Looking for the secrets of chess rules for beginners like you? The game of chess is more than 1,400 years old. A case has been made that it originated more than 3,000 years ago – making it the world’s most senior existing board game.
It is also one of the most popular games people play worldwide – regardless of age, gender, race, religion, or nationality.
Many people enjoy playing it as a recreational activity and play for “fun” with family members, even if they have little or no knowledge of the rules.
This article provides an overview of those rules so beginners will know how to play this exciting board game.
Chess Rules for Beginners
Chess is a two-player game. One player usually controls the white pieces while his opponent controls the black pieces. Each player begins with 16 pieces – eight pawns, two rooks, two knights, two bishops, a queen, and a king.
At the beginning of each chess match, players place their 16 pieces on opposite sides of the board in the following way:
The first row (called the “rank”) is filled with eight pawns; The second row (the “file”) contains the rooks; The third row has the knights; The fourth row houses the bishops; And finally, The fifth row has the queen on the left and the king on the right.
One player (Black) has eight pawns on the second rank; the other player (White) has his pawns on the third rank.
The left-most square is called “Black’s,” and the right-most square is called “White’s.”
As in checkers, players alternate turns moving their pieces – one piece per turn. However, there are two exceptions to this rule.
Pawns capture an opposing piece diagonally in front of them (just like checkers). However, they can only move forward – never backward.
The kings move one square in any direction (horizontally, vertically, or diagonally) each turn.
Players cannot “pass” their turn. If a player cannot move any of his pieces, the game is stalemated, and he loses.
The objective of chess is to checkmate your opponent’s king. This occurs when the king is under attack (in check), and there is no way for him to escape from attack on the next turn – resulting in a loss.
Checkmate can be achieved in at least three ways:
The player whose turn is can capture the opposing king using one of his pieces; The opposing king moves into a square where he is in check from one of the player’s pieces or A player’s piece that is not the king attacks and captures the opposing king.
Chess matches can be played to a conclusion when one player wins by achieving checkmate or the opponent resigns.
They can also end in a draw when certain circumstances occur:
The player whose turn it is cannot move any of his pieces due to a stalemate; The same position occurs three times with the same player having the right to move; The same position occurs with each player having the right to move, and the resulting position is one from an endgame (i.e., rook and pawn versus a lone king) AND neither player can force checkmate on the next turn; or Fifty consecutive moves occur with no capture or other legal move.
Immediate resignations will be considered cheating, and you can expect to be disqualified from a tournament. However, it is customary for a player who knows he will lose to resign before his opponent achieves checkmate so the match can end more quickly.
Games that end in a draw (including those with early resignations) should be replayed if time remains on the chess clock.
Several online chess clubs provide a place where you can play chess for free. You could also play with a friend or family member using a board, pieces, and the rules above.
In addition, many local communities have chess clubs where you can find opponents to play against – and possibly find more serious “tournament” competition as well.