Chess for Beginners: The first thing to know when taking to the game is the rules of chess. There’s no need to go deeper until you haven’t nailed the chess basics. Now, what is important at the initial stage of your study? Find a way to acquire knowledge gradually and in a structured manner. Luckily, our guide has it all!
Here we thoroughly explain how to play chess for beginners in simple terms. You’ll discover all the details of this amazing board game step by step. Apart from the chess game rules, the article gives a necessary base for building strategies. Chances are that after reading it, you can have your first chess win! Join chess clubs in Bridgeport, CT and meet other players.
Chess pieces set up
Before you started to play, it’s important to set up the gaming tools correctly. Namely, the board and the chess pieces.
The game is played on a square 8×8 chessboard with letters and numbers. They help encode the moves and write them down. Each square has a particular code. It allows players to understand one another quickly.
There’s no need to have a chessboard in front of you when using this notation. The horizontal lines are known as ranks, the vertical ones are called files.
The left bottom corner of the board should be black. That’s how you understand it is orientated in the right way. Now we can get to the pieces. Each of the two players has 16 units of either black or white color. Let’s find out what order they follow in the setup.
Pawn – once you learn to play chess, this piece may seem the easiest one. However, it holds a lot of nuances, and we’ll cover some of them.
The pawns are situated on the second and the seventh ranks on the board. They serve as a shield for more valuable pieces and oftentimes open the game.
The chess pawn rules state that the unit is allowed to travel one space forward. No other pieces should occupy that square.
However, in the case of an attack, the trajectory is different. When capturing, it moves diagonally, but also in one space only. Besides, there is an exceptional rule of the game. It enables the pawn to travel two spaces at once if a player wants to. It refers to the first time the piece makes a move.
Just as any other piece, this one has its own playing value. It equals one point, which is the lowest. You can use pawns to distract the opponent from really important zones on the board. Also, they are a good tool in many tactical maneuvers.
The chess piece has the smallest size out of all. And it’s decorated with a little ball on top, that’s how you recognize it.
Rook – when you start playing, the pieces are located in the corners.
They move in straight lines only along the lines and files. The chess rule regarding rooks doesn’t allow them to pass through other pieces. In order to attack, the unit lands on the square of the rival’s piece. As a result, the latter one should be removed from the chess board.
The piece’s Persian name means “chariot”. In ancient times, it would look like a castle. That explains both the unit’s second, unofficial name and its look. The rook’s top resembles a square castle-like structure.
Normally, playing chess doesn’t involve rooks at an early stage. They are not quite capable of maneuvering. Besides, their value is 5 points which is considered high. So the pieces are usually kept on the flanks or help with castling.
Knight – moving along with the chess setup, the knight comes next on the first line.
It’s a unique playing unit in terms of movement. This is the only chess piece that can pass through others. In addition, it has a peculiar trajectory.
Whether it’s a peaceful move or an attack, the knight follows a particular pattern. Two spaces forward plus one space to the side. “Forward” can be changed to “backward”. To simplify things a little bit, imagine the “L” letter to visualize it.
The chess rules state that it costs 3 points. As for the name, we don’t see the cavalier himself. However, his loyal horse remains in place. Look for the head of this animal to find the knight among other pieces.
The rules for chess dictate that this piece starts between the royalty and the knight.
It moves along the board in diagonals only, but the distance isn’t limited. The unit does look like a bishop with a noticeable groove on top. It symbolizes a miter which is a well-known religious headgear. The piece costs three points and is often used in pairs with the knight.
While learning how to play chess, you’ll probably hear that this piece is the strongest. Indeed, the queen clearly has an advantage over others.
It can move in all directions and cover any distance. The scoring rule in chess grants the queen with 9 points. So losing this unit is the same as losing nine pawns or three bishops.
Now you understand how valuable the queen is. Therefore, a logical thought can arise in your head. You may think that the only way to win is not to play dangerously. And that you shouldn’t risk the queen, at least in the beginning.
Well, it makes sense. However, at higher levels of play, it can even be sacrificed, not just risked. As a reward, a player may come to have a great advantage. Ultimately, if one’s mastery allows, they can win with no queen at all. So everything is relative. And the more you play, the more flexible you feel about rules. But as a beginner, you should strictly follow them.
The queen usually looks slightly shorter than the king and has a small coronet. Unless it’s something abstract or the Game of Thrones chess set, you’ll recognize this piece.
