Rules: Chess

Initial Setup

Chess is played on a square board that is divided into 64 squares (8-by-8) of alternating colors (blue and white), which is very similar to that used in checkers. Upon the board move 16 black and 16 white pieces.

a8 b8 c8 d8 e8 f8 g8 h8
a7 b7 c7 d7 e7 f7 g7 h7
a6 b6 c6 d6 e6 f6 g6 h6
a5 b5 c5 d5 e5 f5 g5 h5
a4 b4 c4 d4 e4 f4 g4 h4
a3 b3 c3 d3 e3 f3 g3 h3
a2 b2 c2 d2 e2 f2 g2 h2
a1 b1 c1 d1 e1 f1 g1 h1
Starting position

The board is placed so that a light-colored square is in the near-right corner; a dark one in the near-left. Each player controls sixteen pieces:

Note that in chess terminology, the pawn is often not called a 'piece'; with this usage, it would be said that each player has eight pieces and eight pawns. The terms 'man' or 'chessman' may be used to mean a piece or pawn.

At the beginning of the game, the pieces are arranged as


The Blue player is the first to move. Color assignments is determined randomly by the game server.

Each turn, one player must move one of their pieces. Play continues until a draw is called or a king is trapped by means of a checkmate (see below).


Image:Chess king icon.png King
Image:Chess queen icon.png Queen
Image:Chess rook icon.png Rook
Image:Chess bishop icon.png Bishop
Image:Chess knight icon.png Knight
Image:Chess pawn icon.png Pawn

Each piece moves in a different way. Generally, a piece cannot pass through squares occupied by other pieces, but it can move to a square occupied by an opposing piece, which is then "captured" (removed from the board). Only one piece can occupy a given square.


Besides these moves, the king and either rook can do a special combination move called castling: if the king and rook have not moved yet, and all spaces between them are empty, then the king can move two squares toward the rook, and in the same turn the rook can move to the space the king has just skipped over. It is not permitted to castle when the king is threatened or would have to move through a threatened square. In serious play, care must be taken to make clear that castling is intended, e.g. by verbal announcement or by moving the king first (since the king cannot move two squares except in castling).

Promotion of Pawns

A pawn reaching the final rank becomes a queen in a process known as "queening" or "promotion" (or, if the player prefers, a rook, bishop or knight; this is called "underpromotion").

En Passant

If a pawn moves two squares forward on its first move, it can be captured on the square it has skipped over, as if it had moved only one square, but only during the turn immediately after its two-square move and only by another pawn. This is called capturing en passant.

Check & Checkmate

When a player makes a move that threatens the opposing king with capture, the king is said to be in check. If a player's king is in check then the player must make a move that eliminates the threat of capture, which does not necessarily mean the king must be moved. The possible moves to remove the threat of capture are:

A player may never leave his king in check at the end of his move.

If a player's king is placed in check and there is no legal move that player can make to escape check, then the king is said to be checkmated, the game ends, and that player loses. The diagram to the right shows a typical checkmate position. The white king is threatened by the black queen; every square to which the king could move is also threatened; and he cannot capture the queen, because he would then be threatened by the rook.

Either player may surrender if he feels his position is hopeless. To surrender a game click on the GTO Icon at the bottom of the game window which opens the Game Options window and click the Surrender button.


The game ends in a draw in any of these conditions:

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