The origins of chess are not known. However, it is believed that this game evolved from other similar games played almost two thousand years ago. The chess we know today was developed in the 15th century. From that period chess became popular in Europe first and then around the world.
This game involves two players fighting on opposite sides of the board with 64 squares of alternating colors, usually black and white. Both players have 16 pieces each: a King, a Queen, two Rooks, two Bishops, two Knights, and eight Pawns. The primary goal of the game is to create the situation from which the opponent King cannot escape. This position is called checkmate.
How the Pieces Move
There are six different kinds of pieces, and they all move in a different way. They are not allowed to move through other pieces. However, Knight can jump over them because of its specific movement. Also, they can move onto a square with opponent pieces, but never with their own pieces. Therefore, pieces are able to capture enemy pieces, which is a chance to attack the opponent, defend their own pieces and control the important files and ranks.
The King is only capable of moving one square at a time in any direction, which makes it the weakest piece. However, it is the most important piece, which is usually inactive and best protected for the most of the game.
The Queen, on the other hand, is most powerful. You can move it in any straight direction as far as you want.
The Rook can also move as far as the Queen. However, it is not able to move through diagonals, but only through the ranks and files.
Unlike the Rook, the Bishop moves only diagonally. Both players have one Bishop that starts and travels on light squares, while other starts and travels on dark squares.
The Knight has a particular move. They can only jump three squares in a shape of L, for instance, one square forward and then two on a side, or two squares on a side and one backward.
Pawns are curious since they move only forward but capture a piece diagonally. They can only move one square at a time. However, in the first time move Pawn can go two squares. Pawns can only capture one square diagonally in front of them.
Pawns are the only pieces with a unique ability – becoming any other piece, usually the Queen. This ability is called promotion, and it happens if a Pawn reaches the other side of the board – eighth rank.
If a Pawn makes two squares move, and as a result lands to the opponent Pawn´s side the other Pawn has the chance to capture the first Pawn as it passes by. The move should be made after the first Pawn has moved past, if not, the possibility to catch a Pawn will no longer be available.
Castling helps you get your King to safety, and make your Rook active. There are some rules to be followed in order to start castling. It should be the first move of both King and Rook, and there should not be any other pieces between the two, and also the King may not be in check or pass through check.
Check and Checkmate
Checks can be prevented if the King moves out of the way, if it is blocked by another piece, and if the attacking piece is captured. Checkmate occurs when the king is put into check which it cannot avoid. The game is then declared over, and the one who brought the King to the checkmate situation is the winner.
Occasionally games can be drawn, and this may happen because of following reasons:
• A stalemate, it is the position when it is the players turn to make a move, and his King is not in check, but he has no other legal moves
• The players can simply agree to stop playing and call it a draw
• If there are not enough pieces left to force a checkmate
• If the exact same position is repeated three times, not necessarily three times in a row
• Fifty-move rule, when players made 50 moves each without capturing a piece
In order to play chess, you need to know four simple, but important elements of the game:
• How to protect your King
The King is usually safer in the corner of the board, and castling should be made as soon as possible.
• Giving pieces away
Each piece has its value, and you should not give them away recklessly. Players can track the material advantage both their own and their opponent´s. Pawns worth 1 each, a Knight worth 3, a Bishop also 3, a Rook worth 5 and a Queen 9. After the game is over these points, have no meaning whatsoever.
• Controlling the center
The center of the board is strategically important, and you should guard it with your pieces and pawns.
• Using all of your pieces
It is the best if you develop all of your pieces that way to be useful when attacking the king. Not necessarily, all the pieces should be used. One or two pieces can be enough against a good opponent.
• Getting Better at Chess
This final rule cannot be directly performed in the given situation. Chess requires practice and playing in order to meet and understand the patterns and positions. In the beginning, you should mostly focus on the rules and basic strategies, and then gradually develop through regular playing, study chess situations and practice particular positions.
It is a great strategic game with numerous possibilities. Besides, it can never be predicted or learned by heart. It is the game which can be only understood, but never completely learned. However, this actually does not mean that you should be discouraged. The best way to enjoy this game is to learn to have fun with chess.