ATTACK.




A horizontal line of squares on a chess board. The eight ranks are assigned the numbers from 1 to 8. The rank on which the White PIECES start is, from White's point of view, the first rank, and, from Black's point of view, the BACK RANK.


A game or tournament played at a time limit of, say, thirty minutes per player per game: slower than LIGHTNING CHESS but faster than normal, or slow play chess. Also known as QUICKPLAY.




A game is drawn by REPETITION if the same position occurs three times during the game with the same player to move. The correct procedure in TOURNAMENTS is that a player who wishes to claim a draw by REPETITION, instead of making his move stops the clock, calls the CONTROLLER and tells him that he is about to make a move which repeats the position three times. Note that the rule concerns repetition of position, not of moves, and that there is no such rule as PERPETUAL CHECK.


A player may RESIGN at any time during a game if he thinks his position is hopeless and he is sure to lose.


A deliberate loss of MATERIAL with the intention of procuring a short-term or long-term gain. Often abbreviated to 'sac'.

Sealed Move

At an adjournment the player whose turn it is to move writes down his next move and seals it in an envelope so that his opponent cannot see it. This is a SEALED MOVE.

Simultaneous Display

An event in which a MASTER or expert plays a number of opponents at the same time. The participants are seated on the outside and the expert goes round the inside playing a move on each board in turn. Often abbreviated to 'simul'.


A situation where a LINE PIECE attacks two pieces along the same line of attack. Unlike a PIN, the move valuable piece is in front and has to move, allowing the less valuable piece to be taken. Place a White Rook on h1, a Black King on e1 and a Black Rook on a1. The White Rook SKEWERS the Black King and Rook.

Smothered Mate

A CHECKMATE in which the squares around the King are occupied by friendly pieces. With a Black King on h8, Black Pawns on g7 and h7 and a Black Rook on g8, a White Knight on f8 would give SMOTHERED MATE.


A position in which the player whose turn it is to move is not in CHECK but has no legal moves; for instance Black King on a8, White Pawn on a8 and White King on a6: with Black to move this is STALEMATE. The result is a draw.


Long-term planning, as opposed to TACTICS.

Swiss System

A method of organising a TOURNAMENT in which many players can compete over a few rounds. In its simplest form, in each round a player is paired as far as possible with an opponent with an identical score. The players also alternate White and Black as far as possible. Most TOURNAMENTS below MASTER level and many MASTER TOURNAMENTS are run on the SWISS SYSTEM. A SWISS SYSTEM TOURNAMENT in which anyone can take part, from MASTER to beginner, is called an OPEN SWISS.




Chess information and knowledge to be found in books, based on the games and study of MASTERS. Books on OPENINGS contain OPENING THEORY: moves of MASTER games with comments and evaluations. There is also a lot of ENDGAME THEORY.


A THREAT is a move or plan which a player intends to carry out unless his opponent stops him. After 1. e2-e4 e7-e5 2. Qd1-h5, White ATTACKS e5, f7 and h7, but only Qh5xe5 is a THREAT: White THREATENS to take the e-pawn.


A chess competition in which players or teams play against each other to determine a winner. A number of TOURNAMENTS at the same time in the same place is a CONGRESS. Tournaments may be open only to players below a certain age or GRADE, only to girls or women and so on. Individual tournaments are usually scored by giving the winner of a game one point and the loser no points. A draw scores half a point each.


A situation in which one player is repeatedly forced into a DISCOVERED CHECK which enables his opponent to win MATERIAL.


A position in which the player whose move it is has to make a move which worsens his position. Place the Black King on e8, a White Pawn on d7 and the White King on d6. If it is Black's move he is in ZUGZWANG: his only move is Ke8-f7, when White will QUEEN his pawn in two moves time. With White to play he must either play Kd6-e6, which is STALEMATE or move his King away from the pawn, so White is in ZUGZWANG.


An in-between move, for instance when a player, instead of completing an EXCHANGE, stops to threaten CHECKMATE before recapturing the piece.