Chess is played on a square board divided into eight rows of squares called ranks and eight columns called files, with a dark square in each player's lower left corner.
The pieces are in white and black sets. The players are called White and Black, and at the start of a game each player has 16 pieces.
The 16 pieces are one king, one queen, two rooks, two bishops, two knights and eight pawns.
Each piece has its own way of moving around the board.
• The knight is the only piece that can jump over another piece.
• No piece may move to a square occupied by a piece of the same color.
• All pieces capture the same way they move, except pawns.
• The king's move is one square in any direction. The king may not move to any square where it is threatened by an opposing piece.
• However, the king can move to a square that is occupied by an opponent's piece and capture the piece, taking it off the board.
• The queen can move any distance in any direction on the ranks, files and diagonals.
• The rooks move any distance on the ranks or files.
• The bishops move diagonally on the board. Since a bishop can only move diagonally, it will always be on the same color square.
• The knights move in an "L" shape. Each move must be either two squares along a rank and one square along a file, or two squares along a file and one square along a rank.
• It is the only piece that can jump over other pieces. Like the other pieces, it captures an opposing piece by landing on its square.
• The pawns can only move up the board. On its first move a pawn may move either one or two squares forward. A pawn captures one square diagonally, not as it moves: see white circles on its diagram. Besides, in some situations pawns can capture opponent's pawns in a special way called en passant, which means in passing in French.
Most pieces capture as they move. If a piece lands on an opponent's piece, the opposing piece is taken off the board. There are three special cases:
• The king cannot be taken
• No piece can be taken while castling
• Pawns take one square diagonally.
If a move is made which attacks the opposing king, that king is said to be 'in check'.
The player whose king is checked must make a move to remove the check.
The options are: moving the king, capturing the threatening piece, or moving another piece between the threatening piece and the king.
If the player whose king is in danger cannot do any of these things, it is checkmate, and the player loses the game.
Once in every game, each king can make a special move, known as castling. When the King castles, it moves two squares to the left or right. When this happens, the Rook is moved to stand on the opposite side of the King.
When a pawn moves to its eighth rank, it changes for a Queen.