Perhaps the greatest game ever created, Chess involves two players with Sixteen pieces each trying to capture their opponents king with their pieces.

The starting position

To set up the board, each player should be facing a white square in the right corner of his side of the chessboard. Black has his pieces at the 'top' of the board (the 7th and 8th ranks - or horizontal rows), (if you are looking at a chess diagram.) and White has his Pieces at the 'bottom'. (the 1st and 2nd ranks) Whites eight pawn peices (usually the shortest peices in the chess set.) go on the 2nd rank, and blacks eight pawn peices go on the 7th rank. The rooks, (Which look like castles in most sets.) go in the corners of the board. Adjacent to the rooks are knights, (which often look like horses.) and the third file in are bishops (which look like they have a bishops hat for a 'head'.) in the middle, the queen (usually the second tallest piece.) always goes on her color, and the king sits next to her, (remember how I told you to check for the white square in the right corner? thats why.)

How The Pieces Move

  1. The Pawn
    The pawn has the option of moving two spaces forward or one space forward on it's first move. The extra space it moves through must be empty. On all later moves the pawn can only move one space forward. When pawns move to capture, (or remove a piece from the board.) they must always move diagonally forward into the piece they capture. When a pawn reaches the end of the board, it must be promoted (or morphed) into a Queen, Rook, Bishiop, or Knight, and act as that piece.
  2. The rook
    The rook moves vertically and Horizontally and can go as far as it wants to, but not thru a piece; it has to capture or stop short.
  3. The Bishop
    The Bishop moves Diagonally as far as it wants to go, but like the rook, it cannot go thru pieces, it must capture or stop short..
  4. The Queen
    The queen can move vertically, horizontally, or diagonally. She is the most powerful piece on the board. However, she cannot move thru pieces.
  5. The King
    The King can move like the Queen however he can only move one space at a time. However, the king cannot step into a square where he could be captured by an opponent on the next turn, and also has the ability to castle with a rook. When the king is captured, (or checkmated.) the game is over.
  6. The Knight
    The Knight is another complicated piece, the Knight moves in an L direction, and can move thru pieces, that is he can't be blocked or interposed. He always moves one square in one direction and then 2 squares in another, except back from where the knight came, if this is confusing, just imagine a domino with six dots on the chess board, quite simply, the knight moves from one corner of the domino to the other, no matter what is inbetween the two points.

Special Rules:
  1. Check and checkmate (also known as the objective.):

    When a player attacks the opponents king, that is can capture it on the next move if no intervention is done, the player whos king is threatened is considered 'in check', that player must then get the king out of check, by interposing (putting a piece between the king and the attacking piece), moving the king, or capturing the piece that is attacking the king. If the king cannot escape check, then he is Checkmated, and the player who has been checkmated loses.
  2. Capturing en passant:

    When a players pawn passes another players pawn, if the first pawn moved two squares as it is allowed to do on it's first move, and the second pawn could have captured the pawn had it moved only one square, the second pawn may move to the square it could have captured the pawn in, and remove the first pawn from the board. This may only be done on the move directly following the first pawns move.
  3. Castling:

    If the king and the rook with which the king wants to castle have not moved, the king may castle with that rook. The king moves two squares towards the rook, (this is the only move in which the king can move two squares) and the rook moves to the oppsite side of the king from which he was on. The King cannot castle thru check, that is, thru squares that are attacked by the opposing pieces.
  4. Draw and Stalemate:

    Checkmate is of course not the only way a game can end, two players can opt to call the game a draw by mutual agreement, and if the players repeat the same series of moves 3 times in a row, or fifty turns pass without a piece being captured, either player can declare the game a draw. There is also the not-often-invoked 50 move rule, which ends a game in a draw after each side has made 50 consecutive moves without capturing a piece. Perpetual Check is a situation in which one player continually puts his opponent in check, and his opponent can do nothing but continually interpose the check. While this is usually a variation of the Three Fold Repetition rule, there are some instances in which it can be minipulated into not repeating itself in the same patterns.
Chess Online

  • FICS - Free Internet Chess Server,, if you are new to chess i'd recommend going here simply because it's free.
  • The Morals of Chess
    by Benjamin Franklin

    Playing at Chess, is the most ancient and the most universal game known among men; for its original is beyond the memory of history, and it has, for numberless ages, been the amusement of all the civilized nations of Asia, the Persians, the Indians, and the Chinese. Europe has had it above a thousand years; the Spaniards have spread it over their part of America, and it begins lately to make its appearance in these States. It is so interesting in itself, as not to need the view of gain to induce engaging in it; and thence it is never played for money. Those, therefore, who have leisure for such diversions, cannot find one that is more innocent ; and the following piece, written with a view to correct (among a few young friends) some little improprieties in the practice of it, shews at the same time that it may, in its effects on the mind, be not merely innocent, but advantageous, to the vanquished as well as to the victor.

