International Chess
What Is It?
History Of Chess
Rules & Moves
Chess Notation
Openings
Middlegames
Endgames

The Rules & Moves of International Chess

International chess is played by two players who take turns making their moves on a board which is divided into 64 squares, 32 light and 32 dark (Fig. 1). The chessmen are also coloured light and dark. The player using the light-coloured men is called White. He always moves first (a player can never refuse to move, no matter how disastrous his options may be!) His opponent is called Black.

 Fig. 1 The chessboard

When the board is set up for play, each of the players should have a light-coloured corner square at his right. The chessboard is made up three kinds of rows of squares: Files are vertical rows extending from player to player. Ranks are horizontal rows extending from side to side (Fig. 2).

 Fig. 2 Ranks & files

Diagonals are lines of squares all of the same colour, touching only at their corners (Fig. 3).

 Fig. 3 Diagonals

The Starting Position

Each side (White & Black) has 16 pieces: 1 King, 1 Queen, 2 Rooks, 2 Bishops, 2 Knights and 8 Pawns. These pieces are arranged at the beginning of the game by each player on the two ranks nearest him. All the Pawns go on the second rank, while all the remaining units are placed on the first rank. The Rooks go on the corner squares. Next, moving inward, are the Knights; then the Bishops (one Bishop is on a white square, the other on a black square). The White Queen is always placed on a white square, while the Black Queen is always placed on a black square. Finally, each King is then placed next to his Queen (Fig. 4). Click on any piece on the board to find out more about it.

 Fig. 4 The starting position

Relative Values of the Chessmen

It is vital that you have a clear and reliable notion of the value of each unit under your command. If not, you may never get your money's worth when you and your opponent begin capturing each other's pieces. The following table is based on five centuries of chess-playing. It takes the Pawn as the basic unit and calculates each piece's value in those units.

Pawn= 1 unit
Knight= 3 units
Bishop= 3 units
Rook= 5 units
Queen= 9 units

The King is, of course, invaluable! What does this table tell us? Suppose you can capture a Bishop while letting your opponent capture your Knight. No harm done: Bishops and Knights are the same value (since they both have the same value but both are worth less than the Rooks or the Queen, they are referred to as the minor pieces). Such a pair of captures is called an exchange. However, if you capture a Pawn and your opponent captures one of your Bishops, you've made a poor bargain. Chess players say you have lost the exchange. By knowing the relative values of the pieces we can tell which captures would be profitable, which would be costly, and which would be even. Weigh captures and exchanges carefully. When a player obtains an edge in material, he is much more likely to win the game. Superior force usually wins!

Now that you know the relative values of the chessmen, jump to the next page for a description of the King and Queen and what they do.

Bughouse Chess
What Is It?