According to the basic chess rules, the king can move or attack in any direction. However, it only covers the closest square.
In reality, this piece doesn’t often make captures. Players tend to keep it as protected as possible.
Once your king is under attack it cannot escape, the game is lost. It’s called to checkmate the rival. We’ll explore this term further in the article.
As you learn to win, you’ll discover that castling is almost a necessary step. This special move allows you to evacuate your king and quickly enhance protection. Visually, the king is the tallest one and wears a big crown. Also, it often has a cross on top.
Chess for Beginners: Rules of the chess
Both sides take turns in order to move their pieces. Skipping your turn isn’t allowed. Unless it’s some special move like castling, only one piece is moved at a time. Once you land a piece onto a square with a rival’s unit, it’s considered captured. So you should remove it from the board.
If you’d like to see how it works, find a chess tutorial. For some people, video format helps understand the rules better.
In the game, there is an utmost goal. It is to surround your rival’s king and win. There should be no ways to avoid your attack. Otherwise, it was a check. If your king gets into this situation, you should first of all resolve this problem. You can’t make any moves other than those helping you “uncheck” your king. This is each player’s number-one priority.
It can be done in several ways. One may relocate the king to a safer place. Also, the threatening piece can be captured. Finally, you may use other chessmen to block it. So that the king isn’t under attack anymore.
The ability to checkmate the rival is a key skill in the game in chess. And you can begin from the simplest patterns. They will let you get the taste of victory and inspire you to practice more. Every textbook on how to learn chess teaches these two basic checkmates.
The first one is called the fool’s mate. It takes two steps on each side. A player unintentionally opens the line leading to their king. It happens after developing two adjacent pawns in front of it. This freshly opened diagonal gets occupied by the opponent’s queen that instantly checkmates the monarch.
Another simple option for novices is the scholar’s mate. The f7 square is the main point here. The bishop should pin it from the flank. On the other side of the board, the queen develops towards this square. Firstly, it moves from its initial place. After that, it attacks the pawn on the named square and checkmates the monarch.
But when does the game start to be really interesting and unpredictable? It happens after you’ve mastered all the fundamental stuff. That’s when a player begins to apply various tactics and strategic approaches.
What if you don’t get to win after learning the basics? In this case, we would ask you: “How do you play chess?” Do you mindlessly follow some pattern that was given to you as a novice? If your game plays itself automatically, start to think about applying strategies.
In chess, one of the essential principles is to develop your pieces. It’s closely intertwined with another one that says you should aim to control the center. It increases your pieces’ mobility. Besides, it’s easier to reach any zone of the chess board from the central area. Finally, the central attacks tend to be more effective than the flank ones.
21 Positional chess concepts – Strategies you need to know
Another important concept in the game is the necessity of both attack and defense. The latter is an act of avoiding an undesirable result. By means of defense, one prevents such things as the loss of material and checkmates. Also, the defense may deter the rival from getting a strategic edge. For example, the enemy won’t be able to make a passed pawn. Or gaining control over the key square won’t be possible either.
Nevertheless, being properly defensive is not enough to become a winner. You must also attack. The defender can only win if the opponent’s assault is premature or has a mistake. But even then, the defense turns into counter-attack. Create the threats for the rival’s pieces and seek to undermine their king’s shielding.
A crucial point of learning chess is to apply what you’ve studied right away. You need to give it a go. Game rules’ diversity is huge, so it’s better to get used to this pattern early. Over time you may find it hard to learn so many things and get confused.
In order to stay inspired, you can read about how play influences one’s cognitive abilities. In short, practicing chess regularly helps increase your concentration, analytical skills and mental flexibility. If you wonder how to play games efficiently, follow the given recommendations.
This was a comprehensive set of instructions on how to play chess for dummies. Now you have the necessary knowledge to start your personal adventure in the chess world. And whatever game aspect you’re currently studying, remember to do one thing.
Enjoy chess – play and learn new things about this art and stay motivated.
Beginners’ questions and answers about the rules of chess
- Namely, how the chessmen move on the board and how they capture one another.
- Also, learn how to prevent your own chess pieces from getting taken.
- Lastly, find a few different tactics and play as much as possible.
- Start with a central pawn
- Advance knights first, then only bishops
- Develop using threats
- Don’t involve the same piece twice
- The fewer pawn moves in the opening, the better
- Keep your queen down at an early stage
- Intend to dominate the central area
- Castle early
- Pick the optimal move
- Aim at the rival’s king.