In a Chess Game, each player has one of two equivalent sets of pieces, each a different color, at the beginning of the game. Each set has six types of pieces, each with its own pattern of movement:
The aim of the game is to checkmate your opponent’s King. Checkmate or ‘mate’ occurs when the king is attacked and cannot escape capture on the next move. Chess is played on a checkered board with 64 alternately colored dark and light squares. The rooks begin in the corners, the knights next to the rooks, the bishops next to the knights, and then the king and the queen. The white and black queens both begin the game on squares of their color. So the white queen begins on a white square and the black queen on a black square. The game begins with white making the first move. The game continues with both sides taking turns until checkmate occurs or one player resigns or both players agree to a draw.
The king can move one square in any direction. The king can also capture an opponent’s piece if it is on one of the squares. The king cannot move onto a square that the opponent controls. Doing so will move the king into check. If the king is under attack (in check), the next move must make sure that the attack has been stopped. There are three possibilities in such a situation – the king must move out of check, or the attacking piece must be captured, or a piece must be moved between the attacker and the king to eliminate a direct attack. If the king is under attack and there is no immediate way to end the attack, the game is over.
The rook can move any number of squares either horizontally or vertically. The rook cannot jump a piece of either color. The rook captures as it moves.
The bishop can move any number of squares diagonally, but it cannot jump a piece of either color. The bishop can move in only one direction at a time, either forward or backward. The bishop captures as it moves. Because they move diagonally, the bishops will always remain on a square of the same color on which they started the game.
The queen combines the powers of the rook and the bishop. So the queen can move horizontally, vertically, or diagonally. The queen can move far in one direction as long as there are no pieces on its path. She captures as she moves. The queen is thus the most powerful piece on the chessboard. It is quite risky to bring out the queen early in game, because if you lose your queen, you are quite likely to lose the game.
Not every game ends with a checkmate. Many players chose instead to resign. When they believe there is no longer any hope, they award the win to the opponent. When white wins, the score is recorded as 1-0 whereas when black wins it is recorded as 0-1.
Between evenly matched opponents, a chess game usually ends in a draw. In a draw, nobody wins, and is recorded as ½ – ½. There are six kinds of draws:
- Draws by agreement
- Perpetual check
- Three-fold repetition
- Insufficient mating material
- The 50-move rule
In a chess game, tactics refers to traps, tricks or combinations that achieve checkmate or material advantage within a few moves, while strategy refers to achieving long-term goals through the proper development or arrangement of the pieces on the board in the absence of any short-term opportunities.
The Opening first moves of a chess game are called the ‘opening moves’, and are collectively referred to as ‘the opening’. There are many types of openings:
- Focus on the center
- Focus on the flanks
The aim of the opening is to:
- Develop the pieces
- Gain control of the center of the board
- Protecting the king
- Maintaining a good pawn structure
Popular openings are the Ruy Lopez, Giuoco Piano, Two Knights Defence, Latvian Gambit, King’s Gambit, Sicilian Defense, etc.
The EndgameThe endgame, otherwise called the end game or ending, is that stage of the game when there are few pieces left on the board. This stage of the game is taught to beginners first.
In the endgame, the pawns become more important. The endgame often revolves around trying to promote a pawn by advancing it to the eighth rank. The king, which has to be protected in the middlegame owing to the threat of checkmate, becomes a strong piece in the endgame. It can be brought to the center of the board and become a useful attacking piece.
Endgames are classified according to the type of pieces that remain on the board:
- King and pawn endgames
- Rook and pawn endgames
- Bishop and pawn endgames
- Knight and pawn endgames
- Queen and pawn endings
- Endings without pawns
Basic Chess Strategy
Every early move should be aimed at taking better control over the center of the board. Another strategy is to develop the knights before the bishops. Try not to move a piece more than once in the opening unless you can capture something or gain something important. Thus it is important to develop before you attack. Do not bring your queen out early. Safeguarding the king should be the top priority. Try to castle early enough in the game. Castling on the kingside is done most often, as it is easier to defend. Castling on the queenside leaves the king a bit more exposed.
Learning the endgame well helps the player understand the goal much better. Starting with the opening and memorizing a long sets of opening moves is not a good way to learn and is a sure way to lose a game.
The rook is a very powerful piece if used properly. To make the rook as good as possible, move the rook to an open file where other pieces cannot block the rook from moving forward. Rooks are very powerful on open files because they can control the middle and the far reaches of the board. Putting both the rooks on open files is even better.
In the middle of the board, the knight has access to eight squares. On the side of the board, the knight has access to only four squares. In the corner of the board, the knight has access to only two squares. Do not fix pawns on the same color as the bishop.
Unlike the other pieces, the pawns can move in only one direction-forward. Once it reaches the final rank, the pawn can transform itself into any other piece, though almost always into a queen. A second queen is allowed in a chess game and an upturned rook usually represents a second queen. As pawns move forward, they open up diagonals for bishops, protect other pieces and often lead the way for attacks. They can also pry open the opponent king’s side, but spell doom when they become weak and are easily subject to capture.
- To deliver a checkmate, the attacking king and queen must work together. This is because the queen cannot checkmate the opponent’s king single handedly.
- Delivering a checkmate with two rooks is easy, with one rook delivering the checkmate and the other covering possible retreats.
- Checkmating with a queen and a rook is very powerful. But be careful not to stalemate your opponent. This technique is quite similar to using the king with two rooks, except that the queen guarantees that the opposing king cannot meaningfully approach either the queen or the rook.
- Another checkmating tactic is to use the king and the rook. A king and two bishops can checkmate the opposing king.
- Checkmating with a king, bishop and a knight is rarely used, because a single mistake can make you start over.
Castling is a special move that involves moving two pieces at the same time. For castling to be legal the following rules must be observed:
- The king and rook should have never moved
- The king should not be under attack
- The king must not be passing through or arriving upon asquare controlled by the opponent
- All the squares between the king and the rook are vacant
You can castle if your rook is under attack. You can also castle if the rook passes through a square controlled by the opponent. The notation for castling is O-O on the kingside or O-O-O on the queenside.
Castling serves two valuable purposes:
- It moves the king into a safer position away from the center of the board
- It moves the rook to a more active position in the center of the board
Thus castling is an important goal earlier in the game.