The Rules of Chess

Chess is a game of strategic thinking, calm concentration and patient intellectual endeavour. Violence rarely comes into it. Unless you are a robot.

A position in which one player can check the opponent’s king forever but cannot checkmate it. The players usually agree to a draw or the same position is repeated three times, resulting in a draw by repetition.


When played properly, chess is a fascinating game of strategy and tactics. But like any game, a player can only win if they understand the rules of the game. This includes knowing the different tactical devices that can be employed, as well as how to avoid being tricked by an opponent. The rules of chess are based on ancient history and have evolved over the centuries.

The board used in chess is a square grid of 64 squares, eight-by-eight, of alternating color. Sixteen of these squares are designated as white and the remaining sixteen are called black. The horizontal rows of the board are called ranks and the vertical columns are called files. During the initial setup of the board, the pawns are placed on the fifth rank and diagonally adjacent to each other. The other pieces are placed so that one is near the rooks on each side of the board and all are protected by a king in the center.

During the game, the players alternate turns making moves in sequence. Each move must be made unless the king is checkmated or the player resigns. If the game is being played under a time control, a player who exceeds a set time limit loses the game.

A chess clock is used in games under a time control and can be either analog or digital though a digital clock is preferred under USCF rules. Before the start of a tournament, the arbiter or the player who is playing black decides where the clock will be located. The clocks have buttons that stop one clock and start the other so they never run simultaneously.

The rules of chess are set by the United States Chess Federation, or USCF, and its affiliate, FIDE, the international governing body for chess. These rules are published in a book called the Official Rules of Chess. Other regional chess federations may publish their own rules.

There are also many local differences in the rules of chess, such as the different rules regarding castling, promotion, and stalemate. These differences often arose because of differences in culture and language. For example, descriptive notation, which referred to each file by the piece that occupied it in its starting position, was more common in English-speaking countries, while algebraic notation was more popular in German-speaking areas. Descriptive notation has been largely superseded by algebraic notation in the modern world.


There are many variants of chess that have a different starting position, pieces, and rules. These variations are known as chess variants, and they can be played all over the world. The most popular variant is Chess960, which has all the rules of standard chess but starts in a random position. This makes it harder to predict who will win a game and changes the way players castle. Other chess variants use a more complex starting position and have unique piece moves.

Several studies have shown that the RAE is stronger for physically demanding sports (cross-country skiing, alpine skiing, athletics and orienteering) than cognitive/skill-based sports like chess and basketball. The RAE is strongest among the youngest competitors, and it is likely to be more severe in boys than in girls because of differences in physical development at that age. Research has also shown that the RAE is more pronounced in teams, suggesting that selection procedures tend to focus on present performance rather than potential future success.

A recent study of chess players found that the RAE is more severe for male players than for females, but it also depends on age and tournament type. For example, the RAE was significant for the oldest group of U17 tournaments, but it was not found in the two most recent male senior tournaments. The difference in the RAE for these younger and older groups could be due to different levels of competition and talent scouting.

There are also a number of chess variants that have an extra spatial dimension. Some of these games are designed to reflect real-world events, such as aerial and submarine warfare, while others incorporate fantasy or science fiction themes, such as parallel worlds and time travel. Cylinder chess, for example, is played on a cylinder board where the a- and h-files are connected. Other chess variants have a more complex geometry, such as fractal chess.

There are a few chess variants that can be played by one player, including Hippodrome and Bosworth. These variants have different rules and starting positions, but all involve a similar strategy. Hippodrome, for instance, involves placing all of the knights on one rank and then moving them to the opposite rank.


The pieces of a chess set are flat tokens that represent different types of military units. Each player has sixteen pieces (or pawns), with the light-colored ones being the property of White and the dark-colored ones belonging to Black. Each piece moves in a specific way, with some being capable of jumping over other pieces and capturing them. The more squares a piece can move to, the more valuable it is considered to be.

When a pawn reaches its destination, it may be promoted to a knight, bishop or rook. This allows it to attack more directly and capture adjacent squares. The pawn can also become pinned, meaning that another opponent piece is blocking it from attacking the more valuable pieces behind it.

In early European chess sets, the royal characters were usually depicted with elaborately carved figures. The earliest kings had cylindrical bodies like those of medieval headdresses, while queens were often depicted as crowned goddesses. This type of decoration continued into the 18th century, when sets were modeled on historical and literary subjects such as J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings and Shakespeare’s Macbeth.

Chess evolved from its earliest forms in India and Persia, with variations becoming popular in both East and West. The movement patterns of pieces changed, with elephants moving two squares along a diagonal and queens being capable of “jumping” (a feature seen in the fairy chess piece the alfil).

The modern chess set was designed by Man Ray (1890-1976), an influential artist in Dadaism and Surrealism. He took pure geometric forms according to Euclid as his starting point, so the king was a cube and the queen a sphere. He also placed the pieces in iconic contexts. The pyramid reflected the pharaonic symbol of the king, while the bishop represented a jug and the knight was the scroll of a violin that was found in his studio.

The modern chess board is rectangular, with the center and the edges being the highest points of the board. Each player starts with eight pawns, and these are then moved in rows across the board until they reach the other side of the board. Each side then places one of its other pieces on the empty square. Various rules govern the placing of each piece, with White playing first. Special notation is used to identify each player’s moves. This notation has several advantages over algebraic notation, such as describing the number of squares to be moved and indicating whether it is an attack or guard.


The chess rating system is one of the most important innovations in the history of the game. It is based on the theory that the skill level of players can be accurately measured. This is done by comparing the results of a player against those of his or her opponents in tournaments and other competitions. This information is then used to calculate the player’s chess rating.

This is accomplished through a process known as cyclical averaging. A player’s contribution to this average is calculated by taking their opponent’s grade, adding or subtracting 50 points for a win or loss and ignoring draws. The result of these calculations is then averaged over a cycle consisting of at least 30 games. The resulting personal grade is then used to rank players in official tournaments and other events.

The rating system was first introduced in 1948 by the West German Chess Federation, with the help of a man named Anton Hoesslinger. It was later replaced by an Elo system called Deutsche Wertungszahl, which influenced some other rating systems. This rating system is now widely used in a number of countries.

Chess is a complex game, and a large part of its success depends on the interaction between two well-matched opponents. The game can be compared to a symphony orchestra, where each member of the ensemble must play subtly different notes in order for the composition to be successful. In chess, the goal is to achieve the best possible position by using the full range of the king’s pieces. This requires careful planning and execution, which is why the chess rating system was developed in order to compare the relative strengths of players in tournaments.

While many chess fans scoff at the idea of using a number to rate players, it has become an essential tool for determining who is better and who is worse at the game. The rating system is used in a variety of ways, including identifying the best player at any given moment and awarding titles to top performers.

Nevertheless, it is difficult to find a chess master – an expert who has achieved the highest rating possible. The YG&B series has covered the story of Joshua, an African American youth who won his master title at age 14. He is the only African American male to achieve this feat, and one of only 13 people who earned their master title before reaching their 14th birthday.