What is Chess?


Chess is a popular board game for two players. It involves using strategy to move around a player’s 16 pieces according to the fixed rules for each piece. In competitive chess, a clock is utilized to prevent games from going on for long periods of time. Chess has existed in different forms for over a thousand years, with the game developing over that time to the game and rules that are used today.


The origins of Chess can be traced back to the Indian game called chaturanga, which is said to have been played prior to 600 AD. The game spread throughout Europe and Asia over the next few centuries, and eventually turned into the game of chess we know today around the 16th century. In the 18th and 19th centuries, chess theory and strategies began developing, and by the mid 19th century, the standardization of the chessboard and pieces began. Around this time is when the chess clock was implemented.

How To Play

how to play chess

The chessboard is always arranged the same way, with the second row of pieces on the board being all pawns. In the first row you place the rooks in the corners (1A/1H). Then the knights are placed in the squares next to them (1B/1G). Then the bishops are placed next to the knights(1C/1F). After this you place the queen which goes on the color of her matching square (1D). Finally you place the king on the remaining square (1E). This is the same setup for both players. After this, the person who has the white chess piece makes the first move, and the game begins. Each person has their own clock which they hit after they make a move. The game ends when either one person runs out of time on their clock, or checkmates the other person’s king.

Chess Equipment

Chess Equipment

The first thing players will need is a chessboard, which is an 8 by 8 checkerboard. Players will need all 32 pieces to play the game. If playing chess competitively, players will need a chess clock to keep track of time and a score sheet to keep track of moves made.

Here is the essential Chess equipment players should have:

  • Chessboard (8 by 8 checkerboard)
  • All 32 chess pieces (white and black)
  • Chess Clock
  • Score Sheet


The objective of chess is to checkmate the king, a position where the opponent's king has no possible moves left to make. This is where the strategy of chess comes in, as there are thousands of moves that can be made during a game.

Rules and Regulations

Chess Rules and Regulations

All pieces on the chess board have their own rules:

  • The pawn is able to move forward one square at a time and attack diagonally. It can also move two spaces forward, but only from its original starting position.
  • The rook can only move horizontally and vertically but can go as many squares as it wants.
  • The knight can only move in an L shape which is two in one direction and then one in another direction. It is the only piece that can jump over other pieces.
  • A bishop can only move diagonally as many squares as it wants, on the colored square that it starts on (bishop on a black square can only move diagonally on black squares).
  • The queen is the most versatile piece on the board, being able to move vertically, horizontally, and diagonally as many spaces as it wants.
  • The king is similar to the queen in that it moves vertically, horizontally, and diagonally. However it can only move one square at a time, and if it is in check it needs to move to a different square where it won’t be in check.

Here are the most important Chess rules:

  • Pawn moves one space forward or attacks diagonally one space
  • Rook moves vertically and horizontally multiple spaces
  • Bishop moves diagonally multiple spaces and only on its square’s color
  • The knight either moves up or down one square vertically and over two squares horizontally, or it moves up or down two squares vertically and over one square horizontally. This movement looks like a capital L
  • Queen moves vertically, horizontally, and diagonally multiple spaces
  • King moves diagonally, horizontally, and vertically one space.


Chess is extremely strategic in nature and relies on the player being able to think multiple moves ahead. One of the most simple strategies is controlling the four center squares of the board, which allows freedom of movement with other pieces. Other strategies include making sure to develop all second-row pieces by getting them off their starting squares. Pressure your opponents with your moves if you can. The most important concept is protecting the king, which is done by keeping the king in a defensive position where the opponent's pieces can’t threaten it.

Here are the most important Chess strategies:

  • Control the middle of the board
  • Move your back row pieces out
  • Pressure your opponent with your moves
  • Protect your King piece at all times


Chess Lingo

Here is the common lingo and slang in Chess:

  • Adjournment: When after a period of 5-6 hours of play in a competitive setting one player asks to adjourn, which results in play being resumed the next day
  • Arbiter: An arbiter is a referee who is there to make sure that play is fair and settle disputes
  • Backward Pawn: A pawn that has no support from other pawns and can be easily captured
  • Blitz Chess: Blitz chess, also commonly referred to as speed chess, is done without a time clock and moves are done extremely quickly.
  • Stalemate: A stalemate is when two players draw because one player has no more legal moves it can make. In professional chess, the game immediately ends in a tie and each player is awarded half a point. 


Chess Players

Chess has a long history existing for over a thousand years. Within the last few hundred years, true chess grandmasters have come into existence and dominated the game. The three best chess players of all time are Gary Kasparov, Magnus Carlsen, and Bobby Fischer.

Chess Players:

  • Magnus Carlsen is the current world chess champion, winning it 2013 as second youngest to do it at 23.
  • Bobby Fishcher is the only ever American world chess champion, and was able to win 20 consecutive chess matches against some of the best players in the world at the time. 
  • Gary Kasporov is still considered the best player ever, having been world champion for 15 consecutive years and was the number one player in the world for 22 years in a row. He is also the youngest world chess champion winning it at 22 years old.


The first ever chess tournament was held in London in 1851, and since then tournaments have been held in cities worldwide like New York and Paris. Currently, the best chess tournament is the Candidates tournament, whose winner earns the right to play the world championship against the current champion. There is also the Wiijk aan Zee in the Netherlands, which is commonly known as the Wimbledon of Chess.  In Germany they also hold the Dortmund Sparkassen Chess Meeting tournament.

Here are the most popular tournaments in Chess:

  • Candidates Tournament: Invite only and winner gets to play the world champion
  • Wiijk aan Zee: Known as the Wimbledon of chess all of the best players always go to this tournament
  • Dortmund Sparkassen Chess Meeting: Another famous chess tournament that is held yearly in Dortmund, Germany


What is Castling in Chess?

Castling in chess is a move that can only be done if the king hasn’t moved from its original position or been in check. Castling involves moving your king to the right two spaces and your rook to the left two spaces. This can only be done if the knight and the bishop have been moved out of the way. It is meant as a defensive move to protect the king.

What is the meaning of the letters and numbers on the edge of the chess board?

The letters and numbers on the edge of the chess board are meant to tell you which position you are moving to. In competitive chess, players have to say which square they are moving to then write down their move on their score sheet to keep track of moves.

What is Book Move in Chess?

Often during broadcasts for chess tournaments, or with people who know the game well, you will hear the term “book move.” Book move means that a player is making an opening move that is well known in conventional chess strategy or theory.