    The Game of Chess is not merely an idle amusement. Several very valuable qualities of the mind, useful in the course of human life, are to be acquired or strengthened by it, so as to become habits, ready on all occasions. For Life is a kind of Chess, in which we have often points to gain, and competitors or adversaries to contend with, and in which there is a vast variety of good and ill events, that are, in some degree, the effects of prudence or the want of it. By playing at chess, then, we may learn:

    I. Foresight, which looks a little into futurity, and considers the consequences that may attend an action ; for it is continually occurring to the player, "If I move this piece, what will be the advantages of my new situation? What use can my adversary make of it to annoy me? What other moves can I make to support it, and to defend myself from his attacks?"

    II. Circumspection, which surveys the whole chess-board, or scene of action, the relations of the several pieces and situations, the dangers they are respectively exposed to, the several possibilities of their aiding each other, the probabilities that the adversary may make this or that move, and attack this or the other piece ; and what different means can be used to avoid his stroke, or turn its consequences against him.

    III. Caution, not to make our moves too hastily. This habit is best acquired by observing strictly the laws of the game, such as, "If you touch a piece, you must move it somewhere; if you set it down, you must let it stand:" and it is therefore best that these rules should be observed, as the game thereby becomes more the image of human life, and particularly of war; in which, if you have incautiously put yourself into a bad and dangerous position, you cannot obtain your enemy's leave to withdraw your troops, and place them more securely, but you must abide all the consequences of your rashness.

    And, lastly, we learn by chess the habit of not being discouraged by present bad appearances in the state of our affairs, the habit of hoping for a favorable change, and that of persevering in the search of resources. The game is so full of events, there is such a variety of turns in it, the fortune of it is so subject to sudden vicissitudes, and one so frequently, after contemplation, discovers the means of extricating one's self from a supposed insurmountable difficulty, that one is encouraged to continue the contest to the last, in hopes of victory by our own skill, or, at least, of giving a stale mate, by the negligence of our adversary. And whoever considers, what in chess he often sees instances of, that particular pieces of success are apt to produce presumption, and its consequent, inattention, by which more is afterwards lost than was gained by the preceding advantage, while misfortunes produce more care and attention, by which the loss may be recovered, will learn not to be too much discouraged by the present success of his adversary, nor to despair of final good fortune, upon every little check he receives in the pursuit of it.

    That we may, therefore, be induced more frequently to chuse (sic) this beneficial amusement, in preference to others which are not attended with the same advantages, every circumstance which may increase the pleasures of it should be regarded; and every action or word that is unfair, disrespectful, or that in any way may give uneasiness, should be avoided, as contrary to the immediate intention of both the players, which is, to pass the time agreeably.

    Therefore, firstly: If it is agreed to play according to the strict rules, then those rules are to be exactly observed by both parties ; and should not be insisted on for one side, while deviated from by the other: for this is not equitable.

    Secondly. If it is agreed not to observe the rules exactly, but one party demands indulgences, he should then be as willing to allow them to the other.

    Thirdly. No false move should ever be made to extricate yourself out of a difficulty, or to gain an advantage. There can be no pleasure in playing with a person once detected in such unfair practices.

    Fourthly. If your adversary is long in playing, you ought not to hurry him, or express any uneasiness at his delay. You should not sing, nor whistle, nor look at your watch, nor take up a book to read, nor make a tapping with your feet on the floor, or with your fingers on the table, nor do any thing that may disturb his attention. For all these things displease ; and they do not shew your skill in playing, but your craftiness or rudeness.

    Fifthly. You ought not to endeavour to amuse and deceive your adversary, by pretending to have made bad moves, and saying you have now lost the game, in order to make him secure and careless, and inattentive to your schemes; for this is fraud, and deceit, not skill in the game.

    Sixthly. You must not, when you have gained a victory, use any triumphing or insulting expression, nor show too much pleasure ; but endeavour to console your adversary, and make him less dissatisfied with himself by every kind and civil expression, that may be used with truth, such as, "You understand the game better than I, but you are a little inattentive ;" or, "You had the best of the game, but something happened to divert your thoughts, and that turned it in my favour."

    Seventhly. If you are a spectator while others play, observe the most perfect silence: For if you give advice, you offend both parties ; him, against whom you give it, because it may cause the loss of his game; him, in whose favour you give it, because, though it be good, and he follows it, he loses the pleasure he might have had, if you had permitted him to think till it occurred to himself. Even after a move or moves, you must not, by replacing the pieces, show how it might have been played better: for that displeases, and may occasion disputes or doubts about their true situation. All talking to the players, lessens or diverts their attention, and is therefore unpleasing: Nor should you give the least hint to either party, by any kind of noise or motion. If you do, you are unworthy to be a spectator. If you have a mind to exercise or show your judgement, do it in playing your own game when you have an opportunity, not in criticising, or meddling with, or counselling the play of others.

