Chess Glossary: 10 Chess Terms

Part of learning and improving in chess is familiarizing yourself with the most common terms used by players. Referring to a chess glossary is a good start, but you might be surprised to find that there are more than 250 terms to learn. The good news is that you do not have to memorize all them. You can learn them as you play, or you can start by learning the most commonly used chess terms. Whether you are a beginner or an average player, it may help you master the game better by knowing the 10 most commonly used chess terms:

  1. Tiebreak The method for differentiating the places between two players who have the same score. It is typically based on how well opponents did in the event.
  2. Sudden death This is the time control period where all moves must be played within a given amount of time on a player’s clock.
  3. Pin The attack of a Queen, Bishop, or Rook on a piece that should not or cannot move because a worthier piece behind it is along the line of attack.
  4. Touch Chess move  This is a rule that states three points: (1) You touch a piece, you move it, (2) you let go of that piece, you leave it, and (3) you displace the opponent’s piece, you take it.
  5. Doubled pawns Two pawns in the same color in one file as a result of capture.
  6. Annotation To show the moves of the game and provide extra moves and text describing the detail of what could have or what has happened.
  7. Attack Moving a piece to the square to capture the opponent’s piece next move. It may describe having the initiative and placing pressure on a specific square, such as when you intend to attack the kingside.
  8. Blitz Fast chess, which is typically five minutes per player in the entire game.
  9. Desperado A piece that will be captured anyway, so it can be sacrificed at a high cost.
  10. Double attack Attacking two or more pieces with a single move.

Once you familiarize yourself with these 10 chess terms, you can visualize better and imagine your sequences of actions before executing them. Likewise, knowing the terms from a reliable chess glossary may help increase your cognitive skills, boost your memory, and enable you to communicate better with teammates, coaches, and rivals.