The popular game of chess was developed in India during the 6th century AD. Since its inception, chess has become one of the most beloved and go-to pastimes of people all over the world. Chess is more than just a board game where 2 individuals fight it out for top honors. Chess has developed a connection of unparalleled grandeur with the human mind.
The evolution of the game has seen many changes and innovations been brought about in the methods and tactics used to master it. That said, mastering the game of chess is not an easy feat. It requires dedication and a high amount of practice.
Playing chess for centuries has been considered a matter of honor and pride for many.
A chess master should have complete control over every move on the board and be able to respond to all tactical challenges presented by the opponent. For beginners, aspiring to mastery over chess, the learning journey is now aided by a plethora of relevant resources available online. Interested chess players can sign up with a private chess coach on learning platforms like Superprof.
While, earlier, chess guidebooks were available for players to learn the skills to master the game, the resource lacked real-time practice. Although books were crucial to learning interesting moves and tactical plans, the lack of actual practice meant players would be vulnerable during actual competitions.
Now, players can easily access online chess resources. These online resources comprehensive, covering every aspect of the game that a beginner should know. Moreover, the online resources provide knowledge about the history of chess, while giving players the opportunity to test their skills in real-time. Online chess resources give beginners a competitive edge in the world of chess.
Rules of the Game
Chess, once learned, can become an incredibly addictive and fun game that requires strategy and skills. Chess has been a game for scholars and intellectuals. However, playing chess does not necessarily mean that one needs to be a genius! Here are some basic rules of the game:
- The chessboard consists of 64 squares over 8 horizontal ranks and 8 vertical files.
- Every player has 16 chess pieces – one side White, the other Black.
- These include pawns, knights, bishops, rooks, queens, and kings.
- In total, each side has 8 pawns, 2 rooks, 2 knights, 2 bishops, and a single queen and king.
- The pawns are situated on the second rank in front of the other chess pieces. The rooks sit in the corners; next to them sit the knights, followed by the bishops.
- The queen sits on a square of her own color, and the king stands next to her (white queen on the white square).
The chessboard is the fundamental tool needed for playing chess. As already mentioned, the chessboard consists of 64 squares over 8 horizontal ranks and 8 vertical files.
The horizontal ranks are numbered 1 through 8, while the vertical files are labeled with the letters a to h. A number and a letter (a coordinate) are matched to each of the 64 squares on the chessboard (see diagram).
Chessboard and Chess Pieces
Every player is in control of an army of 16 chess pieces – one side White, the other Black – at the beginning of a chess game.
These include pawns (foot soldiers), knights (inspired by medieval knights on horseback), bishops (look like a bishop’s hat), rooks (castle-like pieces that represent ancient chariots), queens (powerful chess pieces that can dominate the chessboard), and the all-important kings, who command their armies. The loss of the king signals the end of a chess game.
Moving the Chess Pieces
You have set up your chessboard. But, before you can start playing a game of chess, you must know how to move the pieces. A chess piece’s power is tied to its mobility. Remember, the more mobile a piece is, the more powerful it is.
Moving the Pawns
A pawn can usually move one square forward. From the initial position, the pawn can even move two squares forward if desired.
If a pawn wants to take another piece, it has to move one square diagonally. As any loyal foot soldier, pawns are only allowed to go forward, but never backward.
Moving the Rooks
The rook is allowed to move along one whole file vertically and horizontally and can take any piece which is on its way. A rook is as valuable as 5 pawns!
Moving the Knights
The horse-shaped knight is the only chess piece that can jump over other pieces. The knight moves in an L-shape from any square on the board.
Imagine an L shape made from any 3 connected squares, any orientation. This means that every time the knight moves, it lands on the opposite color from where it started. The knight takes other pieces by landing on the square where they are situated.
Moving the Bishops
The bishop dominates the diagonals. It can move back and forth as many squares as desired on the diagonals but only stays on one color square the whole chess game.
It takes a piece by moving onto its square, just like the knight. The value of the bishop, just like the knight, is equal to 3 pawns.
Moving the Queen
The queen has the greatest freedom of movement. She can move diagonally, horizontally, and vertically as many squares as desired, and takes pieces by moving on to their square.
Owing to her powerful range of movement, the queen is the most valuable chess piece on the chessboard, after the king, worth 9 pawns!
Moving the King
Like the queen, the king can also move in any direction, but only one square at a time. He has to be well protected throughout the whole game because once the king is trapped, the game is over for the players!
The value of the king is undefined as it can’t be captured or exchanged. Some chess experts claim that in the endgame, the king is worth 4 pawns. This is because, in most endgames, there is no longer any danger for the king to be checkmated. Instead – due to the reduced material – it is important to activate the king.
Best Way to Learn Chess for Beginners
There are a number of apps and websites for learning chess online such as chess.com. These websites provide players with useful learning resources like real-time games with other players or with a computer, chess puzzles, online Q&A forums, and even tips from grandmasters!
There are a few special rules in chess that may seem to defy logic, at first. However, they were created to make the game more fun and interesting. Take a look!
Promoting a Pawn in Chess
Pawns have a special ability. That is, if a pawn reaches the other side of the board, it can be converted into any other chess piece (called promotion), excluding a king (or pawn, for that matter). A pawn may be promoted to a knight, bishop, rook, or queen.
A common misconception is that pawns may only be exchanged for a piece that has been captured. That is not true. A pawn is usually promoted to a queen. And, ONLY pawns have the ability to be promoted!
Doing an En Passant in Chess
This rule, also pertaining to pawns, is French for “in passing”. In other words, if a pawn moves out 2 squares on its first move, and by doing so lands to the side of an opponent's pawn (effectively jumping past the other pawn's ability to capture it), that other pawn has the option of capturing the first pawn as it passes by.
Note: This special move must be done immediately after the first pawn has moved past. Otherwise the option to capture it is no longer available.
Castling in Chess
Castling allows a player to do 2 important things in 1 move: get the king to safety and get the rook out of the corner and into the game. On a player's turn, he/she may move the king 2 squares over to one side and then move the rook from that side's corner to right next to the king on the opposite side.
Making the First Move in Chess
This is a crucial bit of information for beginners in chess. The player with the white pieces always moves first. Players decide who will get to be white by chance or luck such as flipping a coin or having one player guess the color of the hidden pawn in the other player's hand.
Once decided, white makes a move, followed by black, then white again, then black, and so on until the endgame. Being able to move first has its advantage as it gives the white player an opportunity to attack right away.
How to Checkmate in Chess
The purpose of any game of chess is to checkmate the opponent's king. This happens when you put the opponent's king into check, without leaving any scope for the king to get out. But, remember, there are 3 ways a king can get out of check:
- Move out of the way (though he cannot castle).
- Block the check with another piece.
- Capture the piece threatening the king.
Wondering how to start playing chess? Check out this comprehensive guide.
The game is over if a king cannot escape checkmate. As a custom, handed down from the royal courts of medieval India, the king is not captured or removed from the board, rather the game is simply declared over.