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How to Play Chess: A Beginner's Guide Part 2

by: Daniel Loyd ; edited by: Michael Hartman ; updated: 5/25/2012 • Leave a comment

Ready to learn the rest of the beginner’s Chess rules? In this part we’ll finish up discussing the rest of the pieces moves, along with special moves that can only be used in specific situations. Finally, learn about Check and Checkmate, and their power against Kings.

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    More Pieces and How They Move

    This is a continuation of the How to Play Chess: A Beginner's Guide to Chess Rules. If you missed it, click here to read the beginning of the guide to Chess rules!

    • Chess Pieces on Board   Knights are the only Chess pieces that ignore other pieces between them and their destination during their moves. A knight can move to any of the closest squares that aren’t along its starting rows, columns or diagonals. This will always result in an L shape two squares out and one square to the side, neither of which can be diagonal. Any pieces that are along its path are considered “jumped over".
    • Bishops move similar to a Rook, in that they have no limit to their movement in a straight line, but can only move along diagonals. Each player has a Bishop on a white square and a Bishop on a black square, so the Bishops are effectively confined to traveling along squares of one color.
    • The Queen combines the movement powers of Rooks and Bishops. It can move any number of squares straight horizontally, vertically, or along any of its diagonals.
    • The King can only move one space in any direction.
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    Special Moves

    At certain points during the game, three different special moves may be made by some of the Chess pieces. These moves are called Promotion, Castling and En Passant.

    • Promotion is a move specific to Pawns. If a Pawn reaches one of the squares at the edge of the board, it may be replaced by a Queen, Rook, Bishop or Knight regardless of how many of those pieces are already on the board.
    • Castling may only be done by the King and (non-promoted) Rooks, but a few conditions must be met first. The King and the Rook being used in the Castling move must not have moved yet during the game, every space between them must be empty, and the King may not be in check in its current square or any square between and including its ending square. During a players turn, if they choose to Castle they move their King two spaces towards the Rook, and move that Rook to the adjacent square on the other side of the King.
    • En Passant means “In Passing", and refers to a move that can only be used between Pawns. If a Pawn moves two squares from its starting position during a turn and passes through a square that an opposing Pawn threatens (meaning the opposing Pawn could capture a piece in that square), the opposing player can claim “En Passant", moving their Pawn into the space the Pawn passed through and removing the passing Pawn from the board.
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    Check And Checkmate: How is a Winner Decided?

    The game of Chess focuses on attacking and defending the King, the most important piece for both players. If an opponent’s piece threatens to capture the King on the next turn, the opposing player must declare “Check" and the King must either move to an adjacent square where it is not under threat, move a piece to block the attack on the King, or capture the attacking piece. If no move will save the King from capture on the next turn, the situation is declared “Checkmate" and the player attacking the King wins the game.

    A few things to remember about Check and Checkmate:

    • Checkmate   A King cannot move into a space that can be reached by an opponent’s piece. In other words, a King cannot put itself in check.
    • A King cannot put another King in Check, because it would be putting itself in check as well.
    • If a Knight puts a King in Check, the threat cannot be blocked, because the Knight can jump over pieces. The only options to escape Check would be either capturing the Knight or moving the King to one of the adjacent safe squares.
    • If a piece moves adjacent to a King and puts it in Check, the King can capture the piece as long as the opponent’s piece is not protected by another piece, which would mean putting the King in Check again.

    Now that you've read the Chess game rules, you're ready to venture into the world of Chess! Play a few games, and you'll soon see why Chess has been known as one of the best strategy games for centuries!

    Source: Wikipedia

    Images from Wikimedia Commons, contributed by David Lapetina and Alan Light, respectively.

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