The diagram on your right shows you a chessboard as you will see it throughout this course.
Can you count the number of rows and columns on the chess board? That's right. There are eight rows and eight columns of small squares, making a larger square. The rows are called RANKS and the columns are called FILES. If you're good at maths you might be able to work out how many small squares there are on the chess board. Eight RANKS and eight FILES. Eight times eight is sixty four - that's how many squares there are on a chess board.
The squares alternate between light and dark. We call the lighter colour squares WHITE SQUARES or LIGHT SQUARES and the darker colour squares BLACK SQUARES or DARK SQUARES.
What sort of square is at the bottom right of the board? That's right: a WHITE SQUARE.
Every time you sit down at a chess board you must make sure that the square in your right hand corner is a WHITE SQUARE. Can you see the letters and numbers round the side of the board? Each FILE has a letter from a to h, starting on the left. Each RANK has a number from 1 to 8 starting at the bottom.
In this way we can give each square a name made up of the name of its FILE followed by the name of its FILE: a LETTER followed by a NUMBER.
What are the names of the corner squares? That's right, a1, a8, h1 and h8. Perhaps you've played a game called Battleships. In that game you also name the squares from their ranks and files - their CO-ORDINATES.
If you have a chess board with the CO-ORDINATES round the side, like in our diagrams, it will help you if you set up the pieces with White on RANKS 1 and 2, and Black on RANKS 7 and 8.
Your chess pieces, like the squares on the board, are light and dark coloured. We call the lighter coloured pieces WHITE PIECES and the darker coloured pieces BLACK PIECES. Even if your pieces are yellow and red you still call them WHITE PIECES and BLACK PIECES.
See if you can find a WHITE PIECE that looks like a castle. Some people call it a CASTLE but it's really called a ROOK, so that's what we'll call it in this course. In the book a White Rook looks like this: R and a Black Rook looks like this: r.
Place a White Rook on the square named e4, which, with any luck, should be a WHITE SQUARE near the middle of the board. Your board should now look like this diagram.
In chess there are six different types of piece. Each one has its own way of moving. The ROOK can move as far as it likes, backwards, forwards, left or right. In the diagram the Rook on e4 can move to any of the squares marked with a black blob. It can move forwards to e5, e6, e7 or e8. It can move backwards to e3, e2 or e1. It can move left to d4, c4, b4 or a4. It can move right to f4, g4 or h4.
The Bishop is the piece that looks like a Bishop's mitre: the hat worn by bishops. It is a rounded piece with a slit in the top. In this book a White Bishop looks like this: L and a Black Bishop looks like this: l. Find a White Bishop and place it on the e4 square, as in the diagram.
The Bishop can move as far as it likes diagonally in any direction, forwards or backwards, North West, North East, South East or South West. The Bishop in the diagram can move to any of the squares marked with a black blob. It can move North West to d5, c6, b7 or a8. It can move North East to f5, g6 or h7. It can move South East to f3, g2 or h1. It can move South West to d3, c2 or b1.
Do you see what all these squares have in common? That's right, they're all WHITE SQUARES. A Bishop that starts on a white square can only travel on white squares. A Bishop that starts on a black square can only travel on black squares. If you notice that you've got two Bishops on the same colour square you've almost certainly done something wrong.
You now know how both the Rook and the Bishop move: the Rook in straight lines
up and down, left and right, and the Bishop along the diagonals.
That makes it very easy to learn how the
The Queen is the second tallest piece in your chess set: the one with
the coronet on top. In our book the White Queen looks like this: Q
and the Black Queen looks like this: q.
The Queen can move like a Rook, or like a Bishop. It's a fantastically
strong piece: the strongest one in your army. So when you play chess you
must be really careful not to lose your Queen.
Place the White Queen on e4, as in the diagram.
Just look at how powerful the Queen is: she can move to almost half the
squares on the board: 27 in all (count them!).
The King is the tallest piece in your
chess set: the one with the cross on top. In our book the White King looks
like this: K
and the Black King like this: k.
The King can only move one square at a time in any direction. In the middle
of the board, as in the diagram on your left, it can move to eight squares.
He may not sound much use, but, as you'll find out in the next lesson,
he's really the most important piece of all.
It's easy to find the Knight in your chess set. It's the piece which looks
like a horse's head. In our book the White Knight looks like this: N
and the Black Knight like this: n.
Remember: they're called KNIGHTS, not horses!
The Knight's move is the hardest to understand,
but if you look at the next diagram you'll get the idea. It moves two
squares like a rook and then one square round the corner, in an L-shape.
The Knight on e4 can move to eight squares: d2, c3, c5, d6, f6, g5, g3
and f2. Do you notice what all these squares have in common? That's right,
they're all dark squares. One way to remember the Knight move is that
it always moves to a different colour square. If you place a Knight on
a1 it can move to only two squares: b3 and c2. A Knight on e8 can move
to four squares: c7, d6, f6 and g7.
There is one other very special thing about a Knight. Horses like to jump,
don't they? So it's only right that Knights should be able to jump too.
If there was another piece on d5 in the diagram, either White or Black,
the White Knight would still be able to move to either c5 or d6.
