What Are the Rules for Playing Chess?


Quick Answer

Chess is a game of strategy, where the object is to "checkmate" the opposing player's "king." The game pieces for each player consist of eight pawns, two knights, two bishops, two rooks, a queen and a king. "Checkmate" occurs when a player's king can no longer make any moves without being captured.

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What Are the Rules for Playing Chess?
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Full Answer

The game pieces are laid out with the pawns arranged in each player's second row, with the rooks at each side of the first row, then the knights, then the bishops, with the king and queen in the two center-most squares, opposite the opposing player's king and queen. The pawns can move one square forward (never backwards), and two squares on the first move, and cannot move past a piece that is directly in front of them. Pawns can capture pieces that are in front of them diagonally. When a pawn makes it to the other side of the board, it can be "promoted" to become any other piece, which is usually a queen. Bishops can move any number of squares in any direction diagonally, and rooks can move likewise in any direction in a straight line. Knights can move two squares in any direction and then one to the left or right. The queen can move any number of squares in any direction horizontally or diagonally, and the king can move one square in any direction.

Two other special rules apply: "en passant," where a pawn that moves two squares on its first move may be captured by a pawn that it lands next to, and "castling," where a king can be moved two squares over and to the opposite side of the rook.

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