Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Rules of Movement

If a player touch one of his men he must move it, unless he says j’adoube (I adjust), or words of a similar meaning, to the effect that he was only setting it straight on its square. If he cannot legally move a touched piece, he must move his king, if he can, but may not castle; if not, there is no penalty. He must say j’adoube before touching his piece. If a player touch an opponent’s piece, he must take it, if he can: if not, move his king. If he can do neither, no penalty. A move is completed and cannot be taken back, as soon as a player, having moved a piece, has taken his hand off it.

If a player is called upon to mate under the fifty-move rule, “fifty moves” means fifty moves and the forty-nine replies to them. A pawn that reaches an eighth square must be exchanged for some other piece, the move not being complete until this is done; a second king cannot be selected.

Monday, March 1, 2010

First Move and Odds

To decide who moves first, one player conceals a white pawn in one hand and a black pawn in the other, his adversary not seeing in which hand the different pawns are put. The other holds out his hands with the pawns concealed, and his adversary touches one. If that contains the white pawn, he takes the white men and moves first. If he draws the black pawn his adversary has the first move, since white, by convention, always plays first. Subsequently the first move is taken alternately. If one player, by way of odds, “gives” his adversary a pawn or piece, that piece is removed before play begins. If the odds are “pawn and move,” or “pawn and two,” a black pawn, namely, the king’s bishop’s pawn, is removed and white plays one move, or any two moves in succession. “Pawn and two” is generally considered to be slightly less in point of odds than to give a knight or a bishop; to give a knight and a bishop is to give rather more than a rook; a rook and bishop less than a queen; two rooks rather more than a queen. The odds of “the marked pawn” can only be given to a much weaker player. A pawn, generally KB’s pawn, is marked with a cap of paper. If the pawn is captured its owner loses the game; he can also lose by being checkmated in the usual way, but he cannot give mate to his adversary with any man except the marked pawn, which may not be moved to an eighth square and exchanged for a piece.

Taking en Passant

“Taking en passant.” This is a privilege possessed by any of the pawns under the following circumstances:—If a pawn, say of the white colour, stands upon a fifth square, say upon K5 counting from the white side, and a black pawn moves from Q2 or KB2 to Q4 or KB4 counting from the black side, the white pawn can take the black pawn en passant. For the purposes of such capture the latter is dealt with as though he had only moved to Q3 or KB3, and the white pawn taking him diagonally then occupies the square the captured pawn would have reached had he moved but one square. The capture can be made only on the move immediately succeeding that of the pawn to be captured.


This is a special move permitted to the king once only in the game. It is performed in combination with either rook, the king being moved two squares laterally, while the rook towards which he is moved (which must not have previously moved from its square) is placed next him on the other side; the king must be touched first. The king cannot castle after having been once moved, nor when any piece stands between him and the rook, nor if he is in check, nor when he has to cross a square commanded by an adverse piece or pawn, nor into check. It will be perceived that after castling with the king’s rook the latter will occupy the KB square, while the king stands on the KKt square, and if with the queen’s rook, the latter will occupy the queen’s square while the king stands on the QB square.

Check and Checkmate

The king can never be captured, but when any piece or pawn attacks him, he is said to be “in check,” and the fact of his being so attacked should be announced by the adverse player saying “check,” whereupon the king must move from the square he occupies, or be screened from check by the interposition of one of his own men, or the attacking piece must be captured. If, however, when the king is in check, none of these things can be done, it is “checkmate” (Persian, shah mat, the king is dead), known generally as “mate,” whereupon the game terminates, the player whose king has been thus checkmated being the loser. When the adversary has only his king left, it is very easy to checkmate him with only a queen and king, or only a rook and king. The problem is less easy with king and two bishops, and still less easy with king, knight and bishop, in which case the opposing king has to be driven into a corner square whose colour corresponds with the bishop’s, mate being given with the bishop. A king and two knights cannot mate. To mate with king and rook the opposing king must be driven on to one of the four side files and kept there with the rook on the next file, till it is held by the other king, when the rook mates.

