A few months ago, we published an article called “Basic Chess Rules for Beginners”. If you missed it, you can find it here. If you are a newbie/beginner, I’d definitely recommend you to go through the first part of the article and then continue reading below.
Basic Chess Rules for Beginners Part-2
Nature and objectives of the game
The game of chess is played between two opponents who move their pieces alternately on a square board called a chessboard. The player with the White pieces commences the game. A player is said to ‘have the move’ when his opponent’s move has been completed.
The object of the game is to trap the opponent’s king so that its escape is not possible (checkmate). If a player’s king is threatened with capture, it is said to be in check, and the player must remove the threat of capture on the next move. If this cannot be done, the king is said to be in checkmate.
The objective of each player is to put the opponent’s king under attack in such a way that the opponent has no legal move. The player who achieves this goal is said to have checkmated the opponent’s king and to have won the game.
Leaving one’s king under attack, exposing one’s king to attack and also ’capturing’ the opponent’s king is not allowed – the opponent whose king has been checkmated has lost the game. If the position is such that neither player can possibly achieve a checkmate, the game is drawn.
Although the king is the most important piece, it is usually the weakest piece in the game until a later phase, the endgame.
Naming of squares
Keeping a record of chess moves will be very useful in improving your standard of chess. It is mandatory in all recognized tournaments, in order to settle disputes about illegal positions, overstepping time control and making claims for a draw by the fifty-move rule or repetition of position.
Each square of the chessboard is identified with a unique pair comprising a letter and a number. The vertical files are labelled in small letters “a” to “h”, from White’s left to White’s right. Similarly, the horizontal ranks are numbered from 1 to 8.
Each square of the board, then, is uniquely identified by its file and rank (letter and number). The White queen, for example, starts the game on the square d1 and the Black queen on d8.
The following are the letters used in capitals to represent various pieces.
King – K
Queen – Q
Rook – R
Bishop – B
Knight – N
A pawn does not have any specific symbol but is represented by the name of the square it occupies, i.e. it is not indicated by its first letter but recognized by the absence of such a letter. Example: the moves are written e5, d4, a5 – not pe5, pd4, pa5
There are 64 squares on a chessboard – 32 White squares and 32 Black squares.
- In the horizontal ranks, odd numbers are Black squares (1, 3, 5, 7)
- In the horizontal ranks, even numbers are White squares (2, 4, 6, 8)
- In the vertical files, odd letters are Black squares (a, c, e, g)
- In the vertical files, even letters are White squares (b, d, f, h)
Hence, the rule for colour classification is:
i) Odd letter x odd number is a Black square – e.g. a1, c3
ii) Even letter x even number is a Black square – e.g. b2, d4
iii) Odd letter x even number is a White square – e.g. a2, c4
iv) Even letter x odd number is a White square – e.g. b1, d3
Movement of the pieces
- The king moves exactly one square horizontally, vertically or diagonally
- The rook moves horizontally or vertically, through any number of unoccupied squares
- A bishop moves any number of vacant squares in any diagonal direction.
- The queen moves any number of vacant squares in a horizontal, vertical or diagonal direction.
When making these moves, the bishop, rook or queen may not move over any intervening pieces.
- A knight moves to the nearest square not on the same rank, file or diagonal. (This can be thought of as moving two squares horizontally then one square vertically, or moving one square horizontally then two squares vertically—i.e. in an “L” pattern.) The knight is not blocked by other pieces: it jumps to the new location.
- Pawns have the most complex rules of movement:
A pawn moves straight forward one square, if that square is vacant. If it has not yet made its first move, a pawn also has the option of moving two squares straight forward, provided both squares are vacant. Pawns cannot move backwards.
When a player moves a pawn to the rank furthest from its starting position, he must exchange that pawn (as part of the same move) for a new queen, rook, bishop or knight of the same colour on the intended square of arrival.
This is called the square of ‘promotion’. The player’s choice is not restricted to pieces that have been captured previously. This exchange of a pawn for another piece is called promotion, and the effect of the new piece is immediate.
- en passant capture
A pawn attacking a square crossed by an opponent’s pawn which has advanced two squares in one move from its original square may capture this opponent’s pawn as though the latter had been moved only one square. This capture is only legal in the following move:
This advance is called an ‘en passant ‘capture.
There are two different ways of moving the king: by moving to any adjoining square not attacked by one or more of the opponent’s pieces or by castling. The latter is a move made by the king and either rook of the same colour along the player’s first rank, counting as a single move of the king and executed as follows: the king is transferred from its original square two squares towards the rook on its original square, then that rook is transferred to the square the king has just crossed.
Note: For castling to be legal, the king or rook must not have been moved previously.
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