Are you a beginner at chess who wants to become a better chess player?
If the answer is yes, then I have some great news for you…
This website will feature regular blogs, explaining the fundamentals in chess right through to deep calculation and complex strategies that will give you the advantage over your opponents. Before I continue, I would like to mention that I play chess both over the board, for my local league team, and also online on chess.com (my username is: FangBo).
You are just 30 minutes away from becoming a chess player!
The first things you need to know about chess are: the aim of the game, how to set up the board and the rules – if you don’t know these things, then you can progress no further, and your opponents might get a bit angry when you start making ‘illegal moves’ (a misleading name, because I have not yet heard of a court sentence being issued to someone for playing one such move). Also, the scenario where you are sitting in a coffee shop with a group of friends, and one of them mentions chess, but you don`t have a clue what they are on about is to be avoided at all costs…
The Aim of Chess
Chess is a turn based game – you move 1 piece, then your opponent has their turn. The players devise cunning and clever battle plans, which they think will give them a pathway to victory, and try to carry them out, before their opponent does their plan!
In a nutshell, ‘checkmate is the end of the game’ (Grandmaster Simon Williams). This is the most obvious way to win the game, however it is not the only way – most players resign after their position becomes hopelessly lost, when neither they nor their opponent will learn anything, and your time is probably better spent assessing where you went wrong, so you don`t make the same mistake twice.
Before I can go any further on this matter, I need to explain how to set up the board, and how all of the pieces move…
How to Setup the Chess Board
Here is a diagram of a chess board at move 0:
Here are some tips to help you remember how to set up the board correctly:
- The bottom right hand corner is always a white square.
- The queen always goes on her own colour, the opposite is true for the kings.
- The pieces (working out-in) are rooks, knights and bishops.
- The second rank (horizontal row) is filled with pawns – the little guys.
How the Pieces Move and Capture
There are 6 different pieces, each with different moving capabilities, and the opposite coloured counterparts move in exactly the same way. A general rule is that the only piece that can jump over other pieces are knights, and for every other piece, you cannot move your piece further than an obstruction in any direction. The captures of enemy pieces are just like any other move (except for pawns), but you remove the enemy piece from the square on the board that your piece now occupies. Note that you can never capture an allied piece (of the same colour).
The king can move 1 square in any direction, that is to say diagonally, vertically and horizontally (as shown in the diagram below). The yellow box is the area the king controls at this moment in time.
For a king to capture a piece, it simply jumps into the square that the piece was in, just like any other move (only 1 square in any direction) and you remove your opponents piece from the board. Your king cannot capture an enemy piece if the king is walking into check. This means that your opponent is able to take your king – this is not possible. A typical example of this is when your opponents piece is guarded by another piece.
The black and white kings never come into the range of one another. This means that one king can never take the other. In brief, kings can`t be captured.
A great many more squares are available to the queen than the king, because the queen can move in any direction like the king, but has no restriction on how many squares she can travel (unless there are pieces in the way). For this reason, the queen is the most powerful piece on the board (in almost all situations).
Also known as castles, these fellows can only move in the horizontal and vertical directions – they cannot move diagonally – ever. They too have no restriction on the distance they can travel, unless a piece obstructs their path (a general rule for all pieces except knights).
Don`t forget that the pieces don’t have to move their maximum number of squares, they can stop off at any point – except in between 2 squares.
Out of all the pieces, the knights are the most unique, because the move that they make is not one that a queen can, which is not something that the rooks and bishops can say.
They move in an L – shape. Which is some combination of 2 squares one way, and 1 in the other. For example 1 up, 2 left. The knights can land on any square that is an L away, unless an ally piece is on that square.
You might have observed that knights go from light square to dark squares, and vice versa – this is always true.
If a queen is like a bishop and a rook stuck together, then what moves do you think the bishop can make?
You guessed it, diagonal only, but not horizontally or vertically. They have no limit to how far they can travel in one direction, but as you guessed, they can not go through pieces that obstruct their way.
If the bishop is born on a light square (move 0), then he will die on a light square, hence the terms ‘light squared bishop’ and ‘dark squared bishop’. The two different bishops have very different potentials as the game progresses.
Now, this is where things become a little bit more complicated. Pawns are the only type of piece that do not capture in the same way that they move. I will first of all show you how they move. Generally pawns can only move 1 square forward at a time (by forwards, I mean directly towards your opponent), however on the very first move in a game, pawns have a choice, they may either move forwards 1 square or 2 squares. Pawns never move backwards.
Pawns always capture diagonally forwards 1 square.