Spend some time practising moving the Knight round the board to get used
to its move. How many moves does it take you to get a Knight from a1 to
h8? You should be able to do it in six moves, for instance via c2, d4,
f5, e7, g6, h8.
In your set you should find quite a lot of small pieces. They are called
PAWNS. Not prawns - they're shellfish - but PAWNS. In this book White
Pawns look like this: Pand
Black Pawns look like this: p.
The Pawns are the weakest pieces on the board. They move just one square
forwards at a time. In the diagram on your right the White Pawn on b3
can move to b4.
Unlike other pieces, pawns do not capture the same way as they move. Pawns
capture instead one square diagonally forwards. The pawn on e4 cannot
move forwards: it is blocked by the Black Pawn on e5. But it could capture
either the Black Knight on d5 or the Black Bishop on f5.
Because they are so weak pawns have some special privileges. One privilege
is that on a pawn's first move it can move two squares instead of one.
All the pawns start life on their second rank, so the pawn on g2 in the
diagram has not yet moved. In this position it has a choice of three moves.
It can move one square forward, to g3, it can move two squares forward,
to g4, or it can capture the Black Rook on h3.
Pawns have another special privilege which makes them really important.
When a pawn reaches the far end of the board you can exchange it for another
piece, a Queen, a Rook, a Bishop or a Knight. Because, as you've probably
realised, the Queen is the most powerful piece, you'll usually want to
exchange your Pawn for a Queen. It doesn't matter if you've still got
a Queen on the board - you can have another one if you like. If you get
all eight pawns to the end of the board you can get eight Queens, which
added to the one you started with makes nine! But you should never need
more than two, or, at the most, three Queens to get checkmate.
In our diagram the White Pawn on d7 can move to d8, when you have to exchange
it for a Queen, a Rook, a Bishop or a Knight. This is called PROMOTING
Now look at the next diagram. How many CAPTURES can you find?
We know how Pawns capture. Can you any of the Pawns in the diagram make
a capture? Yes: the White Pawn on c5 can CAPTURE the Black Pawn on d6.
And the Black Pawn on d6 can CAPTURE the White Pawn on c5. When you make
a CAPTURE you move your piece onto the square previously occupied by your
opponent's piece and you take your opponent's piece off the board.
CHESS ISN'T LIKE DRAUGHTS. YOU DON'T CAPTURE BY JUMPING OVER A PIECE.
Other pieces CAPTURE the same way as they move. What can the White Rook
on d3 CAPTURE? Yes, the Black Pawn on d6. What can the Black Bishop on
c6 CAPTURE? That's right, the White Pawn on f3. The White Queen on g4
can CAPTURE two pieces. Can you find them? Correct: The Black Knight on
d7 and the Black Pawn on g6. What about the Black Knight? What can that
take? Yes, the White Pawn on c5, jumping over the Black Pawn and Bishop
to get there.
Can the White Rook on d3 CAPTURE the White Pawn on f3? NO: YOU CAN'T CAPTURE
YOUR OWN PIECES. Can the White Pawn on c5 CAPTURE the Black Bishop on
c6? NO: PAWNS MOVE FORWARDS BUT CAPTURE DIAGONALLY FORWARDS. Can the White
Queen on g2 CAPTURE the Black Queen on g7? NO: ONLY KNIGHTS CAN JUMP.
Now you know how the pieces move and capture, let's set the board up for
the start of the game. Here's how to do it.
1. Make sure you have a WHITE square on your RIGHT.
2. Put the WHITE pieces on the RANKS numbered 1 and 2 and the BLACK pieces
on the RANKS numbered 7 and 8.
3. Put the ROOKS in the CORNERS: a1
and h1, a8 and h8.
4. Put the KNIGHTS next to the ROOKS: b1, g1, b8, g8.
5. Put the BISHOPS next to the KNIGHTS: c1, f1, c8, f8.
6. Put the WHITE QUEEN on d1, a WHITE SQUARE, and the BLACK QUEEN on d8,
a BLACK SQUARE. Remember that the QUEENS go on THEIR OWN COLOUR SQUARE.
7. Put the WHITE KING on e1, a BLACK SQUARE, and the BLACK KING on e8,
a WHITE SQUARE.
8. Put the eight PAWNS for each side in front of the other pieces: the
WHITE PAWNS from a2 to h2 and the BLACK PAWNS from a7 to h7.
Now you know how all the pieces move and can set up the pieces you're
almost ready to start playing.
WHEN YOU PLAY A GAME OF CHESS WHITE ALWAYS MAKES THE FIRST MOVE. THE PLAYERS
TAKE IT IN TURNS TO MAKE A MOVE. FIRST WHITE, THEN BLACK, THEN WHITE,
THEN BLACK AND SO ON.
Look again at the starting position. Which pieces could White move to
start the game. The only pieces he could move are his PAWNS, and his KNIGHTS.
He can move any of his EIGHT PAWNS forward either ONE SQUARE or TWO SQUARES.
Each of his KNIGHTS has TWO SQUARES it can move to. He can choose one
of TWENTY MOVES to start the game.
There are some VERY IMPORTANT RULES you still need to know before you
can really say that you play chess. We'll look at those in our next lesson.