History of the Game Rules How Each Piece Moves Resources

Chess for Beginners

An Instructional Website,

Created by: Koco Budo

How Each Piece Moves

Chess is a game played between two opponents on opposite sides of a board containing 64 squares of alternating colors.Each player has 16 pieces: 1 king, 1 queen, 2 rooks, 2 bishops, 2 knights, and 8 pawns. The goal of the game is to checkmate the other king. Checkmate happens when the king is in a position to be captured (in check) and cannot escape from capture.

At the beginning of the game the chessboard is laid out so that each player has the white (or light) color square in the bottom right-hand side. The chess pieces are then arranged the same way each time. The second row (or rank) is filled with pawns. The rooks go in the corners, then the knights next to them, followed by the bishops, and finally the queen, who always goes on her own matching color (white queen on white, black queen on black), and the king on the remaining square. The player with the white pieces always moves first. Therefore, players generally decide who will get to be white by chance or luck such as flipping a coin or having one player guess the color of the hidden pawn in the other player's hand. White then makes a move, followed by black, then white again, then black and so on until the end of the game.

  • The King

    The king is the most important piece, but is one of the weakest. The king can only move one square in any direction - up, down, to the sides, and diagonally. The king may never move himself into check (where he could be captured) How a King Moves

  • The Queen

    The queen is the most powerful piece. She can move in any one straight direction - forward, backward, sideways, or diagonally - as far as possible as long as she does not move through any of her own pieces. And, like with all pieces, if the queen captures an opponent's piece her move is over. Click through the diagram below to see how the queens move. Notice how the white queen captures the black queen and then the black king is forced to move.into check (where he could be captured) How a Queen Moves

  • The Rook

    The rook may move as far as it wants, but only forward, backward, and to the sides. The rooks are particularly powerful pieces when they are protecting each other and working together! How a Rook Moves

  • The Bishop

    The bishop may move as far as it wants, but only diagonally. Each bishop starts on one color (light or dark) and must always stay on that color. Bishops work well together because they cover up each other’s weaknesses. How a Bishop Moves

  • The Knight

    Knights move in a very different way from the other pieces – going two squares in one direction, and then one more move at a 90 degree angle, just like the shape of an “L”. Knights are also the only pieces that can move over other pieces. How a Knight Moves

  • The Pawn

    Pawns are unusual because they move and capture in different ways: they move forward, but capture diagonally. Pawns can only move forward one square at a time, except for their very first move where they can move forward two squares. Pawns can only capture one square diagonally in front of them. They can never move or capture backwards. If there is another piece directly in front of a pawn he cannot move past or capture that piece. How a Pawn Moves

Value of Each Piece

Pieces Value Uniqueness
Pawn 1 point   The Pawn can promote itself to another piece of a players choosing if it reaches the other side of the board. It can also move two squares forward if it is the Pawn's first move. Otherwise, it can only move one square ahead.
Knight  3 points   The Knight is unique because it can move/capture forwards or backwards in an "L" shape and it can hop over any piece as long as it's within that "L" pattern. 
Bishop 3 points   The Bishop is unique because it can capture and move diagonally as many squares as possible on its own colored square. This is why each player has a light square and a dark square Bishop. 
Rook 5 points  The Rook is unique because it can move/capture as many squares as it wants in every direction except diagonally. 
Queen 9 points  The Queen is worth the most points because it can move/capture as many squares as are available in every direction. 
 King  N/A  The King is the most important piece in the game as each player is trying to defend theirs and capture the opposing players. The King is meant to remain passive until the end of the game where it is recommended it become active. 

Chess Quote of the Day: "Chess is war over the Board. The object is to crush the opponent's mind"-Bobby Fischer