How Chess Pieces move

It is important in chess to handle chess pieces effectively. Each piece has a different potential.

King :

In short, the capture of the king piece is the object of the game. Each side gets only one king. At the start of the game, White puts the king on e1, and Black puts the king on e8.

king

Among all Chess Pieces the king is the slowest, because he can only move one square at the time. He controls all squares around himself. If you put pieces on a (dotted) square the king can take it away unless your piece is protected by another piece.

  • The king moves one and only one square along a rank, file, or diagonal, forward or backward, left or right.
  • If there is a piece of the same color on one of the squares next to the king, the king can’t move to that square.
  • If there is an opposing piece on one of the squares next to the king, the king can move to that square, thereby capturing the piece, whereupon the move ends.
  • When an opposing piece threatens to capture the king, we say the king is “in check.” When your king is in check, you must get it out of check in the very next move.
  • The king can never move onto a square that will put it into check.

 

The aim is to put the king in a position where it can’t escape capture on the very next move. (When that happens, it’s called checkmate.) In fact, because the king can never move into check, and because you must always get the king out of check when it’s in check (if you can), the king is never actually captured in a normal chess game.

Queen:

The queen is the strongest piece. Look at all the power she has. She controls all marked squares and attacks the king.

  • The queen moves along the diagonals and the ranks and the files. (In other words, it moves like both a rook and a bishop.)
  • It can move as far as it wants along a diagonal or rank or file, backward or forward, left or right, until it encounters an edge or a piece.
  • If there is a piece of the same color along a diagonal, rank, or file, the queen cannot move to that square, nor can it move beyond it.
  • If there is an opposing piece along a diagonal, rank, or file, the queen can’t move beyond it. However, it can move to the square occupied by the enemy piece, thereby capturing it, whereupon the move ends.

queen

Knight

The knight is usually depicted as a horse or a horse’s head, and is the only piece that doesn’t move in a straight line. Each side gets two knights. At the start of the game, White puts the knights on b1 and g1, and Black puts the knights on b8 and g8.

knight1

Where the knights start the game.

Here’s how the knight moves:

  • The knight moves like an “L”: two squares up and one square to the left or the right; or two squares to either side and one square up or down; or two squares back and one square to the left or right.
  • It does not matter whether there are any pieces, either friend or foe, in the path of the “L”: the knight can still move to the square at the end of the “L” path.
  • If one of the opponent’s pieces is at the end of the “L” path, the knight may land on that square and capture the piece at the same time. But if a piece of the same color as the knight is on a square at the end of the “L” path, the knight cannot move to that square.

knightmoves

Bishop:

  • The bishop moves only along the diagonals.
  • It can move as far as it wants along any diagonal, forward or backward, until it encounters an edge or a piece.
  • If there is a piece of the same color along a diagonal, the bishop cannot move to that square, nor can it move beyond that square.
  • If there is an opposing piece along a diagonal, the bishop can’t move beyond it. However, it can move to the square occupied by the enemy piece, thereby capturing it, whereupon the move ends.
  • The bishop only moves on the squares of the same color as it starts on.

bishop

 

The Rook:

The rook is heavy-duty artillery. Each side gets two rooks. At the start of the game, White puts the rooks on h1 and a1, while Black puts them on h8 and a8.

  • The rook can move as far as it wants along a file or a rank, forward or backward, left or right, until it encounters an edge or a piece.
  • If there is a piece of the same color along a rank or a file, the rook cannot move to that square, nor can it move beyond it.
  • If there is an opposing piece along a rank or file, the rook can’t move beyond it. However, it can move to the square occupied by the enemy piece, thereby capturing it, whereupon the move ends.

rook

 

The Pawn:

The pawn is the foot soldier in your army. But don’t let that fool you into thinking he is unimportant! The strategy of most chess games is largely determined by the placement of these humble fellows. Each side gets eight pawns. At the start of the game, White puts the pawns along the second rank (a2, b2, c2, d2, e2, f2, g2, and h2), and Black puts the pawns along the seventh rank (a7, b7, c7, d7, e7, f7, g7, and h7).

Here’s how the pawn moves:

  • Pawns never move sideways, backward, or diagonally backward.
  • The pawn is the only piece that captures differently than it moves—to capture it moves one square diagonally in front to the left or right.
  • On its first move—and only on its first move—each pawn may move either one or two squares forward. After it has made its first move, it can only move one square ahead forward in a turn.
  • If there is a piece (friend or foe) on the square in front of it, the pawn is blocked and cannot move to (or beyond) the square the piece is on. However, being blocked does not affect the pawn’s ability to capture.
  • Each pawn can capture any enemy piece on either of the highlighted squares diagonally in front of it.

pawn

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