How to set up the chessboard?
Chess is a game for two players. It is played on an 8x8 (64) squares board.
At the beginning of the game the chessboard is laid out so that each player has the white square in the bottom right-hand side. Each square has a name which is based on the coordinates. Note that, if you have a board with notation, the bottom left corner (the A1 square ) should be a black square.
The vertical lines are called “files” while horizontal ones are called “ranks”.
How to arrange the chess pieces?
In the starting position, both sides have eight Pawns, seven pieces and a King.
The second rank is filled with Pawns. The pieces in the first rank should be arranged as follows. The Rooks go in the corners, then the Knights next to them, followed by the Bishops, and finally the Queen, who always goes on her own matching colour (white Queen on white, black Queen on black), and the King on the remaining square of an opposite colour.
How the pieces move?
The two sides take turns to make a move, with White always starting. Only one piece is allowed on a square at a time.
Each of the 6 different kinds of pieces moves differently. Pieces cannot move through other pieces except the Knight which can jump over other pieces). Pieces cannot move onto a square with one of their own pieces neither. However, they can be moved to take the place of an opponent's piece which is then captured. Pieces are generally moved into positions where they can capture other pieces (by landing on their square and then replacing them), defend their own pieces in case of capture, or control important squares in the game.
Moves and captures
A simple ‘move’ is when a piece moves from one square to a square that is empty. If instead there is an enemy piece on the arrival square then a ‘capture’ is possible. A capture ends with removing the enemy piece and putting your own piece on that square. It is not possible to take an opposing piece on the way to another square. The only exception is the “en passant” move. It is not possible to capture your own pieces neither.
The Rook moves along straight lines. It can go in all directions.
The Bishop moves diagonally in all directions. So it only is able to move on one colour of squares throughout the game. Then bishops in the starting position are referred to as the “light-squared” or the “darkk-squared” bishops.
The Queen can move like the rook or the bishop. So the queen is the most powerful piece. She can move in any one straight direction - forward, backward, sideways, or diagonally - as far as possible as long as she does not move through any of her own pieces.
The Knight moves like a banana, two steps in a straight line in any direction and then one to either side. The knight is able to jump over the other pieces; it is the only piece that can do this. Notice that the straight-line pieces like rook, bishop or queen can only move to any square along the trajectory.
The King moves one square in any direction. The only exception is “castling”. The king is not allowed to go to a square where it can be taken.
The Pawn can only move forward. It moves straight while it captures diagonally. It cannot capture straight or move diagonally. It is allowed to move one square forward or two squares forward the first time it moves. After this it can only move one square forward, even if on its first move it did not use its right to move two squares.
This move allows you to do two important things all in one move: get your king to safety (hopefully), and get your rook out of the corner and into the game. On a player's turn he may move his king two squares over to one side and then move the rook from that side's corner to right next to the king on the opposite side. Castling is possible if three conditions are met:
Neither the king nor the rook have moved earlier in the game
there cannot be any pieces between the king and rook to move
the king may not be in check or pass through check
A pawn is the only piece that may be promoted to any other piece. Promotion happens when a pawn reaches the opponent’s side of the board. The player then has to remove his pawn and replace it with any new piece he chooses – a queen, rook, knight or bishop.
It is French for “in passing”. If a pawn moves out two squares on its first move, and by doing so lands to the side of an opponent's pawn (effectively jumping past the other pawn's ability to capture it), that other pawn has the option of capturing the first pawn as it passes by.
Who Makes The First Move?
The player with the white pieces always moves first. That is why players decide who will get to be white by chance or luck such as flipping a coin or having one player guess the color of the hidden pawn in the other player's hand. White then makes a move, followed by black, then white again, then black and so on until the end of the game. Being able to move first is a tiny advantage which gives the white player an opportunity to attack right away.
How to Win or to End a Game of Chess?
There are several ways to end a game of chess: by checkmate, with a draw, by resignation, by forfeit on time...
Checkmate – the aim of the game
The objective of the game is to trap the opponent’s king, also known as “Checkmate”. A game of chess is won if the opponent’s king is attacked and has no means of escape. This is referred to as checkmate. It is the most common in casual games played between friends.
