The Why and How of Chess ... The More Powerful Chessmen

The Rook

The rook moves horizontally and vertically any number of squares, forwards or backwards. In the diagram below the rook can move to any of the highlighted squares.

rookb.gif (5417 bytes)

However, other pieces can restrict its movement. In the diagram below, the rook can now only move to the highlighted squares.

rookc.gif (4975 bytes).

In the diagram above, the pieces blocking the rook are from the same army. If an enemy piece is standing in the way of the rook, it may be captured. In the diagram below the Black bishop is blocking the path of the rook. The rook is unable to travel past the square on which the bishop is standing but the rook can claim the bishop's square for itself! This is done by capturing the bishop.

rookd.gif (5684 bytes)

The capture is carried out by removing the bishop from the board and replacing it with the rook. In the diagram below, the rook has captured the bishop. Notice how the rook has not jumped over the bishop but has claimed the square for itself. All the chessmen capture in this way.

rooke.gif (5090 bytes)

The Bishop

The bishop moves diagonally any number of squares, forwards or backwards as long as its path is not blocked by other pieces. The diagram below shows all the possible squares to which the bishop may move. Each side has two bishops; one bishop moves along the light coloured squares and the other bishop moves along the dark coloured squares.

bishopb.gif (5384 bytes)

The Queen

The queen is the most powerful piece on the board. This is because it can control more squares than any other chessman. It moves straight forward, backwards or diagonally any number of squares as long as its path is not blocked by other pieces.. In the diagram the queen can move to any of the highlighted squares.

queenb.gif (5793 bytes)

The Knight

The knight moves in an L shape in any direction. FIDE Master, Graham Burgess (in The Mammoth Book of Chess) describes how his father, when helping him to visualise how the knight moves, told him to think of a "six" as displayed on a die or domino. The dots are displayed as either:

dice6.gif (186 bytes)

or

dice6.gif (186 bytes)

The knight moves from one corner to the furthest corner from it.

This is a good way to visualise how the knight moves. The knight in the following diagrams could move to the square marked with a cross:  

knightmove2.gif knightmove1.gif knightmove6.gif knightmove5.gif
knightmove3.gif knightmove4.gif knightmove8.gif knightmove7.gif

The knight changes the colour of the square it stands on with each move. Therefore, if it starts off on a light coloured square, when it has finished its move it will land on a dark coloured square.

The knight is the only piece whose journey is not impeded by other pieces on the board. If its destination square is vacant, it may jump over pieces in its way. Therefore, the white knight can move to any of the highlighted squares in the diagram below.

knightc.gif (6398 bytes)

The King

The king is the most important piece on the chessboard. It can never be captured and if it is in danger it must be made safe immediately. If it is not possible to make the king safe then the game is lost. The king may move one square in any direction. In the diagram the king is able to move to one of the highlighted squares.

kingb.gif (5469 bytes)

However, the king is the only piece that must never move on to a square that is being attacked by his opponent's pieces. In the diagram the king cannot move onto the squares marked with a cross because the black bishop is attacking those squares.

kingc.gif (5836 bytes)

If an enemy piece is on a square that the king can move to, the king may capture that piece. In the diagram the king may capture the rook

kingd.gif (5270 bytes)

The position shown in the diagram below is almost the same as in the diagram above. However, there is one very important difference. The bishop is now protecting the rook so that if the king captured the rook the king would be attacked by the bishop, we say the king would be in check as the Bishop would be able to capture the king on the next move. The king can never move himself into danger like this so he is unable to capture the rook.

kinge.gif (5454 bytes)

Consequently, because the king must never move on to a square that is being attacked by enemy pieces, two kings can never stand next to each other on the chessboard. The position in the diagram below is illegal.

kingf.gif (5351 bytes)

 

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