Chess has historically been reserved for the aristocrats and great thinkers of society. Today it reaches out to all social orders, not limited to any group in particular. Men, women, children, people of all race and religion compete in a game of chess every day. There are chess tables on the streets, chess clubs in all high schools, chess games in barber shops and of course there is the online world of chess. Chess in unlike most other types of competition in that it exercises the power of your brain rather than the power of your body. Although recently retired, the world’s number one player is still Gary Kasparov. He had achieved a 2851 ELO rating, the highest ever achieved by any Grandmaster.

Here are general rules to follow for a game of Chess:

  • In the case of capture, your piece replaces the captured piece and the captured piece is removed from play.
  • You cannot move onto a square that is already occupied by one of your own pieces.
  • Movement cannot be made by a piece if it places your King in a “checked” position.
  • White is the first side to move.
  • Pieces cannot move through the outer edge of the board and transport to the opposite end.
  • Only the Knight has the ability to move through obstructing pieces.
  • Chess pieces with a “Staunton” appearance must be used during tournament play.
  • In tournament play, a chess piece must be moved if it has been touched.

Board Setup

The chess board is set up on an 8 X 8 alternating coloured grid of squares. The lighter coloured square is always on the bottom right. Starting from the two bottom corners of “White” side of the board, you have your Rooks. Proceeding inwards, beside the Rook is placed a Knight. Beside the Knight there is the Bishop and all that is left is the King and the Queen. For the “White” side of the board, the King is placed to the right of the Queen. Eight pawns are lined up on the second row from the bottom. The chessmen are mirrored to the “Black” side of the board with every piece exactly across and facing the “White.” The method on deciding which player is “White” or “Black” is up to the competitors. This is usually done with one competitor holding one pawn of opposite colour in each closed fist. The other player would then choose a hand and play as the colour he selected.


At the beginning of the game, there are eight pawns for each player situated in a single straight line on the board. They are considered the weakest piece of the game, but have the ability to become the most powerful. This ability is used when the pawn reaches the other end of the board. They will be promoted to any piece with the exception of a King or pawn and which is why players often have more than one Queen on the board at one time. The promotion occurs at the space where the pawn’s movement ended. During their initial movement, a pawn can move up to 2 spaces forward minus any obstructions in front of them. After that, they are only permitted to move one space at a time. They capture opponent’s pieces by moving one space diagonally, and replace the opponent’s piece and space.

There is one movement for pawns that is rarely used called en passant. It can only be used during an opponent’s initial pawn movement of two squares. When this happens, the opposing player has the option to take the moved pawn en passant as if it had only moved one square. En passant can only be used directly after your opponen’ts initial two square pawn movement.


There are two Knights for each player at the beginning of the game. Knights have a non-linear movement and can also move through obstructions making this piece vital in mating strategies. As shown in the diagram, the Knights move in an “L” shaped pattern in what appears to be a total of three spaces onto an opposite coloured square.

Another way to explain it is after moving your knight one square Up, Down, Left or Right, you must then move it two squares in the perpendicular direction to finish the movement.


Each player has two Bishops at the start of the game. Bishops can move up to an unlimited amount of spaces diagonally in any direction as long as they are not obstructed by their own piece or are capturing a piece. Bishops capture opponent’s pieces by moving any amount of spaces diagonally, and replacing the opponent’s piece and space with himself.


Both players start the game with two Rooks. They can move up to an unlimited amount of spaces horizontally or vertically in any direction as long as they are not obstructed by their own piece. They capture opponent’s pieces by moving any amount of spaces horizontally or vertically, and replace the opponent’s piece and space with themselves. The simplicity of the rook’s movement is indeed what makes it powerful.

The rook can move in conjunction with the King in what is referred to as “Castling.” It is a defensive strategy that can only be performed once in a game as long as the King and Rook performing the Castling haven’t already been moved. If there are no pieces in between the King and either Rook, then a Castling maneuver can be made. The move starts by moving the King two spaces towards the Rook. The Rook is then placed on the opposite side of the King to complete the movement.


Each player possesses one Queen that is rightfully situated beside the King at the start of the game. It is considered to be the most powerful piece because it has the abilities of both a Rook and a Bishop. She can move in any direction and in any amount of spaces in a staright line minus any obstructions.

Unlike the Knight, the Quenn cannot pass through obstructions. She captures pieces by moving onto a space with an opponent’s piece and replaces it with herself.


player begins the game with one King. The King is the most important piece of the game, but not the most powerful. Once he is lost, the game is lost. He can move in any direction one space at a time barring any obstruction and as long as he doesn’t place himself in a checking position. His moves are used primarily for defensive purposes as players want to protect Him as much as possible. His special move is made in conjunction with the Rook and is called “Castling.”

End Game

The goal of the game is to trap your opponent’s King. A “check” is done by placing one of your pieces, with the exception of your King, in a position to capture your opponent’s King on your next turn. If your opponent has no way of preventing their King from being captured on their turn, then this results in a win or “checkmate.”

Either player may resign at any time during the game. This is usually done when a player thinks that their King will be lost in a matter of time. If after 50 moves, no pieces have been taken off the board or no pawn has been moved, then a draw game can be claimed.

A stalemate is considered a draw and occurs when an opponent’s only move is to put his King in a checked position. Another draw game results when a checkmate cannot occur. A player is unable to make a checkmate if there are only two Kings left on the board, and a player cannot make a checkmate with only a King and a single Bishop against a single King, only a King and a single Knight against a single King. Another way to draw is through perpetual check. It is a tactic usually performed by the weaker side to avoid losing the game. It is performed when one opponent repeatedly checks the King.