Glossary of terms within the endgame and endgame study world.


On these pages you find explanations of terms and abbreviations.

They are about themes, manoeuvres and features in endgame studies, but also terms about endgamestudy-judgement, -tourneys etc.


Absolute pin. The pinned piece can't move from a line attacked by the enemy piece because the rear piece is it's King. See also Pinning.

Active self block. A mate image that may be obtained either by attacking flights around the mated King or by forcing an enemy piece or more to actively move into those squares and block them.

                            See also Ideal Mate and Model Mate.

Ad-Decoy. A forced move whose disadvantage lies in the occupation of the new square. (F.Palatz and A.W.Mongredien). See also Decoy

Ad-Deploy. A voluntary move whose advantage lies in the occupation of the new square (F.Palatz and A.W.Mongredien).
After. Used in the source of a study to indicate that the composer wishes to acknowledge his debt to previous work.
Albino. A white pawn on its starting square makes each of its four possible moves (forward one square, forward two squares, capture to the left, capture to the right).

Article with examples: CQL Albino pawn

Album. A FIDE album is published at regular intervals. It is an anthology covering a three year period for all forms of chess composition.
Allumwandlung the solution includes pawn promotions to all possible pieces (bishop, knight, rook, and queen). It is a German container word. Umwandlung means promotion of a pawn.

Article with examples: CQL Allumwandlung

Ambush Battery. A piece moves behind a second piece which moves bringing the first piece into play. (R.C.Moore). See also discovered check and double check.

Analytical study. a type of study where analytical elements prevail over artistic ones. Analytical studies are very close to endgames from real games. Therefore, such studies are often categorized as endgames that still comply with the requirement of te uniqueness of the solution.

Annihilation. The result of a logical manoeuvre that forces the opponent to capture (and thus remove from the board) a piece or pawn.
'Annihilation consists in moving a white piece along a line, that must be cleared, to a square where it can be captured (Weenink)'

Annotation convention. A system for indicating and recording divergences from a study's main line. The chess moves and their associated variations have a structure that is not merely hierarchical (otherwise known as branching or tree-like). Transpositions may occur across variations, and this feature means that the correct term is a network. The manufacturing industry has long been familiar with this type of structure. The calculation known as a bill of materials operates by breaking down a product (the diagram position) into sub-assemblies (positions in variations) through as many levels (moves) as necessary before arriving at basic components (the final position of any line corresponds to a component). A component or sub-assembly may form part of more than one other sub-assembly, and this is transposition. The parallel is exact. The chosen annotation convention must reflect this complexity while not overburdening the patient reader or solver. No convention is perfect, and no convention can remove the complexity. But a basically simple system is readily devised which allows the reader to identify where a branch occurs, locate where that branch is on the page, and with minimum difficulty return to his point of departure, while at the same time not confusing the reader who is interested only in the main line. In some books and EG '/' marks are used where a branch occurs, with a lower case roman numeral that is then used to search for the annotation or note. Both the occurrences and the notes themselves are in strict sequence down the page. The reader finishing with note (iv) will know that to return to his point of divergence he will need to search for a point between `/iii' and `/v', and he will also know the move number to which `/iv' will be appended. So although some dodging up and down the page is inevitable, there are many signposts. The great advantage is the reduction in number of parentheses. There are no FIDE standards for annotation convention.

Announcement. The (initial) publication of details relating to a tourney (q.v.). It is normal to include: type of entries acceptable (e.g. wins and draws in any quantity, provided they are unpublished), closing date, address, name of judge, number of prizes, and whether informal or formal (see also twin). If it is a theme (q.v.) tourney, this will be stated, together with an example of the theme. Frequently several copies of each entry are requested. Fully annotated solutions are not always asked for, but perhaps they should be.

Anti-Bristol. The interference of one black piece by another like-moving one on the same line (if the pieces are on different lines, it is a Holzhausen).

Anti-check feint. Or Grigorgiev anti-check feint. Winning a tempo by letting having a check.

Anti-check retreat. The king retreats to avoid pawn checks.

Anti-Critical <Move/Manoeuvre> The (contingent) line-up of attacking piece, an interfering piece (or square), is broken up by a move over that line. The purpose of this move may be to reverse a prior (imagined) critical manoeuvre (see Critical <>), either preventing future interference (the nominal form), or in preparation of entry into the line-up of another piece that wants to move along the line (the true form). 'Avoiding or relieving of interference by moving over a critical square (Nankol)'.   Anticipatory <Manoeuvre> The execution of a re-acting move when the move that is re-acted against has not yet been executed. 'Strategy where the effect is not immediate but later in the solution (R.C.Moore)'.   Anticipatory Line Opening. A line is cleared by a piece and that line will only on the next or later move be occupied by a long range piece (queen, rook, bishop). (Ban).   Anticipatory Line Closing. Part of a line is closed (interfered) for future access by a long range piece.

Anticipation. A composition with the same idea as another but published earlier. Ensuring that his award does not contain 'anticipated' studies is a major preoccupation of the tourney judge. There is neither an accepted method of classifying studies for anticipation retrieval, nor an all-embracing collection, private or public. Partial anticipations are more common than complete anticipations.


Examples of anticipation:

Aliev, I 2002.

(This is no plagiarism, Mr Ilham Aliev was aware of the existence of the Feijter's study.
He just showed this setting in an article in EG146, page 676-684, as an example of how to create twins.

He mentions also study (19073) Pogosjants=E - [=0011.01a2e2 ts23, 1983. W=Ka2, Bd5, Ng2 (3) B=Ke2, pc2 (2). Draw.
1.Nf4+ Kd2 2.Nd3 Kxd3 3.Be4+ Kxe4 4.Kb2 Kd3 5.Kc1 Kc3 stalemate.

Plus a black pawn on а4 also is present the second stalemate -5+a3 (though too known))


After 1.Nf4+ Kd2. 2.Nd3 the same position arises as the original below:

De Feijter, C 1958.

White plays and makes a draw.

(There is even a "study" from Gaggiottini, 1986 which start at move 2 of this study).


But this again looks similar to:

Lazard, F 1909

(White plays and makes a draw).

1. a7 Re8 2.Bc6 Rf8 3.a8Q Rxa8 4.Bxa8 Kd3 5.Kb3 a4+ 6.Ka2 c2 7.Be4+

(Here he comes again) Kxe4 8.Kb2 Kd3 9.Kc1 Stalemate to follow.


And if you do not know all this you create a new one like this...

Van Essen, M 2004

(White plays and makes a draw). The mainline is:

1. Ng6 Ra2+ 2. Kxa2 d2 3. Nc2 d1=Q 4. Ne3+ Kd4 5. Nxd1 c2 6. Nc3 Kxc3 7. Nf4
Kd2 8. Nd3 Kxd3 9. Be4+ Kxe4 10. Kb2 Kd3 11. Kc1 with the same plot.


Antiform. 'The antiform of any Chess-Motion consists in its Retraction (Un-doing or Reversal), the aim of the side 'willing' the retraction being directly opposed to that of the side 'willing' the Motion' (Palmon).



Anti-opposition. Sometimes also called Knight's-move opposition. Leaving the opposition to your opponent.

Aristocratic. Composition without any pawns

Artistic study. Aims at showing model mates and stalemates, with as many echoes as possible; strives after natural positions.

Artistical study  (characteristics), See also Natural Study:

  1) The idea of the study must be original and beautiful;

  2) It must be rich with sublines;

  3) The solution must be hard to find;

  4) The form must be as simple as possible;

  5) The key-move should be a silent move;

  6) On the first there must be no capture of a pawn or piece;

  7) When the study has a stalemate solution, this must be model stalemate;

  8) The study may not have partly duals.

Author's solution. The solution of the study that was intended by the author.

Award. The result of a tourney, as published. It gives the positions, solutions and composers' names, in ranked sequence. It is the task of the judge to produce the award within a reasonable time and the task of the director to publish it. It is normal for the award to contain several prizes, honorable mentions and commended. The number of these will usually have been set out in the tourney announcement. The award is provisional until the confirmation time (q.v.) has elapsed. It is then confirmed and cannot be altered whatever later discoveries are made. If the tourney is under the auspices of a regular publication, then that publication will feature both the announcement and the award. Sometimes, however, a separate brochure will be produced.

Babson task. A black promotion defense to all possible pieces are answered by white promotions to the same piece black has promoted to.

Composition in which variations including each of the four promotions by one side are met by the same promotion by the other side

(It is a very hard task and it has taken a long time to create such a situation in a problem (by Leonid Yarosh 1983), but still never in a study, more information about it on Wikipedia or the (dutch) book of Tim Krabbé about this and his Article).

Baby.  A composition with up to 5 pieces in the starting position. See also Maljutka.

Bahr's rule. In a pawn-ending. If two rook pawns are blocked and the outside passed pawn is further away, Bahr's Rule helps to determine whether the position is winning without calculation.
Requirements: the attacking king stands next to its passed pawn, and the defending King in front of it.
1. If the attacker's blocked rook pawn has crossed the middle of the board, he wins.
2. Draw the diagonal from the defender's pawn towards the defender's first rank.

From the point of intersection of the c-file or f-file (depending on which rook's pawn it is) draw a diagonal toward the attacker's first rank.

If the free pawn is on or below that border diagonal, the attacker wins; if it is above, then the position is a draw. 

(See examples at:

See also: The flaw in Bahr's rule

Battery. Two same-colored pieces are lined-up so that when the front piece moves the rear line-moving piece becomes effective (R.C.Moore).

