OBJECTIVE: The goal is to capture or “check” your opponent’s king, backing him into a corner with no option of escape. Checkmate!
NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 2 players
MATERIALS: A chessboard, 32 chess pieces
TYPE OF GAME: Strategy Board Game
AUDIENCE: All Ages
Introduction to Chess
The exact origins of Chess are unknown, but many believe that chess evolved from a similar game in India some two thousand years ago. The game of chess that we know today has been around since the 15th century, popularized first in Europe.
The game consists of a board with 64 squares of alternating colors. Each player has 16 pieces including 8 pawns, 2 knights, 2 bishops, 2 rooks, 1 queen, and 1 king.
The setup is as dictated in the picture below.The pawns act as the first line of defense and the row behind is setup as follows: The two rooks occupy the corners and the knights are placed next to them, followed by the bishops. The queen is placed on one of the remaining squares with the colors corresponding, meaning the white queen on the white “lighter” colored square and the black queen on the black “darker” colored square. The king is then placed on the remaining open square.
How to start
White always goes first. Therefore, opponents should determine a fair way to decide who will be white, prior to the start of the game. The most common way to pick who plays white first is for one player to grab a white pawn and a black pawn and jumble them up, their opponent then picks a hand randomly. If players plan to play more than one game, they must alternate colors at the start of each new game. This allows both players to have equal opportunity to take the first move.
Moving your pieces:
Each piece moves differently. Most pieces cannot move through each other, but can be moved to take the place of an opponent’s piece, thereby capturing it. The exception to this rule is the Knight, which can ostensibly move “through” other pieces. Usually, pieces are moved strategically with the goal of either capturing an opponent’s piece, defending a piece of their own, or maintaining control of important squares on the board. However, there are numerous other reasons you may or may not move particular pieces. For example, you may be attempting to queen a pawn or get control of the center (of the board). Strategically speaking, controlling the center is advantageous because many tactical battles occur there.
On its first move, a pawn can move two spaces, after that it can only move one square at a time. Pawns can only move forward unless they are in a position to capture. Pawns can only capture pieces that are one square diagonally in front of them. They cannot move or capture backwards. If there is a piece directly in front of them, they are unable to move. If a pawn reached the other side of the board it can be exchanged for any other type of piece. This is called a promotion. The pawn is the only piece that can be promoted and it is usually exchanged for a queen since the queen is very powerful.
The rook can move any number of squares horizontally or vertically across the board, but cannot move diagonally. They cannot jump other pieces but they can capture any of their opponent’s pieces that they run into. Rooks can be powerful players when working together and can do much to protect one another.
The knight moves in the shape of an “L” moving two squares in one direction and then one more square at a 90° angle. Knights cannot move on the diagonal. Knights can jump over any piece that stands in its way, and captures any piece that it lands on.
The bishop can move any number of squares on the diagonal. Each bishop must stay on the same color square as its original starting position.
Considered to be the most powerful of all the pieces, the Queen has the abilities of both the rook and bishop. They can move any number of squares horizontally, vertically, or on the diagonal. The queen captures any opponent piece she lands on, but cannot move through pieces.
This is the most important piece of the game. It can move one square at a time in any direction but cannot move himself directly into check.
This is a very important rule that allows you to achieve two things, your king’s safety and the introduction of your rook into the game. A player, on their turn, can move the king two space over towards the corner and the rook to the right of the king. This move can only be down under the following conditions:
• It must be the very first move of the king.
• It must be the very first move of the Rook.
• There can be nothing in between the king and Rook.
• The king cannot be in check or pass through check
This is a special move for the pawn. When a pawn first moves it can move two space instead of one. If the pawn moves two spaces forward, and lands directly to the side of an opponent’s pawn, the opponent has the opportunity to make a special move with their pawn and capture the pawn that has just moved alongside it. To capture it the pawn moves to the square directly behind their opponents pawn. The opponent must make this move immediately otherwise this move becomes illegal and they lose the chance to capture in this way.
Check and Checkmate
The goal of the game is to checkmate your opponents king. Checkmate occurs when the king is in check and there is no way for him to get out of it. The king can get out of check in three ways:
Move the king out of the way. Remember the king can only move one space in any direction.
Block the king with another one of your pieces. This tactic works well to block an opponents queen, rook, or bishop, but not the knight as knights can jump over other pieces on the board.
Capture the piece threatening the king.
It is possible for a game to end in a draw. There are several reasons why this can occur, below are the top three examples.
It’s a stalemate, meaning, the king of the player whose turn it is to move is NOT in check yet the player has no other legal moves that he can make.
There aren’t enough pieces left on the board to accomplish a checkmate.
For example, just a king and a knight are unable to achieve checkmate, however a king and a rook can.
If players mutually agree to stop playing. You may offer a draw during a move by declaring, “I offer a draw.” Your opponent may take as much time as they please to consider the offer. If they accept the offer, they will verbally agree and shake hands. However, if they make a move the offer is considered to be declined.
It is considered impolite to offer a draw during your opponent’s move. Distracting your opponent mid-play is frowned upon.