Learn How to Play Chess: A Beginner’s Guide


Welcome to the world of chess! This age-old game has been played by millions of people around the world for centuries. It’s a game of intellect, strategy, and patience. This article will provide you with a comprehensive guide on how to play chess.

Whether you are an absolute beginner, an intermediate player, or a seasoned veteran, this article has something for you. We will cover everything from the basic rules and terminology to advanced tactics and strategies. By the end of this guide, you will have the knowledge and skills to play chess confidently and competently.

So, let’s get started!

How to Set Up the Chessboard

Before we dive into the rules of the game, let’s first set up the chessboard. The chessboard is an 8×8 grid of 64 squares – 32 black and 32 white. Each player starts with 16 pieces – one king, one queen, two rooks, two knights, two bishops, and eight pawns.

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Each player starts with their pieces placed on the two back rows. The pawns are placed on the second row, while the other pieces are placed on the first row.

How to Move the Pieces

Now that the board is set up, let’s go over how to move the pieces. Each piece moves in a unique way, and it’s essential to understand these movements before playing.

The Pawn

The pawn is the weakest piece in the game but can be a powerful tool when used correctly. Pawns move forward one square at a time, but on their first move, they can move two squares forward. Pawns capture diagonally, one square forward, and to the left or right.

The Rook

The rook moves horizontally or vertically in a straight line. It can move any number of squares in one direction.

The Knight

The knight moves in an L-shape: two squares in one direction and then one square in a perpendicular direction. The knight is the only piece that can “jump” over other pieces on the board.

The Bishop

The bishop moves diagonally in a straight line. The bishop can move any number of squares in one direction.

The Queen

The queen is the most powerful piece on the board. It can move in any direction – horizontally, vertically, or diagonally.

The King

The king is the most crucial piece on the board. If it’s captured, the game is over. The king can move in any direction but only one square at a time.

How to Win the Game

The objective of chess is to checkmate your opponent’s king. This means that the king is in a position to be captured (in “check”) and cannot escape capture on the next move (in “checkmate”).

In other words, you win by trapping your opponent’s king so that it cannot move anywhere without being captured.

Basic Rules and Terminology

Before you start playing chess, it’s crucial to understand some basic rules and terminology.


Castling is a move that allows the king and rook to move at the same time. The king moves two spaces towards the rook, and the rook moves to the space over which the king crossed.

En Passant

En Passant is a rule that applies to pawns. If an opponent’s pawn moves two squares forward from its starting position and lands beside your pawn, you can capture it “en passant,” meaning “in passing.”


When a pawn reaches the opposite end of the board, it can be replaced by a queen, rook, bishop, or knight of the same color.


A stalemate occurs when the player whose turn it is to move has no legal move available, but their king is not in check. The game is then declared a draw.

Advanced Tactics and Strategies

Once you have a firm grasp of the basics, it’s time to move on to advanced tactics and strategies. These are the techniques that will help you become a more skilled and competitive player.

The Opening

The opening is the phase of the game where players develop their pieces and control the center of the board. The opening moves set the stage for the middle game and the endgame.

The Middle Game

The middle game is the phase of the game where players aim to attack their opponent’s position while simultaneously defending their own. It’s essential to control the center of the board and develop your pieces to their fullest potential.

The Endgame

The endgame is the final phase of the game, where there are only a few pieces left on the board. This phase requires careful planning and precise play as one mistake can cost the game.


Tactics are short-term maneuvers that players use to gain an advantage over their opponents. These include pins, forks, and skewers, among others.


Strategy is the long-term plan that players use to guide their moves throughout the game. It includes controlling the center of the board, developing your pieces, and creating threats to your opponent’s position.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Can a pawn move backward?

A: No, pawns can only move forward.

Q: What happens when a king is in check?

A: The king is in danger of being captured and must move out of check on the next turn.

Q: What is a “fork”?

A: A “fork” is a tactic where one piece attacks two or more of the opponent’s pieces at the same time.

Q: Can a pawn capture a piece that’s in front of it?

A: No, pawns can only capture diagonally.

Q: What is the value of each piece?

A: The pawn is worth one point, the knight and bishop are worth three points each, the rook is worth five points, and the queen is worth nine points.

Q: Can a king take a piece?

A: Yes, but only if the piece is not protected by another piece.

Q: What is a “pin”?

A: A “pin” is a tactic where one piece is attacked, but if it moves, a more valuable piece behind it will be exposed to capture.

Q: Can a king move into check?

A: No, a king cannot move into check.

Q: Can a pawn become a king?

A: No, a pawn can only be promoted to a queen, rook, bishop, or knight.

Q: What happens if no one can win?

A: The game is declared a draw.

Q: How many moves can a pawn make on its first turn?

A: A pawn can move two squares on its first turn.

Q: Can a king capture another king?

A: No, a king cannot capture another king.

Q: Can a knight capture a piece that’s behind another piece?

A: Yes, the knight is the only piece that can jump over other pieces.

Q: What is “en passant”?

A: “En passant” is a rule that allows a pawn to capture an opponent’s pawn that has just moved two squares forward from its starting position.


Congratulations! You now have a solid understanding of how to play chess. With practice and dedication, you can become a skilled and competitive player. Remember to keep learning and developing your skills, and don’t be afraid to try different strategies and tactics.

So, what are you waiting for? Grab a chessboard, find an opponent, and start playing!


The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only. The author and publisher are not responsible for any damages or losses that may arise from following this guide. Always use caution and consult a professional before engaging in any activity that may pose a risk to your health or safety.

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