Arrangement in which a piece stands between a friendly piece and an enemy piece such that it may move away to discover an attack (often a check).

The battery is an arrangement of two pieces of the same colour targeted at an enemy piece or a certain square. Moving the front piece exposes the target to the threat of the rear piece. The rear piece may be any line mover (Queen, rook or Bishop) whiele the front piece may be any piece but the Queen. Operating the battery may generate a discoverd attack or more typically - a discovered check.

1.Direct battery where the rear piece is unleashed directly against the enemy King or another target;

2.Indirect battery is aimed at a square around the King or another piece to hinder that piece from moving to this square;

3. Masked battery a piece of either colour is standing between the front piece and the target and moving it sets the battery ready to fire. 


Beugung. A logical effect. A good defense is disabled and an inferior defense remains. Black has two or more defenses against a threat; among those are good ones and bad ones. Through decoys of some kind the good ones are removed (Kluver).

Block. A composition in which the key provides no threat, but instead puts Black in a position of zugzwang, where every move leads to a mate.

In a complete block, all of Black's moves have mates provided in the set play and the key is simply a waiting move; in an incomplete block, not all black moves are provided with mates in the set play – the key provides for those that don't; in a mutate some of the mates provided in the set play are changed following the key.

Blocked pawn. A pawn that is stopped by the opponent's pawn or piece standing immediately before it.

Blockade. One or more lines or squares are blockaded. A piece or pawn can't move or can't leave a restricted area.

Bolthole. When a pawn is moved forward to create an escape possibility for its own king (in German Luftloch).


Bordercolly <Piece> The symbolic composition probably dates back to mediaeval sources (e.g. the famous water-wheel by A-Dulabiya) but gained much popularity in the 19th century problem composition.


Bound <piece> A piece is confined to a certain task (e.g. guarding a certain square or a pinned piece). Binding of all black pieces is one way of achieving a positional draw.


Breakthrough. The path to promotion for a pawn is cleared by forcefully removing or decoying enemy pawns or pieces.


Bristol theme. Anti-critical manoeuvre in which a piece moves over a critical target square allowing another piece to play over that same line to the critical square (thus employing an anti-metocritical manoeuvre). Moving a piece of the same colour to access that square by moving along the same line.

The difference with the Turton voidance is that in a Bristol voidance, the critical piece performs no role in further play in support of the attacking piece.

Article with examples: CQL Bristol theme

Bust. A black defense that defeats the stipulation, that is, the composer's intention, rendering the study unsound.
Used as a verb it may have the more general sense of to demolish. See also Cook.

Caged <piece> also Incarceration, Imprisonment. A situation in which a piece (usually the king) can no longer move because all the squares within reach are occupied or covered by own men or untouchable men from the enemy. 'Imprisonment belongs to ancient tactics; it was of prime importance in the restricted and slow procedures of Shatranj' (Rueb).

Capture Domination. An opponent piece is chased down. 'Restriction of the mobility of the opponent's pieces, their exclusion from play, followed by their capture, is an important principle of chess strategy. The trapping of pieces, or domination, as it is usually called in composition, reflects this strategic principle. The term 'domination' was introduced into endgame literature by the outstanding French composer Henri Rinck. Its essence is that White, controlling specific squares, attacks and captures a Black piece as a result of which Black suffers other material losses and is defeated.' (Kasparyan).

Capture refusal. Refusing to capture an enemy piece, mostly to avoid a harmful attack, an undesirable draw or simply loss of precious time. See also Stalemate avoidance.

Carousel see merry-go-round.
Cascaded <manoeuvre> A logical manoeuvre leads to a first weakening, allowing a next manoeuvre that leads to a new weakening... (H.Grondijs).
Castling. Move where the king moves two squares horizontally and the rook is placed beside the king. (King e1-g1 and Rook h1-f1) or  (King e1-c1 and Rook a1-d1).

Article with examples: CQL Castling

Catchment square. Is the region of a pawn (which is on its own without support) where the opposing king needs to be in, to stop it. To find this region, a diagonal line from the pawn-square (or, if it is on its home square, from the square in fornt of it) up or down to its promotion rank. The catchment square is the square region with this line as a diagonal.

Caterpillar Tripled pawns. 3 pawns of one color on one file.

Article with examples: CQL Caterpillar - Triple pawn


Change plan strategy. In a given position White would be won or would draw, if only Black had the move. As White cannot carry over the move, he changes his plans drastically. (Harrie Grondijs).


Chameleon Echo or stalemates. A repetition of a pattern or theme, such as perpetual check or stalemate, on the opposite-colour square from before.

Example (See the animated study below with 2 variations). See also Echo.


           Prokop,F 1925

    White plays and draws.

Theme: Chameleon/Echo



Chase. An enemy piece is chased around the board until it eventually succumbs.

Article with examples: CQL Knight chases other Knight

Checkers theme. In the initial play White places the opponent's pieces on the appropriate fields, and then with a series of checks (usually with a knight) gains them. 

Chess Query Languagw, See Technical tab and Chess Query Language 6

Classic study. Demonstrates systematic movements and basic combinations, involving underpromotion, forks, chases around the board and sacrifices. Often a curtain fire of checks is concluded with a deafeningly quiet move.

Closing date. The date by which entries for a tourney must be received. This date forms part of the announcement.

Commended or Commendation (comm.)The category studies in a classified award that follows the prizes and the honorable mentions. There is a tendency to group commended studies together without ranking them.

Compensation. A move has a positive effect that is wholly or partly offset by a (latent) negative effect, - an innate weakness.


Composer. The person responsible for creating a study. Normally one person, but there have been successful teams, nearly always pairs, of composers. It is then called a co-study.

Compound move. Container of several effects one of which is bound to materialize (Harrie Grondijs).


Confirmation time. The time after publication of the provisional award until it is confirmed. It gives solvers, composers and other enthusiasts the opportunity to discover anticipations and flaws that may have escaped the judge. The period should be not less than three months nor more than six. Confirmation time is a necessary nuisance. It is necessary because of the difficult nature of studies and of identifica­tion of anticipations. And it is a nuisance because it is often impossible to trace, years later, how an award was confirmed, or indeed whether it was confirmed at all. The award must include a reference to con­firmation time.

Connected pawns. A number of fellow pawns on adjacent files; they can protect each other and are usually less vulnerable than isolated pawns.

Connoisseur. Someone, anyone, who takes more than just a passing interest in the aesthetic and artistic aspects of studies. Perhaps the dictionary meaning is devalued by this definition, but a word is otherwise lacking to describe this knowledgeable amateur.

Cook. A second solution, unintended by the composer. There is also the verb 'to cook', meaning to find a second solution. The origin of the usage is obscure, but it is not taken from the name of the eminent American 19th century problemist, E. B. Cook. The latter was born in 1830 and was barely twenty-one years old when the earliest recorded usage that I have been able to trace occurred. At that age Cook had barely begun to concern himself with problems. The reference is in Kling and Horwitz' London magazine The Chess Player, in the issue dated the 16th of August 1851, and it reads (referring to studies to be commented on in future issues): 'We shall now and then cook some of them.'

Cordes Theme. The following study shows the theme: (If 1... Qxf2 2.Kh2 g4 3.Bd8+)

     H. Cordes 1895.

White plays and wins.

     Cordes Theme.

Correct. Satisfying the canons of soundness, being neither cooked nor bust.
Correction. <move> An adequate defense against a threat, labors from some imperfection that benefits the adversary. Therefore one chooses a precise form of that defense but this often allows for another effective ('new') continuation by the attacking side.

Correction (c) A study entered for a tourney may be corrected by the composer, if he finds a flaw, up to the official closing date. If he cannot correct it he may withdraw it. If a study is published and found to be faulty, again the composer has the right to publish a correction, but he should add the word 'correction' or 'version' to the source. A study in a tourney award found to be faulty during confirmation time is eliminated without right of correction (there would be no time for confirmation with respect to the new version) as far as that tourney is concerned. 'Correction' has in problem jargon a technical sense that has not been applied to studies.

Corresponding Squares, also called Co-ordinate Squares is a concept to analyze pawn endgames. Using retrograde analysis, Zugzwang positions and Critical Squares are found. Corresponding Squares Systems were one of the first human attempts of finding formulas and finally solving certain chess positions. This concept is only possible due to the limited mobility in pawn endgames. King-oppositions and Zugzwangs are the main motives arising. (See Chessprogramming Wiki) and EBUR-articles by Balemans, Buijs and Hendriks about "Toegevoegde velden".

Crazy Rook. The rook gives perpetual check but also sacrifices itself. When the rook is captured a stalemate occurs.

Critical. The meaning depends both on user and context. To the end¬game specialist a didactic position is critical if the result depends on who has the move. The normal case is for White to win with the move but to draw without it. On the other hand it is rather a rare case of an artistic, not didactic, position, where White draws only if Black has the move, and I (A.J. Roycroft) do not think that this is usefully called critical. And the old positions with two stipulations, such as each side mating in four moves, are definitely not! In a different sense a square may be critical. This usage is more familiar to problemists. The player uses the word in its plain dictionary sense to apply to a game position where a crisis has been reached, and, just to confuse the situation further, it may apply to a study in this way also.
Critical move. The preparation of the formation of a line-up of an attacking piece, an interfering piece and an object piece (or square), by a move that plays across one of more of these critical squares. A cornerstone of New German strategic principles in problem composition.
In the Indian problem these 3 squares are called: a. starting position of the critical man; b. the critical square and c. the mating square. To get these three squares in the indicated order is the goal of the critical square. (J.Kohtz and C.Kockelkorn).
Cross Check. One side counters the other side's check with interposing a piece onto the checking line and gives check. (R.C.Moore).

