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Chess rules

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Chess is a board game for 2 persons, where one player plays with the white pieces and the other with the black pieces. At the beginning of the board game, every player has 16 pieces: one king, one queen, two rooks, two bishops, two knights and eight pawn.

The object of chess

The goal of chess is to checkmate the opponent's king. Checkmate is when you attack the king, and the opponent cannot make a move which removes that attack. The player who is mated, loses the game.

The board

Chess is played on a so called chessboard, which consists of 64 squares arranged in 8 rows and 8 columns. Every square can be denoted with a combination of a letter and a number. From White's point of view the columns are numbered from left to right with 'a' to 'h', and the from bottom to top with 1 to 8. So the right top square is 'h8' and the left bottom square is 'a1' (viewed from White, from Black it is just the opposite).

At the beginning of the game, the board looks as follows:

From White's point of view the second row is filled with white pawns, the seventh row with black pawns and the first and eighth row with from left to right rook, knight, bishop, queen, king, bishop, knight and rook.


The players must make a move in turns, the white player begins. A move consists of moving one piece to another square, following the rules that piece must obey. There is one exception to this move, castling, which allows both your king and your rook to move.


If a player moves one of his pieces to a square occupied by an opponent's piece, this piece is removed from the board.

Movement of the different pieces

Below is explained which kind of moves the pieces are allowed to make:


The rook moves vertical or horizontal in a straight line. The rook cannot jump over other pieces, all squares between the rook's current square and its destination must be empty.


The bishop moves diagonally in a straight line. Like the rook, the bishop cannot jump over other pieces.


The queen combines the movement of a rook and a bishop. This makes the queen the strongest piece on the board. The queen can move horizontal, vertical and diagonal in a straight line and may not jump over other pieces.


The king can move horizontal, vertical and diagonal like the queen, but only one step at the time. The king may never enter a square which is threatened by an opposing piece. In other words you cannot place the king on a square when your opponent could capture the king next move.


The knight makes a L-shaped move, which is a combination of 1 square horizontal or vertical, and one diagonal. The knight is the only piece that can jump over other pieces to travel from one square to another. The pieces the knight jumps over are not affected.


The pawn can only move forward, but there are some variations in its movement which depend on the position of the pawn and the goal of the move. A pawn can always move one square forward, except when the destiny square is non-empty. For a pawn captures diagonally forward, and not straight ahead. Thus, a pawn can move one square diagonally, but only when capturing.

There is another variation on the usual one step forward, only available to pawns which have not moved yet. From its starting position (second row for white, seventh row for black), a pawn can (not must) move two steps forward, if both squares in front of it are empty.

En-passant capturing

A rule which is related to the pawn's double step is the en-passant capture. This move is only available to a pawn, and only in this case: when a pawn takes a double step (from its starting position) and arrives on a square immediately next to an enemy pawn, this enemy pawn can capture en-passant. This means he captures the pawn as if it had moved just one step. You can make this move only immediately after the pawn's double step, not a move later.

Pawn promotion

When a player succeeds in getting a pawn on the other side of the board (white pawn on row 8 and black pawn on row 1), then this player must promote the pawn to a queen, rook, bishop or knight. By clicking one of the radio-buttons the pawn will change into the chosen piece. Most of the times a queen is chosen because it is the strongest piece. In this way, you can have up to nine queens!


Another special move is castling. This is the only move in the board game which allows you to move two pieces, the king and a rook. You start castling by moving your king two squares to the left or to the right. Then the rook jumps over the king and arrives at the square the king just passed.

On you have only to move the king two squares, the rook is automatically moved for you/.

Conditions necessary for castling:
  • The king has not moved yet.
  • The rook involved has not moved yet (the other rook doesn't matter).
  • Every square between the king and the rook should be empty.
  • The king is not in check.
  • The king may not move over a square that is under attack by an enemy piece.
  • After castling, the king may not be in check.
It is good to notice that castling is allowed when your rook is under attack.

Check, mate and stalemate

Below the terms check, (check)mate and stalemate are explained.


Check is a term used when a king can be captured by an enemy piece. A move which puts your king in check is illegal, and will not be accepted by the server.

In this position, the black king is in check:


When a king is in check, and there is no move after which the king is not (again) in check, it is checkmate. The player who is mated loses the board game.


When a player's king is not in check, but he has no legal moves (every move he can make would place his king in check) then it is stalemate and the board game is a draw.

In this position, Black is stalemated.

Drawing rules

Some board games end undecided: draw. If both players cannot win, unless the opponent makes a grave mistake, they usually decide to offer a draw. In fact it is prohibited to play on just because you're hoping on a mistake of your opponent, if you have no other winning chances. Officially the board game is drawn if:
  • both players agree to draw
  • when one of the players is stalemated
  • if the same position occurs three times in a board game, same position means also the same player to move and the same moves are legal! *
  • if 50 moves in a row no piece is captured and no pawn is moved *
  • if both players have insufficient pieces to checkmate the other player. This is the case when both players have only a king, and also if one player has king and bishop (or knight) and the other a lone king. *
*: These situations are not automatically detected on because in a real life chess game you must claim a draw.

For example, if the following moves happen: 31. Qc4+ Kh7 32. Qd3+ Kg8 33. Qc4+ Kh7 34. Qd3+ Kg8, white can claim a draw by contacting us. You must specify the gamenumber and a message like this: "My next move will be 35. Dc4+, and because that will be the third time this position will happen, I claim a draw.". We will check you claim and if you are right, he will declare the game to be drawn. You must not actually make the move, then you have no right to claim a draw. And if you do the same move three times, and your opponent does something else, it is not the same position! Wishing you many hours of chess pleasure,
the team.