﻿ Chess Lessons For Beginners: Rules: How The Chess Pieces Move

Lesson 2 - How The Chess Pieces Move: Summing Up

"I started by just sitting by the chessboard exploring things. I didn’t even have books at first, and I just played by myself. I learnt a lot from that, and I feel that it is a big reason why I now have a good intuitive understanding of chess."
- Magnus Carlsen

Summary on How Each Piece Moves

Since we covered a lot of things in this lesson, let's review the main points.

The Pawn

• it advances on a column except when capturing;
• on its first move, it can advance 1 or 2 squares;
• on any other moves, it can advance only 1 square at a time;
• it can capture enemy pieces occupying one of the diagonal square in front of it;
• it cannot move or capture backward;
• when occupying the first rank in the enemy's territory, it can do a special capture called "prise en passant" which consist of capturing an enemy pawn on an adjacent column moving 2 squares on its first move.

The Bishop

• it moves on diagonals in an unlimited number of squares or until a piece is blocking the way;
• it moves forward or backward;
• it can capture the first enemy piece on its path;
• it has access to half of the board since it moves on squares having the same colour as its starting square.

The Knight

• it moves in a "L" shape;
• it moves forward or backward;
• it's the only piece allowed to jump over other pieces;
• it can capture pieces occupying one of the landing square when moving.

The rook

• it moves in straight lines, horizontally or vertically in an unlimited number of squares or until a piece is blocking the way;
• it moves forward or backward;
• it can capture the first enemy piece on its path.

The Queen

• it moves in an unlimited number of squares in any direction (diagonally, horizontally or vertically) or until a piece is blocking the way;
• it moves forward or backward;
• it can capture the first enemy piece on its path.

The King

• it moves one square at a time on any square around him not occupied by one of its teammates or controlled by an enemy piece;
• it moves forward or backward;
• it can capture unprotected enemy pieces occupying a square around him.

Classifying Pieces According To Their Moving Characteristics

When analysing the diversity in the way the different pieces move, it is easy to see that pieces have different impacts on the course of the game, thus giving them different values. Base on that, we can classify the pieces in four different categories: pawns, minor pieces, major (or heavy) pieces and the King. Pawns are classified in their own category because of their limited possibilities. The King is alone in its category because it is the ultimate target of the opponent's army. Minor pieces are the bishops and the knights. The bishop pertains to this category because it can control only one colour and the knight because of its short reach. Major or heavy pieces are the rooks and the Queen. Each of them can control both colors on the board and move in an unlimited number of squares.

In chess literature, the terms "minor pieces" or "major pieces (or heavy pieces)" are used often.

Let's see if you grasped everything with the exercises available on the next page.

I do not recommend it, but you can also skip the exercises and go directly to the next lesson on the pieces' value, attacks and threats.