Examples in CQL Cross check

Cross pin. A piece is pinned in two ways simultaneously: relative and absolute.

Cyclic Zugzwang (see also Zugzwang):  A Cyclic Zugzwang is a position from which the side to move can win, but in at least one line only by returning to the same position with the other side to move.


Decoy. When a piece is lured away from an important square or line. 
Defiance Manoeuvre. An opponent's manoeuvre is not avoided or directly countered but overcome with some counter-manoeuvre (normally as part of an Envelope Logical Manoeuvre).

Deflection. Driving away an enemy piece from a line or square. This is often done by sacrificing. 
Demolition. Analysis demonstrating that a study is unsound. The word usefully combines the meanings of 'cook' and 'bust', and is in addition more elegant.
Depletion. Either: a. when a side cannot do much more or better than repeating the same moves and must wait for an initiative from the opponent, or b. when the depleting side is executing moves that won't do anything to counter the manoeuvre carried out by the other side (e.g. in the case of a pawn rush).
Deploy. The outcome of a direct manoeuvre, beneficial for the side that executes the move. Normally the direct manoeuvre yields tempo gain.
Desperado. A piece, that is lost anyway, is sacrificed to achieve a beneficial effect. There is no subsidiary effect as in the Compound move. If the Desperado is refused the best that can be done is to sacrifice the piece again.
Direct manoeuvre. A manoeuvre that through the force of its threat or Zugzwang yields White a distinct advantage (e.q. Tempo gain for a deploy).
Director. Ideally, every formal tourney should have an administrative director whose responsibilities should include:
(a) receipt and (if requested) acknowledgment of entries
(b) translation of entries into a common language
(c) conversion of solutions into a standard notation and solution
(annotation) convention
(d) maintenance of the list of identities and addresses of the entrants (e) publication of the announcement and other publicity (f) publication of the award and confirmation
(g) distribution of the award, and confirmation to all entrants
and, of course, prizes to the (confirmed) winners
(h) return of unsuccessful entries promptly (together with comments,
if any, of the judge), posted on the date of publication of the
provisional award
(i) ensuring that the judge keeps to a schedule and, if there is more
than one judge, that they collaborate smoothly
(j) maintaining a master set of all correspondence.
In an informal tourney, for instance one run by a monthly chess magazine, the studies editor will be the director and many of the above considerations do not apply. The director may be in a position to reimburse the judge for postage expenses. It is unheard of for a judge to get paid for judging.
Discovered Check. A check is discovered from a battery aimed at the enemy king. A discovered check is one way to create a double attack or a double threat. The execution of the discovery move is called 'firing' the battery.
Disqualification. This would normally occur during the confirmation time (q.v.) for a formal tourney or at any time in an informal tourney. Unsoundness and complete anticipation are the usual reasons. Analy¬sis that is incomplete, incorrect or indecipherable could also result in disqualification, though judges tend to be lenient about manual slips that they can themselves confidently correct. An incorrectly submitted diagram, though, should never be accepted; it might seem that this would never occur, but it is by no means unknown for 'a pawn to have been left off'.

Domination. Theme where a black piece has wide freedom and is still captured.

Limiting a piece’s mobility by controlling, directly or indirectly, all its available squares.

An enemy piece trapped by limiting the piece mobility by controlling a significant space of the chessboard thus making certain squares inaccessible or unsafe for the targeted piece.

Double attack. The special case of a double threat imposed by 1) a single piece against several enemy pieces or 2) by different pieces against one enemy piece each.

Double check. When the king is attacked by two pieces. Possible by discovered check.

Examples in CQL Doublechecks
Double threat. When a piece attacks two enemy pieces or aims for two targets (like a mate attack).
Dual. A white alternative not intended by the composer but not amounting to a cook. A dual is a flaw, and the degree of seriousness depends on where it occurs. A dual destroys the artistic value of the variation in which it is found. The more important that variation is in relation to the whole composition the more serious the flaw. A dual cannot therefore be assessed in isolation. A' waste of time' is not a dual and a transposition is not usually regarded as of great importance.

A partial side solution, i.e. a way to solve the study that begins after the first move in a way different from the author's solution. There may be acceptable or unacceptable duals in endgame studies, even though there's no consensus on that. Duals are allowed in non-thematic side-lines.

Dual avoidance. Black’s defence allows White two apparently equivalent moves, but only one works.

Duras decoy. Luring the king into a check.

Duras Theme. Black is denied the possibility to directly block an advanced white a- or h-pawn supported by a bishop of the 'wrong' color. Zugzwang forces Black on a different route to blocking the pawn. White can cut off this path with combined force of the pawn and bishop. The desperado bishop exerts Gravity. The Duras Manoeuvre is a specific way of implementing Beugung.

Echo. Image theme.

A repeated effect (R.C. Moore).

A viual repetition with a difference within the same study.

A manoeuvre on white squares may also occur, after a different black reply, on black squares.

A sequence on a rank may also take place on a file. These repetitions may be consecutive (that is, in the same variation) or concurrent (in different variations). `Consecutive' and `concurrent' could also be called `series' and `parallel'. `Echo promotion', though, generally means something slightly different-say a white promotion to rook answered by a black promotion to rook. The terminology is not consistent. Echoes impress those who are susceptible to them and can be very difficult to achieve. They are the counterpoint of chess. Also Chameleon echo.

Article with examples: CQL Chameleon stalemates

Economy. One of the main criteria for judging. Poor economy is shown by men that are in the diagram but play no part in the solution or supporting variations; by pieces that get exchanged off early without showing their paces ; by the use of heavy pieces where light ones would serve; by a heavy setting for a light idea. The composer's motto should be, `make every piece work'.

Editor. The person responsible for a chess periodical or chess column.

Eilazyan bracnch A long distance King Double Threat.

Elimination see Eradiction.


En prise. When a piece is under attack and threatened with capture.


Endgame composition. Realization of an idea in a chess position. The manoeuvres that form the solution are selected on the basis of motivation. The motivation is found by a process of collusion ('trial and error').


Enfilade attaquante passive. Also Skewering. The attack on a higher ranked piece (often the king) that, when that piece withdraws to defend itself against the attack, uncovers another piece (or important square) on the same line (horizontally, vertically or diagonally as the case may be). This is passive because it is the adversary who must execute it in order to capture a piece (often the fruit of a pawn promoting) that would otherwise make it possible to win. This method for obtaining stalemate has been known for a long time, we already find two examples in the manuscripts of the old European game prior to therefore at conclusion of the 15th century (Lamare). X-ray check is special case in this area.


Envelope manoeuvre. A logical manoeuvre that calls upon ('envelops') a logical manoeuvre executed by the opponent.

Epaulette mate. A position where a king gets checkmated on the edge of the board, with two of his own pices (most often rooks), syymetrically taking away the escape squares on both sides. These pieces are called "epaulettes"

Eradiction also Elimination. As a result from a logical manoeuvre a piece or pawn of the opponent disappears from the board.


Excelsior theme. In the course of a line of the solution a pawn progresses from its starting square on the second rank to its promotion square. It is not necessary to have an unbroken series of moves accomplishing the graduation.

In a double excelsior both white and back pawn have excelsior's. (See an article in EBUR,17th,nr.2)

A slowdown-excelsior starts with single pawn move to the third rank first.

Article with examples: CQL Excelsior and CQL Double Excelsior 

Ex-Decoy. A forced move whose disadvantage lies in the vacation of the initial square. (F.Palatz and A.W.Mongredien).


Ex-Deploy. A voluntary move whose advantage lies in the vacation of the initial square (F.Palatz and A.W.Mongredien).


Family check. See Fork.

Feint. A preliminary meneuver with a subsequent return to the initial (or a neighboring) square to provoke a weakness in the opponent's camp. (First showed by Schlechter).

Festina Lente. (Latin statement of Roman Emperor Augustus which means "Hurry Slowly"). The key move is a pawn move from the 2nd-rank to the 3rd rank instead of going to the 4th rank immediately. (Article with cql and examples: CQL Festina Lente )

FIDE `La Federation Internationale des Echecs', or the International Chess Federation. Its motto is 'Gens Una Sumus'. Mainly concerned with the over-the-board game and the organization of various tournaments (as distinct from tourneys, q.v.) it leaves composition to a Permanent Commission for Chess Composition (q.v.).

FIDE Album: The FIDE album is an anthology of the best chess compositions, published under the aegis of the World Chess Federation of Yugoslav chess composer Nenad Petrović since 1956th
The number represented in the FIDE Albums compositions also decide on the award of international titles, such. As the "International Grandmaster of chess composition".

Flawed study. A position where the author's idea was found to be incorrect in some way: a side solution, unsolvability, illegal position, duals in the thematic (idea) lines. Sometimes called a "cooked' study.

Flight square. A square to which a checked king can legally move (that is, one not guarded by an opponent's piece, and not occupied by a friendly piece). If, prior to being checked, the player moves a friendly piece to a potential flight square and thereby decreases the king's mobility, it is a self-block. Similarly, if a player moves a friendly piece out of a potential flight square prior to check, it is square vacation.

