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RULES OF CHESS


Chessboard

Chess is a two-player game played on a square board called chessboard.

The chessboard is divided into 64 squares (8x8), alternating light and dark squares.

The chessboard is placed so that a light square is in each player's near-right corner: h1 and a8.

There are 8 horizontal rows, called ranks, and 8 vertical columns, called files.

The ranks are labelled from 1 to 8.

The files are labelled from a to h.

The half of the chessboard formed by the files a, b, c, d is called queenside.

The half of the chessboard formed by the files e, f, g, h is called kingside.


Chess Pieces

Each player controls sixteen pieces: 8 Pawns (♙♙♙♙♙♙♙♙,♟♟♟♟♟♟♟♟), 2 Knights (♘♘,♞♞), 2 Bishops (♗♗,♝♝), 2 Rooks (♖♖,♜♜), 1 Queen (♕,♛), 1 King (♔,♚).

The player with the white pieces has 8 Pawns on rank 2 (a2, b2, c2, d2, e2, f2, g2, h2), 2 Rooks on a1 and h1, 2 Knights on b1 and g1, 2 Bishops on c1 and f1, 1 Queen on d1, 1 King on e1.

The player with the black pieces has 8 Pawns on rank 7 (a7, b7, c7, d7, e7, f7, g7, h7), 2 Rooks on a8 and h8, 2 Knights on b8 and g8, 2 Bishops on c8 and f8, 1 Queen on d8, 1 King on e8.

The white Queen starts on the light square d1; the black Queen starts on the dark square d8.

The player with the white pieces always moves first.

Each player can move only one piece at a time, except during a special move called castling.

A square can be occupied only by a piece.

A piece cannot move to a square occupied by a piece of the same color.

When a piece moves to a square occupied by an enemy piece, the enemy piece is captured and removed from the chessboard.


Chess Notation

In chess notation, each piece, except the Pawn, is identified by an uppercase letter: the King by K, the Queen by Q, the Rook by R, the Bishop by B, the Knight by N, the Pawn by no letter.

Describing a game of chess, at the beginning is written the number of the move, then a period, then the move of the player with the white pieces, then the move of the player with the black pieces.

The movement of a piece is indicated by the coordinates of the destination square.

The capture of a piece is represented by a lowercase letter x written before the coordinates of the destination square.

When a Pawn captures an enemy piece, a lowercase letter written before the x identifies the file of the Pawn.

To avoid ambiguity in some cases, it is necessary to indicate the letter of the file of the piece or the number of the rank of the piece before the coordinates of the destination square.

Other symbols used in chess notation: O-O for kingside castling, O-O-O for queenside castling, = for promotion, + for check, # for checkmate.


Pawn

This example is 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6.

The white Pawn on d2 moves to d4; the black Pawn on d7 moves to d5.

The white Pawn on c2 moves to c4; the black Pawn on e7 moves to e6.

A Pawn moves by advancing a single square, but on its first move may advance two squares.

The Pawn is the only piece that cannot move backward and the only piece that moves and captures differently.

A Pawn captures diagonally, one square forward and to the left or right.

After 1.d4 d5 2.c4, the black Pawn on d5 can capture the white Pawn on c4, but the black Pawn on e7 advances to e6, defending the black Pawn on d5.


Pawn - En Passant

This example is 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.c5 b5 4.cxb6.

A Pawn can perform a special move called en passant capture.

A Pawn on its fifth rank may capture an enemy Pawn on an adjacent file that has moved two squares forward from the starting rank, as if the Pawn had moved only one square.

The en passant capture can only be performed immediately after the double-square Pawn advance.

In this example, the black Pawn on b7 advances to b5, and the white Pawn on c5 performs the en passant capture by moving to b6.


Pawn - Promotion

A Pawn is promoted when it reaches the last rank, becoming a Queen, or a Rook, or a Bishop, or a Knight; the most obvious choice is usually to promote a Pawn to a Queen.

A white Pawn is promoted when it reaches the rank 8.

A black Pawn is promoted when it reaches the rank 1.

In particular situations, the best choice is an underpromotion, so the Pawn becomes a Rook, or a Bishop, or a Knight.

In this example, the white Pawn on a7 advances to a8 and is promoted to a Queen.


Knight

The Knight has a L-shaped pattern of movement, two squares along a direction and one square perpendicular; the destination square is always of opposite color of the starting square.

The Knight is the only piece that can jump over other pieces; as for all the other pieces, its movement is hindered if there is a piece of the same color on the destination square.

Only a Pawn or a Knight can advance in the first move.

