J-adoube

J’adoube

ZHaˈdo͞ob

Noun

  • A declaration by a player intending to adjust the placing of a chessman without making a move with it.

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Example Sentences

“I forgot to say ‘j’adoube’ before I righted the fallen knight, so I was forced to play it.” 

“The chess tournament has extremely strict rules; it doesn’t even allow the j’adoube.” 

“When a player says ‘j’adoube,’ they are allowed to adjust a piece without penalty.”

Word Origin

French, early 19th century

Why this word?

The rules of chess can be quite particular — each type of piece has a specific movement and game setup, for example — but so can the language and the etiquette. In most OTB (over the board, or in-person) chess tournaments, the touch-move rule is in effect, meaning if a player touches a piece, they must play it. But there’s a little loophole for this rule: the French loanword “j’adoube,” which literally translates to “I adjust.” If a player wants to slightly adjust a skewed chess piece, they can first say “j’adoube,” and they aren’t subject to the touch-move rule.

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ˌperəˈdōlēə