How To

How To Play Chess


How To Play Chess

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How To Play Chess

How To Play Chess

How to Play Chess in Standard American English

Chess is a two-player strategy board game played on an 8×8 checkered board. The goal of the game is to put the opponent’s king into checkmate, a position where it is under immediate threat of capture and cannot escape.

The Board

The chessboard is made up of 64 squares, alternating in color from light to dark. The board is oriented so that each player has a white square on their bottom right-hand corner.

The Pieces

Each player has 16 pieces:

  • 1 king
  • 1 queen
  • 2 rooks
  • 2 knights
  • 2 bishops
  • 8 pawns

The Setup

The game begins with the pieces arranged as follows:

  • The rooks are placed on the corners.
  • The knights are placed next to the rooks.
  • The bishops are placed next to the knights.
  • The queen is placed on the remaining square of her own color (white queen on a white square, black queen on a black square).
  • The king is placed next to the queen.
  • The second row from each player is filled with pawns.

The Moves

Each player takes turns moving one piece at a time. There are different rules for moving each type of piece:

  • King: The king can move one square in any direction – horizontally, vertically, or diagonally.
  • Queen: The queen is the most powerful piece. She can move any number of squares along a rank (row), file (column), or diagonal.
  • Rook: The rook can move any number of squares along a rank or file.
  • Bishop: The bishop can move any number of squares diagonally, staying on the same color.
  • Knight: The knight moves in an "L" pattern – two squares in one direction and then one square perpendicularly. The knight is the only piece that can jump over other pieces.
  • Pawn: Pawns normally move one square forward, but they can move two squares forward on their initial move. Pawns capture diagonally forward one square.

Special Moves

There are a few special moves in chess:

  • Castling: This is a move involving the king and one of the rooks. The king moves two squares towards a rook, which then hops over the king.
  • En passant: This is a special pawn capture that can occur under certain conditions.
  • Promotion: If a pawn reaches the other side of the board, it can be promoted to any other piece (queen, rook, bishop, or knight) of the same color.

Check and Checkmate

  • Check: When the king is under immediate threat of capture, it is said to be in check. The player whose king is in check must make a move to remove the threat.
  • Checkmate: If the king is in check and there is no legal move to remove the threat, the game is over and the player whose king is in checkmate loses.


If a player cannot make a legal move but their king is not in check, the game ends in a draw called a stalemate.


A game can also end in a draw if:

  • Both players agree to a draw.
  • The same position occurs three times in a row.
  • There are not enough pieces left on the board to checkmate the opponent.


The player who puts the opponent’s king into checkmate wins the game.


How long does a game of chess typically last?

The average game of chess lasts between 30 and 60 minutes. However, some games can last much longer, especially in time-controlled tournaments.

What is the best way to learn how to play chess?

The best way to learn how to play chess is to play the game as much as possible. You can also read books or watch videos about chess to learn more about the game.

What is the rating system used in chess?

The Elo rating system is used to measure the strength of chess players. The higher the rating, the stronger the player.

Who is the current world chess champion?

The current world chess champion is Magnus Carlsen of Norway.

What is the most famous chess game ever played?

The most famous chess game ever played is the "Immortal Game" between Adolf Anderssen and Lionel Kieseritzky in 1851.