What is Chess and How Do You Play it?


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How do the chess pieces move and capture? What is the goal of a chess game?

These are the most frequently asked questions by beginners interested in learning to play chess. To learn the basics of this ancient game, continue reading below.

Chess is regarded as one of the world’s oldest games. After a very slow evolution over several centuries, since the early 19th century, people have been playing what is today considered “standard chess.” Chess is played on a chessboard, which is composed of 64 squares (32 white and 32 dark). The game is played by two people, and each player has 16 pieces differentiated by white and black colors. The purpose of the game of chess is to checkmate your opponent’s king or to force your opponent to resign from the game.

The purpose of a chess game: Checkmate

The object of chess is to checkmate the opponent’s king or force him to give up his king. A checkmate occurs when the king is attacked by opposing pieces and cannot escape a dead-end position. Any piece can attack the opposing king, except another king. If a checkmate occurs in a game of chess, it means the game is over. The person who gave the checkmate won the game. Another situation where one side wins the game without checkmating is when the player decides to surrender his king. If the players play with a chess clock, the flag of one side falls.

A checkmate with Suki

The History of Chess

As already known, chess is considered to be one of the world’s oldest games. Its origin, however, is a controversial subject, since it has not been possible to prove when or where the game was created. Many scholars have suggested that chess probably had its beginnings in 6th century India in the form of a game called chaturanga. The name comes from a Sanskrit word meaning “having four limbs or parts,” and refers to the four divisions of an ancient Indian army—the elephantry, cavalry, infantry, and chariotry. The four divisions were represented by playing pieces resembling those of modern chess—bishops, knights, rooks, and pawns (Britannica).

The early game as a war game connects it with man’s attempts to deal with complex problems of strategy and social relationships. Countless researchers have shown that chess is a beneficial socialization tool among people; it teaches people how to deal with loss and victory, how to plan and, perhaps most importantly, how to think.

Since early 19th century, people have played chess on a chessboard. The game is played by two people and each player has 16 pieces differentiated by white and dark colors.

Setting up a Chessboard and Chess Pieces in Order

The Chessboard

A chess board is composed of 64 squares (32 white, 32 dark). There are eight horizontal ranks (rows) and eight vertical files (columns).

The white square must on the bottom right corner (white on right).

Each square on a chessboard has a unique name. Vertical files (columns) are indicated by numbers 1 to 8. Horizontal ranks (rows) are indicated by letters a to h.

Example: The square on which the white king is standing is called “e1”. The combination of a letter and a number in this order is used to write the name of a square.

Chess Pieces’ Names and the Value of Chess Pieces

 

How chess pieces move and capture

The Rook

This piece that shapes like a castle or tower in chess is called rook, and each player will play with two rooks. Rooks are set up on the corners of the chessboard.
The rook moves sideways, forward, and backward on any number of squares.
The rook captures on the same path it moves. The rook occupies the place of the piece that has been captured. Any of these white pawns can be captured by this rook.
 

The Bishop

Each player has two bishops, one that only plays on light squares and one that only plays on dark squares. These bishops are set up next to the knights.
The bishop plays only its own color and through diagonals in any number of squares. It can move diagonally forward and backward.
The bishop captures on the same path it moves. The bishop occupies the place of the piece that has been captured. Any of these black pieces can be captured by both bishops.

The Queen

The Queen is the most powerful piece in the chess world. Queen must be place on its own color; if the queen is white, then this queen must be place in a white square. If the queen is black then it must be placed in a black square.
 
The queen moves are the combination of rook and bishop together. It can move in any direction, sideways, diagonally forwards, and backward on any number of squares.
The queen captures on the same path it moves. The queen occupies the place of the piece that has been captured. Any of these white pawns can be captured by this queen.
 

The King

The king is the most important piece in the chess world. The king must be place next to the queen.
The king can move like the queen, BUT only one step at a time. The king can move in any direction, sideways, diagonally forwards and backward one step at a time.
 
The king captures on the same path it moves. The king occupies the place of the piece that has been captured. This king can capture this black pawn on e4 square.

Unique Chess Pieces: List of Facts about the King:

  • The king is the most important chess piece. If the king receives a checkmate, the game is over.
  • Kings cannot live together. It is against the rules of chess to move the king next to another king or into an attacked square by any opponent piece. The player who makes an illegal move must undo his previous move.
  • The king must not move to an attacked square. If a player moves his king to an attacked square, he is making an illegal move because he is moving the king into check.
  • The king cannot be captured. Whoever captures the enemy king is making an illegal move; in a blitz game whoever captures the enemy king loses the game.
  • The king captures the same way it moves, one step at a time. It can move up, down, to the side, and diagonally as long as it’s one step at a time. The king can capture any defenseless enemy piece, except the enemy king.
  • The castling is a special move created for the king. The king can castle on the kingside or on the queenside; in the both castling, the king will move two steps towards the rook and then the rook will jump to the other side of the king.

