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Home > Traditional Games (Parlor Games) > Board Games > Chess Rules and Chess Game Board

Rules and Chess Game Board

Chess is a traditional board game of strategy for 2 players enjoyed all over the world, first recorded in 15th Century Europe, and believed originated from a similar game from 6th century India. Gameplay takes place on an 8 x 8 checkered board using 32 playing pieces.

A recognized sport by the International Olympic Commission, with Chess Olympiad tournament held every 2 years to determine a champion, it is perhaps the most popular board game in the world.

Let's Play Chess!


What's Needed to Play a Game of Chess:

* 2 Players (1 plays white pieces, the other plays black pieces)

* An 8 x 8 grid checkered board

* 32 playing pieces, 16 in white, 16 in black, composed of the following:

  • 4 Rooks (2 per color)
  • 4 Knights (2 per color)
  • 4 Bishops (2 per color)
  • 2 Queens (1 per color)
  • 2 Kings (1 per color)
  • 16 Pawns (8 per color)

Objective of a Game of Chess:

* To capture the King piece belonging to the opponent player; OR,

* To force the opponent player to 'resign'

* Failing either of the above winning conditions, a 'Draw' is declared.

Rules of Game Play for Chess:

* Each player positions himself on opposite sides of the board, making sure that the H1 square is a 'white' square. Each player makes alternating moves starting with the white player.

* No player is allowed to 'pass' his turn, since winning is usually achieved by eliminating advantageous moves from the opponent player.

Basic Moves in Chess:

With the exception of the Knight, pieces cannot jump over each other. When a piece is captured, the attacking piece replaces the enemy piece on its square (en passant being the only exception). The captured piece is thus removed from the game and may not be returned to play for the remainder of the game. The king can be put in check but cannot be captured.

* The King can move exactly one square horizontally, vertically, or diagonally. At most once in every game, each king is allowed to make a special move, known as castling

* The Rook moves any number of vacant squares vertically or horizontally. It also is moved while castling.

* The Bishop moves any number of vacant squares in any diagonal direction.

* The Queen can move any number of vacant squares diagonally, horizontally, or vertically.

* The Knight moves two squares like the rook and then one square perpendicular to that, or, inverted, one square like the rook and then two squares perpendicular to that. Its move is not blocked by other pieces, allowing it to 'leap' to its destination square. Described another way, the Knight moves in an "L" or "7" shape (or either shape inverted) with two steps one direction, a 90° turn, and one step in the new direction.

Chess match in progress


Basic Moves in Chess: (continued)

* Pawns have the most complex rules of movement:

** A Pawn can move forward one square, if that square is unoccupied. If it has not yet moved, the pawn has the option of moving two squares forward provided both squares in front of the pawn are unoccupied. A pawn cannot move backward.

** Pawns are the only pieces that capture differently from how they move. They can capture an enemy piece on either of the two spaces adjacent to the space in front of them (i.e., the two squares diagonally in front of them) but cannot move to these spaces if they are vacant. The pawn is also involved in the two special moves en passant and promotion

Special Moves in Chess:

* En Passant: a special move employed only by a pawn, it is meant to capture an opponent pawn that has advanced 2 squares from initial position, as though the opponent pawn advanced only 1 square. It can only take place as the move immediately after opponent pawn makes its 2-square advance.

Chess Board set up at the start of game play
The Chess Board:
Preparation of playing pieces at the start of the game.

Proper position of the playing pieces:

(White Player: Row 1, left to right:
Rook, Knight, Bishop, Queen, King, Bishop, Knight, Rook. Row 2: all Pawns)

(Black Player: Row 8, same order as White. Row 7, all Pawns)

(Special Note: The White player has Queen piece to the left side of his King piece. Meanwhile, the Black player has the King piece on left side of his Queen piece. In this manner, the King piece always starts on column E, and the Queen piece always starts on column D, regardless of color.)

* Pawn Promotion: once any pawn has advanced from its initial position to the last square of the board, the pawn can be promoted to any playing piece of the same color at the player's discretion.

* Castling: a special move that involves the King and either Rook. Herein, the King piece is moved 2 squares towards the acquainted Rook, and the Rook placed on the other side of the King. This move is meant to be defensive in nature, affording the King a more fortified position. The following conditions need be met before Castling can take place:

** The king and rook involved in castling must not have previously moved

** There must be no pieces between the king and the rook

** The king may not currently be in check, nor may the king pass through or end up in a square that is under attack by an enemy piece (though the rook is permitted to be under attack and to pass over an attacked square

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Special Play Condition in Chess:

* Check: when a player's King is threatened, the player is said to be in "Check". Player then has to remove the threat to his/her King in his next move or the match is lost. Player may do any of the following in order to remove the threat:

** Move the King to a square where there is no threat
** Capture the piece that threatens to capture the King, thereby removing said threat

** Block the path between King and threatening piece

End of Game for Chess:

* Checkmate: when a player is in "Check" and there is no legal move that the threatened player can make to remove the it.

* Draw: when a player is NOT in "Check", yet is left only with moves that would place his King in Check. Or, when both players agree to call the game a Draw. In some cases, players agree to call the game a Draw where no checkmate is made after a certain number of moves. Lastly, a Draw must be called when no legal combination of moves can possibly lead to a Checkmate (such as when only Kings are left to both side)

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Animated GIF FreeFree Origami-style Chess Pieces
(download by clicking here)

Origami is the Japanese art of paper-folding. These plans let you make your own Chess pieces. Use colored paper for best results.
Animated GIF FreeFree Printable Chess Game Board
(download, print and play!)

This is an 8 x 8 checkered board for use in playing Chess, or other suitable game such as Checkers, Reversi, and others.


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