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How To Play And Learn Chess For Beginners (Rules)

Chess for Beginners

When you first learn to play chess, the opening gambit is just to learn the moves of the different pieces, but the true depth of the game lies in its strategy, in thinking out many moves ahead, and predicting the movements your opponent will make in response. 

The Setup

First, you must set up the board. Place the white king on the white centermost white square in the back row of his side of the board. Place the black king directly opposite on the centermost black square of his back row. Put the queens on the other central square, and then place their cohorts in descending order along the back row, bishop next to king and queen, knight next to bishop, and rook on the outer squares. Now put your eight pawns across the second row. 

The Moves

Each player gets one move per turn. When you choose sides, white moves first. This is not always as great an advantage as you might think. Some players prefer to let their opponents advance first, and respond with an appropriate counter strategy. That, however, is for more advanced players. Let's just start with how the pieces move.


The pawns can take one step straight forward, two if they have yet to move in the game. They can only take another player's piece with a diagonal move of one space. If one of your pawns is lucky enough to reach the back row of your opponent, it becomes the queen, the most powerful piece in the game.


Queens can move in any direction, forward, backward, to either side, and in all four diagonal directions. She can also move as many spaces as she wants and take pieces with all of those moves. This makes her both powerful and valuable, so protect her as much as you can.


Bishops move in any diagonal direction as far as you want, and take pieces in those moves. That means they will always be on the same color square, so you have your white bishop and your black bishop. They are very useful to hide in the background and leap out for sudden strikes across the board.


Knights have the most complex moves. They move in an "L" pattern, two steps one way, then one step at any ninety degree angle. That could be two steps forward and one step to the right, or two steps to the left and one back. Any combination is available. The only piece a knight can take in that move is the piece it lands on. They are great for quick advances and probing your opponent's strategies.


Rooks move as many squares as you want in straight lines, forward, backwards, and to either side. They can take any piece with that move. This makes them very important for slipping through enemy defenses to their back row, especially if the opponent's king still hides back there.

And that is the whole goal of the game: to take the opponent's king. The king can move in any direction, but it can only move one space. It is your most important piece and the the key to winning, so you protect it all costs. The king even has a special move called "castling" to defend him. If he and a rook on your side have yet to move in the game, and if there are no pieces in between them, you can switch their places. 

Those are the basics. There is much more to learn. Have fun playing chess!


Dig/s Home Goods and Housewares is a family-run business, just basically Chuck, Susan and a few helpers. It's these homegrown roots that give our company a great work ethic and a strong foundation on which to expand and develop. Our heart goes into our work, and it shows in everything we do, from the kind of products we offer to the kind of service we provide. Our customers matter to us. You matter to us, and your business is greatly appreciated.
Sending positive vibes your way,
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