The pawn gives check in the same way as he captures, viz. diagonally. One king cannot give check to another, nor may a king be moved into check.

“Check by discovery” is given when a player, by moving one of his pieces, checks with another of them. “Double check” means attacking the king at once with two pieces—one of the pieces in this case giving check by discovery.

“Perpetual check” occurs when one player, seeing that he cannot win the game, finds the men so placed that he can give check ad infinitum, while his adversary cannot possibly avoid it. The game is then drawn. A game is also drawn “if, before touching a man, the player whose turn it is to play, claims that the game be treated as drawn, and proves that the existing position existed, in the game and at the commencement of his turn of play, twice at least before the present turn.”

The Board, Pieces and Moves

Chess boardThe chessboard is divided into sixty-four chequered squares. Under this diagram are the names of the various “pieces”—each side, White or Black, having a King, a Queen, two Rooks (or Castles), two Knights, and two Bishops. The eight men in front are called Pawns. At the beginning of the game the queen always stands upon a square of her own colour. The board is so set that each player has a white square at the right hand end of the row nearest to him. The rook, knight and bishop on the right of the king are known as King’s rook, King’s knight, and King’s bishop; the other three as Queen’s rook, Queen’s knight, and Queen’s bishop.

Briefly described, the powers of the various pieces and of the pawns are as follows.

The king may move in any direction, only one square at a time, except in castling. Two kings can never be on adjacent squares.

The queen moves in any direction square or diagonal, whether forward or backward. There is no limit to her range over vacant squares; an opponent she may take; a piece of her own colour stops her. She is the most powerful piece on the board, for her action is a union of those of the rook and bishop. The rooks (from the Indian rukh and Persian rokh, meaning a soldier or warrior) move in straight lines—forward or backward—but they cannot move, diagonally. Their range is like the queen’s, unlimited, with the same exceptions.

The bishops move diagonally in any direction whether backward or forward. They have an unlimited range, with the same exceptions.

The knights’ moves are of an absolutely different kind. They move from one corner of any rectangle of three squares by two to the opposite corner; thus, in diagram 3, the white knight can move to the square occupied by the black one, and vice versa, or a knight could move from C to D, or D to C. The move may be made in any direction. It is no obstacle to the knight’s move if squares A and B are occupied. It will be perceived that the knight always moves to a square of a different colour.

The king, queen, rooks and bishops may capture any foeman which stands anywhere within their respective ranges; and the knights can capture the adverse men which stand upon the squares to which they can leap. The piece which takes occupies the square of the piece which is taken, the latter being removed from the board. The king cannot capture any man which is protected by another man.

The moves and capturing powers of the pawns are as follows:—Each pawn for his first move may advance either one or two squares straight forward, but afterwards one square only, and this whether upon starting he exercised his privilege of moving two squares or not. A pawn can never move backwards. He can capture only diagonally—one square to his right or left front. A pawn moves like a rook, captures like a bishop, but only one square at a time. When a pawn arrives at an eighth square, viz. at the extreme limit of the board, he may, at the option of his owner, be exchanged for any other piece, so that a player may, e.g., have two or more queens on the board at once.

Introduction to Chess

CHESS, once known as “checker,” a game played with certain “pieces” on a special “board” described below. It takes its name from the Persian word shah, a king, the name of one of the pieces or men used in the game. Chess is the most cosmopolitan of all games, invented in the East (see History, below), introduced into the West and now domiciled in every part of the world. As a mere pastime chess is easily learnt, and a very moderate amount of study enables a man to become a fair player, but the higher ranges of chess-skill are only attained by persistent labour. The real proficient or “master” not merely must know 94 the subtle variations in which the game abounds, but must be able to apply his knowledge in the face of the enemy and to call to his aid, as occasion demands, all that he has of foresight, brilliancy and resource, both in attack and in defence. Two chess players fighting over the board may fitly be compared to two famous generals encountering each other on the battlefield, the strategy and the tactics being not dissimilar in spirit.