I am teaching my 7 year old German grandson chess. It is hard enough for him to learn the rules and tactics without his grandad's strange German confusing things so I would appreciate some help with the correct usage of certain terms in Chess, and generally.

My biggest problem is the use of prefixes "ge..." and "be..." I tend to use the prefix ge... because I know it from using the "Plusquamperfekt" but I feel I am using the wrong prefix and I would appreciate some advice on when to use prefix "be..." generally.

For example:

"Die Königin ist geschützt/gedroht"


"Die Königin ist beschützt/bedroht"?


1 Answer 1


There are a number of issues here:

  • ge- is not a prefix as be- but just an indication of past participle, so geschützt is a form a prefix-less schützen and boils down to a pretty generic protected.
  • beschützen is a sort of active protection by somebody, so while a child may be considered as von seinen Eltern beschützt, you would not say der Wagen ist in der Garage beschützt
  • In chess, queen is mostly translated to Dame and only seldom to Königin.
  • Also in chess pieces are bedroht or angegriffen (the participle gedroht is grammmatically wrong in this context), and the counter-measures is typically phrased as gedeckt.
  • 2
    Also, "Die Dame / Königin ist gedroht" ist just wrong ;) Because it's a participle in the active voice, it would be used with the threatening party, not the threatened party. Nov 5, 2020 at 9:14
  • 1
    in addition: in chess terminology chess pieces are usually gedeckt not geschützt
    – mtwde
    Nov 5, 2020 at 10:47
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    @Steve: "Die (or deine) Dame ist gedroht" is just incorrect usage of "drohen". "Drohen" goes with dative, so you can say "Ich drohe deiner Dame.". Passive voice is built using "werden"/"wird", so you could also say "Deiner Dame [dative] wird (von mir) gedroht". However, the word that is commonly used in chess is "bedrohen" (or "angreifen"). Bedrohen goes with accusative, so its either "Ich bedrohe deine Dame" or "Deine Dame wird (von mir) bedroht". Additionally, "bedroht" can also be used as an adjective, so you can also say "Deine Dame ist bedroht."
    – HalvarF
    Nov 5, 2020 at 12:20
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    @ HalvarF My takeaway from the answers kindly given above is that if my opponents queen is threatened I could say "Deiner Dame wird gedroht" or "Ich drohe deiner Dame" but better would be "Ich bedrohe deine Dame", "Deine Dame wird bedroht" or "Deine Dame ist bedroht". If the queen is protected I could say "Die Dame wird beschützt" but better would be "Die Dame ist gedeckt". Or am I still missing something.
    – Steve
    Nov 5, 2020 at 14:53
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    @Steve: Your comment is entirely correct.
    – guidot
    Nov 5, 2020 at 15:07

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