Focal point. A line piece must continue to guard two or more squares. These squares are called foci or focal points. In the course of the solution the foci can change. 'In focal studies it is usually possible for the principal black piece, often the queen, to guard these foci from several squares, and the play consists in obstructing these guards or neutralizing them.' (Weenink).


Forced Choice. The side to move is forced to chose from two or more alternatives. Each of these alternatives causes its unique weakening effect, not connected to the other alternative's). A logical extension requires that each of the alternatives would form an adequate line of attack of defense if the other side would have had to choose first. The idea is that White only wins or draws because he has the chance of seeking out the adequate defense from among a limited set of possible moves.

Foreplan. A number of moves to get to a position which brings Black in trouble. Examples:Triangulation; creating or avoiding Zugzwang 


Fork. Simultaneous attack by a single piece against two or more enemy pieces. It is probably the most freqeunt tactical motive in the practical game as well as inn the endgame studies.

When a knight attacks two or more other pieces it is oftne named a family fork. Or familiy check when also the enemy king is attacked with it.

Formal tourney. A composing tourney organized for a special event.

Foresight. A logical try in the mainline. The longer the mainline is and the later the subtle difference becomes apparent the better. See also Festina Lente

Fortress. A defensive formation designed to prevent the opponent from breaking through. 

A drawing technique in which the side behind in material sets up a zone of protection, held by waiting moves, that the opponent, despite his considerable material advantage, is unable to penetrate. 

Type of Positional Draw. (See als semi-fortress).

(Article with cql and examples: CQL Fortress) Many examples can be found at Wikipedia.

Front pawn. Is the pawn most far headed on a line of a set of isolated pawns on one line (isolated doublepawns, triplepawns  or more).


Giant Move. A series of moves by a short range piece: king, knight or a pawn, which move has the appearances of a single long range move by that piece.


Grading. The process by which a judge arrives at his award. Apart from doing his best, being objective and hunting for anticipations, there are no rules. For a points system of grading, with a maximum total of a hundred, the author has tried, and can recommend, the following, which falls down only if used as a relative measure of the excellent against the merely adequate. Idea or originality, 15; presentation of that idea (number of captures, for instance), 15; economy of means (disfiguring pawns!), 10; attractiveness of setting, 10; difficulty of solution, 5; tries, 5; White's moves in the main line, 5; Black's moves in the main line, 5; variations arising out of good alternative black moves, 10; refutation of white moves (not amounting to tries), 5; other continuations depending on Black, 5; general effect (to include, for instance, a bonus for outstanding characteristics), 10. Total, or maximum, 100.


Gravity Pull: Image theme. Two distinct forms: a. Near Gravity Pull: Besides being a block on a square (in the way of other pieces) and/or directly exerting some force, a chess man can control certain vital squares such that it seems to be pulling back an enemy piece (often the king). 'What interest us here is the impact a piece has because of its mere presence, quite apart from the fact whether a sacrifice is accepted or not (if indeed a sacrifice is involved at all).' (Jan van Reek and Harrie Grondijs). b. Distant Gravity Pull. The proceedings on a certain part of the board indirectly effect the struggle on some part of the board.


Great Barrier or Turtle motif. A White piece sacrifices itself where a Black pawn can capture it, but then a Whte pawn is able to advance to promotion.

See articles in EG 226.

Grimshaw. An interference with two black pieces arriving on a particular square mutually interfere with each other. It is named after the 19th century problem composer Walter Grimshaw. See article CQL Grimshaw for examples and cql.

Grip Theme. A combination of double attack on pieces and domination. (See an Article in EBUR/1995_3/page16-17 by Emil Vlasak). 

Grotesque. A study with an especially unnatural initial position, particularly one with large amounts of material or with a large material disparity between the sides.

Half-battery Arrangement in which two pieces stand between a friendly piece and an enemy piece such that if one of the pieces moves away a battery is set up.

Haring theme. Switchback of the thematic white pieces on the mating move, in try and real play. See also switchback.

Harmonious piece play. The coordinated action of pieces that were logically positioned to convey the author's idea.

Heavy. Adjective applied to a composition with a relatively large number of pieces in the initial position. Heaviness should be avoided where possible, in the interests of economy. Antonym: light.

Helpmate. A problem in which both sides cooperate, Black playing first and helping White to deliver mate in the given number of moves.

Hiding. A piece tries to hide from an impeding attack, usually a battery charge.

Holst promotion: forcing a pawn to promote to an other figure than a Queen.

Holzhausen. The interference of one black piece by another like-moving one on a different line (if the pieces are on the same line, it is an anti-Bristol).

Honorable mention. Often abbreviated to Hon. Men. or HM, this rank in an award lies between the prizes and the commended.

Idea. A chess thought, one that either does or could lie behind a study. The author's intention expressed in the composition's content. Ideas may be divided into elementary and difficult ones. They may be borrowed from actual games, especially in study composition.

Ideal Mate. (or Ideal stalemate) A mating position where all the pieces (also the black pieces) actively take part in the mating position.

All the pieces of both sides take part in the mate and every square around the mated king is blocked or attacked exactly once.

See also Lewis Mate.

Ideal Mirror mate Mating position in which all (eight) neighboring fields of the mated king are unoccupied and each field is controled by only one piece.

Ideal Stalemate. A stalemate position where all the squares where the stalemated king might go, are controlled only once by the pieces who take part in the stalemate. 

Illegal position. A position that is impossible to reach in a game by any sequence of legal moves.

Incorrect. Demolished, unsound.

Indian Theme. A stale-mating position is culminated which White has provided by preparing an ambush so as to allow the defense a move that may expose him to a discovered mate. (Sam Loyd).

     E.B. Cook 1892.

  White plays and wins.

      Indian Theme.


Informal tourney. A regular composing tournament, mostly anual, organized by a chess periodical or by a newspaper.

Interference. The closure of the line of one piece by a second piece, thus limiting its movement and cutting it off from certain squares.

Various names are given to particular types of interference, among them Grimshaw, Novotny, anti-Bristol, Holzhausen, Würzburg–Plachutta and Plachutta.

Intermediate Choice. Derived from intermediate move: the intervening effect of the move.

Many under promotions are motivated by it.


Intermediate move. An opponent's manoeuvre is frustrated by using available time or through force of a strong(er) threat. See also zwichenzug.

Introductory play. The sequence of moves in a study that immediately precedes the implementation of the author's idea; it masks the main idea to make the study harder to solve. Nevertheless, introductory play should be originically linked to the main idea of the study.

Inversion. The simplest form of transposition is an inversion. It occurs when two white moves may be played in either order with no difference in the result.

Isolated pawn. A pawn which does not have ant fellow pawns on adjacent files. It cannot be protected by another pawn and therefore may be vulnerable.

Isolation. To put an enemy piece in a position where it can not do any harm. This isolation is not meant to capture it.


Joint. A joint composition has more than one author. Also called co-study (coorperative study).

JT. Jubilee Tournament (marking a birthday or anniversary).

Judge. The person charged with grading of tourney entries and with producing an award. Anyone who is invited may accept. In addition, there is the title of International Judge awarded by the FIDE. See the list at the end of this chapter.

Key-move. The first (white) move of the solution. In studies the first move is often barely significant, and the adoption of the term key from the terminology of chess problems is not wholly appropriate. The key may be a check, but only in exceptional circumstances should it be a capture.

Or: The most hard-to-find, subtle or hidden move in a maneuver or combination. (Also named Pointe or Point).

King's field. The set of squares—horizontal, vertical and diagonal—adjacent to the square occupied by a king.

The squares to which the king might ordinarily move, unless attacked by enemy pieces. Inspection of the field is important in both problems and real gameplay to evaluate threats, and to confirm checkmate.

Knight wheel. If all 8 moves of a knight have meaning.

Leverage mechanism. A certain positional construction (e.g. battery) is used to allow one side to let a piece play beyond its natural reach (See Giant move). A string of different motivations can play a role.

Lewis-mate. A mating position where all the pieces (also the black pieces) actively take part in the mating position. See also Ideal Mate.

Jan Marwitz, 1948.

Lewmann-parade. The Lewmann Parade is a possible defense for Black. White threatens to make a move that interferes with his own piece, which takes away the black king from an escape square, but this is possible because at the same time a line is opened for another piece to this square. Black counters the threat by preemptively interfering with this second piece.

Line closing. A line is interfered on a certain square, thus denying an enemy piece access to squares on the line that lie beyond the square of interference.

Lloyd's organ pipes. If a Grimshaw takes place between 2 black rooks and 2 black bishops for all 4 combinations, we speak of Lloyd's organ pipes.

Logical Choice. A logical, single effect comes forward up by the right way of executing a combination. 4 types:

a. The choice of the right move by a given man;

b. The choice from seemingly equally good moves to a given square by different pieces and/or pawns;

c. The choice from various analogous positions;

d. The choice of the single correct moves order within a given group of moves that must be executed (H.Grondijs).

Logical try -- See Try

Loman's move, a square-vacating anti-promotion sacrifice. See Time Krabbé's article and examples in the article Loman's move

Loss of time. Applied to a white move or manoeuvre which must be retracted in order to achieve the stipulation.

Luft. When a pawn is moved forward to create an escape possibility for its own king (see also Bolthole).


