Chess is a game, played by two players. One player plays with the white pieces, and the other player plays with the black pieces. Each player has sixteen pieces at the beginning of the game: one king, one queen, two rooks, two bishops, two knights, and eight pawns. The game is played on a chessboard, consisting of 64 squares: eight rows and eight columns. The squares are alternately light (white) and dark-colored. The board must be laid down such that there is a black square in the lower-left corner. To facilitate notation of moves, all squares are given a name. From the view of the white player, the rows are numbered 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8; the lowest row has number 1, and the upper row has number 8. The columns are named, from left to right, a, b, c, d, e, f, g, h. Thus, at the second row, there are eight white pawns, at the seventh row; there are eight black pawns. In the first row, from left to right, we have a: rook, knight, bishop, queen, king, bishop, knight, and rook. Note that the queen’s start of squares of their own color, with a dark square in each player’s left-hand corner.
Alternately, the players make a move, starting with the white player (the player that plays with the white pieces.) A move consists of moving one of the pieces of the player to a different square, following the rules of movement for that piece. A player can take a piece of the opponent by moving one of his own pieces to the square that contains a piece of the opponent. The opponent’s piece then is removed from the board, and out of play for the rest of the game. The rook moves in a straight line, horizontally or vertically. The rook may not jump over other pieces, that is all squares between the square where the rook starts its move and where the rook ends its move must be empty. The bishop moves in a straight diagonal line. The bishop may also not jump over other pieces. The queen has the combined moves of the rook and the bishop, the queen may move in any straight line, horizontal, vertical, or diagonal.
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The knight makes a move that consists of first one step in a horizontal or vertical direction, and then one step diagonally. The knight jumps: it is allowed that the first square that the knight passes over is occupied by an arbitrary piece. For instance, white can start the game by moving his knight from b1 to c3. The knight does further not affect the piece that is jumped over: as usual, a knight takes a piece of the opponent by moving to the square that contains that piece. The pawn moves differently regarding whether it moves to an empty square or whether it takes a piece of the opponent. When a pawn does not take, it moves one square straightforward. When this pawn has not moved at all, i.e., the pawn is still in the second row (from the owning player’s view), the pawn may make a double step straightforward. For instance, a white pawn on d2 can be moved to d4.
When taking, the pawn goes one square diagonally forward. Pawns that reach the last row of the board promote. When a player moves a pawn to the last row of the board, he replaces the pawn with a queen, rook, knight, or bishop (of the same color). Usually, players will promote the pawn to a queen, but the other types of pieces are also allowed. The king moves one square in any direction, horizontally, vertically, or diagonally. There is one special type of move, made by a king and rook simultaneously, called castling. The king is the most important piece of the game, and moves must be made in such a way that the king is never in check: Under certain, special rules, a king and rook can move simultaneously in a castling move. The following conditions must be met:
- The king that makes the castling move has not yet moved in the game.
- The rook that makes the castling move has not yet moved in the game.
- The king is not in check.
- The king does not move over a square that is attacked by an enemy piece during the castling move.
- The king does not move to a square that is attacked by an enemy piece during the castling move.
- All squares between the rook and king before the castling move are empty.
When castling, the king moves two squares towards the rook, and the rook moves over the king to the next square, i.e., white’s king on e1 and rook on a1 move to king c1, rook d1 (long castling), white’s king on e1 and rook on h1 move to king g1, rook f1 (short castling), and similar for black. When the king of a player can be taken by a piece of the opponent, one says that the king is in check. For instance, the white player moves his rook to a position such that it attacks the black king, i.e., if black doesn’t do anything about it, the rook could take the black king in the next move: we say that the white rook gives check. It is considered good manners to say check when one checks one’s opponent.
It is not allowed to make a move; such that one’s king is in check after the move. If a player accidentally tries to make such a move, he must make the move back and make another move. When a player is in check, and he cannot make a move such that after the move, the king is not in check, then he is mated. The player that is mated lost the game and the player that mated him won the game. Note that there are three different possible ways to remove a check:
1. Move the king away to a square where he is not in check.
2. Take the piece that gives the check.
3. (In case of a check, given by a rook, bishop, or queen:) move a piece between the checking piece and the king.
When a player cannot make any legal move, but he is not in check, then the player is said to be stalemated. In a case of a stalemate, the game is a draw. A player can resign from the game, which means that he has lost and his opponent has won. After making a move, a player can propose a draw: his opponent can accept the proposal (in which case the game ends and is a draw) or refuse the proposal (in which case the game continues). If the same position with the same player to move is repeated three times in the game, the player to move can claim a draw.
If there are have been 50 consecutive moves of white and of black without any piece taken or any pawn moved then a player can claim a draw. Often, players play the game with chess clocks. These clocks count the time that each player separately takes for making his own moves. Additional rules are then used, saying how many (possibly all) moves must be made before a player has used a certain time for his moves. The game of chess is very interesting and I recommend that everyone try it. Chess is a game of concentration, strategies, and lots of competition.