Basic Rules of Play
Article 1: The nature and objective of the game of chess
Article 2: The initial position of the pieces on a chessboard
- Played between two players using a chessboard, where the player with lighter colored pieces moves first and then alternates each move until the conclusion of the game.
- Each player's objective is to place the opponent's king in 'checkmate' from an attack in which they have no legal move for escape. The player's whose king has been checkmated has lost the game.
- If neither player can reach a position of checkmate, the game is a draw.
Article 3: The movement of the piece
- The chessboard is made up of 8 squares by 8 squares or, a total of 64 alternatively light and dark colored squares. The chessboard is placed between the two players with the corner square on the right being light in color.
- At the beginning of the game each player starts with 16 pieces of the same color: a king, a queen, two bishops, two knights, two rooks, and eight pawns.
- Standard piece descriptions and their initial position on a chessboard as follows:
- A: The king is the biggest piece and distinguished by the crown with cross on top; sits on the square opposite of his color, center of the board on the back rank to the right of his queen.
- B: The queen is the second biggest piece with a crown, no cross; sits on her color at the center of the board on the back rank.
- C: The bishops are the two shorter and slender pieces, sometimes marked with a cross; they sit straddling the king and queen on the back rank.
- D: The knights take form as the head of a horse; sitting on the files next to the bishops.
- E: The rooks are the two castle towers; and they sit at the ends of the board on the main diagonals.
- F: All eight pawns are the smallest pieces, and the shape is similar to the bishop without crosses; they line the second rank, front lines to the opposite color.
- The vertical columns are called files and are numbered, and the horizontal columns are lettered alphabetically and called ranks. A straight
- line of the same colored squares connected from corner to corner is called a diagonal.
Article 4:The act of moving the pieces
- Moving a piece to a square that is occupied by a piece of the same color is not permitted. If the square is occupied by an opponent's piece, the piece is captured and removed from the board as a part of the same move. The piece is said to attack an opponent's piece according articles 3.2 through 3.8.
A piece is still said to be attacking a square even though it can not leave its square because it would leave or place the king of the same color under attack.
- The bishop may move along any diagonal of the color which it stands.
- The rook may move along the rank or file which it stands.
- The queen may move along any rank, file, or diagonal which it stands.
- When moving with the bishop, rook, or queen it may not move over any intervening pieces.
- The knight may move to the nearest square, yet not on the same rank, file, or diagonal (In any direction, up 2 squares over 1, or a capitol "L" shaped jump).
- A: Pawns may move to an unoccupied square immediately in front of them on the same file.
- B: A pawn on its first move only can advance two squares on the same file provided the spaces are unoccupied.
- C: The pawn may capture a piece on a square occupied by an opponent's piece, which is diagonally in front of it and on the adjacent file.
- D: A pawn attacking a square which has been crossed by an opponent's pawn on a two step opening advancement can capture the piece using en passant on the next move only.
- E: When a pawn reaches the rank farthest from its starting rank (the opponent's back rank) it must be exchanged for a queen, rook, knight, or bishop of the same color. The player choice is not limited to pieces captured earlier in the game. The pawns promotion is effective immediately.
- A:There are two ways of moving the king.
- i: He may move to any adjoining square not under attack by an opponent's piece, or
- ii: By castling, a move which counts as a single move, where the king and rook of the same color execute as follows: the king moving from his original square is transferred two squares towards the rook, then that rook is transferred to the square the king crossed over.
- (1) The king's right to castle is lost,
- a: If the king already moved, or
- b: With a rook that has already moved.
- (2) Castling is temporarily prevented,
- a: When the king's square is under attack, or if the square the king is to occupy, or the square he crosses over is under attack by the opponent's piece.
- b: If there is a piece between the rook and the king.
- The king is said to be 'in check' if its square is under attack by an opponent's piece, even if such piece is restrained from moving to that square because doing so would leave king of that color in check.
A piece can not be moved if it will expose the king to a direct attack by an opponent's piece.
Article 5: The completion of the game
- Each move must be made with one hand.
- The intentional adjustment of any piece on their square must be expressed by the player prior to the adjustment.
- With the exception in article 4.2, if a player on their move deliberately touches on the chessboard,
- A: One or more pieces, they must move the first piece touched that can be moved, or
- B: One or more of their opponent's pieces, they must capture the first piece touch, which can be captured, or
- C: One piece of each color, they must capture their opponent's piece with that piece, unless the move is illegal, then the need to move or capture the first piece touched which can be moved or captured.
- A: It a player touches a rook and king deliberately he must castle to the side of the rook he touched if the move is legal.
- B: If the player is not able to castle to that side on that move the situation shall be governed by article 4.3(A)
- C: A player is free to make any legal move after touching the king and rook at the same time, if the intent was to castle and was unable because it was illegal.
- D: If a player promotes a pawn the choice is finalized when that piece touches the promotion square.
- If none of the pieces touched can be moved legally, the player can make any legal move.
- When a piece is released on a square in part of a legal move, the piece can not be moved to another square.
- A: In the case of capture, when the opponent's piece has been removed, and the player removes their hand from their piece on the new square.
- B: In the case of castling, when the player releases the rook on the square that was passed by the king. When the player releases the king the move is not yet complete, but no longer make any move other than castling to that side, if this is legal.
- C: In the case of promotion, when the player removes the pawn and places the new piece on the promotion square. When the pawn reaches the promotion square, the player losses the right to move the pawn to another square.
- A player forfeits their right to a claim against their opponent's violation of articles 4.3 and 4.4 once he deliberately touches a piece.
- The game is won by:
- A: Placing the opponent's king in checkmate, and if position is legal the game is over immediately.
- B: The player whose opponent declares they resign.
- The game is drawn:
- A: If either player is unable to move legally and is not in checkmate, this position is often referred to as 'stalemate'.
- B: If a position arises which neither player can checkmate the other player's king.
- C: Upon agreement of the two players.
- D: If the same position is repeated or appears it will be repeated three times.
- E: When each player completes 50 moves without any pawn movement and a piece being captured.
I created this node because the game of chess over the centuries has developed a complex set of rules and high level of ethics governing the integrity of its game play, and by providing this copy I hope to lend a helping hand in furthering the basic knowledge of chess to more people. The information has been provided by FIDE because, unlike USCF rule book, it's public domain. The remaining articles relate to competition play, and can be found at: