Chess: How to Play / Rules Explained

Chess is a two-player strategy board game played on an 8×8 grid known as a chessboard. The game’s objective is to checkmate your opponent’s king, which means putting the king in a position where it is under attack and cannot escape capture. Here’s how to play chess:


Place the chessboard between you and your opponent with a light-colored square (usually white) in the bottom-right corner.
Each player has 16 pieces: one king, one queen, two rooks, two knights, two bishops, and eight pawns.
Set up the board with the following arrangement, from left to right:
Rook (castle), Knight, Bishop, Queen (white square), King, Bishop, Knight, Rook (castle) for both players.
Place all eight pawns in a row in front of the other pieces.
Movement of Pieces:

King (K): The king can move one square in any direction (horizontally, vertically, or diagonally).
Queen (Q): The queen can move any number of squares in any direction (horizontally, vertically, or diagonally).
Rook (R): The rook can move any number of squares horizontally or vertically.
Bishop (B): The bishop can move any number of squares diagonally.
Knight (N): The knight has a unique “L” shape movement. It moves two squares in one direction (horizontally or vertically) and then one square perpendicular to that movement. Knights are the only pieces that can “jump” over other pieces on the board.
Pawn (P): Pawns move forward one square but capture diagonally. On their first move, pawns have the option to move forward two squares. Pawns promote to any other piece (except another pawn) when they reach the opponent’s back rank.
Checkmate the opponent’s king while keeping your own king safe. Checkmate occurs when the opponent’s king is under attack and cannot escape capture.


The player with the white pieces goes first, and then players take turns making one move at a time.
You can move any of your pieces, following their respective rules of movement.
You can capture your opponent’s pieces by moving your piece to the square occupied by their piece.
When your opponent’s king is under attack, they must move their king out of check, capture the attacking piece, or block the check with another piece.
If a pawn reaches the opponent’s back rank, it can be promoted to any other piece (except another pawn).
Winning the Game:
The game can end in several ways:

Checkmate: If one player’s king is in check, and there is no legal move to remove the check, the game ends with a checkmate, and the player in check loses.
Stalemate: If a player has no legal moves left but their king is not in check, the game ends in a draw known as a stalemate.
Draw: Chess can also end in a draw due to insufficient material or the fifty-move rule (when both players make 50 consecutive moves without a pawn move or capture).
Chess is a game of strategy, so plan your moves carefully, anticipate your opponent’s moves, and use your pieces effectively to achieve checkmate. Practice and experience are essential to improving your chess skills.