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How To Play Chess:
A Beginner's Guide to Learning the Chess Game, Pieces, Board, Rules & Strategies
Table of Contents
What is chess?
2. How to Play
3. Basic Strategies
4. Beginner Strategies
5: Chess: The Players and The Changes
6. Checkmate: The Conclusion
CHESS IS A TWO-PLAYER BOARD GAME, played on a board of 64 squares. The chessboard is an eight-by-eight grid of alternating black and white squares (sometimes the colors can differ, but black and white are the most common colors). Each player has sixteen pieces which can move in a variety of ways (this will be explained later). The pieces are also either black or white; a white set for one player and a black set for the other player (again colors can vary). You can capture opponent pieces by landing on the same square as that piece and the object of the game is to put the opponent’s king in such a position that they cannot make a move without their king being captured. When this happens, it is deemed ‘checkmate’ and the game is over. A simple game which takes minutes to learn and a lifetime to master.
CHESS REALLY IS THE GAME OF KINGS! A game of intellectuals and commoners, the rich and the poor, the revered and the forgotten, the human race. Who you are outside of the board does not matter, for on the board you can be king.
The Shahnameh is an epic poem by the Persian poet Ferdowsi in which he offers an apocryphal account of the origins of the game of chess. Talhand and Gav are two half-brothers who are in competition for the throne of India. After meeting in battle, Talhand dies on his elephant without a wound. Their mother is distraught, she believes that Gav has killed his half-brother and when Gav tries to explain what happens, she does not believe him. The wise men of the day invent the game of chess to depict the events of the battle, through this they able to show the mother of the princes that Talhad, surrounded by all of his enemies, died of fatigue. The poem uses the term ‘Shah Mat’ (checkmate) to describe Talhand’s fate.
I love to imagine this alternate origin of the game of chess, but it is hard to argue with the historians who have traced the early beginnings of chess back to the Kushan Empire in ancient Afghanistan, dating this around 50BC-200AD. The precursor to chess brings us to the 6th century and the game we now know as chess originated somewhere around the 15th century in Europe.
The game of chaturanga was played in India during the Gupta Empire as early as the 6th century. chaturanga translates as ‘four divisions’ and describes the four divisions of the military; infantry, cavalry, elephantry, and chariotry. These four divisions became the modern-day pawn (infantry), knight (cavalry), bishop (elephantry) and rook (chariotry). I do not like to ponder the transformation from elephant to bishop.
From India, the game was taken to Persia and became part of the education of nobilities. Around the year 600AD, the name was shortened to chatrang, then evolved to shatranj; the Arab’s lack of ch and ng sounds contributing to this. During this time the rules began to evolve. The word ‘Shah’ is Perian for ‘King’, and when attaching the opposing king; ‘Shah Mat’ translated to ‘The king is helpless’. If you have a basic knowledge of chess terminology then you can predict the evolution of ‘Shah’ to ‘check’ and “Shah Mat’ to ‘Checkmate’ (we will discuss these terms late in the book).
After the Islamic conquest of Persia, the game was enjoyed throughout the Muslim world. The pieces kept their Persian names, but as the game spread across Europe the name began to change once more. Some countries, such as Spain and Greece, derived their name for chess from the name ‘shatranj’, becoming ‘acedrex’ or ‘zatrikion’. While other countries derived new names from the word for king. In Dutch the game was now ‘schaken’ and in Italian, it was ‘scacchi’.