The king is the piece with a cross at the top. This may not be the most powerful piece in chess, but it certainly is the most important. If you lose your king, you have lost the game. At the beginning of the game you want to make sure to protect your king. Later in the game, the king can become a very powerful ally in your offense so be prepared to use it.
The king can move one square in any direction. It can’t jump over material so at the start of a chess game there are no legal moves for the king to make since it is surrounded by other pieces.
The queen is the piece with a crown on top, but no cross. This is the most powerful chess piece and combines the moves of both the rook and the bishop. Like the rook, it is considered a major piece in chess.
The queen combines the moves from the bishop and rook. It can move any squares in a diagonal direction, or go up, down, and sideways as many squares without jumping over another piece.
The bishop is not quite as strong as the rook, and is referred to as a minor piece. It can still cover a lot of ground and works will in pairs.
The bishop can move diagonally as many squares as it would like, without jumping over another piece. When a bishop moves you will see notation such as Be4. The B represents the bishop and e4 represents the square it is moving to. If the bishop is capturing material on e4 then it would be written as Bxe4. At the beginning of the game bishops are blocked by pawns, but you usually will be moving your pawns early on. The opens up the door for the bishops to get involved in the game. Bishops will be one of the primary pieces you will use in the early game to attack your opponent.
The knight is the piece that looks like a horse. This is the most complicated piece to explain as it has a very unique movement. The knight is worth 3 points and is considered a minor piece. It is generally considered as strong as a bishop, but for its own unique reasons. While both pieces are worth 3 points, there will be some positions where the knight will reign supreme.
The knight is the only piece on the board that can jump over another piece. In that way, the knight has a leg up on the queen, but controls fewer total squares than the queen can.
The movement of the knight can be thought of as an L. You can think of it as a two-one or a one-two approach. This means that the knight can move two squares up/down/sideways followed by one square to make an L or it can move one square up/down/sideways followed by two squares to make an L.
The rook is the piece that looks like a castle. The is a very strong piece, also referred to as a major piece, and is outranked only by queen.
The rook can move any number of squares up, down, and across. It can’t jump over material so at the beginning of the game, it also can’t move.
At the beginning of the game the rook is surrounded by a pawn and a knight. One mistake that beginners make is they never unleash the rook into the game. The rook rarely gets involved early in the game but you need to find a way later in the game to use the rook or you will have missed out on of your strongest pieces contributing to the game.
The pawn is the basic piece in chess and each side starts with eight. Each pawn is worth 1 point. While that may not seem like a lot, many good chess players can win a chess game if they have a 1 point advantage.
The pawn is the only piece on the chess board that can’t go backwards. It is also the only piece where you can’t move it the same number of squares the entire game. The first time you move a pawn you can move it one or two squares. Once the pawn has moved you can only move the pawn one square after that.
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