Chess is played by two opponents who position themselves on opposite sides of a 64-square board with alternate colors. Each player has 16 pieces: 1 king, 1 queen, 2 rooks, 2 bishops, 2 knights, and 8 pawns. The objective of the game is to checkmate the opponent's king. Checkmate occurs when the opponent's king is in a position to be captured (i.e., it is "in check") and where, even by moving, it would be impossible to escape capture.


At the beginning of the game, the chessboard is arranged so that each player has a white (or light-colored) square in the lower right-hand corner. The pieces are always arranged in the same order. The second horizontal row (or rank) is occupied by pawns. On the first row, starting from the two opposite corners, the rooks are placed first, followed by the knights, the bishops, and finally the queen, which always occupies a square of its own color [white queen on a white square and black queen on a black square]. The king is placed in the last remaining square. The player with the white pieces always moves first. For this reason, players usually draw lots to determine who will play with the white pieces. At this point, White will make its move, followed by Black: then White will move again and then Black again... and so on until the end of the game.


The chessboard has its own «geometry» and it's useful to know the terminology:

  • The columns are the eight vertical rows of squares relative to the two players (indicated by lowercase letters from "a" to "h").

  • The rows are the eight horizontal rows of squares (indicated by numbers from 1 to 8).

  • The diagonals are the rows of squares of the same color that touch each other at the corners.



Each of the 6 different types of pieces moves differently. Pieces cannot pass 'through' other pieces (although the knight can jump over them), nor can they occupy a square already occupied by another piece of the same color. However, they can take the place of an opposing piece, which is then captured. Pieces are generally moved into positions from which they can: - capture other pieces - defend their own pieces in case of capture, or - control important squares on the board.

  • The King is the most important piece, but it is also the weakest and needs careful protection. It is the target of the opponent's attacks, and its "capture" determines the end of the game. It can move only one square at a time, in any of the 8 directions - forward, backward, to the sides, or diagonally. Remember that the King must never be in check (i.e., on a square where it could be captured). This also means that the two Kings can never come into contact.

  • The Rook can move as many squares as it wants, but only along the columns and rows (forward, backward, and to the right or left). The two rooks are extremely strong pieces when they protect each other and work together!

  • The Bishop can move as many squares as it wants, butbut only diagonally. Each bishop starts on a square of a different color (white or black) and must always remain on squares of that color. Like the rooks, bishops work well in pairs because they cover each other's weaknesses and can attack squares of both colors.

  • The Knights move very differently from the other pieces. The movement of the knight can be explained using the shape of an "L" a "Y", or a "T". In any case, it is important to remember that the knight, starting from a light square, will arrive on a dark square and vice versa. Here, it is preferred to say that the knight takes one step like a rook and then immediately takes one step like a bishop, or vice versa. In any case, the knight moves to any square that is two steps away, but of a different color than the starting square. Knights are also the only pieces that can jump over other pieces.

  • Pawns have the peculiarity of moving and capturing in two different ways: they move forward, but capture diagonally. Pawns can only advance one square at a time. However, when a pawn moves for the first time, it can also advance two squares. Pawns capture only on the squares immediately in front of them diagonally. They can never move backward or capture backward. If another piece is directly in front of a pawn, it cannot move.

  • The Queen is the most powerful piece in chess. It can move in any direction - horizontally, vertically, or diagonally - for any number of squares. This makes the queen versatile for attacking the opponent's pieces or controlling key squares. It is important to protect the queen and use it strategically, especially in the endgame where it can work with other pieces to create checkmate threats.


As previously mentioned, the objective of the game of chess is to checkmate the opponent's king. This occurs when the king is under attack and cannot defend itself. Check is the condition in which the king is attacked by an opponent's piece (and is therefore threatened with capture), which the rules require to be eliminated. There are three ways in which a king can escape check: by moving to a safe square, by blocking the attack with another piece, or by capturing the attacking piece. If a king cannot make any of these defenses, it is checkmated and the game is over. At this point, the king is not physically captured or removed from the board, but the game is simply declared over.


There are also instances where a chess game does not end with a winner, but with a draw. There are 5 cases in which a chess game can end in a draw:

  • The game ends in a stalemate, when the player whose turn it is to move cannot make any legal move and their king is NOT in check.

  • The players can agree to a draw and stop playing.

  • There are not enough pieces on the board to force checkmate (for example, a king and bishop versus a lone king).

  • A player can claim a draw when the same position occurs three times during the game (not necessarily consecutively).

  • 50 consecutive moves have been played without a pawn move or capture by either player.

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