I was involved in an interesting discussion in a chess forum today. It concerns the definition of a miniature.


Here is the definition of a miniature curtailed from decades of reading chess literature (and occasionally writing).


“A Miniature is a game lasting 25 moves or less. Grandmaster draws (which are draws with only a few moves played) and time forfeits are excluded. Ideally, they should be both educational and/or entertaining.” The last two sentences are two that are implied, but usually not explicitly stated.


Playing a miniature, in addition to winning a game, is an extra laurel in one’s crown. It indicates not only triumph but brilliancy.


But of course, there are people who want to present their longer games so they could claim their game to a brilliant miniature, even if they do not meet move limit.
So I offer why I think definitions are good for us within my replies this morning.







“Is it logical to get so heated up by a chess term that you feel the urge to inmediately (sic) point up to every 26-29 move post that their game don’t belong in the thread, even though many players disagree with your square definition? …”


How many people are we talking about? It seems to be less than 10 people. A tiny minority.


More to the point, I disagree with people who make up, or misuse a term, or even lie, about the definition of a term, esp. those who abuse these definitions to advance their own selfish agenda (you can probably guess who I am NOT voting for in the US Presidential Election).


And again, it is not my definition. I didn’t invent it, nor did I define the term. It has been the definition used by chess writers in magazines, books, encyclopedias, and has been around for decades (even before I was born ;)).


I like definitions. They allow us to communicate and to share things with each other. It allows our languages, cultures, and customs to thrive and evolve. It creates, expands, and advances our technologies, science and commerce. And they help in keeping everyone honest (at least most of them).


It seems many people don’t want to limit themselves to working on 25 moves or less. It is much more easier to win a game on move 35 than trying to win in less than 26 moves.


And if it is accepted that miniatures are 30 moves or less, what do you say if someone wants to submit a “brilliant” game that is 35 or 40 moves long?


How about 50 moves? 60?


If those longer games are acceptable, then the definition of a miniature loses all meaning.


I am reminded of a story of a chess master who traveled to Africa. Upon arriving he found several people who were analyzing a chess game.

Intrigued, the master walked to one of them and asked if he could play a game. The native agreed and choose White as to this color. The two sat down and the native play his opening moves, 1.d4, 1.e4 and 1.f4.

The master objected and stated he could not open a game that way. The African replied, “That’s how we play chess here in Africa. You start your game your way, and I start it with my way”.


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