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Chess Basics

Playing chess is a great technique to enhance mental abilities. Many schools have a chess training program added as a part of their curriculum to inculcate and enhance the rational thinking.

Chess is a game played by two players on an eight-by-eight square board using 32 pieces. Each player owns 16 pieces. Chess pieces are usually black and white to differentiate one’s pieces from that of the opponents’. A set of basic chess rules govern the progress of the game.

Objective of the game
The objective of the game is to checkmate the king of the opponent by moving and positioning your chess pieces on the chess board in accordance with basic chess rules. Checkmate signifies that the capture of the opponent player’s king is the next move.

Protecting the king, obtaining positional power and retaining strength on the board are fundamental requirements to checkmate the opponent’s king.

Basic chess rules for chess-piece movements
Chess can be classified into three distinct stages as given below. Good chess strategy should address all these stages.

Chess Pieces

1.Pawn: The Pawn can normally move one square forward. When it is in its initial placement position on the board it can be moved either by one square or two squares forward. The Pawn can capture an opponent’s piece only in the diagonal forward direction by moving up a single row.

2.Rook: The Rook can move and capture in the horizontal or vertical direction. It can advance to any square as long as there is no obstruction in its path.

3.Knight: The Knight can move in any direction by three squares. The only restriction is the movement has to take ‘L’ shape. Movement of the Knight is not restricted by the presence of any other pieces on its path as per the basic chess rule.

4.Bishop: The Bishop can move only in the diagonal direction from one end to the other as long as there is no other piece in its path.

5.Queen: The Queen is the most powerful piece on the board and can be moved like a rook or a bishop on the board.

6.King: The King can move to any of its adjacent squares in any direction. Only exception to this basic chess rule is castling.

Basic chess rules for all pieces
Following are the important basic chess rules that are applicable to all the pieces on the board:

1.Move to empty square
Occupy only an empty square on the board following the basic chess rules applicable to that piece as described earlier.

An exception to the above rule is while capturing an opponent’s piece. In such a situation, the basic chess rule is that the opponent’s piece can be removed from the board by placing your piece on the square occupied by the opponent’s piece.

3.Pawn promotion
The Pawn is the only piece on the chess board that cannot move backward. However when it reaches the other end of the chess board, the basic chess rules allows the pawn to be promoted to any piece as desired by the player.

4.Check and check mate

4.1 When the king is in danger of capture by any opponent’s piece, it is called ‘check’. The check has to be immediately cleared by protecting the king. (by either moving the king or capturing the opponent’s threatening piece).

4.2 If no move is available for the king and there is no way to capture the threatening piece, the king is said to be check mated.
4.3 The checkmated player loses the game.


5.Drawn game
A game is said to be drawn as per basic chess rule if no player is in a position to check mate the opponent king.


Chess games do not have to end in checkmate — either player may resign if the situation looks hopeless. Games also may end in a draw (tie). A draw can occur in several situations, including draw by agreement, stalemate, threefold repetition of a position, the fifty move rule, or a draw by impossibility of checkmate (usually because of insufficient material to checkmate).


Besides casual games without exact timing, chess is also played with a time control, mostly by club and professional players. The timing ranges from long games played up to seven hours to shorter rapid chess games lasting usually 30 minutes or one hour per game. Even shorter is blitz chess with a time control of three to fifteen minutes for each player and bullet chess (under three minutes). If the player's time runs out, he loses.


The international rules of chess are described in more detail in the FIDE Handbook, section Laws of Chess



                  Administrator web site Ziauddin Qureshi (Bronze Meddle USSR Friendship house chess Championship 1980 Karachi)

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