Itoccurs when one side cannot make a move without placing the king in check, but where the king is not in check already.
A draw can also occur if one side is giving checks after every move and the opponent cannot escape them. This is called perpetual check.
The rule of threefold repetition says that if the same position is about to arise
for the third time, with the same side to move, than that player can claim a draw. This can also happen without any checks.
In tournament play it is common for a player to resign the game, when he feels that mate is
inevitable, sooner or later. As stalemate is always a possibility, it is not recommended to resign a game unless your opponent is already an accomplished player.
Agree on a draw
It is also possible for the two players to agree on a draw. A player can off er a draw while making a move (and only then). The opponent can then either accept the offer or say “No
thank you” and play a move (recommended!). Once a move has been played, the draw offer no longer stands.
Th e winner is awarded one point and the losing side zero points. 1–0 means that White won the game, 0–1 that Black won the game. A game can end in a draw where each player is awarded half a point (˝–˝) if one player is stalemated (see below) or if there are insuffi cient pieces left on the board for one side to checkmate the other.
Chess moves are recorded with a symbol or letter representing the pieces and nothing representing the pawns. So 1.e2-e4, or the short version 1.e4, means that the pawn on e2 moves
to e4. In modern times, short notation is more common, with an addition needed to avoid confusion if two pieces could potentially go to the same square. So Rae1, means that the rook from the a-fi le (it must be on a1) moves to e1 and not the rook on f1, g1 or h1. The piece symbols are self-explanatory, but some books and newspapers use letters:
King=K, Queen=Q, Rook=R, Bishop=B, Knight=N and nothing for the pawn
Basic Chess Strategies
Protect your King
Get your king to the corner of the board where he is usually safer. Don't put off castling. You should usually castle as quickly as possible. Remember, it doesn't matter how close you are to checkmating your opponent if your own king is checkmated first!
Don't Give Pieces Away
Don't carelessly lose your pieces! Each piece is valuable and you can't win a game without pieces to checkmate. There is an easy system that most players use to keep track of the relative value of each chess piece. How much are the chess pieces worth?
A pawn is worth 1
A knight is worth 3
A bishop is worth 3
A rook is worth 5
A queen is worth 9
The king is infinitely valuable
Control the Center of the Chessboard
You should try and control the center of the board with your pieces and pawns. If you control the center, you will have more room to move your pieces and will make it harder for your opponent to find good squares for his pieces. In the example above white makes good moves to control the center while black plays bad moves.
Use All of your Chess Pieces
In the example above white got all of his pieces in the game! Your pieces don't do any good when they are sitting back on the first row. Try and develop all of your pieces so that you have more to use when you attack the king. Using one or two pieces to attack will not work against any decent opponent.
How to React to a Check?
Since it is forbidden to leave your king under attack from an enemy piece, any attack on your king must be immediately prevented. Threats to the king are known as ‘checks’. There are three ways of reacting to a check:
Move the king to a safe square (but not by castling).
Put a piece in between the checking piece and the king to block the attack.
Capture the piece delivering the check.
A check is normally given by moving a piece so it threatens the opponent’s king. However, a
check may also be delivered by moving a piece to open a line of attack from another piece towards the opponent’s king. This is called a discovered check. It is in this way possible
to make a move where two pieces are threatening the king at the same time. This is called a double check. The only way to react to this is to move the king.
It is not allowed to ignore a check. It is also forbidden to move your king into check. This also means that the opposing kings can never move close enough to capture each other.
Other rules worth knowing
In tournament play it is not allowed to discuss your game with others while the game is underway. In friendly games it is common to say “check”. In tournament play this is frowned upon, as an experienced player will always notice when their king is under attack. You should only talk to your opponent when you are offering or declining a draw. In short, you are not allowed to disturb the opponent with anything other than good moves.
Tournament games are played with a chess clock which in fact is made up of two clocks – where one clock will stop when pressed, while the other side simultaneously starts. Only after completing a move is a player allowed to press the clock. If a player runs out of time, he has lost the game, unless his opponent does not have enough pieces to checkmate, in which case the game is a draw.
Mobile phones are not allowed at most tournaments. Even the few that allow them, require them to be turned off and stored away.