Main line. The simplest definition is `the variation shown by the composer as the main line'. The point is to distinguish between the main line and the variations. The main line shows the idea. There is however a better definition. The main line of the solution to a study consists of that series of moves resulting when Black chooses moves in accordance with endgame theory. That is, Black is presumed to be more knowledgeable than imaginative. If the position is assessable at all in terms of endgame theory this definition ensures that the con­tent of the main line is an exception to theory. Finding the main line, of course, may itself demand considerable knowledge of endgame theory, but then the selling-point of studies to players ought to be that `if you do not know the theory before you find the solution you should have learned it afterwards-and in an agreeable manner.' There may, for example with echoes, be more than one main line.

Maljutka or Malyutka. A miniature of 5 pieces or less. (Russian word meaning Baby).

Maneuver. One or more moves by one or more pieces of the same color to reach a concrete goal.

Mansuba. Arabic name for a chess study - 8th-9th century.

Master  and Grandmaster  of Composition are Titles of International Master and International Grandmaster for Chess Composition are awarded by the FIDE on the recommendation of the Perma­nent Commission. Apart from the rare honoris causal award there is a system of qualification through the continuing series of FIDE Albums. As from the 1975 meeting in Tiflis the qualification is 25 `points' for the Master, and 70 `points' for the Grandmaster, titles. A study scores one-and-two-thirds points and any other composi­tion a single point. Because of the large number of compositions that have now been published in the Albums, and complicated by the scoring for joint compositions, not to mention a few errors subsequently discovered in the Albums themselves, the Qualifica­tions Sub-Committee of the Permanent Commission has needed a computer program to keep track of candidates. Posthumous titles are not awarded. The list of holders of the title (study com­posers only) is at the end of this chapter.

Mate Attack. A combination of moves aiming at mate, disregarding material or positional considerations.

Mating net. A situation where a king is attacked by enemy pieces and eventually cannot escape the mate threat.

Mating finale. The final position of pices and pawns on the board after a checkmating move.

Mating zone. Chessboard squares around the checkmated king. A mating zone consists of four squares in the corner, of six squares on the edge of the board and of nine squares otherwise.

Matrix. An idea in a vacuum is of very little value to the composer. The first skeleton position expressing the idea is called the matrix (sometimes `scheme'). The matrix will not be a complete position. The kings may be absent, for instance. The important thing is that the composer is confident that a sound setting can be developed from it, The matrix is an embryo setting. Handling a matrix is central to composition and is very difficult to write about. Not only is it very personal to the composer but it needs a vocabulary of its own which it has not got.

MT. Memorial Tournament.

Merry-go-round. A figure theme where a piece moves 'round in a circle' back to its original square.

           Bone,W 1904

   White plays and wins.

Theme: Carousel or Merry-go-round. 

Miniature. An endgame with very few pieces on he board (in endgame studies the maximum is seven pieces).

Minimal. A composition in which the white force is numerically restricted to two, the king and one other man.

Minor piece. A bishop or knight.

Mirror (stale)mate (Stale)Mating position in which all (eight) neighboring fields of the mated king are unoccupied.

Or: the final position of a study where all squares of the (stale)mating zone are free of pieces and pawns of both colors.

Article with examples: CQL Mirror mate and CQL Ideal Mirror mate

Model (stale)mate. A mating (or stalemating) position which is both economical and pure. All white pieces are involved in creating this mating/stalemating position, except for the king and the pawns due to their low mobility (the principle of economy). In addition no square of the mating position is accessible to the black king for exactly one reason: which is either that the square is attacked by one (and only one) white piece (the principle of purity). If absolutely all pices and pawns on the board are involved in a model mate/stalemate then it is called an ideal mate.

Monster. An endgame study with 16 men or more in the starting position.

More-mover. A problem in which the number of moves needed to force mate is at least four.

Motif. An element of a move in the consideration why the piece moves and how it supports the fulfillment of the stipulation.


Mousetrap. A black/white interference combination. A piece is drawn over a critical square and the line is blocked so it cannot (immediately) return to its previous square. The mousetrap incorporates 2 constructive elements: I. a piece is caught (Seeberger theme) or shut off from access to an important square, and II. a white switchback.


Moves order. The specific order of moves must be observed; other move orders are inadequate.


Mutual Stalemate. Occurs when White is stalemated in one and Black in another variation.

Article with examples: Mutual - Reciprocal Stalemates

Mutual Zugzwang  If both sides lack useful moves. See Reciprocal zugzwang. (List of all known Mutual Zugzwangs). 

Article with examples: CQL Mutual zugzwangs 5-Pieces


Naturalness of the initial position. One of the main aesthetic requirements for a chess composition; it follows the principle that the initial position should resemble an ending of an actual game as much as possible. This requirement is particularly strict for endgame studies. only one set of pices and pawns should be used in the initial position.

Natural study. (Sometimes called Gamelike studies; See also the opposite Artistical study)). Starts from miniature setting; instructive or deep play; often logical. Gamelike positions. 


New solution. As a consequence of logical action and re-action, a hitherto unforeseen winning manoeuvre becomes possible (e.g. as coping stone of the Roman theme). 

Niche stalemate. The king locks himself in by his own pawns.

Notation. Method of recording either moves or a position. For moves, the two general alternatives are the descriptive and the algebraic. For positions there are, apart from diagrams, the longhand ('white king on g1' and so on), the Forsyth, and tabular or column represen­tations. In this book the abbreviated algebraic notation is used for moves (the departure square is omitted, as is P for pawn), and diagrams for the positions.

Notes. Annotations and comments to the solution. The usual phrase is `in the notes'.

Novotny. A black interference theme. A white piece is sacrificed on the square of intersection between the lines of action of two long range black pieces (queen, rook or bishop), so that should either piece capture it, the other piece's line of action is interfered on. It is essentially a Grimshaw brought about by a white sacrifice on the critical square.

This form of mutual line interference is named after Anton Novotny who published the combination for the first time in a three-mover in 1854. Examples

Article with examples: CQL Nowotny

     Rinck,H 1907

       2 variations.



Obstruction. Mutual square blocking. Two pieces from the same side want to play to the same square at the same time. As only one move is allowed the piece that plays obstructs the square for the other piece.

In the case of obstruction one side makes an anticipatory choice when the exact line of attack by the other side is still in the dark. See also Novotny, Plachutta and Plovotny.

Obtrusive piece. An obtrusive piece is one that could only have arisen by promotion. This is usually because unmoved pawns preclude the normal bishop on that color square from ever having moved. Convention frowns on the obtrusive bishop.

Examples in CQL Obtrusive bishop

Opposition. Pattern Theme. Opposition is thought of as a prolonged struggle for space between a few pieces of different color, (A.Rueb). According to Rueb there are two kinds of opposition:

Not exposed opposition is positional, often seemingly forcing; as a principle this opposition is controlled by theory of companion squares.

Exposed opposition is mainly aggressive and throughout sacrificial. Exposed and defensive pieces are steadily in action; in a reciprocal 'en prise' they are at rest. (A.Rueb). Not exposed opposition can be considered as one specific case of distant gravity when the movement of one piece exerts an invisible (weak) force on an opponent's piece.


Opposition Domination. An opponent's piece is not capable of effectively matching or frustrating the actions of a weaker piece. 

Original. A delightfully ambiguous word. It can mean `very old' and equally it can mean `very new'. In the source of a study it means `first publication'. Even the usually precise French use the word `in6dit', which means `unpublished', over the diagram which actually publishes it. The Germans are better, with 'Urdruck', meaning primal printing. All tourney entries must be originals, in the sense that they have not already been published.

Overburdening. A piece is bound to several tasks (e.g. guarding squares). The focus of one of its tasks changes, or a new task is added compelling the piece to give up one of its existing tasks. (Also called Overload).

OTB Over The Board player.

Paradoxical study. expresses Romanticism to the extreme. Paradoxical ideas, patterns of thought are realized disregarding naturalness of position whenever this is deemed necessary.

Passed pawn. A pawn that has no enemy pawns on the same or an adjacent file. It's promotion can only be prevented by enemy pieces.

Article with examples: CQL Passed pawn search and CQL Mixed passed pawns

Passive sacrifice. By a passive sacrifice is meant the surrender of its powers and activities by any piece (usually white), without its actual removal from the board by capture. There are several kinds of passive sacrifice, the intersectional (or Indian type) being the most ingenious and the most popular. (A.C. White). The intersectional type is based on giving Energy, while the type shown by Simkovich is based on dissolving Matter and Space. (H.Grondijs).

Pawn Storm. A front of adjacent pawns sets into motion in an attack on the enemy position.

Pendulum. It is a serially linked composite form of opposition that seems to swing from side to side like a pendulum. Two pieces are tied to one another with invisible strings as in opposition play. If one piece moves to one side the other does the same.

Peri-critical <manoeuvre>. A move of the same direction and with the same intention as a corresponding critical (viz. anti-critical) move is played on a line parallel to the thematic line. "Instead of crossing over a critical square the critical piece plays around it." (H.Grondijs). Often the peri-critical manoeuvre prepares an ambush battery.

Permanent Commission The standing committee of FIDE that handles chess composition. It normally meets once a year in September in

Europe and consists of people like you and me (i.e. they do not spend much of the rest of their time on chess) except that they are authorities on composing. Much of their labor is devoted to FIDE Album matters and to the awarding of titles of International Master of Composition and International Judge. It is a genuinely international body and conducts its affairs with goodwill and frank­ness. Publicity for its work is practically non-existent.


Perpetual check. An unstoppable series of checks that neither player can avoid without risking a loss. This means that the game ends in a draw.

