|"A Gentle Glossary" was first published by U. S. Master Eliot Hearst in his column "Chess Kaleidoscope" in the July 1962 issue of Chess Life magazine. As a follow-up some later chess definitions were published in his column. These definitions were submitted by his readers and are just as humorous as the original terms. I want to thank Steve Ryan for pointing this out to me and for providing many of the additional chess terms in this addendum. Readers should keep in mind the date this material was originally published in judging the quality of the humor. This material is copyrighted by the United States Chess Federation (USCF) and is reproduced with the permission of Glenn Petersen, editor of Chess Life, publication of the US Chess Federation. -- J. Franklin Campbell|
by U. S. Master Eliot Hearst
Analysis: Irrefutable proof that you could have won a game you lost.
Annotator: A grandmaster of cliches.
Benko: Owner of a very fast chess clock.
Bird's Opening: 1. P-KB4. Opening named after a strong but near-sighted English master who frequently reached for the wrong pawn.
Blunder: A move most likely to be found in a winning position.
Böök: An unpronouncable Finnish master who tenderly clings to his umlaut, for he would seem ridiculous declaring he invented the Book Variation.
Bye: The thin line that separates a patzer from a score of zero.
Castling: A defensive move played by a cowardly opponent.
Challengers' Tourney: A tournament to decide which Russian will play another Russian for the world championship.
Champion: Someone who has attained success in chess only because he has more time to devote to the game than you have.
Checkers: Chess pieces which check the King.
Checkmate: A self-inflicted torture by novices who don't know the word "resigns."
Chess: 1. "A nice and abstruse game in which two sets of puppets are moved in opposition to each other" (Samuel Johnson's Dictionary). 2. "The checkmate of the King, which is the purpose of the game, is the symbolic equivalent of the desire to kill ... the father" (Coriat).
Chess Life: A magazine that comes out once a month late.
Cramped Position: That which you must obtain as a necessary preliminary to freeing your game.
En Passant: First used by Napoleon in a game he was losing. When his opponent objected, play was continued across from the guillotine. Napolean won.
En Prise, to Leave: method of relieving oneself of extraneous material.
End Game: Your last opportunity to miss a win or a draw.
Ethics of Chess: 1. Undefined. 2. "Place your opponent so that the sun shines in his eyes" (Ruy Lopez).
Fish: A player who falls for all your traps and still wins.
Fool's Mate: A chess player's spouse.
Giuoco Piano: Playable, but not quite so good as a Steinway.
Good Bishop: The one you still have on the board.
J'adoube: French for "What am I doing? If I move that piece I'm lost!"
King's Indian Reversed: naidni sgnik.
Lost Game: Something your opponent had before he won.
Love: What female chess players discover they have been in after several consecutive tournament losses.
Marshall Counterattack: An agressive defense to the Ruy Lopez, devised by Frank J. Counterattack.
Master: Every chessplayer's secret appraisal of his abilities.
Modesty: 1. A virtue that grandmasters rarely cultivate. 2. "When I am white I win because I am White; when I am Black I win because I am Bogoljubov."
Patzer: An affectionate term applied to anyone you can beat; an insulting epithet when used by certain wiseacres to describe you.
Petrosian: See GRANDMASTER DRAW.
Philidor's Defense: Nimzovich found it too eccentric and Philidor never played it.
Pin: A sharp move. (this entry from ten-year-old Ken Howes).
Pin: A sharp move that sticks a piece in an immovable position.
Positional Chess: A style of play based on the principle that no attack will be initiated until the position of the pieces becomes too complicated to understand.
Positional Sacrifice: A move so profound that if the annotator isn't your friend he calls it a blunder.
Ruy Lopez: A Spanish bishop, usually placed on QN5.
Sammy Reshevsky: A fifty-year-old prodigy.
Seventh Rank: Discovered by Nimzovich.
Sicilian Defense: A defense originated by members of the Mafia, embodying their highest principles.
Skill: The expert manner in which your gifted hand guides your Knight through the air to remove the Queen your opponent has left en prise.
Tal: A temporarily disarmed nuclear device (Russian).
Tournament Committee: A carefully selected group with no particular responsibility.
Trap: Something you saw but forgot about until you fell into it.
USCF Rating: A numerical figure which describes the way you played chess a year ago.
Weekend Tourney: A tournament for which a player travels 300-500 miles in order to be paired with players from his home town.
For more chess definitions check out the original A Gentle Glossary.
Copyright © 1962, 1998 by U. S. Chess Federation