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Chess Rules

   To play Chess download Net Chess for Windows.

   1. Purpose of the game

   The primary objective in chess is to checkmate your opponent's King. When a King cannot avoid capture then it is checkmated and the game is immediately over. If a King is threatened with capture, but has a means to escape, then it is said to be in check. A King cannot move into check, and if in check must move out of check immediately. There are three ways you may move out of check:
  • Capture the checking piece;
  • Block the line of attack by placing one of your own pieces between the checking piece and the King. (Of course, a Knight cannot be blocked.);
  • Move the King away from check.

   If a King is not in check, and no other legal move is possible, then the position is said to be in stalemate. A stalemated game is a draw, or a tie.

   2. The starting position

   The starting position

   Chess is played by two players beginning in the position shown above. The White player (the player of the light colored pieces) moves first. Then each player takes a single turn. In fact, a player must move in turn. In other words a move cannot be skipped.
   When setting up the pieces, keep in mind two things. The light colored square goes on the player's right, and Queens go on their color next to the Kings on the center files.
   You may not move a piece to a square already occupied by one of your own pieces. You may capture an opposing piece by replacing that piece with one of your own pieces, if it can legally move there.

   3. The King

   The King

   The King is the most important piece. When it is trapped so it cannot move without being captured, then the game is lost. This trap is called checkmate. The King can move one square in any direction. A King can never move into check, or onto a square where it can be captured by an opponent's piece. If a King is not in check, and no other legal move is possible, then the position is said to be in stalemate. A stalemated game is a draw, or a tie.

   4. The Queen

   The Queen

   The Queen is the most powerful piece because she can move to any square in any direction as long as her path is not blocked. Her range and the ability to attack many pieces an once are the source of her power.

   5. The Rook

   The Rook

   The Rook is a very powerful piece because it can move to any square along its file or row as long as its path is not blocked. Its range is the source of its power.

   6. The Bishop

   The Bishop

   The Bishop is a powerful piece because it can move to any square along its diagonals as long as its path is not blocked. Its range is the source of its power.

   7. The Knight

   The Knight

   The Knight is nearly as powerful as the Bishop not because of its range, but because it is the only piece that can hop over other pieces in an L-shaped path. This ability makes it particularly powerful in the early stage of a game when the board is crowded with pieces.

   8. The Pawn

   The Pawn

   The Pawn is the least powerful piece because of its poor mobility. It may move only one square forward if its path is not blocked. However, it may move as an option one or two squares forward on its first move only. It may capture only diagonally one square. It may not capture forward. It may not move backward. The lowly Pawn usually does not last long, but if it is able to reach the 8th row or rank, then it can promote itself to any other piece except the King. A Pawn thus promoted is replaced by that piece. Therefore, it is possible to have more than one Queen, or two Rooks, Bishops, or Knights on the board at one time.

   9. Castling

   Short Castling
   Here Black is castled short or on the King side. White is uncastled.

   Long Castling
   Here Black is castled long or on the Queen side. White is uncastled.

   Castling is an important move in chess. It allows a player to quickly move both the King to safety and the Rook to the center for battle. For this reason, wise players carefully guard their ability to castle and usually castle early in the game. Likewise, clever players will attempt to prevent their opponent from castling.
   When castling the player moves his King two squares toward one of the player's Rooks and moves that Rook to the opposite side of the King. A player may not castle if either the King or the Rook involved have already moved. Also, the King may not castle out of, through, or into check. There must be no pieces between the King and Rook when castling.

   10. Capturing En Passant

   Capturing En Passant

   A player may capture another player's pawn in passing (En Passant) under very specific circumstances. This move is designed to prevent a player from taking advantage of the two-square first move rule for pawns which might allow them to pass their opponent's pawn(s) without a chance to capture.
   The capture is made exactly as if the pawn moved only one square on the first move. In the picture, Black's pawn moved up two squares as is its right. White captured the pawn by removing it from the board and placing the passed white pawn on the square marked ep before playing another move. This move, like any other, is optional and can occur as often as a similar situation arises between pawns.

Historical Excursus

   According to historians, chess originates from the military game chaturang that appeared in India during the first century AD. The game was intended for four players, and movements of the pieces were determined by casting a die. Gradually the game changed: the number of players went from 4 to 2, and the dice were left behind. Success began to depend less on luck and more on the ability to think logically, plan and see the future.
   This is how the chatrang (shatrandi) game for 2 partners that gradually took over neighboring lands such as China, Persia and the Arabian caliphate came about.
   Chatrang came to Europe with the conquering moors. The Europeans revised some of the rules of the game and came up with one of the most popular games in history, chess.


   Want to learn game strategies and rules? Check out these books! Bookmark us, so you can remember where you saw that Chess book! These books are shipped from Amazon.

  • cover The Complete Idiot's Guide to Chess (2nd Edition) by Patrick Wolff.
    Patrick Wolff, the current U.S. Chess Champion and International Grandmaster, teaches readers quick and easy strategies for learning chess basics. From essential information on openings and basic endgames to tips on reading your rival's moves, readers will be armed and ready to take on their next...
  • cover Understanding Chess Move by Move by John Nunn.
    John Nunn is a grandmaster from England. He has won four individual gold medals and three team silver medals at chess Olympiads. In the Chess World Cup of 1988/9, he finished sixth overall, ahead of several former World Champions. He is arguably the most highly acclaimed chess writer in the...
  • cover Simple Checkmates by A. J. Gillam.
    Recommended by chess coaches the world over, this classic guide to learning--and winning--chess presents a wide range of specific chess positions and asks the reader to find the next move or series of moves that lead to checkmate. Designed for novice players, Simple Checkmates features two diagrams...
  • cover Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess by Bobby Fischer.
    This is an excellent book for those of us who aren't masters but just want to get a little better at our favorite game. The book concentrates on back-rank mates using pins and sacrifices (if you don't understand that this book will explain it very easily, better than I ever could). It's easy to...
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