Monday, March 1, 2010

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.

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