In this example, the white Knight moves from g1 to f3.

The white Knight on g1 can move to f3 or h3; f3 is the best choice because a piece in the center of the chessboard has more mobility and activity.

The Knight on f3 can move to d4, e5, g5, h4, or it can return to g1; d2, e1, h2 are forbidden because occupied by pieces of the same color.


Bishop

The Bishop moves any number of squares diagonally; it is the only piece that always moves on squares of the same color.

The white dark-squared Bishop starts on c1; the white light-squared Bishop starts on f1.

The black light-squared Bishop starts on c8; the black dark-squared Bishop starts on f8.

This example is 1.e4 d6 2.Bb5+.

The white Pawn on e2 moves to e4; the black Pawn on d7 advances to d6.

The white light-squared Bishop on f1 moves to b5, checking the enemy King on e8.

A Bishop always moves and captures diagonally, along a diagonal of the same color of the starting square.

Opening a diagonal is necessary for the development of the Bishop.

A fianchetto is when a Bishop moves to the square in front of the starting square of the adjacent Knight, occupying the longest diagonal.

The white dark-squared Bishop is fianchettoed on b2; the white light-squared Bishop is fianchettoed on g2.

The black light-squared Bishop is fianchettoed on b7; the black dark-squared Bishop is fianchettoed on g7.


Rook

The Rook moves any number of squares horizontally or vertically, never diagonally.

This example is 1.Nf3 Nf6 2.d4 d5 3.Bf4 c5 4.e3 Qb6 5.Nc3 c4 6.Rb1.

The white Rook on a1 moves to b1.

The white Rook on a1 can move to b1 or c1; the best choice is b1, so the white Rook can defend the white Pawn on b2.

The term Rook comes from the Persian rokh, which means chariot.


Queen

The Queen moves any number of squares in any direction, horizontally, vertically, or diagonally.

This example is 1.e4 e6 2.Nc3 d5 3.d4 Nf6 4.Bg5 Be7 5.e5 Nfd7 6.h4 h6 7.Qh5.

The white Queen moves from d1 to h5.

The white Queen on d1 can move to c1, b1, d2, d3, e2, f3, g4, h5; the best choice is h5.

The Queen is the most powerful piece on the chessboard because it is the piece with the highest mobility.


King

The King moves one square in any direction, horizontally, vertically, or diagonally.

This example is 1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.Nf3 e5 4.c3 Nc6 5.Bc4 Nf6 6.Ng5 d5 7.exd5 b5 8.Bxb5 Qxd5 9.Qb3 Qxg2 10.Qxf7+ Kd8.

The black King moves from e8 to d8 because it is attacked by the white Queen on f7.

When the King is under attack, it is a check.

A King cannot move into check; if in check, the King must move out of check.


King and Rook - Castling

This example is 1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Bb5 Bb4 5.0-0.

The white King moves from e1 to g1, and the white Rook moves from h1 to f1 simultaneously.

Castling is the only move where two pieces move at the same time.

Kingside castling, also called short castling, is indicated by 0-0.

Queenside castling, also called long castling, is indicated by 0-0-0.

White kingside castling: white King from e1 to g1 and white Rook from h1 to f1.

White queenside castling: white King from e1 to c1 and white Rook from a1 to d1.

Black kingside castling: black King from e8 to g8 and black Rook from h8 to f8.

Black queenside castling: black King from e8 to c8 and black Rook from a8 to d8.

Castling requires these conditions: neither the King nor the Rook has previously moved; there are no pieces between the King and the Rook; the King is not in check before, during, and after the castling.

The Rook may be under attack before the castling.


Checkmate

If the King is under attack and has no escape, it is a checkmate.

A check can be neutralized in three ways: by capturing the attacker; by moving the King to a safe square; by interposing a piece between the King and the attacker.

When these three defenses are not possible, the King is in checkmate.

The goal of chess is to checkmate the enemy King.

The term checkmate comes from the Persian shāh māt, which means the King is helpless.


Stalemate

In this example, the white Queen moves to e7; the black King is not in check and cannot move.

A stalemate is when there are no legal moves: the King is not in check and cannot move, and no other piece can move.

With a stalemate, the game ends in a draw.


Draw

When a game ends in a draw, nobody wins, and nobody loses.

A draw requires one of these conditions: mutual agreement (both players agree); stalemate (no legal moves available); threefold repetition (same position of the pieces repeated three times); fifty-move rule (no capture or Pawn move in the last fifty moves); impossibility of checkmate (for example insufficient material).