When talking about the game of chess do I capitalise or not? If not why not?

Example excerpt:

I have picked chess as it is a popular, well understood game. Even if the programming unit doesn’t know the concepts behind chess there is a wealth of easily-researchable information available for the developer to find answers promptly. Chess, as well as being ubiquitous, has some well-defined behaviour which drew me towards using it as the problem domain for my experiment.

1 Answer 1


According to this page on English:

Do not capitalize games or dances.

Example: checkers, hop scotch, tango

If a proper adjective appears with a game or dance, capitalize the proper adjective but not the name of the game or dance.

Example: Mexican hat dance, Chinese checkers

So you are correct to refer to it as simply chess because it is the name of a game. However, if you were writing about a game such as Sims, you would capitalize the title because it is a proper noun. Daily Writing Tips has a full post on this, saying:

Those of strategy games such as chess and checkers are lowercased, too (but note “Chinese checkers”), as are names of tile games such as dominoes. Traditional children’s games like tag and hopscotch, and those with more complex names, such as capture the flag, hide-and-seek, and king of the castle, need no special emphasis, either.

Brand names of trademarked games like Monopoly, Scrabble, and Chutes and Ladders are capitalized, but note that it is not necessarily to use registration symbols with them. (You will, of course, note the r in a circle adjacent to the brand name on the game itself and in printed and online literature published by the company, as well as in written materials of any company affiliated or in partnership with the trademark holder, but no other publication is required to include such symbols.)

When chess is capitalized, it is usually part of a title--for example the World Chess Champion.

  • 1
    I imagine you would capitalise a game if it was a tradename, Monopoly or Cluedo for example?
    – mgb
    Commented Aug 22, 2011 at 22:55
  • @Martin That was why I brought up Sims.
    – user10893
    Commented Aug 22, 2011 at 22:58
  • 1
    I wouldn't capitalize chess, but it's tempting to capitalize (the Japanese board game) go simply to avoid momentary confusion with the English verb of the same spelling. Commented Aug 25, 2011 at 20:53
  • 1
    For "go" I would probably italicize it since it is a foreign word.
    – user10893
    Commented Aug 25, 2011 at 20:58

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