Chess is a wonderful game that has been around for centuries. Chess is low impact on the environment. Chess sets come in the variety from very beautiful to very inexpensive. You can even play chess with out a set on line, or with a game called "Chess Titans" an application software you can load on any computer. Chess is a old game and endlessly intriguing. There is no end to the skill you can achieve. Since every player is different you can continue to have different, thought provoking, difficult games.

One of the misnomers about chess is that it is for "geeks" or brains. The truth is little kids like this game because it's a battle. Older people like it because it's a puzzle. It's very good brain practice because it teaches you how to think a few moves ahead, to make calculated sacrifices and strategy. If you are a teenage girl and you are avoiding this game because you think its for nerds I encourage you to reconsider. You will meet a lot of boys playing this game, smart boys. Smart boys grow up to be Steve Jobs and Bill Gates and fly planes and drive BMWs. Even if you don't become the darling of your high school chess club, you won't do bad teaching your self how to think in an organized manner.

The first thing you want to do is familiarize yourself with the pieces. Unlike checkers, chess has different pieces each capable of different moves. There are eight pawns. Two castles, two knights, two bishops, one queen and one king. Sixteen pieces altogether on each side.

Pawns foot soldiers, however, if you can get one pawn all the way across the board to the opponents side, you may trade in your pawn for a higher piece of your choice. Most people chose the queen, because the queen can may the most varied moves. Pawns move straight ahead when marching, and they capture other pieces moving on a diagonal. Most of the time they may move only one space at a time, either forward, or one space on the forward diagonal if they are capturing. They may only move forward, not backward. On their very first move they have the special privilege of moving two spaces if they wish, only on their initial move.

Behind the pawns area row of pieces starting from the left the first piece is called a castle or a rook. This piece may move any number of spaces forward or back in straight lines. If no pieces remain inbetween the king and the castle and neither king nor castle has moved yet they may make one special move called "castling." To castle, the king moves two spaces to the left and the castle moves to the opposite of the king if you are castling left. If you are castling right the king moves one space to the right and the castle on the right side winds up to the left of the king. You may not make this move if it puts in the king in check or if he passes through check as you are switching around your pieces.

Next to the castle are knights. These are the only pieces which may jump other pieces in their moves. They move in "L" shapes, one space over and two up or two spaces over and one up in any direction.

Next to the knights are bishops. Bishops may move any number of spaces forward or back on the diagonal. Lastly the queen, is kind of a combination of bishops and rooks. There is only one of her, and she can not jump over pieces like a knight. She is very useful though, because she can move any number of spaces forward or back on the diagonal or on a straight line. The king may move any direction, only one space at a time.

The object of the game is to get the king in checkmate. Early on, you may see the game about capturing other pieces, that certainly will aid you in keeping your opponent from checking you. The strategy though, is getting your pieces locked around the king for a checkmate. The king is in "check" when your opponents pieces have set to capture him. Once the king is in check you may not make any other move other than getting your king out of check.

There are basically three ways to get out of check. By capturing the checking piece, by moving the king out of the line of fire, or by placing a piece inbetween the checking piece and the king, called "blocking." If the king is in check by a knight, you may not block, because the knights may jump other pieces in their maneuvers. Once the king is out of check regular play continues. Check mate signifies that the king can not get out of check by any means and the game is over. A game is considered a draw if neither person can check the other person due to a lack of playing pieces. In a draw neither person wins. You may win on a stale mate, which is not nearly as exciting or satisfying as a checkmate. In a stale mate you have more pieces than your opponent, who gives up because while no move exists to actually check the king, he also concedes he can not win.

In a regular game the white side goes first, which means the white side should be on the offensive and the black the defensive. When you first start out this is less true. A good way to get good is to learn with someone else of the same level and occasionally play someone better. There are some nasty strategies in competition games, such as creating a diversion so that the opponent can't think. You don't usually run into this during a friendly game at the park, be prepared if you are playing with teenage boys. The idea that it is a "gentleman's game" isn't true.

Software chess such as chess titans or stand alone electronic chess sets have the advantage of settings. You can set to beginner and work your way up. A computer though, plays like a computer. IF you join an online club through AOL or by using a search engine you can play people all over the world. Real people, being people will bring to the table a personal eleme