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Beginners Guide to Learning Chess: Basic Rules, Setup, Special Moves, and Strategies

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Does playing chess or understanding the concepts of it seem problematic to you? No worries, you are not alone.
Almost everybody on this planet has at least once shied away from learning chess due to the seeming complexities of the game. Though difficult, once you understand the ABCs of this game, nothing will stop you from acing it.

Chess is one of the most popular board games in the world. And, if you are an avid board gamer, you might already know the benefits of playing chess. From forming a creative ability in thinking to an increase problem-solving skills, this mind game does it all.

And here’s how you can conquer the world of chess by just following the guidelines given below.


How to set up the chessboard?

The first step involves setting up the chessboard the right way.

You play chess on a square board of 64 squares aligned in 8-by-8 grids. This board game involves black and white pieces wherein each player gets control of 16 chess pieces. They could either be black or white.

To set up the chessboard in the correct way, follow the given rules.

  1. Set the board in such a way wherein both the players get a white square on their right-hand sides.
  2. The sixteen pieces you have consist of a king, a queen, two rooks, two bishops, two knights, and eight chess pieces of pawn.
  3. You need to understand that the queen should always start on a square that denotes her color. The white queen starts on a white square and vice versa.
  4. Arrange the pieces in a formation shown in the picture below.

How do you move the chess pieces and capture opponents?

According to the rules in modern chess games:

  1. You are allowed to move the king one square in any one direction: upwards, sideways, or backward. You need to know that the king is the most meaningful and relevant piece on the chessboard. At the same time, it is also the most fragile chess piece on the board.
  2. The queen is the most dominant piece on the chessboard. She moves any number of squares in any direction. It can be in a forward, side, or diagonal direction. Remember, the queen moves only in one single line and captures.
  3. The rook can move any number of squares. That is, it can be in a forward, backward, or sideways direction.
  4. The bishop moves diagonally. Like the others, the bishop too can move any number of squares.
  5. Now, the knight is one unique piece. Why? Because the knight is the only chess piece that is allowed to move over other chess pieces. You move the knight in a right-angled way (L shape). That is, two move vertically and one horizontally and vice versa.
  6. As a first move, the pawn is allowed two moves in a forward direction, otherwise, it is only a single square forward. The pawn can move only in a forward direction except when capturing which it does diagonally.

Who moves first?

By default, the white chess pieces make a move first. After that, each player can move only one chess piece per turn except when castling(explained below).

Some basic yet special moves of chess:

  1. Fool’s Mate
  2. Castling
  3. Promotion of the pawn
  4. “en passant” move

1.Fool’s Mate

The fool’s mate is a two-step strategy to checkmate your opponent. Exciting right? But that is possible only if you are in charge of the black pieces. Ok, Well, here is how you can do it.

  • Observe your competitor's first move. If his first move is the pawn at the king’s side to f3, then you have a chance to make this move.
  • The move made by your opponent is weak because he has lowered down the defense of the king.
  • In retaliation, you should move your king’s pawn to e5.
  • Now, you wait for your opponent's move because he might create the second biggest mistake possible. That is moving the knight’s pawn. His move leaves his king entirely unprotected.
  • Now all you need to do as your next move is move your queen to h4.

And surprise, it is checkmate!

Fool's Mate

Fool's Mate


Castling is a unique technique that allows the king to get protected from further attack. While castling, the king has to move two-step sideways towards the rook, while the rook moves just next to the king. It is the only time wherein the king is allowed a two-square step.

To castle your king, you need to fulfill these conditions given below:

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  • It is the first move of both the king and the rook.
  • To castle, both the pieces cannot cross over other chess pieces. There should be no pieces between them.
  • The king is not under attack. (The move is allowed if the rook is under attack.)


3.Promotion of the Pawn

This might be one of the most exciting and hard tactics in chess. The move involves getting your pawn to the opponent’s side of the board. It gives an exclusive right to you to get your pawn to get promoted.

Sounds nice?

And as a promotion, you can get any of this: a queen, a bishop, a rook, or a knight.

Promotion of the Pawn

Promotion of the Pawn

4.The “en passant” move in chess:

In french, ‘en passant' means ‘in passing’. It is a special move you can make by your pawn to capture your opponent’s pawn.

To avoid getting captured, if your opponent executes the first two-step move and comes side by side to your pawn, you can execute the ‘en passant' move. The move gives you a special right to capture that pawn while moving forward.

But remember, this move is only available if you do it right after the pawn comes by your side. If you perform another move, then the ‘en passant’ move is not allowed again. Pay attention to this rule.

Check, Checkmate and Stalemate:

Check means your king is under attack by the opponent. It can be under attack by one or more pieces. Worry not! You can still save the king when your turn comes next.

To get out of the check, you can select either of the two options:

  • Move another piece in front of your opponents.
  • Otherwise, move the king himself in another direction.

Checkmate means the games over. The main goal of the game is to capture the king. After attacking or getting attacked, if you cannot save the king or do not have any move left, it is checkmate. In simple words, the game is over.

Stalemate, in simple words, means you or your opponent has no move left to make, which results in the game-ending as a draw. The point is, you might not be in check, but since you have no legal moves left, stalemate happens. Simple!



How to learn the game real quick?

  1. Practice, Practice, and Practice because Practice makes a man perfect!: Practice will make you understand the concept of playing chess better. Yes, chess seems like a complex game to all, but once played following the simple yet easy steps, anybody can very soon become an ace. Play this recreational game online versus computer or with your friends or family. Just make sure you practice daily.
  2. Observe your opponent and learn his strategies: While playing chess, you must look and observe your opponent’s gameplay. It will soon prove to be a worthy decision. Because if your opponent is an experienced one, you will also soon get the benefits of observing and learning from him.
  3. Learn common strategies, see video lessons and use online platforms: Browse the internet. The internet has it all. That too, free! There is no need to get a paid course for learning chess cause there are cost-free sources like YouTube or Google. Various videos are already uploaded for beginners to learn. There are plenty of recorded gameplays that you can watch and learn from.

All in all, trust and follow the above given basic rules and tactics. That done, nothing can stop you from enjoying and learning this game.

Remember, in this game, patience is key. Now, what are you waiting for? Go on and follow these basic rules and crush your opponent in a matter of seconds.

© 2021 Serii

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