Perpetual check is also a Positional draw achieved by constantly checking the enemy king, or '... the white pieces force the black ones to attack the white king perpetually'. Perpetual check is one of the varieties of perpetual attack. (I.Akobia).

See also Crazy Rook.

Perpetual opposition. Is a positional draw achieved by a piece constantly attacking a piece with the same line of action.


Philidor's Lozenge. A pattern discovered by Philidor in the ending of knight versus pawn (GBR-code 3.10) that connects the critical squares from where the knight stops an outside black a- or h-pawn that advanced to the sixth rank. Also named Philidor's Quadrate.

Phenix. A piece is captured and later reborn by promotion to the very same piece of the same colour as the captured one.

Pickabish. A Pickabish is also a reciprocal interference on 1 square, but now between a bishop and a pawn.

Pickanniny. A pawn in the starting position has four possible moves. If all four moves of a white pawn appear in the theme, it is called an Albino, if that is the case with a black pawn Pickaninny.

Pin. The pin is a basic tactially device operated by 3 pieces along one line: The pinning piece is a line mover (Bishop, Rook, Queen), attacking any enemy pice (but the King) Moveing the attacked piece off the pinning line would expose the third, rear piece, to the threat of the pinning piece. See also Absolute pin, Cross pin and Relative pin).

Pinning. Pinning is restriction of the freedom to move of a piece that is one line between its king and an attacking piece of the other color.

A very pinned piece covers its king: it can still play over the pinning line or it is completely immobilized (square pinning) (A.Rueb).

(Examples see 94 and 98).


Pinned stalemate. Stalemate with at least pinned peaces.

Article with examples: CQL Pinned stalemates

Plachutta. A piece sacrifices itself on a square where it could be captured by one of two similarly-moving pieces for example, a bishop and a queen moving along a diagonal, or two rooks moving along a different line; whichever black piece captures, it interferes with the other.

An interference between similarly moving pieces of the same colour, forced by a sacrifice on the critical interference square.

It is essentially the same as a Novotny but now the interfering pieces have the same type of direction. 

The Plachutta theme is named by Joseph Plachutta (1827-1883).

See article CQL Plachutta with cql and examples.

Plavotny. An interference by a piece which is placed on a rank, file and diagonal with interferences of three threats across the junction.

So a combination of a plachutta and a novotny! Examples

A Nochutta is an interference on two diagonals and a rank or a file. In the chaos theme threats on two diagonals, a rank and a file are interfered.

Point (or pointe), see Key-move.

Positional draw. Neither side can decide the outcome of the struggle and finally repetition of the same positions is bound to occur. See also Fortress and Perpetual check..

Powerless piece. For positional reasons a piece exerts much less power than under normal circumstances.

Predecessor. A previously published study that is similar in idea, scheme and construction to a newly-published one.

Priority. The first composer to express an idea as a published work is said to have the priority. The first version may not be sound, and is unlikely to be the best version, but priority belongs to it. As with anticipations, there is no publicly or privately agreed list of what is eligible for priority. For the question of `which date?', see towards the end of this chapter.

Prize. The highest rank in an award. Usually a nominal sum of money, or value in kind. From three to five prizes in a tourney are normal, but the amounts and number depend on the editor or other sponsor. There is not much money in chess composition, any more than there is in judging.

Prokeš-manoeuvre. A square-vacating anti-promotion combination. Article with cql and examples: Prokeš Manoeuvre

Promotion. When a pawn reaches the 8th rank, it is turned into a (more valuable) piece (knight, bishop, rook or queen). When the choice is not a queen, it's called a minor promotion.

Puzzle. synonym for Chess composition.

Queening. When a white pawn reaches the 8th rank and promotes to a queen. (Or a black pawn reaching the 1st rank and converts to queen).

Rambling rook. The rook keeps checking itself to the king, which keeps avoiding its capture. (Also called Rampant Rook),

Article with examples: CQL Rambling Rook

Rank. A line of squares running from side to side.

Realistic study. Shows a game-like struggle culminating in a carefully staged climax.

Reciprocal Stalemate. In a position critical for White, the only way for white to reach a draw is to leave Black the choice between two separate continuations, of which one leads to a stalemate position for White, while the other leads to a stalemate position for Black. (J.Selman jr.). Same as Mutual Stalemate.

Article with examples: Mutual - Reciprocal Stalemates

White plays and draws.

Liburkin,M 1939

Reciprocal Stalemate.


Reciprocal Zugzwang or Mutual Zugzwang. Who ever is to move is in zugzwang.

John Nunn about this: 'In a normal Zugzwang-position it doesn't matter who is to move, because the superior side usually has a waiting move with which he can pass if it is his turn to move. This is not so in a reciprocal Zugzwang, which may be defined as a position in which whoever moves first weakens his position. In an ending of Rook and pawn versus Rook we may be even more precise. Assuming that White has the rook and pawn, a Reciprocal Zugzwang is a position in which Black to play loses, but White to play can only draw. In other words, not only Black is in Zugzwang if it his turn to move, but white to play has no Waiting Move to maintain the Zugzwang, so he is also in Zugzwang if it is his move (hence the term Reciprocal Zugzwang).' 

Article with examples: CQL Mutual zugzwangs 5-Pieces 

Relative pin. If the rear piece behind the pinned piece is not it's king, the pinned piece can move.

Relocation. The realization of a manoeuvre in the form of an echo or systematic movement of a try, on a different part of the board or in a slightly different setting.

Réti Theme. Black has two (overriding) ripostes which White counters with a single move that prepares his side for both possibilities, as Black can only choose one of the two ripostes. (H.Grondijs). Not always will Black be impelled to make up his mind immediately, but until that moment comes White's move or moves are identical for both lines of defense. The essence of the theme is seen at the Welcome-page of this website. Sometimes also called Reti's double threat or Reti's manoeuvre..

See article: Réti's Study Is 100 Years Old ! 

Retrograde analysis is a branch of composition based on determining the play leading to the given position.

Romantic study. Demonstrates a complex thought or manoeuvre: modern in its awareness of positional and tactical aspects. Also referred to as New-Russian (Herbstmann: Russia) study.

Roman Theme. Two definitions:

I. a. White's threat is countered by a black thematic piece (the try), b. White's move introduces a new threat and the thematic piece counters both threats.

II. a. the try, b. the prepatory move followed by the original plan.

Roundabout way. The king approaches the target by a longer trajectory than the shortest possible one to stop the opponent from strengthening his position.

Round trip. (German Rundlauf) A piece leaves a square, and then later in the solution returns to it by a circuitous route (for example, a rook moves e3–g3–g5–e5–e3).
Compare: switchback, in which the route taken to the original square is direct. See also Triangulation manoeuver.

Sacrificial <piece>. A piece repeatedly sacrifices itself. Mainly to make stalemate. R-sac means Rook-sacrifice.

Scheme. A position of the main pieces and pawns that allow the expression of the author's idea. The scheme still lacks many pices and pawns that will be required later, to perfect the study. These additional pieces and pawns play auxiliarly roles: they deprive the black king of free squares or liquidate various flaws (duals, side solutions, unsolvability).

Schlechters-feint. A king-move to threat an advance of a pawn and gaining a tempo to reach the opponent pawn advance. [First played by Carl Schlechter] (John Beasley)

Secondary-threat. A threat occurs only after a black piece has moved. (R.C. Moore). With a series of moves (e.g. by the same piece) Black can withstand a threat (the primary threat). Always the same black weakening is created, giving white the chance to win (secondary threat). After one or more of these moves the new win is again refuted and a new win (tertiary) becomes possible (F.W. Nanning and A.M. Koldijk).

Sehwers theme consists of the combination of Self-pinning and Cross-Check in the same move.

Self-Block. A square in the king's field is blocked allowing mate, or a piece is lost because an important square is blocked.

Self-incarceration also Auto-incarceration or Self-caging. One of the most remarkable stalemate opportunities in the endgame must be self-stalemate. In most stalemate endings stalemate is forced by compulsory moves of the opponent. In the case of self-stalemate, quite the contrary is the case: the weaker side builds the stalemate position all by himself, and there is nothing the opponent can do about it. (Th. Kok)

Self-interference. A piece interferes on the line of action of a line piece of the same side. "If one white piece moves into the line of force of another line piece, I speak of White Interference; if a black piece moves into the line of force of another line piece, I speak of Black Interference; while if a piece of either color moves into the line of a piece of opposite color I use the term Shut-off." (Weenink).

Self-mate. A problem in which White must force Black to mate him. 

Self Pinning. One side calls a pin upon itself achieving a draw (or even a win), in preparation of a cross-pin (the Sehwers theme consists of the combination of Self-pinning and Cross-Check in the same move).

Semi-Fortress. The endgame of two bishops versus a knight was thought to be a draw for more than one hundred years. It was known that the temporary defensive fortress in this position could be broken down after a number of moves, but it was assumed that the fortress could be reformed in another corner. Computer endgame tablebases show that the bishops generally win, but it takes up to 66 moves. It takes several moves to force Black out of the temporary fortress in the corner; then precise play with the bishops prevents Black from forming the fortress in another corner. (Examples on Wikipedia)

Set play. the play that could occur if Black rather than White moved first in a problem’s starting position.

