Chess is a very ancient game that first appeared in India around the fourth or fifth century A.D. Although there are many legends about the origin of chess, nobody really knows who invented the game.

Chess is an intellectual competition between two players.

It is played on a square board divided into 64 equal squares that are alternately light and dark. Each player always has a light corner square on his right. If you are playing chess, here’s a rule to remember: “Light on the Right”.

chess board

The Chessboard Setup

There are 32 chessmen, 16 White and 16 Black. One of the players has the White men and the other the Black men. The following picture shows how the chess board is set up at the start of a game. In all chess diagrams, the White side is shown as moving up the board and the Black side as moving down the board.

chess board setup

A chessman (or man) means either a pawn or a piece. A pawn is never called a piece. Thus each side at the start of a game has eight pawns and eight pieces. The chart below shows how many of each type of piece each player has, and the symbols usually used to represent the pieces in diagrams.

chess pieces value

The diagram above this one shows the starting position of the men and the consequent diagrams show how to set the men up one by one. The player with the White men is called “White,” and the player with the Black men is called “Black.”

The half of the board on which the White men stand is called the “White Side” and the half with the Black men on it is called the “Black Side.” Look where an imaginary horizontal line separates the White Side from the Black Side.

chess pieces side

If instead a line were drawn vertically down the middle of the board both the Queens would appear on one side of the board while both the Kings would be on the other side. That half of the board containing both Queens is called the “Queenside” and the other half, containing both the Kings, is known as the “Kingside.” White’s Kingside is always on his right and Black’s Kingside is always on his left. This is never changed, no matter where the Kings and Queens move on the board during the game..

chess kingside chess queenside

Each player moves in turn, with White starting. Two consecutive moves by the same player are prohibited by the rules of play. Nor can a player pass his turn. A move is a transfer of a man from the square on which it is, to another square to which it is permitted by the rules to move.

If an enemy man is on the square to which a move is made, it is captured and removed from the board, and it cannot take part in the game any more. Thus, the number of men in a game of chess can only decrease and never increase. Two men cannot simultaneously occupy the same square, and a player can never capture one of his own men. Each type of chessman has its own way of moving, and all men of the same type move in the same way.

The aim of the game is to capture the opponent’s King. The person who succeeds in doing this first is the winner. If neither player succeeds in winning, the game ends in a draw.

Since it is hard to learn the moves of all the different chessmen at one go, we’ll take it step by step. Today you will learn the pawn’s move and how to play a game using only pawns.

How to Set up Pieces on the Board (With Diagrams)

chess rooks

The Rooks start on the corner squares.

chess knights

Next to the Rooks go the Knights.

chess bishops

The Bishops go next to the Knights.

chess queens

The Queen always starts on a square of her own color.

chess kings

The Kings take the remaining squares — White King on dark square, Black King on light.

chess pawns

Each side’s eight pawns are placed on the row of squares in front of their pieces.

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