The Knight

This piece that shapes like a horse in chess is called knight. Both players will have two knights. They are set up next to the rooks.

The knight moves back and forth in many directions as long as it makes the shape of the letter L. Also, the knight is the only piece that can jump over other pieces.
 

The knight moves and captures in the same way. Any of those black pawns can be captured by this knight.

The Pawn

  • There are eight (8) pawns for each player.
  • Pawns are setup in front of pieces.
  • The home squares for white pawns are on the second rank.
  • The home squares for black pawns are on the seventh rank.
  • Pawns are prohibited to play backward and to the side
Pawns are not considered chess pieces until they promote into one (Promotion info)

The pawn usually moves only one step forward. Except for the first move, pawns have the option to choice from one move or two moves. After making the first move, then pawns only moves one step at the time.

Special Rules Made for the Pawn:

Capturing with Pawns

A pawn always captures one square diagonally to the left or right. In this diagram, this white pawn can capture any of the black pawns.

A pawn always captures one square diagonally to the left or right. In this diagram, the black pawn can capture any of the white pawns.

Capture en-passant with pawns

In the 15th century were added two specials rules regarding pawns, which were en-passant and double-step move:

Rules 1- En-passant which is a different capture with pawns in chess. En-passant is a French word and translates as “in passing”. This special move gives enemy pawns the option to capture a pawn that has just passed and stop next to it. This new special rule was added to prevent the pawn’s double-step move from escaping from being captured.

Rules for the white pawn:

If black pawn plays the double-step move from e7-e5 and stops next to the white pawn which must be located on the 5th rank. Then, white pawn is allowed to make the en passant capture and it lands on the e6 square.
 
To capture the black pawn on e5, the white pawn must be on the fifth rank.
After capturing the black pawn by en-passant, the white pawn ended up on the e6 square.

Rules for the black pawn:

 If black pawn plays the double-step move from e7-e5 and stops next to the white pawn which must be located on the 5th rank. Then, white pawn is allowed to make the en passant capture and it lands on the e6 square.
 

After capturing the white pawn by en-passant, the black pawn ended up on the d3 square.

Pawn promotion

Pawn will become a real piece after the promotion. Promotion is a special move that occurs when a pawn gets on the opponent side of the board. The pawn will be replaced by any piece except the king or stay as a pawn.

Chess Pieces Chart

Chess has one of the world’s largest published literatures.

Chess has one of the largest published literatures in the world. This achievement was only possible because chess players have been scoring their chess games for centuries and use those games to publish in chess books. To read and write down a game of chess, chess players must read the coordination’s on the chessboard. The modern notation that is mainly used today is the “algebraic notation”. This is a system used to record a chess game and was introduced by Philipp Stamma.

Objective: Learn how to read and notate a chess game

Skills developed: by developing the concepts of horizontal, vertical and diagonal, children learn how to read map, and line graph.

Basic Information of algebraic notation:

King is represented by the upper case letter K

Queen is represented by the upper case letter Q

Rook is represented by the upper case letter R

Bishop is represented by the upper case letter B

Knight is represented by the upper case letter N

Pawn has no representation, in fact notating a movement of a pawn and using the letter “P” it shows some kind of amateurism.

When promoting a pawn, use the letter of the file in which pawn is promoting and then add the number. For example, a pawn on a7 that moves to a8 is promoting a queen, it will be indicated as a8 = Q.

For castling, O-O is noted for the castle on the king’s side, and O-O-O is noted for the castle on the queen’s side..

A check is noted by +, it is used after the move notation; checkmate is noted ++ or #, it used after the move notation as well.

There are three results in a chess game:

One (1) point is scored if a chess player wins a game.

Zero (0) point is scored if a chess player loses a game.

Half point (1/2) is scored if a chess player draws a game.

There are three ways of a king move out of check or CPR:

Capturing the attacking piece, or the piece that is attacking the piece

Protecting or interposing the attacking piece, in another word, putting a piece between the attacking piece and the king.

Running or moving the king out of the check.

There are several types of draws in a chess game:

If the two chess players agree to a draw

If a stalemate occurs in the game ( see stalemate info)

If the same position occurs three times in the game and identical positions do not need to be consecutively.  ( see stalemate info)

For insufficient material, king versus king, however just having a pawn is considered sufficient material for checkmate.

If a chess player runs out of time in the chess clock and the opponent does not have sufficient material to checkmate.   

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