I started playing Chess at the ripe age of 13 years old. It was right after Bobby Fisher had won the World Championship. Boys in my class were playing Chess on small magnetic chess sets. I did not know how to move the pieces. One of my friends in class, Paul, let me come over to his house and play. I bought my own set of pieces and learned the rules and how to move the pieces. After about a week, I started beating Paul 3 or 4 times a day.
When I went to eighth grade, I met an English teacher who played Chess. I started going to his homeroom instead of my own to play him games of Chess before class started. He had a chess club after school. So, I joined it. I was one of the top two in the club. During that year, I learned that there is more to Chess than just moving the pieces. So, studying Chess became like practicing lay ups in basketball. I won the title that year in a double round robin tournament. When I got to be a sophomore in high school, I played one of the top players in the state of Illinois and won! It was a definite bright spot in my career. In that game, I applied everything that I had learned about the "Royal Game". Since that time, I have won city tournaments, beaten experts, masters, and even an International Master (IM). But, what I really love, is to TEACH THE GAME. If it wasnt for that English teacher, I may never had developed such a love for this extraordinary game.
Lesson 1 The Board and Pieces
Chess is a game played by two people. One has the "White" pieces and the other the "Black" pieces. The object of the game is to capture your opponents King.
The chess board has 64 squares. 32 are Black and 32 are White. The board is eight squares tall and eight squares wide. Each square has a name. If you look on the left side of the board, you will see the numbers 1 through 8. All of the squares to the right of the number are known as a rank. So if you look at the first rank (labeled with a 1), you will see all of Whites pieces. And the second rank (labeled with a 2) has all of Whites Pawns. The third (3) through sixth (6) ranks have no pieces or Pawns on them. What is on the seventh (7) rank? If your answer is the Black Pawns, you are correct! And finally, the eighth (8) rank has the Black pieces on it. All of the squares straight above a letter are part of a file. In the lower left-hand corner is the White Rook. And the upper left-hand corner is the Black Rook. Those two Rooks are on the "a" file. All of the squares on the far left side are a part of the "a" file. The
Rooks on the far right are a part of the "h" file, as well as every square between those two Rooks. What file are the Queens on? If your answer is the "d" file, you are on your way to learning the names of the squares.
Well, we know about ranks and files. How do they relate to the names of the squares? Remember the Rook in the lower left-hand corner of Diagram 1? He is on file "a" and rank "1". So the square is called "a1." The Black Queen is on the "d" file and the rank "8." Therefore, she is on "d8."
Now that Ive introduced you to some of the symbols for Chess pieces, lets identify them all.
K K King
Q Q Queen
N N Knight
P P Pawn
Lets look at Diagram 1 again.
a1 has a White Rook. b1 has a White Knight. c1 has a White Bishop.
d1 has a White Queen. e1 has a White King. f1 has a White Bishop.
g1 has a White Knight. h1 has a White Rook.
Diagram 1 Again
So, now I bet that you can identify those little guys on the second rank. Yes, you are right again! They are the Pawns. And just opposite of all of the White Pawns and pieces are the Black Pawns and pieces. There is a total of 8 pawns, 2 Knights, 2 Bishops, 2 Rooks, 1 Queen, and 1 King per color.
When setting up your pieces, it is important to get the board positioned correctly and all of the pieces on the right squares. So, first of all, there should be a white square in the bottom right. This is also known as, "White in the bottom right." To properly set up the pieces in the correct order, just remember, "Queen goes on her own color."
The last order of business for this section is identifying the Queen and the King sides of the board. And we should take note of the White and Black sides too. When looking at the board, it can be divided in half two different ways. The first is by cutting between files "d" and "e." So then, files a, b, c, and d are part of the Queen side. Files e, f, g, and h are part of the King side.
Take a look at diagram 2. It should demonstrate this idea clearly. The second way to divide the
Queen's Side King's Side Diagram 2
board in half is by ranks. Ranks 1, 2, 3, and 4 are Whites side of the board. Ranks 5, 6, 7, and 8 are Blacks side of the board. For this idea, take a look at Diagram 3.
White's Side Diagram 3