Basic chess rules
Basic chess rules
Setting up the board: The board should be set up with
the white square in the nearest row on the right, “white
on the right”. If this isn’t done the king and queen will
be mixed up. Shake hands across the board before the
game starts. White always moves first.
Ranks and files: Going from left to right, the vertical
rows on the board, called files, are labeled a through h.
The horizontal rows, called ranks, are numbered 1 to 8.
The 1 is white’s side of the board; 8 is black’s side.
This system can be used to show what square a piece is
on in a way like the game Battleship. When the board
is set up the square a1 will be on the white player’s left
side.
Pieces and how they move: In our club, once you move a piece and take your hand off it, you cannot
change your move, unless your opponent lets you, which they do not need to do. However, you may
touch a piece, consider a move, and put the piece back in its original position, as long as you don’t take
your hand off of the piece during the process.
Pawn (P): White pawns start on rank two, black pawns on rank 7. The first time a pawn is
moved it can move forward either one or two ranks. It cannot jump over another piece. After it
has moved once, whether it has moved up one or two, a pawn can only move one square
forward at a time, and it cannot move backward. If a pawn advances to the end rank (8 for
white, 1 for black) then it is promoted, which means it is exchanged for any other piece, with
the exception of a king or another pawn. No pieces are moved from the chessboard itself; in
this way a color can have two (or more!) queens at the same time. The pawn’s “value” is 1.
Knight (N): Knights move in an L-shaped pattern. A knight moves one square over and two
squares up, or two squares over and one square up, one square over and two squares back, etc.
as long as the same shape and size of the jump is maintained. The knight is the only piece that
can jump over other pieces; it jumps straight to a square without disturbing any of the pieces in
between. Knights are generally brought out early, and this is good. The knight’s value is 3.
Bishop (B): The Bishop moves diagonally, any distance along a diagonal, without jumping
over any pieces. A bishop that starts on a black square will always be on a black square, so it
can only get to half the squares on the board. The bishop’s value is 3.
Rook (R): The Rook moves in a straight line in any direction, as many spaces as it likes,
without jumping. Rooks shouldn’t usually be used until later in the game, and should almost
never be brought out at the beginning, because they will be harassed by pawns and other pieces,
wasting time for the player who brought out the rook. This piece might also be lost by being
brought out early, which is bad because the rook is valued at 5.
Queen (Q): The Queen is the most powerful piece, as it can either move diagonally or in a
straight line, which makes it like a bishop and rook put together. The queen cannot move like a
knight. When the board is set up the queen always starts on her own color, so the white queen
always starts on a white square. The queen is worth 9 points because she can move to so many
places on the board so quickly.
King (K): The most important piece on the board is the King. The king can move one and
only one space at a time, in any direction (left, right, forward, backward, and diagonally). The
capture of the king is the object of the game.
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