How to play Chess
Chess is a two-player strategy game. It includes various strategies.
Chess is a two-player strategy game. It is played on an 8x8 checkered chessboard. Each player has 16 pieces: one king, one queen, two rooks, two knights, two bishops, and eight pawns. The objective of the game is to use your pieces to checkmate the other opponent’s king. The pieces can also take the other pieces, i.e. kill them, during the course of the game.
Each piece can only move is a standard format. Let’s look at the movement patterns of the various pieces:
- King: The king can move one square in any direction. The king has also a special move which is called castling, involving moving a rook.
- Rook: The rook can move any number of squares horizontally or vertically. It plays a part in the king's castling move.
- Bishop: The bishop can move any number of squares diagonally.
- Queen: The queen combines the power of the rook and bishop. It can move any number of squares horizontally, vertically, or diagonally.
- Knight: The knight moves in an "L"-shape: two squares vertically and one square horizontally, or two squares horizontally and one square vertically. It is the only piece that can leap over other pieces.
- Pawn: The pawn can only move one square vertically forward. However, or on its first move, it may advance two squares forward. The pawn can only capture an opponent's piece on a square diagonally in front of it on an adjacent file. The pawn has two special moves: the en passant capture and pawn promotion.
The pieces must then be set on the chessboard in the correct order. The white pieces are set up at one end, while the other pieces are set up at the other end. The second line from the outside consists of all the pawns. The outside line consists of all the other pieces. The rooks are placed on the corners; the knights follow the rooks, then the bishops. The king and queen are placed in the middle. The black queen is on the black square, and the white queen on the white square. The king is placed in the remaining square.
First rule of the game is that white always plays first. The play then alternates between the two players. There are many various strategies involved in the game. A common strategy is to move a few pawns up first, so that they make it harder for the opponent’s pieces to move ahead and infiltrate your half of the chessboard.
Always ensure that when you move a piece that it will not land in a square that is being challenged by the opponent. Also, try to protect your own pieces with other pieces, so that you may attack the opponent’s piece, in case he tries to take yours.
Keep in mind, that each piece has a relative value, depending on its importance and movement ability. The king is the most important piece, losing the king ends the game. The queen is next in line. She is the most versatile piece in the game, being able to move in any direction she is great for offensive, as well as defensive strategies.
The other pieces have their advantages as well. The knights are excellent for surprise attacks. Most people tend to ignore the bishops, which can be a disadvantage for the opponent. Rooks are considered strong and mainly used for defense or long range offense. Pawns are often considered insignificant, but they can be quite handy if used effectively, such as for trapping an opponent’s piece or as bait to capture a piece. Plus, they have an advantage, where if they reach the end line of the opponent’s side, they can be promoted to any piece, except the king.
A player can place the opponent’s king under check, where his piece is able to take the opponent’s king where is stands in the next move. When a king is under immediate attack by one or two of the opponent's pieces, it is said to be in check. The king must then be moved. If the king cannot move without being taken, then it is considered to be checkmate. Checkmating the king is easier said than done. The game only ends when one king is in checkmate or the game is in a stalemate.
Stalemate occurs when the player whose turn it is to move is not in check but has no legal move. If this occurs, then the game is considered a draw. A draw can also occur by agreement of both players, threefold repetition of a position, the fifty-move rule, or a draw by impossibility of checkmate. A player may also forfeit the game if he feels that he cannot win. This would automatically give the win to the other player.
Image Courtesy: telus.net, uschesstrust.org
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