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Chess Tutorial

An introduction to basic chess rules and how to play chess made simple.

The Original Position

The chessboard is a checker board of 64 squares arranged in eight rows and eight columns.  Each row is called a rank.  Each column is called a file.  The board is set up in such a manner that a white square is at the lower right hand corner of the chess board.

The diagram below shows the initial position of the pieces on the board.  Pieces are placed on the first two rows nearest each player.  Pieces are placed on the first rank and the pawns are placed on the second rank.  Notice that the original position of the white queen is a white square and that of the black queen is a black square.  The original positions of the two sides are mirror images of each another.

Rules of the Game

The object of the game is to "checkmate" the opponent's king.  A king is under "check" when it is about to be captured by an opposing piece.  When a player places the opposing king in check he should announce, "check".  A checkmate occurs when a king is under "check", and could not make any other legal moves to get it out of check.  Victory is achieved by checkmating the opponent's king.

Either player may at any time terminate the game early by resigning, giving victory to his opponent.  This generally happens when a player loses a major piece and it is apparent that he is going to lose the game.

A game may also end with a "draw" or a "tie".  Stalemate is considered a "draw". A stalemate occurs only when a player has no legal move, or when a player's only move is to place his own king in check, but it's current square is not in check.

The two players may agree to a draw any time during the game, especially when they felt that no side can become victorious with any further moves.

 Pawn

Each player originally has eight pawns.  Pawns are originally placed on the second rank.  Although the pawns are the least powerful piece in the game, they have the potential to become very powerful at the end game.

Pawns can only move straight ahead unless they are capturing another piece.  They cannot move backward or sideways.  Generally pawns move only one square forward at a time, except that when it is in its original position at the second rank.  In its original position, it may either move forward one square or two squares as long as there are no obstructing pieces.  A pawn does not capture a piece directly in front of him but it can capture a piece one square diagonally ahead of it.  In the diagram below the squares marked black "X" show where the pawn may move.  The squared marked by the red "X" show where the pawn may capture a piece.  When capturing, the pawn replaces the captured piece and the captured piece is removed from play.

A pawn may also capture en passant.  This is a special pawn move.  En Passant is probably the most unknown and least used moves in chess.  It can only occur when a player exercises his option to move his pawn two squares on its initial movement.  When this happens, the opposing player has the option to capture the moved pawn "en passant" as if it had only moved one square. This option, though, is only allowable on the immediate next move.  In the example diagram below, the white pawn has just moved forward two squares.  The black pawn, may now move to the square with the red X and capture the white pawn that has just moved two squares forward.

A pawn gets promoted if it reaches the edge of the board on the opponent's side.   The pawn may now become any piece that the moving player desires other than a king or a pawn.  Queen is the most common choice because it is the most powerful piece.   A player may have more than one queen on the board.

 Knight

The knight's movement can also be viewed as an "L".  The knight can be thought of as moving two square horizontally or vertically, followed by a movement to a square in a perpendicular direction.  In the diagram below, the knight can move to any squares marked by the red X.  Note that the knight always move to a square that is opposite in color as the square it is currently at.

The knight is the only piece on the board that may jump over other pieces, rendering it a great degree of maneuverability.  A knight is worth 3 pawns.

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