Setting. Usually refers to a sound expression of an idea or theme. In general there will be many possible settings, and the composer's primary aim is to discover the one that is most elegant and most economical. Secondary aims will be difficulty and disguise, the mini­mum principle being to have every piece move at least once. Often disregarded, though crucial to the study's net impact on the solver, is proportion or balance-the introduction and other aspects of the setting should bear as close a quantitative and qualitative relationship as possible with the main idea.

Side solution. Achieving the goal set for a study in a thematic (idea) line beginning at any move in a way that is different from the author's intended solution.

Sister squares. (Schwester felder). See Opposition.

Shouldering. A manouvre of the king to keep the other king from apporoaching.

Skewer. A skewer occurs when a line moving piece attacks an enemy unit standig on the same line, be it a file or a diagonal. Moving the attacked piece exposes a second enemy piece standing behind on the very same line. Consequently this second piece may be captured by the attacker. The most common and dangerous skewer is when the king is the front enemy piece. If the attacker may not be captured or the attacking line may not be interfered the checked king must move and expose his fellow rear piece to a possible capture.

Skewering see also Enfilade Attaquante Passive. A skewer check wins material that is behind the enemy king.

Smothered mate. Mating by a knight and the mated king has no free field to go because his own pieces occupy all the fields around him.

Article with examples: CQL Smothered mate

Solus Rex (or rex solus). When either colour (though usually Black) has only their king left. The term is derived from Latin and literally means "lone king".

Solution. The moves needed to satisfy the stipulation. See under annota­tion convention and stipulation.

Soundness. Together with economy and originality (which has its dictionary meaning and is excluded from this glossary) this is a necessary criterion for a good study. Actually, even a bad study has to be sound. It means that there is only one solution. White must have no choice of moves to achieve the stipulated result against the best defense, but the principle of soundness says nothing else about Black. The principle ceases to apply as soon as a theoretically known position is reached. For instance, if a line ends with White having king and rook against king, and there may be ten ways to win, the study is still sound, theory having known since the dawn of chess that mate with a rook can always be forced.

Source. The composer's name, together with the date and place of first publication. This information ought ideally to be supplied every time the position is re-printed, and it ought to appear with the dia­gram. But technicalities of printing and space make this not always practicable, and many editors are lazy. Some sources are very lengthy and there can be a valid excuse. But courtesy to the composer, who gets little recognition, should be of importance to anyone reproducing his work. There is an analogy with music. Where known, the month of appearance of a position is given in this book, but in the abbreviated form of lower case roman numerals, e.g. September is denoted by ix.


Split move. Two or more consecutive moves by a line piece over the same line of action. Technically, the moves can be carried out as one, but the execution of the move is split in several moves because the first move(s) must achieve an intermediate logical effect.


Staircase. A manoeuvre with rook or queen which moves up or down a staircase.

Article with examples: CQL Queen staircase

Stairway movement.

A.C. White, 1952.

Stalemate. When one side is not in check but has no legal move and it's his turn. This means that the game ends in a draw. Or the result is a draw (1/2-1/2).

Article with examples: CQL Pinned stalemates or CQL Two stalemates

Stalemate Attack. A combination of moves aiming at stalemate, with disregard of material or positional considerations.


      Y. Afek 1978

White plays and draws.



Stalemate avoidance. A move or manoeuvre avoiding a stalemate trap.

Stipulation. The words or symbols associated with a composed diagram and describing the task to be performed. Usual are `White to Move and Win' or `White to Move and Draw'. They are often abbreviated as in this book to `Win' and `Draw', and sometimes represented by the admirably international '+' and '=', as in the FIDE Albums. The stipulation is part of the composition which, strictly speaking, is not complete without one. Occasionally, when the composer finds it unavoidable, Black plays first.

Super theme. A concept strong together of the combination of a number of tactical elements into a systematic movement, a 'pattern', or an 'image', e.g. Powerless Queen.

Systematic Movement or Manoeuvre. Repetition of a (complex) manoeuvre until a certain goal has been achieved. A piece configuration is repeated at different locations of the board, but other than in Echo in a single line of play. (J.Levitt and D. Friedgood).

Switchback. Pattern theme. A piece returns to its original square. (R.C. Moore). Normally it is concerned with activity of a single piece, although of course the theme may be repeated by several pieces in the same composition. To be thematically relevant the move(s) away from the original square must be very clearly motivated by the wish to create a weakness in the opponent's camp and the position after the piece returns should show at most just minor differences. Often the switchback partakes in a logical manoeuvre either for the attacking or for the defending side. (H.Grondijs).

Tablebase: An endgame tablebase is a computerized database that contains precalculated exhaustive analysis of chess endgame positions See also tab Technical.

Task. The best definition of a task is due to T. R. Dawson, although he was dealing with the unlimited range of fairy chess. The words within quotes are Dawson's. Task studies 'have maximum or minimum characteristics in relation to one or more of their space, medium, limitations, and thematic features.'* In other words, there must be something to be counted. Example.

Or: a composition where the theme (idea) is expressed in the maximum possible amount of variations.

Tamed Queens. Caged-queen: she cannot go to a square without being lost; Helpless queen: she may move but can do nothing to evade its own doom or that of the king; the game will be lost; Powerless queen: she is a mere bystander, and the game will be drawn.

Technique. A purposeful move in a position that can be significant on its own as part of a maneuver.

Tempo gain. One side plays for time to reach an aim (R.C. Moore). A tempo refers to a "turn" or single move. When a player achieves a result in one fewer move, he gains a tempo and when he takes one more move than necessary he loses a tempo. (See also Opposition, Triangulation and Waiting move). 

Temptation. A move that comes up as a possible solution, but it isn't.

Testing. The process of discovering whether a composition, in embryo or in final form, is sound. Cook hunters and analysts develop a nose for the unsound study, an instinct which they themselves cannot explain. For someone without this flair, which means nearly every composer, testing is laborious and error prone.

Thematic study. Bases on problem motives (adapted from mate in x problems) in a wide sense.

Thematical try -- See try below

Theme. A more precise term than 'idea'. In fact, a theme is an idea expressed (in words) in as precise terms as its constituents allow. There are tourneys where a theme is prescribed. (A.J. Roycroft). The principal idea of a problem (R.C. Moore). A clearly distinguishable subject matter of the study: this can well be an 'atomic' chess manoeuvre like Pinning, Zugzwang or Double Threat, but normally it expresses a concept on a higher, composite level (like Undermined Squares Theme, the Focal Point Theme or a Systematic Movement), for which level the 'atomic' manoeuvres constitute constructive building blocks. The theme can be subordinated to a super theme.

Article with list of examples : CQL Sample files || themes and manoeuvres

Theory. Often called the `book', this is no more and no less than the sum total of current knowledge about the results (win or draw) with given distributions of force in the endgame.

Threat. A set of (forced) moves that are coming to achieve an advantageous goal. I.e. to checkmate, to win a piece or to promote a pawn.

Tortoise move. See Festina Lente. Tempo losing.

Tourney. There are two kinds of tourney, but both are competitions to find the best original study compositions. The two kinds are the informal and the formal. The practice in an informal tourney is for all entries to be published, with the composers' names, in the course of a year (sometimes less, sometimes more than a year) in the column of a chess magazine. In a formal tourney the judge does not know the identities of the composers, and the entries are not published at all before the award appears. In a formal tourney, unsuccessful entries are returned to the composers unpublished. Some formal tourneys have taken several years to publish their results. An idea seldom tried since the Croydon Guardian tourney of 1884 is to have entries published without authors' identities, so that solvers can test them, and so that the judge will produce an unbiased award. This would combine the best features of both schemes and would be easy to administer. However, it would mean inventing another word for this type of tourney! See also Album for an unusual tourney for published material and without prizes. In a theme tourney the entries must satisfy the requirements of a prescribed theme, such as a mid-board mate, a battery, a stalemate with pin, repetition, or any applicable idea, whether general or specific. A jubilee tourney is in honor of a living composer, and a memorial tourney is in honor of a deceased one, or of some equally notable event. A`ring' tourney is for all published originals for which there is no other organized award.


Transposition. This has effectively the same meaning as a transposition in the opening. It occurs in a study when one line of play leads into a line that has already been analyzed. Unlike inversion (q.v.) transposi­tion is usually applied to black moves.

Trap. A move or manoeuvre that sets the conditions for a meaningful try. A logical trap invites an opponent's move that would activate some hidden resource for the defense, or invites the opponent to make the wrong choice from seemingly equivalent moves. The optical trap tries to delude the solver from the real solution. (H. Grondijs).


Trap avoidance. A move or manoeuvre avoiding the activation of a hidden resource for the opponent.


Triangulation. Manoeuvre forcing the other side to move first from the same position. E.g. the king moves first sideways and only afterwards forward, in order to lose a tempo, for example to gain the opposition. Triangulation in chess is an endgame related tactic to put the opponent in zugzwang by explicitly losing a tempo. Triangulation performs an artificial null move, a piece (except pawn and knight) uses three moves to return to its original square, while the defending side is not able to do so. Most often triangulation occurs with the king in pawn endings to "win" the opposition. Queen-triangulation is a theme in KQKR, as demonstrated in Philidor's KQKR position, while rook-triangulation is a motive in rook endgames, and bishop-triangulation happens rarely in bishop versus knight endings. In blocked pawn endgames, triangulation and opposition is incorporated in the general concept of corresponding squares. (See Chess Programming Wiki)


Trotzky ending <number>. Two knights on one side versus a single pawn on the other side (GBR-Class 2.01). < number> indicates the number of moves conversion (i.e. mate) in case the ending is won.

