A chess set consists of 32 pieces: 16 white and 16 black, representing two sides of a chess battle. To understand how to play chess and develop strategy, it's imperative to know how each piece moves. This very basic knowledge is necessary to truly grasp the power of each chess piece and in the course of a match, make the most of that individual piece's power.
The Pivotal 16
Each player begins the game with 16 chessmen: 1 king, 1 queen, 2 bishops, 2 knights, 2 rooks, and 8 pawns. To properly position the pieces on a chess board, start with the rooks and move inward. The two rooks are placed on the lower corner squares. Next to them go the knights, followed by the bishops.
The queen is next. As a rule of thumb, this piece always matches its color. Thus, the black queen will be on the remaining black square. The white queen, the white square. Lastly, the king sits in the final square of the row. The pawns are placed on the second row in front of the king's "court."
The pieces of a chess set collectively show a player's power. What she does with this potential power is what ultimately determines who wins the game. The overall goal is to keep the king safe. To do so, a player must utilize each chess piece to its maximum strength. In short, chess pieces are capable of the following moves:
King: Moves only one square at a time, but in any direction. It's the most important piece on a chess board. If/when captured, the game is over. The king's special move is called castling; it is the only time two pieces can move at once (king and rook).
Queen: Moves in any direction for any number of squares. It is the most powerful piece on the board, capable of capturing and positioning from most any vantage point.
Bishop: Moves diagonally for any number of squares, yet is limited to one color. It is sensitive to pawn movement.
Knight: Moves two squares vertically or horizontally, then one square to the side. Its unique movement often factors into strategy.
Rook: Moves by rank or file for any number of squares. Starting in the corners, the rook - along with the queen - are major pieces on the chess board, capable of altering space and an opponent's plan of attack.
Pawn: Moves only one square at a time and only forward. However, on the opening move, it can choose between two squares or one. A seemingly weak piece, a pawn can also be promoted if it safely reaches the end of the board. If it succeeds, a pawn can be exchanged for any other chess piece, except the king. Most often, a pawn gets promoted to queen.
What's My Move?
It may seem too much to learn all this at once, but in order to truly grasp the potential of your chess pieces, it's important you first understand what each individual piece is capable of. For instance, feeling despaired that you're left with only pawns? Don't forget about pawn promotion. Feeling like your king is being threatened? Consider castling him. By understanding your pieces' potential, a chess board can truly open up with possibilities. You just need to recognize them first.
Stanislav Komsky is an expert consultant for board games, chess boards, and dungeons and dragons miniatures and a writer who takes time out to write articles in his spare time, where he'll help you pick out the perfect chess set. Stanislav Komsky will help you select something special from a huge selection of unique chess sets, chess boards and collectible themed chess pieces.
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