Chess Rules

Wed, 28 May 2008 19:37

Chess Rules

Official chess game rules and on playing chess.

As with any sport or game, chess has a number of rules. These rules have been constantly changed since their formulation during the 1500s. The existing rules and concepts are the result of that modification process, which ended during the 1800s.

The Players and Equipment

Traditionally, chess is a game of two opposing players placed at each side of the game board. When the advances in technology allowed for the game to be played virtually, opposing players can be human against human or human against a computer. In a live chess match, the players are humans. In the virtual world, however, it's different. Online gaming sites often offer games against the computer and games against fellow registered players. Usually, games against a computer are for free, and are designed merely to hone one's skills.

The basic equipment used in chess is a 64-grid board complete with two sets of chess pieces. Each set is composed of 16 pieces of six types: eight pawns, two bishops, two knights, two rooks, a queen, and a king. Each piece has a specific movement that determines its strengths and weaknesses.

The chess board is placed between two opposing players. To determine whether or not the chess board is placed the right way, the bottom square in the player's right must be light-colored. The rooks are placed on the two outermost grids of the first rank -- that is, the row closest to the player. Moving towards the center, the knights are placed beside the rooks, followed by the bishops. The all-important king is placed on the fourth square from the right. The queen is placed next to it, always standing on a square matching its color: light to light, dark to dark. All the pawns are placed on the following row, also called the second rank.

The Opening Move

The first move is awarded to the player who gets the light-colored pieces. After that, the players get to alternately move their pieces across the board. Since the player with the light pieces has the advantage of a first move, getting the pieces is usually decided through games of luck. In online games, who gets to make the first move is often decided by lot.

The Castling and the En Passant Rule

For the most part, chess pieces are moved one by one. There is one case, however, when moving two pieces together is permitted. This is what you call castling. Each player is permitted to castle anytime he wants, as long as he doesn't break any of the rules in castling. Castling is only legal under the following circumstances:
    - The player's king isn't in check.
    - It was the king's and the rook's first move.
    - All the squares in between the two pieces are vacant.
    - The king's movement will not place it in a check.

Meanwhile, the En Passant rule, is intended for the pawns. With this move, a player's Pawn can capture the opponent's pawn adjacent to it only if it has moved two squares (instead of one) from its original spot, meaning it is already on the fifth rank.


A checkmate happens when a king is placed in a check and can no longer move out of it. To checkmate the opponent's king is the goal of every chess player. It is the only way you could win. However, there are some cases when ending the game through a checkmate is not possible. When this happens, a draw is declared.