Winning at Chess

Protect the King at all costs

'Long live the King' is the basic requirement that you need to know if you are starting to learn how to play a chess game or chess match. Despite using the same board as checkers (64 alternate black and white squares in an 8 x 8 board) the chess pieces are completely different than checkers themselves. I believe that chess (of all the board games) is the most complex strategy game to master. The true beauty of the game of chess is that the King must survive despite the fact that he is the weakest chess piece on the chess board. The strongest piece, and the King's main protector, is the Queen. She is versatile and can move from top to bottom, right to left and vice versa as well as diagonally, in fact, she can move in any direction so long as it is in a straight line. The protagonists sit directly opposite each other with the chess set, chess clock and chessboard between them. A referee is needed for serious tournament Chess play.

Staunton Chess Set

Classic and best

Staunton No. 5 Tournament Chess Pieces w/ Wood Box
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(price as of Sep 3, 2013)

Chessmen or Chesswomen?

The King and Queen are the only two pieces that can be distinguished by gender as the remainingKing Lives pieces can be either male or female. Most people would assume that the Bishops and Knights are male but this is not definite. The Knight may in fact be equine. All of the chess set pieces are referred to as chessman, which may not be politically correct in the modern age. My favorite piece (pictured) is the Knight not just because of the intricate way in which it moves but because it is an iconic piece in the chess game. The best set you can buy is the classic Staunton set.

Tournament Staunton Complete Chess Set

Chess movement and strength

The Rooks move up, down or sideways but never on the diagonal which is the Bishops forte. Bishops, as mentioned, move diagonally but they remain on their starting color throughout the game (a Bishop that starts on a white square will never land on a black square and vice versa). The Queen can move everywhere on the chess board in any straight line, as mentioned above. She can move like a Bishop and then like a Rook but she cannot change direction mid move. The King can move only one square at a time, but he can move in any direction just like the Queen. His limitation is the single square at a time. Pawns move away from you towards the other player. If they reach the far end of the board (other players side of the board) they can be promoted to a higher piece.

Winning ways at the chess board

The rules on victory are simple as all you must do is capture the opposing King. A stalemate occurs if neither King falls. To improve your chess game play technique I suggest that you read chess books and play out the moves of the great players such as Bobby Fischer (the first US world chess champion, who broke the Russian monopoly on the game) who was the greatest chess grandmaster of all time. The great games of Fischer are rarely out of print and many of them can be found online. Apart from all the learning, the best way to improve is to play as many games as possible against players of your own strength (or better).

Gift for Chess players Black Gift Card Box - $50, Holiday Globe Card
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(price as of Sep 3, 2013)