Chess Terms from Around the World

Chess terms from around the world can help any player understand better what's going on over the chessboard

Blitz

German meaning speed chess, usually five minutes for each player.

Desperado

Spanish meaning a risky move to save a bad position.

En passant

French meaning in passing, used when a pawn takes a pawn as if it only moved one square.

En prise

French meaning a piece that is free to capture, also commonly said left hanging.

Fianchetto

Italian meaning little flank, when playing b3, g3, b6, or g6 and placing a Bishop in the space.

Gambit

Italian from gambito meaning giving up material, often a pawn for active play in return.

Giuoco Piano

Italian meaning quiet game.

Isolani

Italian meaning an isolated d-pawn, usually good in the middlegame & weak in the endgame.

J'adoube

French meaning "I adjust" said when touching a piece to adjust it and not to move it.

Kibitz

German meaning commenting on someone else's game in progress.

Lucena position

Italian for a Rook & Pawn ending when the King needs to lead on the queening square.

Luft

German meaning air & used when creating space (like h3) for the King to avoid back-rank mate.

Patzer

German meaning a bad chess player.

Zeitnot

German meaning time-trouble.

Zugzwang

German meaning a player cannot move without weakening the position, usually endgame.

Zwischenzug

German meaning in-between move, usually a finesse.

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