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Glossary of Chess Terms

Updated on May 29, 2010
Name
Meaning
Center
The four squares Q4, Q5, K4, and K5.
Closed Game
Type of position with pawns so blocked that most files cannot be opened.
Connected Pawns
Ones that can mutually support one another.
Development
Early phase of game requiring mobilization of pieces.
Discovered Attack (Check)
Attack (on king) by the moving away of an intervening man.
Double Attack
One man threatening two enemy points.
Double Check
A discovered check in which the man moved also checks.
Doubled Pawn
Two pawns of the same player on a file.
Fianchetto
To post a bishop at QN2 or KN2.
Fork
Attack by one man on two enemy points.
Hole
Any important square on which a piece can settle without being attacked by pawns.
Isolated Pawn
One deprived of protection by pawns of its own side. Isolani is the same, but denotes compensating value because of central location.
Major Piece
Rook or queen.
Majority
Larger group of pawns that opponent has on kingside, queenside, or center.
Minor Piece
Knight or bishop. Minority Attack. Advance of pawns so supported by men as to disrupt the opponent's majority.
Open File
One with no pawns on it.
Outpost
A well-protected piece utilizing a hole that discomforts the opponent.
Overburdened Man
One that is perilously required to protect more than a single man.
Passed Pawn
One that is not opposed by an enemy pawn on its march to queening.
Pawn Storm
Attack spearheaded by pawn action.
Pin
To fix an adverse man by an attack so, if it moves, a more valuable piece behind it falls.
Tempo
Gain of time, particularly in developing.
Zugzwang
Situation of a player in which any legal move he may make must impair his position seriously.
Zwischenzug
A move interpolated, with a threat that the opponent cannot ignore, before a necessary or an expected move.

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