Friday, March 21, 2014

Chess for dummies - Part 1 : The Basics

Chess for dummies : The beginner's guide, simplified !
Part 1 - The basics

New to chess ?
  • Want to know the basics 
  • How to think
  • What to start with
  • What is what of chess ?
    I hope this article answers all your doubts and makes you good enough to take off !
Okay let's start !

The Starting Position

This is what a starting position looks like

Things to note here
  1. White starts first, followed by black's turn and alternately players take turns
  2. This is a 8x8 grid, where each row is called a rank, 1 - 8 and each column is called a file a-h. Thus each square has a unique name, like a1, b3, c6 etc.
  3. The a1 square is the dark colored square by deafult
  4. The white king is on e1 square (dark), and black king on e8 (light colored)
  5. Objective of the game is to use your pieces(army) to attack the enemy king in such a way that he has no escape a.k.a 'Checkmate'

The pieces

The Queen = 9 points
Assume the queen is placed on e4 square.
  • It can go to any of the highlighted squares
  • Cannot jump over any of the pieces
  • Can capture the enemy piece on c6
  • Movement in + and x direction
The Rook = 5 points
Assume the rook is placed on c6
  • It can go to any of the highlighted squares
  • Cannot jump over any of the pieces
  • Movement in + 
The Bishop = 3 points || The Knight = 3points
Assume the Bishop placed on e4, and the knight placed on e5
  • Bishop can go to any of the squares which green arrow passes through
  • Bishop cannot jump over any piece
  • Movement in x direction
  • The knight can move to any of the yellow squares only (8 squares from e5, arrows only made to show movement direction 'L')
  • Knight can jump over any piece
  • Movement in L direction, 2 squares straight and 1 square turned.
The Pawn = 1 point

  • Any pawn from it's home square has the option to move either 2 steps forward or 1 (pawns on e2, f2,d7,e7 have the option to take either 2 steps or 1)
  • From it's home square onwards the pawn can move only one square per move (until if it can capture diagonally) - Pawns like on g3, b6, a7 must move only 1 square ahead at a time
  • Pawn captures are diagonal :  The pawn on h4 can capture the pawn on g5 (if white to move and white wishes to actually capture the pawn). Similarly, g5 pawn can capture h4 pawn (has the option to capture) if black to move.
  • Pawn promotion: The pawn on a7 needs only 1 step to reach the final rank, once it reaches there it can be promoted to any piece except king, i.e Queen, Rook, Bishop, Knight.
    eg: One can have at the maximum 9 queens on the chess board, ideally !! 

Special moves
  • Castling : Getting king to safety and bringing out the rook

    After Castling
    Before castling

  • Here white has performed a King side castle dneoted by O-O a.k.a short castle
  • Black performed a queen side castle denoted by O-O-O a.k.a long castle
  • The king nor the castling side rook must not have moved in order to castle
  • The King's path to castle must not be marked by the enemy piece

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