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A chelate is a compound where the central atom is essentially "wrapped" inside a ring created by more molecules. These molecules need to be bonded to each other in a ring shape, essentially allowing for greater stability of the entire molecule. You can tell whether a compound is a chelate or not by just looking at its Lewis Structure and what you know about its VSPER model. If the ligands are close enough to form a bond with other ligands and are able to do so without breaking the octet rule, then you would typically have a "ring" around the central transition metal, making a chelate.
Chelating ligands are polydentate ligands that are able to form a ring-like structure of atoms that includes the central metal cation. As an example, each ethylenediamine (molecular formula: C2H4(NH2)2) ligand in the compound pictured below binds the central Cobalt cation to form two such rings.
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