Unlike my chess, my Spanish is improving: I can even work my way through a chess book, albeit slowly and with the help of a dictionary and grammar guide. Learning the names of the pieces was easy enough: alfil, caballo, torre, dama, rey, peón, though I doubt I'll change the initials I use when I'm writing down my moves. (Not, with my handwriting, that anybody can tell what they are anyway.)
I was confused by some of the verbs that chess books use, until I realised that unlike English, where Black and White are singular, the colours are used in a plural form: las blancas y las negras. (That's another source of confusion: B, which for thirty-five years has indicated that I have the Black pieces, now means White.) So now, rather than White resigns, third person singular, las blancas se rindieron, third person plural (and a reflexive and irregular verb). Las blancas se han rendido demasiados veces, when I have had the white pieces this season.
Paradoxically, when you're trying to read a foreign language, it's not the words you don't know that are the problem - you can look them up. It's when you know all the words in a sentence and still don't understand. What, for instance, did la calidad mean in a chess book? I knew that calidad means quality (I often use the word when referring to the service we don't get from Madrid book distributors) but what did it mean here? Eventually I realised that la calidad is what is said in Spanish when, in English, we say the exchange. Rook for bishop. Rook for knight.
It's a strange word to choose - in either language. Indeed, I'm sure I can remember being just as puzzled when I first came across the English word, possibly when reading My Sixty Memorable Games or one of the other books that I read a million times when I was a kid. The exchange. Why? Why does that particuarly denote rook for minor piece? Even now, thinking about it, I don't know why they chose that word. Nor do I know who chose it, or when they did so, or what people used to say beforehand.
I've had a short trawl of the internet for assistance, but Wikipedia has nothing to add and neither does Chess History. It's possible the Shorter Oxford Dictionary would tell me what I want to know - or some of it - but most readers of this blog are probably rather closer to such a dictionary than am I.
So, two questions. First, I'd like to know what terms other languages use for the transaction. I know Spanish and English - what do the French say, the Germans, the Russians, everybody else? Second, I'd like to know the etymological history of the term in English. All accurate information gratefully received.