How to Play Chess

Two Girls Playing a Game of Chess in a Living Room
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What is Chess?

Chess is a board game played by two players. Each player controls an army of 16 pieces - one white, one black. Starting with white, the players take turns moving one piece each turn. Each piece moves in a unique manner, and understanding how the pieces move is a must when learning how to play chess.


    Starting a Chess Game

    The first step in starting a chess game is learning how to properly setting up the board. The two armies oppose each other across the board, with the smallest pieces -- pawns -- manning each army's second row, and the larger pieces on the first row. The royal couple of king and queen sit in the center of the army, flanked by the bishops, knights and rooks.


    The Object of Chess

    After learning how to play chess, you'll want to know how to win. The ultimate goal in chess is to trap the leader of the opposing army - the king. This is called checkmate, and results in a win for the checkmating side.


    Strategy and Tactics

    Learning how to play chess goes beyond understanding the rules. Strategy and tactics are both crucial to playing better chess. Long term strategic plans revolve around ideas such as material, space, development and king safety.

    Tactics are short-term, forced sequences that can quickly change the course of the game. Forks, pins and skewers are among the most common tactical motifs.


    Phases of the Game

    Most chess games go through three phases: the opening, the middlegame and the endgame.

    In the opening, both sides develop their pieces and formulate their plans. The middlegame is where the largest battles are waged between the two armies. The final phase, the endgame, is a tense battle between the few remaining forces on the board.