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checkmate (CHEK-mayt) noun

1. A move that places the king in a position from which there is no escape, as every move results in defeat.

2. Complete defeat.

verb tr.

1. To maneuver an opponent's king in checkmate.

2. To place in an inextricable situation.

3. To defeat completely.


A call by a chess player that his or her move has placed opponent's king in such a manner that escape is impossible.

[From Middle English chekmat, from Middle French escec mat, from Arabic shah (king), mat (dead, nonplussed).]

"An army of the British East India Company, still in charge of imperial India, moved into Kabul in 1839 to checkmate the Russian advances -- real and imagined -- in Central Asia, the Himalayas and Tibet." Barbara Crossette, Afghanistan, For Ages an Affliction to Mighty Empires, Is Not Easily Subdued, The New York Times, Sep 18, 2001.

This week's theme: words from chess.

Erratum: 10^120 is number 1 followed by 120 zeros and not number 10 followed by 120 zeros as mentioned here yesterday.

And while we are talking of numbers, today's date happens to be a palindromic number if you write dates in mm/dd/yyyy format. Have fun finding out when the next such occurrence is going to happen. -Anu


The wastebasket is a writer's best friend. -Isaac Bashevis Singer, writer, Nobel laureate (1904-1991)

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