Definition of chess in US English:



  • A board game of strategic skill for two players, played on a checkered board. Each player begins the game with sixteen pieces that are moved and used to capture opposing pieces according to precise rules. The object is to put the opponent's king under a direct attack from which escape is impossible (checkmate).

    • ‘Both were child prodigies in chess, quickly rising to their respective nations' top slots.’
    • ‘The newspaper is particularly useful for those players who want to make progress in chess.’
    • ‘I'm having a coffee and tackling a game of chess with my younger brother, Ronan.’
    • ‘The origins of chess have been much discussed but remain obscure, since it developed over time.’
    • ‘It is not very clear what impact the match and its result will have on chess.’
    • ‘You are good at strategy and probably enjoy games requiring mental skill, such as bridge and chess.’
    • ‘It will include wooden panelling and furniture, balance beam and games such as draughts and chess.’
    • ‘All I got from my father was the ability to play chess and think several moves ahead at all times.’
    • ‘This would be more fun if I had the faintest idea how to play chess with any strategy.’
    • ‘He loves to play chess, often bringing his board with him on the bus, or staying up all night playing Eduardo.’
    • ‘This gives it a unique character, more akin to a board game such as chess than to a normal card game.’
    • ‘Imagine that you are sitting on a park bench playing chess with someone you don't know.’
    • ‘The first rule of chess is that the board is to be positioned so that a white square is in the right-hand corner.’
    • ‘His other interests outside mathematics included tennis, golf, chess and bridge.’
    • ‘In chess, however, it is almost always a great advantage to be next to move.’
    • ‘His childhood pastimes were playing chess, reading music, and playing the guitar.’
    • ‘Between rounds, he breathes evenly, as though he has spent the past three minutes playing chess.’
    • ‘I'd seen him play people as if there were mere pawns in a cosmic game of chess.’
    • ‘I love to try to bring chess to larger audiences, and show that it's a fun game.’
    • ‘I always considered the ultimate embarrassment in chess to be when you lose your queen to a pawn.’


Middle English: from Old French esches, plural of eschec ‘a check’ (see check).