Thursday, February 06, 2014

Fair and square

Chess Note 8519, last weekend:
Jason Childress (Belmont, CA, USA) asks whether a name exists for the box-like configuration (pawns on b7, c7, b6 and c6) which Nakamura had in his game against Anand in Zurich on 31 January 2014. No established term is known to us.
We know one, established or otherwise. Right back in 2007 this blog suggested the term "testudo", for that very pattern. Latin for tortoise, it refers to the shield formation sometimes employed by advancing Roman troops.

Naturally we expected it to be instantly adopted as standard usage in the chess world. Turns out that seven years later, nobody's heard of it. Tsk. Still, Rome wasn't built in a day.


Andrew B. said...

The Cambridge Univ chess magazine of October 1993 called them "square pawns" (referring back to an earlier article from 1988).

Matt Fletcher said...

I've been playing with Chess Query Language ( after it was mentioned on ECForum in relation to multiple exchange sacrifices. Using it, I've been able to find lots of examples of testudos - here's one for White after just 8 moves:

Matt Fletcher said...

Also check John Nunn's pawn structure after 14 moves in this game: