Chess board setup contains 6 unique types of pieces in chess which are king, queen, rook, knight, and bishop. Chess is a recreational board game of strategic skill played between two players. The traditional colors of chess are black and white. Chess is played on a square board having 64 squares arranged in an eight-by-eight grid. Chess contains 32 pieces: 2 kings, 2 queens, 4 rooks, 4 knights, 4 bishops, and 16 pawns. Each player (one controls the white pieces and 2nd controls the black pieces) controls 16 pieces. The object of chess is to attack the king of the opponent player, from where escape is impossible. Chess is sometimes known as Western chess or international chess to distinguish it from its variants such as xiangqi. The pieces of chess are known as chess pieces or chessmen. Chess has been known as the “royal game”, for the last 15 centuries, because of its popularity among the nobility.
Chess is a game of strategy and tactics. Chess is a hard and tough game to learn because of its 16 pieces and their unique movements. Chess sets come in many varieties and colors but the traditional colors of chess are white and black. The main purpose of chess is to trap the king of the opponent player. Each player wants to trap the king of the opponent player. When your king is trapped then your king is called “checkmate” and the game is finish. You can also win the game when your opponent gives up. If someone gives up in chess, it is called “resigning” in chess. The player with the white pieces goes first and the player with black pieces goes second. Both players must move one piece to a new square with each turn. There are no dice in chess and there is a unique way to move pieces and it is up to players that which pieces they want to move first. Each piece of chess has a unique power and to become a pro player, you have to understand the power of all the pieces and how they can be used to win the game. Chess was first appeared in India, in the 6th century and spread from Asia to the Middle East and Europe in the 10th century.
History of Chess
The history of chess can be found back nearly 1500 years but the earliest origin of chess is still unknown. Probably the game originated in India in the 6th century.
The earliest precursor of modern chess flourished in India in the 6th century and was called “chaturanga”. Chaturanga had different pieces that had different powers but the victory was depended on only one piece (as in modern chess the victory depends upon the king). The translation of chaturanga is “the four divisions” that are elephantry, chariotry, cavalry, and infantry. These forms are represented by the pieces that would evolve into bishop, rook, bishop, and knight respectively. Ashtāpada (a square board of eight-by-eight grid) was used as the mainboard to play chaturanga. However, Dasapada (a square board of ten-by-ten grid) and Saturankam (a square board of nine-by-nine grid) were also used to play chaturanga.
In the late 18th century, Hiram Cox proposed a theory that was later developed by Duncan Forbes. This theory is called the Cox-Forbes theory. According to Cox-Forbes’s theory, “chaturanga” was derived from the game chaturaji (chaturaji is a game played between four players, the traditional colors of chaturaji were black, green, red, and yellow)”. However, now this theory is not acceptable.
In Sanskrit, the meaning of chaturanga is “having four limbs”. In narrative poems, the meaning of chaturanga is “army” and the four parts of the army are elephants, chariots, horsemen, foot soldiers. Chaturanga was a battle-stimulation game.
Some people played chaturanga by using dice. Dice were used to decide the movement of pieces. People used different names for the pieces of chess. These names are
|Old names||Modern names|
In China, people played a game called “xiangqi”. Xiangqi was derived from chaturanga. Xiangqi is also known as “Elephant chess” or “Chinese chess”. It is played between two players. The object of xiangqi is similar to chess, “to attack the opponent’s king”. There are 7 pieces in this game. These are general, advisor, elephant, horse, chariot, canon, and soldiers. The pieces of xiangqi are flat, as in the game “Checker”. The pieces of xiangqi are placed on intersections of lines, as in the game “Go (a game played in China in the 6th century)” It is not played in squares. People of China believe that modern chess is derived from xiangqi.
“Shogi” was the variant of chess in Japan. It was played on a square board of a nine-by-nine grid. The captor could use the captured pieces as his force in this game. Later shogi was changed into “dai shogi”. Dai shogi was played on a square board of fifteen-by-fifteen grid. It had many different pieces. In the 14th century, dai shogi was changed into “chu shogi” which was played on a smaller square board of a twelve-by twelve grid. “Courier chess” was also the variant of chess in Japan and it was played on the board of an eight-by-twelve grid.
“Tamerlane chess” was the variant of chess in Europe. It was first played by Amir Timur (Turco-Mongol conqueror who founded the Timurid Empire). We know that black and white are the two traditional colors of chess but in Europe, black and red colors were used to make a chessboard. This game represents the high culture and the nobility of Europe.
In the Arab world, chess was known as “Chatrang”. When a player was threatening the king of the opponent person, he was called “Shah” and when the king could not escape from the attack, this situation was called “Shah mat”. Later, Chatrang was given the name “shatranj”.
In Thailand, the variant of chess was called “Makruk”. Makruk was also derived from the Indian game chaturanga. Makruk had also 6 pieces, Khun (king), met (queen), khon (bishop), ma (knight), ruea (rook), bia (pawn).
In Mongolia, the variant of chess was called “Shatar”. “Haishatar” was also a variant of chess played by the people of Mongolia. It was played on a square board of a ten-by-ten grid. It also has six pieces as in modern chess.
Names of chessman in different languages
|King||Rex||Raja (king)||Raja (king)||Shah||Re||Rey||Roi|
|Queen||Regina||Mantra (minister)||Mantri (minister)||Vazir||Regina||Reina or dama||Dame|
|Bishop or count or councilor||Calvus or comes or episcopus||Hati (elephant)||Gajah (war elephant)||Pil||Alfiere||Alfil or Obispo||Fou|
|Knight||Miles or eques||Ghora (horse)||Ashva (horse)||Asp||Cavallo||Caballo||Cavalier|
|Rook or margrave or castle||Rochus or marchio||Nowka||Ratha (chariot)||Rokh||Torre or rocco||Torre or roque||Tour|
|Pawn||Pedes or pedinus||Shoinnya||Padati (footman)||Piadeh||Pedone or pedina||Peon||Pion|
Chess is a recreational board game of strategy and tactics. It is played between two players. It has 6 types of unique pieces. Black and white are the traditional colors of chess. The main purpose of chess is to attack the king of the opponent player. Chess is called the royal game because of its popularity among the nobility. There are no dice in chess. Chaturanga is the earliest precursor of modern chess. It was played in India in the 6th century. According to Cox-Forbes’s theory, chaturanga was derived from the game chaturaji. Chinese people played a game, called xiangqi. Xiangqi was derived from chaturanga and also called Elephant chess or Chinese chess. Shogi was the variant of chess in Japan. Tamerlane chess was the variant of chess in Europe. Shatranj, makruk, and shatar are variants of chess in Arab, Thailand, and Mongolia respectively.
Pieces of chess
There are six unique types of pieces in chess, king, queen, bishop, knight, rook, and pawn. The number of these pieces are 32, 2 kings, 2 queens, 4 rooks, 4 knights, 4 bishops, and 16
pawns. Each chessman has its unique power and if you want to win the game you must understand the power of each chessman. Each player controls 16 pieces. 16 pieces are black and the other 16 pieces are white.
King (♔, ♚) is not the most powerful chessman but it is the most important chessman. There are two kings in the game. One king is black and the other is white. You lose the game if you have lost your king. The purpose of the game is to attack the opponent’s king. Each player wants to protect his/her king. When your king is under direct attack, it is called “check” and when your king is trapped, it is called “checkmate”. King is the most important piece but at the same time, it is the weakest piece of the game.
The white king is placed on e1 square and the black king is placed on e8 square. The color of e1 square and e8 square must be opposite to the color of the king such that the color of e1 square should be dark because the color of its king is white and the color of e8 square should be white because the color of its king is black.
The king can’t jump over the material and it can move one square in any direction (horizontally, vertically, or diagonally). As the king can’t jump over the other pieces so it can’t move at the start of the game because it is surrounded by other pieces. If the
Check and checkmate:
If a king is under direct attack, it is called check and if the king cannot escape from the attack, it is called checkmate. If the king is checkmated, the game is finish.
The queen (♕, ♛) is the most powerful piece in chess. There are two queens in chess, one is black and the other is white. It combines the move of the both rook and the bishop. It can move in any direction.
The white queen is placed on d1 while the black queen is placed on d8. The color of d1 and d8 squares must be the same as the color of queens placed on them (the color of d1 should be white and the color of d8 should be dark).
The queen can move in any direction (horizontally, vertically, or diagonally) and into any unoccupied square. The queen can’t jump over the other pieces of chess and it is used to capture the pieces of the opponent player.
The rook (♖, ♜) resembles the castle. There are four rooks in chess, 2 rooks are black and the other 2 are white. It is also a very strong piece and considered the major piece of chess. The rook can be outranked only by the queen.
The white rooks are placed on a1 and h1squares and the black rooks are placed on a8 and h8 squares. It means all 4 rooks are placed on four corners of the chessboard.
The rook can move in any direction (horizontally, vertically, or diagonally) but it cannot jump over the other pieces. It means it can’t move at the start of the game because it is surrounded by the pawn and knight. Rook also helps the king in a special move called castling.
The bishop (♗, ♝) is the minor chess piece and it is not much strong as compared to other pieces of chess. There are 4 bishops, two bishops are black and the other 2 are white. Bishops work in pairs.
The white bishops are on c1 and f1 squares and the black bishops are placed on c8 and f8 squares. It means they are located quite next to the king and the queen.
The bishops can move diagonally as many squares but they cannot jump over the other pieces except knights.
The knight (♘, ♞) is also the minor chessman. It looks like a horse or represented by the head and neck of the horse. It has a very unique movement and this is the reason that why it is called the most complicated piece to understand. There are four knights in chess. Two knights are black and the other two are white.
Knights are placed quite next to bishops. The white knights are placed on b1 and g1 squares and the black knights are placed on b8 and g8 squares.
The knight is the only piece of chess that can jump over the other pieces of chess. Knights and pawns are the only pieces that can move at the start of the game.
Pawns (♙, ) are the basic and the most numerous pieces in the game of chess. There are 16 pawns in chess. 8 pawns are black and the other 8 are white. Pawns are the weakest pieces but no doubt that they play a vital role in the game of chess.
They are placed in front of all the pieces. The white pawns are placed on a2, b2, c2, d2, e2, f2, g2, and h2 squares while the black pawns are placed on a7, b7, c7, d7, e7, f7, g7, and h7 squares.
At the first turn, players can move their pawns one or two steps further at their first turn but after that pawns can be moved only one square. The pawns can’t move in the backward direction. The other pieces support the pawns in the early stages but later on the pawns play a vital role in the movement of other pieces.
There are 2 kings, 2 queens, 4 rooks, 4 knights, 4 bishops, and 16 pawns in chess. 16 pieces are white and the other 16 are black. Each player controls 16 pieces. King is not the most powerful chessman but it is the most important chessman while the queen is the most powerful chess piece. All the pieces can’t jump over other pieces except Knights.
Chess board setup
If you want to play chess then the first thing you need to do is to set up the chessboard.
It is most important to place the board in the right position. You have to lay out the board with light squares in the bottom right corner of each player. You can remember this as “white on right”.
Put all your pawns in the second row from the point of view of each player. To place all the pawns first will help you in clearing the piles of pieces.
Place your 4 rooks in the 4 corners of the chessboard just like the towers in the real castle.
Place your four knights quite next to the four rooks.
Place your four bishops quite next to the four knights.
There is a little bit of confusion in the placement of both queens. So the easy way to remember the place of queens is that the queens want to match their outfits. The white queen is placed on the white square with the bishop and the black queen is placed on the dark square with the bishop.
Place your kings quite next to both queens.
Make sure that the chessboard setup is correct
All the squares of the first and second rows (of both sides) must be occupied.
All the pieces should be used in the chessboard setup.
All the pieces of chess should be mirroring each other. For example, the white king should directly face the black king on the other side of the board.
The bottom-right square of each player should be light. If not, then your chess board setup is completely wrong and you have to do it from step 1.
When the chess board setup is completed, the game begins. The player with the white pieces always goes first and the player with the black pieces goes second. Now, it is up to you that who will go first and who will second. You can decide it by tossing a coin or by simply agreement.
The correct chess board setup is necessary for playing a chess game. The player with the white pieces goes first and the player with black pieces goes second. It is up to players that who go first.
Competitions of chess all around the world
Matches and tournaments
Chess is played at the national and international levels. Thousands of matches, festivals, and chess tournaments are held every year around the world.
Round-robin tournaments are held in which a small number of players can take part. In a round-robin tournament, each player has to play one game against every other player.
Swiss system tournaments are also held in which a large number of players can take part. In a swiss system tournament, each player is paired against an opponent player who has the same (or as similar as possible) score in each round.
Different matches are also held at the national and international levels. In matches, two teams are made, both teams play against each other.
Titles in the game chess
The players who win in the different matches and tournaments are awarded lifetime titles by FIDE (the international chess federation). These titles are given according to the Elo chess rating Elo rating system (the system of calculating the relative skills of players in the game chess).
This title is awarded to the world-class chess master. Grandmaster is the highest title in the game of chess. The player who has at least 2500 points according to the Elo rating system is awarded by this title. The player, who won the title, must be the winner of the “world junior championship of chess”.
International master (IM):
The player who has at least 2400 points according to the Elo rating system is awarded this reward.
Fide master (FM):
If the player has at least 2300 points according to the Elo rating system, he was awarded this title.
Candidate master (CM):
The player who has at least 2200 points according to the Elo rating system is awarded the title of Candidate Master (CM).
