Learning to play chess, for absolute beginners
Created on 2/25/2010 by Disciplanner
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Chess is an ancient strategic board game for two players. It is played on an 8x8 black and white checkered board with two sets of pieces, one white, one black. Here are steps to learning for absolute beginners. Have a complete chess set with you as you go though these steps.

1) Understand the winning objective of the game: To trap the opponent's King. Keep this objective in mind at all times while you are learning.

2) Take each piece: Pawn, Rook, Knight, Bishop, Queen and King, and memorize what it looks like, and it's proper starting position on the board.

3) Take each piece and memorize the basic moves it can make:

  • Pawn: One square forward.
  • Rook: Any number of squares forward, back, or to the side.
  • Knight: Two squares forward, back, or to the side, and then one square to either side, in an 'L' shape.
  • Bishop: Any number of squares diagonally.
  • Queen: Any number of squares in any direction.
  • King: One square in any direction.

4) Next, understand the basic mechanics of the game: Each player takes it in turn to move one of their pieces at a time. White goes first.

5) Now, you will need to know in more detail how each piece moves, and how the pieces interact. The most important thing to understand is how pieces 'capture' each other: One piece moves in to the square that the opponent's piece occupied. The opponent's piece is now 'captured' and taken off the board. Only one piece at a time can ever be captured.

6) Advanced moves:
  • Pawns: They can move two squares forward on their first move. They capture by moving one square diagonally, this is the only way they can capture.
  • Knights are the only piece that can 'jump' over other pieces. That means if a piece is in their way, it doesn't matter, as long as the square they finish on is free, or an opponent's piece they wish to capture.
  • King: The king cannot be moved in to, or through, a space which an opponent's piece could land on, because this would put him in danger (or 'check', as it's called). Remember: You have to keep you King from getting trapped by your opponent, as well as trying to trap theirs!

7) Finishing the game: You win the game by 'checking' your opponent's King in a way that means no matter where he moves, he can't get out of 'check', he is trapped.

Once you have grasped these rules, move on to more advance moves like the 'en passant' and 'promoting' moves for pawns, and the 'castling' move Kings and the Rooks.

Once you have understood these moves, quickly go on to study tactics and strategy.

The best way to learn chess is to play regularly against a skilled opponent.
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