    Lastly. If the game is not to be played rigorously according to the rules above mentioned, then moderate your desire of victory over your adversary, and be pleased with one over yourself. Snatch not eagerly at every advantage offered by his unskillfulness or inattention; but point out to him kindly, that by such a move he places or leaves a piece in danger and unsupported; that by another he will put his king in a dangerous situation, &c. By this generous civility (so opposite to the unfairness above forbidden) you may, indeed, happen to lose the game to your opponent, but you will win what is better, his esteem, his respect, and his affection ; together with the silent approbation and good will of impartial spectators.

    Chess Made Easy. New and comprehensive Rules for Playing the Game of Chess, with Examples from Phildor, Cunningham, & c., &c., To which is prefixed a pleasing account of its Origin; some interesting Anecdotes of several exalted personages whohave been admirers of it; and the Morals of Chess, written by the ingenious and learned Dr. Franklin . . . . Philadelphia, printed and sold by James Humphreys, at the corner of Walnut and Dock-Streets, 1802

    She walked over and stood behind him. He had knelt to look at the board closely. Now she set her fingertips delicately on his shoulder and asked, "Do you play the game?" Under his skin the man's body shivered. "Yes, It's one of my favorites."
    "I don't know how, Nobody ever taught me."
    I could teach you, the man thought. I could explain it all to you, the board, the pieces, how they move and how they are used. The strength of the knight, and the swiftness of the bishop, these wonderful things. I could show you the pawn's determination and the king's power. I would show you how a player's hands move, the supple rhythms of attack, the slow, soft musings of defense, and all the combinations that lie between. I would teach you. He tried to say this but the words caught at the bottom of his throat, just at the end of the lungs, and all that made it to his lips was, "Hm." He looked back up at her, started to say that it wasn't what he was looking for, but her eyes caught him, drowned him. He bought the set and after distributing the pieces to his pockets, tucked the board under his arm and moved slowly back to his car.

    (I'm a terrible chess player, know nothing of the strategy of the game, but it is beautiful.)
    "A combination composed of a sacrifice has more immediate effect upon the person playing over the game in which it occurs than another combination, because the apparent senselessness of the sacrifice is convincing proof of the design of the player offering it. Hence it comes that the risk of material, and the victory of the weaker material over the stronger material, gives the impression of a symbol of the mastery of mind over matter.
    Now we see wherein lies the pleasure to be derived from a chess combination. It lies in the feeling that a human mind is behind the game dominating the inanimate pieces with which the game is carried on, and giving them the breath of life. We may regard it as an intellectual delight, equal to that afforded us by the knowledge that behind so many apparently disconnected and seemingly chance happenings in the physical world lies the one great ruling spirit - the law of Nature. "

    a quote from Richard Reti, Modern Ideas in Chess, found at the super useful Exeter Chess Club site,

    The Everything2 Chess Metanode

    Chess in general

    History of chess

    Terminology and rules

    Chess organizations

    Fun chess games

    Also see the excellent Chess Variants metanode by Footprints. I'll try to avoid duplication.

    Chess puzzles

    Chess strategy and tactics


    Protector of Mankind has done a remarkable job of noding chess openings. Please refer to his metanodes:

    Endgames and Mates

    Again, Protector of Mankind has summarized the endgames nicely, and Rah! to jt for his continuing contributions

    Famous games

    Famous chess players

    Chess between friends

    Chess stories


    Chess and literature


    Kudos to Protector of Mankind, jt, Dreamvirus, gitm, and Heitah for so many fine chess write-ups, and tes for great biographies. As usual, /msg me with additions, etc. Last updated 27 December 2008.

    Chess (?), n. [OE. ches, F. 'echecs, prop. pl. of 'echec check. See 1st Check.]

    A game played on a chessboard, by two persons, with two differently colored sets of men, sixteen in each set. Each player has a king, a queen, two bishops, two knights, two castles or rooks, and eight pawns.


    © Webster 1913.

    Chess, n. Bot.

    A species of brome grass (Bromus secalinus) which is a troublesome weed in wheat flelds, and is often erroneously regarded as degenerate or changed wheat; it bears a very slight resemblance to oats, and if reaped and ground up with wheat, so as to be used for food, is said to produce narcotic effects; -- called also cheat and Willard's bromus.

    [U. S.]

    ⇒ Other species of brome grass are called upright chess, soft chess, etc.


    © Webster 1913.

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