Chess: What you need to know to get started, pt. one.

Playing chess is both fun and intellectually stimulating. Chess is a game of strategy and psychology that will develop your analytical and abstract thinking skills. If you're interested in learning how to play and dream of becoming a grandmaster, you'll need to anticipate your opponent's moves and think carefully before executing your own.

Becoming a chess master can take years of practice. However, once you start enjoying the games, the game becomes addictive. If you've never played before, you'll need to start with the basics.

The chessboard

The chessboard has remained largely unchanged since its invention in India around the 7th century. By then, the game was called "Chaturanga" and was played on a single-colored square board with 64 spaces. Although the dimensions have not changed to this day, the first boards with the typical checkered pattern were produced around the 10th century, when the game first arrived in Europe.

The chess pieces

Both players start the game with 16 single colored pieces. Light-colored pieces are called “white”, while dark-colored pieces are called “black”. Also, each type of piece has a series of rules that govern its movement:

  • 1 king, which can move in all directions (vertical, horizontal and diagonal) but only one square, as long as it is not in “check”, or threatened. This is the most important piece and determines the winner of the game.
  • 1 lady or queen, which can move in all directions and as many spaces as possible.
  • 2 towers which can only move vertically or horizontally as many spaces as possible.
  • 2 bishops that can move diagonally as many spaces as possible.
  • 2 knights that move in an “L” shape, two squares horizontally and one vertically, or vice versa. Knights are the only pieces that can move over other pieces.
  • 8 pawns which can only move one square forward, except the first time each one moves, when they can move forward two spaces.

How to place the chess pieces

To start a game of chess, you must place the board in the proper direction and position each of the pieces where it belongs. The board must be placed so that there is a light colored square in the lower right corner of the row most next to each player.

On the other hand, each player must choose a color. Starting in the row closest to each other, the pieces should be arranged as follows:

The queen must go in the central square that corresponds to her color. That is, the white queen in the light central square and the black one in the dark one. The king is placed on the other central square, right next to the queen. The two bishops are then placed, one on each side of the kings. Next to the bishops the two knights are placed and finally the rooks in each corner. The eight pawns are placed on the next row.

This image shows how the board should look like after placing all the pieces:

tablero de ajedrez

Once you have the board and tiles set up correctly, you're ready to start playing. In the next post we will explain the objective of the game and everything you need to play your first game. Welcome to the wonderful world of chess!

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