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Chess Moves

Updated on December 24, 2009

A chessboard is identical with a checkerboard, having 64 squares of two alternating colors. Unlike checkers, however, all of the squares are used in chess. Chessboards, as well as chessmen, may be any two contrasting colors. For convenience, however, Black and White will be used throughout this article.

The board is placed between the two opponents so that a white square is at the right-hand corner of each player. The horizontal rows of squares are called ranks, the vertical rows files, and the diagonal rows diagonals.

Each player begins with the following chessmen: eight pawns; two bishops; two knights; two rooks, sometimes called castles; one queen; and one king. In the initial position the White queen occupies a white square and the Black queen a black square.

Method of Play

Moves of the Chessmen. White always moves first. Thereafter, White and Black move alternately. Each chessman moves in a different way, according to definite rules. Each has powers and limitations.

Rook. A rook may move any number of unoccupied squares sideways, backward, or forward, but it may not move diagonally.

Bishop. A bishop may move any number of unoccupied squares diagonally, but "not along a rank or file. A bishop always remains on squares of the same color. At the start of the game each player has one bishop on a white square, the other on a black square.

Queen. A queen combines the powers of rook and bishop. It may move any number of unoccupied squares sideways, backward, forward, or diagonally.

King. A king can move one square at a time in any direction. A king may not move into check; that is, it may not move onto a square that is under attack by an enemy man. Thus, Black and White kings cannot occupy adjoining squares because each attacks the squares adjacent to it.

Knight. A knight has unusual powers. Its move is L-shaped: two squares along the rank or file, then one square at right angles to this direction. Unlike any other chessman, it may leap over occupied squares.
Pawn. A pawn may move only forward, along the file. From its original position it may move either one or two squares. After its first move, however, it may move only one square at a time.

Illustrated Guide

The rook can move any number of unoccupied squares forward, backward, or to either side. In the end game two rooks are often considered as valuable as one queen.

The bishop can move diagonally through any number of unoccupied squares. Each side has two bishops, one of which moves on white diagonals, the other on black.

The queen combines the moves of the rook and the bishop. It can move forward, backward, to either side, or diagonally through any number of unoccupied squares.

The king can move one square at a time in any direction, but it is not allowed to move into a square that is under attack by any one of the opponent's chessmen.

The knight moves in the shape of an L. It moves two squares in one direction and then one square over. It is the only piece that can jump over intervening occupied squares. A knight near the center of the board has more possible moves than a knight at the side.

The pawn moves straight ahead. It moves either one or two squares on its first move, but only one square at a time after that. It attacks the two squares diagonally ahead. When capturing, the pawn shifts to the adjoining file. The Black pawn is shown attacking.


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    • philosophos profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago

      Good to hear! I have a couple of other hubs on the subject.

    • Its tnt profile image

      Its tnt 

      10 years ago from God's own Country

      A good one for a beginner, I made use of this to help my cousin learn chess by the way!


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