There is a model for each critical square for the pawn. (Article with cql and examples: CQL Troitzky's ending ; See also: New frontiers in the Troitsky line, by Vladimir Kuzmichev

Try. A tempting white move that fails. A try may occur at any stage in the main line of a study, but in problems a try is restricted to the key. A (series of) move(s) that but for a single reason does not realize the stipulation. A move that is defeated by a single black defence.

In endgame studies a Try is a move that is an interesting alternative for the correct move of the main line but is defeated by a single black defence.

Thematic try is a try closely related to the theme of the study. The black refutation must consist of a unique sequence of moves.

Logical try which do not work until White has improved his own position or weakoned Black's position with a preceding foreplan.


Turtle or Great Barrier motif. A White piece sacrifices itself where a Black pawn can capture it, but then a Whte pawn is able to advance to promotion. See articles EG 226.

Turton Voidance. Anti-critical manoeuvre in which a line piece moves over a critical target square allowing another piece to play over that line to the critical square (thus employing an anti-metocritical manoeuvre). The difference with the Bristol voidance is that in a Turton voidance the critical piece performs a role in further play in support of the attacking piece. The Turton voidance must not be confused with the Turton Theme for which the critical piece plays in the opposite direction (anti-metacritically; it is also called Turton Clearance).

Turton doubling. One piece moves along a line, allowing a second to move onto the same line in front of it; this second piece then moves in the opposite direction to the first.

Twin. A type of composition in which two studies are represented in the same diagram by the device of making a single change, which may be an addition, deletion or change of man, or board orientation. It is hard for judges to know how to treat `twin' entries for tourneys. Simplest is to exclude them (or include them) explicitly in the announcement.

Twins. Two (or more) parts of a problem that differ slightly in their initial positions, but each with its own solution.

Umbrella. An enemy pawn or piece is used to serve as a protection of the king against checks.

Umnov effect. When a white piece (not a pawn) moves to a square which just has been vacated by a black piece.

Undermined squares. A piece must choose the right square (or a sequence of squares) from a number of candidates (but the other squares are 'undermined').

Underpromotion. Promotion of a pawn to rook, bishop or knight rather than a queen. Also called minor promotion.

Unguarded Guard. A linepiece checks, and a piece interposes on an unguarded square. See for an example also Tim Krabbé website.

Article with cql and examples: Unguarded Guard

Unpin. A move that releases a piece from a pin thereby allowing this piece to defend or counterattack. (R.C. Moore). When the pinning piece moves from the pinline it is called a withdrawal-unpin. See also Pin.


Unsound. Demolished, incorrect. The normal case of unsoundness is either a cook or a bust, but a curious situation occasionally arises when there is both a cook and a bust. This means that there is an unintended, but adequate, solution, and also that the composer's intention fails to an unforeseen black defense. The net result is that the study is sound by virtue of a series of accidents. In such a case there is not likely to be any artistic value in the net result, but what there is can in all fairness not be attributed to the composer. It must be considered a joint composition by the composer, who did after all provide the position, and the solver who first spotted the cook.


Vacation. < square/line> A piece is moved from a square so that another piece can move to the same square. (R.C. Moore).

For mate, capture or promotion vacating a square for a more profitable occupation by another piece is hardly the principal of a composition.

The Sehwers-check is a typical instance; the rook-evacuation of the promotion-square belongs to theory (A. Rueb).

Or: repetition of the main idea of the study with a different material balance or piece position.

Valladao theme: Castling, en-passant and underpromotion in one study. When a single main line includes all three ‘unusual’ chess moves: en passant, castling and promotion with preferably, but not necessarily, an underpromotion.

Article with examples: CQL Valladeo theme. Named after the Brazilian (Problem) Composer Joaquim Valladão Monteiro (1907-1993).

Version (v).   An alternative, and presumably superior, setting of a composition by the same composer.

The word `version' sometimes appears in the source. It is sometimes a euphemism for correction.


Waiting move. Indicates that waits for an adversary's action (thus invoking Zugzwang or Forced Choice).

WFCC = World Federation for Chess Composition.

WCCT World Chess Composition Tourney of the FIDE, a periodical event for national teams, first organized in 1972.

Article with task for studies with examples: CQL Wcct6 theme, CQL Wcct7 theme and CQL Wcct9 theme

Widening the Beachhead. Means trading off pawns with the idea of clearing a path for the king.

Winning a tempo. A tactical trick in a study that is implemented by performing certain maneuvres to weaken the opponent's position.

Wurzburg-Plachutta, (see Plachutta). Mutual interference between two like-moving black pieces on different lines; essentially a pair of Holzhausen interferences where piece A interferes with pieces B in one variation, and piece B interferes with piece A in another. If the interference is brought about by a white sacrifice on the critical square, it is a Plachutta.


Zepler-doubling. A kind of doubling in which one piece moves along a line allowing a second to move onto the same line behind it; the first piece then moves again in the same direction as before. Named after Erich Zepler. See also Turton doubling.

Zigzag. The king chooses not to walk along a straight line to avoid a check.

Zugzwang. Compulsion to move. A position in which one side must move to its detriment, although the opponent has no threat.

The outcome of the line would be a different one if the side would be allowed to skip the move. (Example Diagram 89)

(meaning: each move that is possible to make will make an important concession.) 

Zugzwang is a position in which it is disadvantageous to move, as every move leads to a worse, and often lost position. Most of the time it happens in late endgames, specially pawn endings, the most obvious example being a KPK endgame, where opposition can be regarded as a special case of zugzwang.

Article with examples: CQL Mutual zugzwangs 5-Pieces

See also: Cyclic Zugzwangs

Zwickmuhle or Torre-Lasker theme....

Article with examples: CQL Zwickmuhle / Torre-Lasker theme

Zwischenschach. Intermediate check, disrupting a logical sequence of moves.

Zwichenzug (or intermediate move) is an unexpected interruption of what seems like a natural and logic sequence of moves, often making it difficult to predict.


Some technical Chess terminology :

CQL   = Chess Query Language is designed to allow researchers, authors, and players to search for games, problems, and studies that match specific themes or material balances. CQL 6.2.

CQLi =  written by Robert Gamble, is a high-quality, efficient and robust implementation of the CQL 6 language. CQLi also has a number of new features that CQL 6 does not support, including support for "imaginary" positions that do not occur in the game tree; Unicode; and communication with external programs. CQLi is extremely well-architected and accurate, and typically runs much faster than CQL. (Much of CQL 6 was tested and debugged by testing it against earlier versions of CQLi).

EGTB = Endgame Tablebase, An endgame tablebase is a computerized database that contains precalculated exhaustive analysis of chess endgame positions.

            It is typically used by a computer chess engine during play, or by a human or computer that is retrospectively analysing a game that has already been played.

            In Mat Plus the following article about EGTB was published in 2007.

            The Nalimov tablebase for checking positions up to 6-men.

            The Syzygy tablebase for checking positions up to 7-men.

FEN  = Forsyth - Edwards Notation. Is a way to describe a board position in text format, which is used in PGN. There is also an Extended X-FEN.

GBR  = Guy-Blanchard-Roycroft code to identify in a compact way the material on the chessboard, used for tagging startpositions of studies. See GBR code. Named after the founders of the code.

NAG  = Numeric Annotation Glyph. Is a movetext element within PGN that is used to indicate a simple annotation in a language independent manner.

PGN  = Portable Game Notation is a plain text computer-processible format for recording chess games (both the moves and related data), supported by many chess programs.

            (To create online a PGN file you could use:  goto "Board Editor", choose "position setup", "empty" etc.)


Explanations of the abbreviations used in the Harold van der Heijden Database:

@1:   second solution (at move 1).
@2:   cook; extra solution after move 1.
@3:  incorrect; White is unable to fulfil the stipulation (in a win study Black draws or wins;
        in a draw study White loses).
@4:  “super-cook”. White can even win in a study with a draw stipulation.
(@1) or (@2): minor duals.
@1?, @2?, @3?, @4?: suspicious, or claim without analysis.

(c):    correction; i.e. original study was unsound.
(m):   modification; i.e. original study was sound, the improvement has another motivation.
(v):    version (perhaps a correction or a modification).
(s):    corrected solution (without changing the position).
(ea):  too many composers' names to fit. All names given as text before the first move.
(tw):  twin study (also triplicates, quadruplicates, etc).
(pl):   plagiarism or accidental re-composition (it does happen!). Although there is no doubt in many a case, all studies in the database are only considered “suspect”.

(ph):  posthumously published.
(te):   theoretical ending (i.e. probably not an endgame study).
(cr):   colours reversed (the original stipulation was, for instance: Black to play and win).
(ce):  computer ending (EGTB-derived ending).
(tt):   theme tourney

<cook NN> in the moves of a cooked study you find at places these remarks. The NN abbreviations are initials of the person who found the cook.


"The Chess Endgame Study" by A.J. Roycroft, 1981.

"Eindspelkunst" by Jan H. Marwitz, 1983/1991.

"Chessmen in the endgame-study 4-7", by Jan van Reek, 1993.

"Never Ending" and "Never Ending Volume B" by Harrie Grondijs 1994.

"Charged Moves and Progressions, Nico Cortlever's Endgame Studies" by Harrie Grondijs 1996. 

"Anthology of Miniature Endgame studies", by Yochanan Afek 2022.

"The Pawn study Composer's Manual", by Michal Zinar 2022.




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