Colloquial Yiddish, derived from a German word for an immitative bird. An observer of a board or card game, particularly one who feels the need to offer advice. A backseat driver.

In the world of chess, kibitzer takes on a meaning with a bit more akin to a armchair quarterback. A kibitzer is one who observes a match, and from the security of his seat is always ready with the move that each opponent should have played. Many old jokes, stories, and anecdotes of the chess world center around the figure of a particularly meddlesome kibitzer- one who takes over a game, tips one players hand to another, or offers some gem of horrible advice that sinks an unwary player. A popular jibe defines a kibitzer as "someone who gives good advice to your opponent, and bad advice to you".

Of course, not all uses of the term are perjorative. Some kibitzers offer actually useful advice and analysis. Tim Harding, a chess journalist, writes a monthly column called "The Kibitzer" which offers post-mortem analysis and annotation of interesting games from tournament play. The term is commonly used to describe a player who has retired from serious play, and instead spends their time watching interesting games, and possibly commenting or annotating old ones.

Kibitzer is sometimes used to indicate a computer chess program's 'tutor mode', that indicates bad plays or makes suggestions during a game. The term is also used to refer to someone who observes a card game, particularly more complex ones like bridge or poker.
"I lived as an emigre in Vienna for several years, and there they use a word which, it seems to me, cannot be found in any other language - kibitzer. Remember this word - it will prove useful to you. This word designates a man who, seeing two people playing chess, takes without fail a seat nearby and always knows the very best move, and if you sit down to play a game with him, he proves to be an ignoramus after the first move."
-Leon Trotsky

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