The above title can be given to both men and women. There are also separate titles for women. These titles are,
Woman Grandmaster (WGM)
Woman International Master (WIM)
Woman Fide Master (WFM)
Woman Candidate Master (WCM)
Magnus Carlsen achieved the highest FIDE rating that was 2881 in March 2014.
Variants of chess
There are more than two thousand variants of chess.
Chaturanga which was played in India.
Shatranj which was played in the Arab world.
Xiangqi , Makruk, Janggi, Shogi, Sittuyin, and Shatar. These all are games of East Asia.
Computer chess has software and hardware that are capable of playing chess. You can also play computer chess in absence of a human opponent. Computer chess provides opportunities for analysis, entertainment, and training.
Chess is played at the national and international levels. Thousand of chess matches and tournaments are held every year around the world. Different titles are awarded to the winner of these matches and tournaments. There are separate titles for women. There are more than two thousand variants of chess. These are chaturanga, shatranj, xiangqi, makruk, janggi, shogi, sittuyin, and shatar. You can also play chess on the computer even in the absence of a human opponent.
Benefits of playing chess
There are many brain benefits of playing chess. Chess helps in improving the health of the brain.
Prevents Alzheimer’s disease
Brain tissues work when you play chess. Chess is the best exercise for brain tissues and muscles. If the tissues and muscles of the brain do not work, the brain loses its power. Chess is the best way to the exercise tissues and muscles of the brain. In this way, chess protects us from many brain diseases like Alzheimer’s disease.
As we all know that the right hemisphere of the brain is responsible for creativity. Chess can increase the creativity level of the right hemisphere of the brain. Teenagers must play chess for increasing their creativity.
Playing chess can improve your memory. According to research on chess in 1985, “young students, who play chess every day, show the better result in all subjects. They have better organization skills and verbal skills”.
Improves reading skills
Dr. Stuart Margulies, in 1991, compare the students who play chess with the non-chess playing students. He found that the students who played chess had better performance in reading as compared to the students who didn’t play chess.
Increases growth of dendrites
Playing chess increases the growth of dendrites. More dendrites in the brain are helpful in the better working of brain tissues and muscles.
There are different benefits of playing chess on daily basis. It improves memory, increases the growth of dendrites, improves reading skills, increases creativity level, and also prevents many brain diseases.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
1. Who is called the father of chess?
Wilhelm Steinitz is considered the father of chess because he was the first world champion in chess. He gave many instructions about chess in his book “The Modern Chess Instructor” which was published in 1889.
2. Why chess is given the name of chess?
Chess is an acronym.
3. Which piece of chess is the most important?
King is not the strongest piece but it is the most important piece of chess. If the king of a player is trapped then the player is lost and the game is finished.
4. What is the main purpose of chess?
The main purpose of chess is to trap the king of the opponent player. If a king is under direct attack, it is called check and when a king is trapped, it is called checkmate. The game is finished after the checkmate.
5. Which piece of chess can’t move in a backward direction?
The pawn can’t move in the backward direction. This is the only piece of chess that can’t move in the backward direction.
6. Can pawns kill the king?
No, pawns can’t kill the king of the opponent player. They are helpful in blocking and trapping the king for checkmate.
7. Can chess increase your IQ level?
Yes, chess can increase the IQ level of a person. It can improve your intelligence, empathy, and memory.
8. Is chess is bad for you?
Chess is very good for the brain but at the same time, it is considered harmful and bad for the mind, body, and soul. Chess can lead to bad habits alcoholism, anti-semitism, extreme arrogance, vindictiveness and encourages the development of mental illnesses.
9. Why chess is considered a hard and tough game?
Chess is called a hard and tough game because of its 32 pieces (16 for each player) and the unique movement of all the pieces.
10. What are the advantages of playing chess every day?
If you play chess every day, it will increase the growth of dendrites which results in a better quality of neural communication throughout the brain.
Chess is a game of strategy and tactics that is played between two players. It is played on the square board of an eight-by-eight grid. It has 6 types of unique pieces, king, queen, bishop, knight, rook, and pawn. White and black are traditional colors of chess. Chess is known as the royal game because of its popularity among the nobility. Chess was derived from the game chaturanga which was played in India in the 6th century. Different variants of chaturanga were also played in different countries. These variants were Xiangqi, Makruk, Janggi, Shogi, Sittuyin, and Shatar. Correct chess board setup is very important in playing chess. Different matches and tournaments of chess are held every year at the national and international level and different titles are given to winners. Playing chess every day is helpful in increasing creativity level and improving brain stamina.