Chess Rules

The Goal

Rules: The target in the Chess play is to obtain a checkmate – trapping your opponent´s king. The term checkmate is an alteration of the Persian phrase “Shah Mat”, meaning literally, “the King is ambushed”.

General Chess Rules

White always start first to move and players take turns alternately moving one piece at a time. Movement is mandatory.

If a player can not move any chessmen, he is not in check but has no legal moves, this situation is called “Stalemate” and it ends the game in a draw.

Each type of piece has its own specific movement. A piece may be moved to another position or may capture an opponent´s piece, replacing on its square.  A piece may not move over or through any of the other pieces except the Kinght.

When a king is threatened with capture (but can protect himself or escape), it´s called “Check” and you usually declare it to the opponent. If a king is in check, then the player must make a move that eliminates the threat of capture and cannot leave the king in check.

Checkmate happens when a king is placed in “check” and there is no legal move available to escape. “Checkmate” ends the game and the side whose king was checkmated looses.

The chessmen setup

The chessboard is made up of eight rows and eight columns for a total of 64 squares of alternating colors. Each square in chessboard is identified with a unique pair of a letter and a number. The vertical files are labeled A through H, from White´s left (i.e. the queenside) to White´s right.

Same way horizontal ranks are numbered from 1 to 8, starting from the one nearest White´s side of the board. Each square of the board, then, is identified by its file letter and number.

In the initial setup, the light queen is positioned on a light square and the dark queen is situated on a dark square.

The diagram below shows how the pieces should be initially situated.

chess rules clip

Chess moves

  • King can move exactly one square horizontally, vertically, or diagonally. Also each king can make a special move, known as Castling.Castling is the only time in the chess game when more than one piece moves during a turn. This chess move has been invented in the 1500´s to help speeding up the game and improving balance of the offense and defense.During the castling, the king moves two squares towards the rook he intends to castle with, and the rook moves to the square through which the king passed.Castling is only permissible if all of the following conditions hold:
    • Neither king nor rook involved in castling may have moved from the original position;
    • There must be no pieces between the king and the rook;

    The king may not currently be in check, nor may the king pass through or end up in a square that is under attack by an enemy piece (though the rook is permitted to be under attack and to pass over an attacked square)

  • Queen can move any number of vacant squares diagonally, horizontally, or vertically.
  • Rook can move any number of vacant squares vertically or horizontally. It also is moved while castling.
  • Bishop can move any number of vacant squares in any diagonal direction.
  • Knight can move one square along any rank or file and then at an angle. The knight´s movement can also be viewed as an “L” or “7″ laid out at any horizontal or vertical angle.
  • Pawns can move forward one square, if that square is unoccupied.  If it has not yet moved, the pawn has the option of moving two squares forward provided both squares in front of the pawn are unoccupied. A pawn never move backward. NB: Pawns are the only pieces that capture differently from how they move. They can capture an enemy piece on either of the two spaces adjacent to the space in front of them (i.e., the two squares diagonally in front of them) but cannot move to these spaces if they are vacant. The pawn is also involved in the two special moves en passant and promotion.

En Passant

En Passant may only occur when a pawn is moved two squares on its initial movement. When this happens, the opposing player has the option to take the moved pawn “en passant” as if it had only moved one square. This option, though, only stays open for one move.
The En Passant move was developed after pawns were allowed to move more than one square on their initial move. The idea behind this rule was to retain restrictions imposed by slow movement, while at the same time speeding up the game.

Pawn promotion

If a pawn reaches the opponent´s edge of the table, it will be promoted – the pawn may be converted to a queen, rook, bishop or knight, as the player desires. The choice is not limited to previously captured pieces. Thus its´ theoretically possible having up to nine queens or up to ten rooks, bishops, or knights if all pawns are promoted.