The ultimate aim in the game of chess is to win by trapping your opponent's king. (This is called checkmate). White is always first to move and players take turns alternately moving one piece at a time. Movement is required. Each type of piece has its own method of movement. A piece may be moved to another position or may capture an opponent's piece. This is done by landing on the appropriate square with the moving piece and removing the defending piece from play. With the exception of the knight, a piece may not move over or through any of the other pieces.

The chessboard is made up of eight rows and eight columns for a total of 64 squares of alternating colors. When the board is set up it should be positioned so that a light square is positioned on the extreme lower right hand side of the chess board. The light queen is positioned on a light square and the dark queen is situated on a dark square. The two armies should be mirror images of one another.

The game ends when one of the players captures his opponent's king, when one of the player's resigns or there is a stalemate. When a player's king is threatened by an opposing piece, it is said to be "in check". When a player places the opposing king in check he should announce, "check". The object of a player is not merely to place his opponent's king in check but to make certain that every square where the king has a possibility of movement is also covered. This is called checkmate. The king is considered captured.

Either player may resign at any time. This generally happens when a player loses a major piece and the outlook for victory in hs case appears bleak.

Stalemate is considered a tie. A stalemate occurs when a player's only move is to place his own king in check, but its current square is not threatened. As long as he can move another piece or the king can move to an open square, stalemate may not occur.

A draw also results when the only two pieces on the board are Kings, regardless of their position. If the pieces remaining on the board make check mate impossible, for example one cannot checkmate an opponent with only a king and a bishop a draw would also result.



Though not the most powerful piece on the board, the king is the most vital, for once he is lost the game is lost.

The king can only move one square in any direction. There is only one restriction on his movement - he may not move into a position where he may be captured by an opposing piece. Because of this rule, two kings may never stand next to each other or capture each other.

Castling is a special defensive maneuver. It is the only time in the game when more than one piece may be moved during a turn. This move was invented to help speed up the game and to help balance the offense and defense. The castling move has some fairly rigid caveats:

It can only occur if there are no pieces standing between the king and the rook.

Neither king nor rook may have moved from its original position.

There can be no opposing piece that could possibly capture the king in his original square, the square he moves through or the square that he ends the turn. The king moves two squares toward the rook he intends to castle with (this may be either rook). The rook then moves to the square through which the king passed.

For castling to be legal, make sure

(1) that your king and rook have never moved.

(2) that your king is not under attack. You may not castle out of check.

(3) that your king is not passing through or arriving upon a square controlled by the opponent.

(4) that all of the squares between the king and rook are vacant.


The queen is, without doubt, the most powerful piece on the chessboard. She can move as many squares as she desires and in any direction (barring any obstructions).

She captures in the same way that she moves, replacing the unlucky opposing piece that got in her way. (She must, of course, stop in the square of the piece she has captured - unlike the knight the queen does not jump other pieces.)

The queen's power is so great that she is considered to be worth more than any combination of two other pieces (with the exception of two rooks). Thus it would be better, under normal circumstances, to sacrifice a rook and a bishop (for example) than to give up a queen.


The rook, shaped like a castle, is one of the more powerful pieces on the board. The rooks, grouped with the queen, are often thought of as the "major pieces". Rooks are worth a bishop or a knight plus two pawns.

The rook can move any number of squares in a straight line along any column or row. They CANNOT move diagonally. The simplicity of the rook's movement is indeed what makes it powerful. It can cover a significant area of the board and there are no areas which an opponent's piece - moving one square at a time - can slip through.


The bishop may move any number of squares in a diagonal direction until it is prevented from continuing by another piece.

Each player begins with two bishops, one originally situated on a light square, the other on a dark square. Because of the nature of their movement, the bishops always remain on the same colored squares.

Bishops are a powerful piece (though less so than the queen or rooks). It is roughly equal in power to a knight or three pawns. Nevertheless, the bishop is a great piece to have in open situations when it can range the board.


The knight is the only piece on the board that may jump over other pieces. This gives it a degree of flexibility that makes it a powerful piece.

Since obstructions are not a bar to movement (unless there is a friendly piece on the square where the knight would move) the knight's path of movement has never been well defined.

The knight can be thought of as moving one square along any rank or file and then at an angle. The knight's movement can also be viewed as an "L" laid out at any horizontal or vertical angle.

Note that the squares to where the knight can move are all of the opposite colored squares two steps away from his starting square. This may help you visualize the knights range of influence on the board.


There are eight pawns situated on each side of the board. They are the least powerful piece on the chess board, but have the potential to become equal to the most powerful. Pawns cannot move backward or sideways, but must move straight ahead unless they are taking another piece.

Generally pawns move only one square at a time. The exception is the first time a pawn is moved, it may move forward two squares as long as there are no obstructing pieces. A pawn cannot take a piece directly in front of him but only one at a forward angle. 

Should a pawn get all the way across the board to reach the opponent's edge of the table, it will be promoted. The pawn may now become any piece that the moving player desires (except a king or pawn). Thus a player may end up having more than one queen on the board. Under normal circumstances a player will want to promote his pawn to be a queen since that piece is the most powerful and flexible. The new piece is placed where the pawn ended its movement.

Perhaps the most obscure and least used moves in Chess is called En Passant. It can only occur when a player exercises his option to move his pawn two squares on its initial movement. When this happens, the opposing player has the option to take the moved pawn "en passant" as if it had only moved one square. This option, though, only stays open for one move.

The en passant move was developed after pawns were allowed to move more than one square on their initial move. This was done to make sure they retained some of the restrictions imposed by slow movement, while at the same time speeding up the game.