How to Play Chess

Objective: To threaten your opponent’s King so it cannot escape.

Terms: Ranks are the rows of squares that run horizontally on the game board and Files are the columns that run vertically. Diagonals run diagonally.

Position the Game Board so that the white square is at the bottom right corner for each player. Place the Ivory pieces on the first rank from left to right in order: Rook, Knight, Bishop, Queen, King, Bishop, Knight and Rook. Place all of the Pawns on the second rank. Then place the Black pieces on the board as shown in the diagram. Note: the Ivory Queen will be on a white square and the black Queen will be on a black space.

Play: Ivory always plays first. Players alternate turns. Only one piece may be moved on a turn, except when castling. All pieces must move in a straight path, except for the Knight. The Knight is also the only piece that is allowed to jump over another piece.

Proper Chessboard Layout

Proper Chessboard Layout

Piece Moves:


A Pawn moves forward one square at a time. There are two exceptions to this rule:

1. On a Pawn’s first move, it can move forward one or two squares.

2. When capturing a piece, a Pawn moves one square diagonally ahead.

At the beginning of the game, the Pawn is the least valuable piece. But, when a Pawn reaches  the other side of the board it can be converted into any Play Piece except for the King.


The Knight is the only piece that can jump over another piece. Knights move three squares at a time: two spaces forward or backward, then one space left or right, or two spaces to the left or right, then one space forward or backward. The move looks like the letter L. The Knight always ends up landing on a square opposite the color from which it started.


The Bishop moves diagonally as many open squares as you like. The Bishop must remain on the same color square as it started the game on.


The Rook moves in a straight line, horizontally or vertically as many open squares as you like. Besides the Queen, the Rook is the next most powerful piece.


The Queen is the most powerful of the pieces. The Queen moves in any direction (horizontally, vertically or diagonally) as many open squares as you like.


The King is the most important piece, because if it becomes trapped, you’ll lose the game. The King moves one square in any direction, as long as it doesn’t put itself in Check.

Check: You are in Check if an opponent’s Play Piece is in a position on the board to capture your King.

To save your King from Check you must do one of the following:

1. Move the King out of the way of the opponent’s Play Piece.

2. Move another one of your Play Pieces to block your opponent.

3. Capture the opponent’s Play Piece that is threatening your King.

Checkmate: When your King cannot be saved from Check, it’s called Checkmate and you lost the game. Checkmate means “the King is dead” in Persian.

Capturing: When you move one of your Play Pieces and it ends on an opponent’s Play Piece, you capture it and remove it from the Game Board.

Capturing en passant: If a Pawn lands next to an opponent’s Pawn after moving two spaces on its first move, it can be captured en passant. The opponent’s Pawn, on its next turn only, can be moved diagonally to the space behind the first Pawn, capturing it.

Castling: This is a special move for the King and either Rook and is the only time two Play Pieces can move on one turn. It helps to protect the King and positions the Rook toward the center of the Game Board.

To castle, slide the Rook to the space next to the King. Move the King to the other side of the Rook.

To castle:

1. This must be the first move for both the King and the Rook.

2. No other Play Pieces can be between the King and the Rook.

3. The King can’t be in Check, either before or after the castle.

4. The King can’t be in Check on any of the spaces that it passes over during the castle.

Winning: If you put your opponent’s King in Check so he can’t escape, call Checkmate… you win!

Ties: If neither player can win, players can agree to draw.

Stalemate: If a player’s King is not