Learn Chess Now
Let's Learn The Basic Chess Rules
Chess is interesting, fascinating, and fun! We have put together some resources here for new chess players, and chess enthusiasts who have some questions about the royal game!
History of Chess
The origins of chess are not exactly clear, though most believe it evolved from earlier chess-like games played in India almost two thousand years ago.The game of chess we know today has been around since the 15th century where it became popular in India and Europe.
The Goal of Chess
Chess is a game played between two opponents on opposite sides of a board containing 64 squares of alternating colors. Each player has 16 pieces: 1 king, 1 queen, 2 rooks, 2 bishops, 2 knights, and 8 pawns. The goal of the game is to checkmate the other king. Checkmate happens when the king is in a position to be captured (in check) and cannot escape from capture.
Starting a Game
At the beginning of the game the chessboard is laid out so that each player has the white (or light) color square in the bottom right-hand side. The chess pieces are then arranged the same way each time. The second row (or rank) is filled with pawns. 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 color (white queen on white, black queen on black), and the king on the remaining square.
The player with the white pieces always moves first. Therefore, players generally 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.
How the Chess Pieces Move
Each of the 6 different kinds of pieces moves differently. Pieces cannot move through other pieces (though the knight can jump over other pieces), and can never move onto a square with one of their own pieces. 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.
The king is the most important piece, but is one of the weakest. The king can only move one square in any direction - up, down, to the sides, and diagonally. Click on the '>' button in the diagram below to see how the king can move around the board. The king may never move himself into check (where he could be captured).
How does the Rook move and capture?
The rook may move as far as it wants, but only forward, backward, and side to sides.
The rooks are usually brought out near the middle or the end game. They are great pieces for checkmating when thy work together. They capture the same way they move. The rooks are particularly powerful pieces when they are protecting each other and working together!
The Rook is worth = 5 points
How does the Bishop move and capture?
The bishop can move any number of squares diagonally, but like the rook, it may not jump a white or black piece. Like the rook, it can move forward or backward, but in only one direction at a time. At the beginning of the game, each side has a "white-squared" and "dark-squared" bishop. Because they move diagonally, the bishops will always remain on a square of the same color on which they started the game.
In the diagram, the bishop can move to any square on the orange line. Like the rook, the bishop captures as it moves. In this position, the bishop can capture the enemy rook or the knight, but it may not jump over these pieces.
Remember, the white squared bishop must remain on the white squares for the whole game and the black squared bishop must remain on the black squares for the whole game until captured and taken off the board.
The Bishop is worth = 3 points
How Does The Queen move and capture?
The queen is the most powerful piece. She can move in any one straight direction - forward, backward, side-to-side or diagonally - as far as possible as long as she does not move through any of her own pieces and she cannot jump over any pieces. If the queen captures an opponent's piece her move is over until your next turn.
The Queen is worth = 9 points
How Does The King Move and Capture?
The king can move to any of the squares pointed to by an arrows in the diagram on the left. The king is the main chess piece and he's worth the whole game. The side whose king is captured loses. This capture is called 'checkmate'. Checkmate happens once the king is under attack and cannot move to safty.
No two kings can ever be next to each other. The kings must ALWAYS be one square away from each other.
The King is worth = The Whole Game
How Does The Knight move and capture?
The Knight moves in an L shape up, down or side-to-side. The diagram to the left shows a green check mark in the spaces where the knight can land from its center position. We like to use the (1-2-Turn) method. If you move the knight any direction 2 squares and then turn to the next square, you'll land on the correct square. The Knight can capture any opposing piece on the squares where the green check mark is located. If there is a piece of the same color in the space where the knight can land, the knight cannot move there.
The Knight is also the only piece that can jump over any other chess pieces.
The knight is the only piece that must be captured or the king has to run away when checked by the knight. You cannot block a knight check on the king.
The Knight is worth = 3 points
How do pawns move?
From its starting square, each pawn can move 1 or 2 squares straight ahead. If the pawn is not on its starting square, it can only move 1 square straight ahead. The diagram on the left illustrates that the pawn can move to any of the squares pointed to by the arrow. Although pawns move only forward, they capture diagonally forward 1 square.
Pawns cannot move or capture backwards.
Once a pawn has made it's first move forward, it can only move 1 square forward every move after.
Each Pawn is worth = 1 point
How do Pawns capture?
Pawns can only capture diagonally forward. They cannot capture or move backwards. If there is another piece directly in front of a pawn he cannot move past or capture that piece. A pawn can capture any piece except the King, the King can not be captured in a standard game of chess, he can only be checked or checkmated.
Pawns have other special moves they can do which we talk about below.
Pawn Promotion (Pass Pawn)
When a Pawn makes it to an opponent's back row or 8th rank, that pawn can be turned into any piece you want: Queen, Rook, Bishop or Knight but not a King or continue to remain a pawn. He has to transform into something. After making it to the back rank that pawn is removed from the board and it is replaced with what ever you promoted it to. Hint: most people trade it for a queen.
This happens with every pawn that makes it to your opponent's 8th rank no matter if your playing black or white. So you can potentially have 9 queens on the board if you promote all 8 of your pawns and plus you still have your original queen on the board. (If this happens your probably gonna win that game, LoL)!
A Pawn can capture an opponent's pawn 'in passing' or en-passant (a term or expression commonly used by the French).
For the en-passant rule to apply, the following two conditions have to be met:
The previous opponent's move had to be made with a pawn that advanced 2 squares from its starting square
The pawn making an en-passant move could have captured an opponent's pawn if it had only advanced just 1 square instead of 2.
In the diagram on the left, en-passant move applies after White pawn moves from a2 to a4. The Black pawn captures the White Pawn on the a3 square.
Since the black pawn has reached whites 4th rank, if white pushes the pawn next to him to the 4th rank, the black pawn can capture whites pawn with en-passant and take it off the board just as he would have captured it if it were diagonally in front of him.
The first example shows how the move looks before en-passant and the second example shows how the move looks after en-passant. Notice where the black pawn is after the en-passant move and that the white pawn is gone from the board.
The black pawn now sits on a3 because that's where the enpassant move actually happened. White did not allow black a chance to capture the white pawn so en-passant is now legal.
Note: En-passant can only happen on the very next move after your opponent makes their move. The black pawn had to take the en-passant move on his very next turn or the move would be gone forever.