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An Introduction to Chess: Rules, Strategies, and Tips for Beginners

Old man playing chess at the park

Chess is a game of strategy that has been enjoyed by people of all ages and backgrounds for centuries. If you are new to the game, this guide will provide a basic overview of the rules, strategies, and tips you need to get started.

For generations, chess has been a game cherished by people of various backgrounds and ages. Its enduring popularity is a testament to its timeless appeal.

It is known as an incredibly strategic game that requires you to master your problem-solving skills as well as display some superb critical thinking.  Remember, every long journey starts with a single step. Once you are introduced to and comfortable with the basics, you are sure to become a chess master in no time. So, let’s start this journey together!

The Basics of Chess

The chessboard consists of 64 squares with alternating light and dark colours. Each player starts with 16 pieces: one king, one queen, two rooks, two knights, two bishops, and eight pawns. The goal is to checkmate the opponent’s king by putting it in a position where it is under attack and cannot escape capture.

Here is how each piece moves.

  • Pawns move forward one square, except on their first move, when they can move two squares. They capture diagonally.
  • Rooks move horizontally or vertically any number of squares.
  • Knights move in an L-shape (two squares forward or backward, then one square to the side).
  • Bishops move diagonally any number of squares.
  • Queens can move horizontally, vertically, or diagonally any number of squares.
  • Kings can move one square in any direction.

Chess rules

Imagine a game board with 64 squares, all lined up perfectly in an 8×8 grid. That’s the stage for the amazing game of chess. At the beginning of the game, each player gets to control an army of 16 pieces, including the mighty king, the powerful queen, two sneaky knights, two tricky bishops, two strong rooks, and a squad of eight fearless pawns.


The objective of the game is to checkmate your opponent’s king, which means trapping the king in a position where it is under attack and cannot move to a safe square. Each piece moves differently, and players take turns to move their pieces across the board strategically to create a position where they can capture the opponent’s pieces and ultimately the king.


The most powerful piece is the queen, which can move in any direction across the board, while the king is the most important piece as its capture results at the end of the game. The rooks, bishops, and knights have their own unique ways of moving, while the Pawns can only move forward and capture diagonally.

Chess setup

First, locate the 64 squares that make up the battlefield. They’re arranged in a tidy 8×8 grid, and each square patiently awaits its fate.


Next, grab the troops! You and your opponent each have 16 soldiers, ranging from the nimble knights to the cunning bishops, and of course, the all-important king and queen. They’re all itching to get into the fray.


Place your forces on opposite sides of the board, facing each other down like two boxers before a fight. The back row is where the heavy hitters stand, with rooks on the corners, followed by the knights, then the bishops. The king and queen take their positions in the centre, with the queen on the square corresponding to her colour, and the king on the square next to it.


Finally, the pawns step up to the front lines, ready to charge into battle. They’re the foot soldiers of the army, and they’re placed in a row in front of the other pieces.

The basic objective of Chess

The heart of chess lies in its ultimate objective: to bring the opponent’s king to a point of utter vulnerability, known as checkmate. It’s the ultimate triumph for any aspiring chess master. However, in chess, one cannot directly capture the king, so the key is to use strategic moves and clever tactics to put the opposing king in a position of imminent capture. Once this has been achieved, victory is yours! The game revolves around strategic moves and counter-moves, each aimed at cornering the king and preventing its escape. When a king is left with no moves to make, it’s checkmate, and the game is won.

A king in check

A king in check is a critical moment in a game of chess, where the enemy’s pieces threaten to capture the king on the next move.

Special chess moves

Special chess moves are like hidden gems in the game that surprise and delight players by bending the traditional rules of movement.

The passant

One of these special moves is known as, “the passant”, which allows a pawn to capture an opponent’s pawn that has just moved two squares forward on its first move, as if it had only moved one square.


Another special move is castling, where the king and a rook swap places, providing extra protection to the king while also activating the rook’s role in the game.


Promotion is a fascinating concept in chess, where a lowly pawn can transform into a powerful queen or any other piece when it reaches the opposite end of the board.

Capturing in chess

Capturing in chess is a thrilling and pivotal moment where one piece swoops in to snatch another from the board, like a hawk swooping in for its prey. When a piece lands on a square occupied by an enemy piece, it takes its prisoner, removing it from the board and taking its place. This ruthless strategy can weaken your opponent’s defence and set the stage for a decisive victory. 

Beware! Your opponent can also capture your precious pieces in this battle on the board. Therefore, it’s vital to contemplate and devise your moves strategically, shielding your pieces while you plot to eliminate your adversary’s army. This means that you need to plan your moves and think ahead to protect your own pieces while you aim to take out your opponent’s pieces.


To capture an opposing pawn, you move one of your pieces to a square occupied by an enemy pawn. This move results in the removal of the enemy pawn from the board and adds to the thrill of the game. Though small and numerous, pawns are key to setting up strategic moves for more powerful pieces. Capturing them not only requires tactical skill, but can also open up pathways for your other pieces to advance and dominate the board.

Chess world championship

The chess world championship is the ultimate battle for supremacy among the world’s top chess players. It’s a competition that has been going on for over a century, and it’s always an exciting event that captivates the attention of chess enthusiasts worldwide. With intense strategizing and tactics, the championship is always a thrilling spectacle that showcases the best of human intellectual prowess.

Winning Recommendations for Chess Players

Once you have a good grasp of the basic rules and strategies of chess, you may want to take your game to the next level with some advanced strategies. Here are some ideas to consider:

Control the Center

As mentioned earlier, controlling the centre of the board is key to a strong position. However, as you progress in your chess play, controlling the centre with your pieces becomes more important rather than just occupying it with pawns.


Sometimes, sacrificing a piece can be a powerful strategic move. For example, sacrificing a pawn to gain control of the centre or sacrificing a bishop or knight to open up lines of attack on the opponent's king.

Create a Strong Pawn Structure

Pawns are the backbone of your position, and creating a strong pawn structure can help support your other pieces and control key squares.

Focus on the Endgame

As the game progresses and more pieces are exchanged, the endgame becomes more important. It's crucial to understand basic endgame principles, such as king and pawn endgames, and to practice them regularly.

Study Classic Games

Classic games have always had a crucial role in board game history. Studying them is an excellent way to develop your understanding of chess strategy and tactics.

Remember, these advanced chess strategies should be used with the basic principles, such as controlling the centre, developing your pieces, and protecting your king. Incorporating these ideas into your game allows you to take your game to new heights.

Tips for Beginners

If you are new to chess, here are some tips to help you improve.

  • Practice regularly. You can play against other beginners or against a computer.
  • Learn from your mistakes. Analyze your games to understand what you did wrong and how you can improve.
  • Study openings. There are many opening moves you can make, and learning some of them can give you an advantage.
  • Look ahead. Try to anticipate your opponent’s moves and plan your own accordingly.

History of Chess

Chess Introduction to Europe

Chess is an ancient game of strategy that has captivated players for centuries. Though its origins are shrouded in mystery, historians believe it originated in India or Central Asia around the 6th century AD. From there, it journeyed to Persia where it was polished and refined. In the 9th century, it found a new home in the Islamic world where it was embraced by the upper class. As the game evolved and adapted, it travelled to Europe where it underwent further changes to suit different cultures. By the 15th century, chess had become a popular and integral part of European culture.


Chess is a game that rewards strategic thinking and careful planning. By understanding the rules and strategies of the game and practising regularly, you can become a skilled player and enjoy the many benefits of chess.