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Rules of chess

Presentation and aim of the game

Chess is played on a board made up of 64 squares.
The aim of the game is to capture the opponent’s king by putting him in “checkmate”.
The player with the white pieces always makes the first move.
Each army is made up of pieces and pawns.
The pieces consist of two castles (or rooks), two knights, two bishops, one queen and one king.
In addition to these pieces each player has eight pawns.

The starting position is as shown:


How the different pieces move.

The knight is the only piece which can jump over other pieces.
To make a capture, the attacking piece lands on the square occupied by the target piece, and the latter is removed from the board.

The Castle (or Rook)

The castle moves in straight lines horizontally or vertically, as many squares as desired.


The Bishop

The bishop moves along diagonal lines, as many squares as desired.


The Queen

The queen is the most powerful piece in the game. She combines the moves of the castle and the bishop.


The Knight

The knight moves in the shape of the letter “L”. It is a very distinctive move.
You might say he jumps to one of the eight squares which are of the opposite colour to the departure square, but do not touch it.
Or that he advances one square like a rook, followed by one square like a bishop (or vice versa). Remember that he can jump over other pieces.


The King

The king can move in any direction, but only one square at a time.


How do the 5 types of piece capture enemy pieces or pawns?

A piece can capture another piece (of the opposing colour of course) by landing on the same square. The captured piece is then removed from the board.
In the illustration below, various capturing moves are shown. The castle on a6 can move to any square marked with a red dot, and so it can capture the white bishop on a3.
The bishop on a3 can move to any of the squares marked with a purple dot, and so it is able to capture the black knight on c5.
The knight on c5 can move to any of the squares marked with a green dot, and so it is capable of capturing the white queen on d3.


The Pawns and their moves and captures

The pawns move forwards, one square at a time. On a pawn’s first move however, it has the option of moving either one square or two squares forwards.
A pawn moves differently when capturing; it captures by moving diagonally forwards one square.

In the illustration below, the white pawn on a2 may either:
• Advance to a3, or
• Advance to a4, or
• Capture the black bishop by moving to b3

The white pawn on d5 may only advance to a6.

The white pawn on f2 may:
• Advance to f3
• Advance to f4
• Capture the black knight on e3

The black pawn on g7 may:
• Advance to g6
• Advance to g5

The black pawn on h4 may only advance to h3


The king in check and checkmate.

Check

If the king may be captured on the following turn, he is said to be “in check”.
The player whose king is in check is obliged to get his king out of check immediately. There are three ways of removing the check:
• Moving the king to a safe square
• Capturing the threatening piece
• Placing another piece in between the king and the threatening piece (not possible if the threatening piece is a knight, because it can jump.)

The illustration below shows the white king put in check by the black knight, which has just moved from b5 to c3. The white player can remove the check by moving the king to c1, c2 or d2. The king may not move to e1 or e2 because both squares are threatened by the black queen on e8.


Checkmate

The king is “checkmated” if he is in check, and it is not possible to remove the check.
In the illustration below, the white king is in checkmate.
As before, the knight on c3 is putting him in check, and he cannot move to e1 or e2 because of the queen.
This time, there is also a castle on h2 which prevents the king from moving to d2.
And he cannot move to c1 or c2 because his own pieces are in the way.
So the white player loses the game.


Special Moves: Castling

The king and the castle share a special move, which may only be used once.
When “castling”, the king may move two squares to one side or the other, and the castle towards which he moves jumps over and lands on the other side of him. He may castle on the king’s side of the board, or the queen’s side. Castling may only be done under the following conditions:
• Both the king and the castle concerned must not yet have moved in the game.
• The king must not be in check (he may not use this special move to get out of check)
• Neither the square to which the king is moving, not the square through which the king moves, may be in check from an enemy piece (the king may not castle “into check” and may not castle “through” a square where he would be in check.)
Below is an illustration showing the positions before and after castling.
The white king is castling on the king’s side and the black king is castling on the queen’s side.
The white king is not able to castle on the queen’s side because of the black knight, and likewise the white knight prevents the black king from castling on the king’s side.



Special moves: capturing “en passant”.

The pawn has a special move too.
If a pawn moves two squares forward on its first move, it may be captured by an enemy pawn (and only by another pawn) on the intermediate square.

Example below:

If the white pawn on c2 advances to c4, the black pawn on b4 is allowed to capture it by moving to c3, as if the white pawn had only moved one square instead of two. This is capturing “en passant” (which means “while passing” in French).
The same situation applies to the black pawn on d7, if it advances to d5 to pass the white pawn. The white pawn on e5 may capture it, exactly as if it had moved to d6. Remember the “en passant” capture may only be used immediately after the passing move.


Promotion

If a pawn manages to get all the way to the far end of the board, it is “promoted” and may be changed into any piece except a king. It is thus possible to have more than one queen of the same colour on the board at the same time.

Stalemate

If a player’s king is not actually in check, but cannot move in any direction without moving into check, and the player has no alternative piece he can move, then this situation is called “stalemate”. The game is a draw.

The game is also declared a draw if:

• There are insufficient pieces on both sides to achieve checkmate. (king against king, king against king and knight etc,)
• No capture or pawn movement has taken place for the last 50 moves.
• The same board position is reached three times.
• Both players agree to a draw.