Motherfucking [CHESS]

that's rough, buddyRegistered User regular
edited February 2014
Chess is an old-ass game! Maybe you learned it as a kid, maybe you didn't, maybe you're some sort of fuckin' chess wizard who's put tens of thousands hours into learning its deep, dark secrets.

The first step in learning chess is to learn the basic rules:

1) What does the board look like?
2) What are the pieces? Where do they start? How do they move?
3) How do you win (or lose, or draw) a game of chess?

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THE BOARD
Looks like this:

White squares in the bottom right corner.

Looking at the board where White's pieces are on the bottom, you can label the columns from left to right: a, b, c, d, e, f, g, h. You can also label the rows from bottom to top: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. For example, the white king starts on the e1 square, and the black king starts on the e8 square.

THE PIECES
Each side has five different types of pieces, plus pawns. PAWNS ARE NOT PIECES.

Each piece/pawn moves in different ways:

Pawns ("Pawns")

Pawns move like this:
[img]http://0.tqn.com/d/chess/1/5/8/-/-/-/PawnMoves.gif[/url] Pawns can only move forward. If they are still on their starting square, they can move either one or two squares forward; otherwise, they can only move one square forward. They can only capture[/img]diagonally, again still moving forward.

There is a special case for pawn captures called en passant; the idea is, if your opponent moves a pawn two squares forward, and you would have been able to capture it with one of your pawns if it had only moved forward one square, you are allowed to capture it as though it were on that square. See image:

If a pawn reaches the far side of the board, it can be promoted into a piece of your choosing (queen, rook, bishop, pr knight).

Bishops and Knights ("Minor Pieces")

Bishops move like this:

Bishops can move diagonally, any number of squares so long as they are not blocked by a friendly or enemy piece. Bishops, like all other pieces, capture in the same way as they move.

Knights move like this:

Knights hop in an "L''-shape, and can jump over friendly or enemy pieces.

Rooks and the Queen ("Major Pieces")

Rooks move like this:

Rooks can move vertically or horizontally, any number of squares so long as they are not blocked by a friendly or enemy piece.

The queen moves like this:

Queen = rook + bishop, and can move any number of squares along any of the cardinal or intercardinal directions.

The King ("Don't Let This Guy Die")

The king moves like this:

The king can move one square in any direction. He also is the sole win condition in chess: if you capture the enemy king, you win; if your king is captured, you lose.

The king has a special case for movement called "castling," in which he moves two squares to his left or right, and the rook on that side of him hops over him by one square. See diagram:

The white pieces show the position of the king and rook before castling, and the black pieces show their positions after castling.

To castle, the following must be true:
1) The king and rook involved must not have moved from their original squares (even moving and then returning to those squares will permanently revoke your right to castle)
2) The king must not be in "check" (under attack).
3) While castling, the king may not pass through a square that would put him in check.
4) The king may not end up on a square that would leave him in check.

Quick Aside: Algebraic Chess Notation
Chess games are recorded as a series of moves than can be uniquely defined using algebraic chess notation. See link for details.

MORE ON WINNING, LOSING, OR DRAWING
As mentioned above in the rundown of each piece, the goal of chess is to protect your own king while capturing the enemy king.

Whenever a piece or pawn attacks the enemy king, the king is said to be "check." The rules of chess state that you are not allowed to ignore being in check, and you must parry the threat in one of three ways:
1) Move your king to a square that is not attacked by an enemy piece/pawn;
2) (Legally) move one of your pieces/pawns into a position that blocks the attack(s) which are putting your king in check;
3) Capture the piece/pawn that is attacking your king.

If you are in check, and none of options 1-3 are legally available to you, you are said to be in "check-mate." The game is over. You lose. You get nothing. Good day, sir.

In addition to winning and losing, there are three broad cases in which a game will be drawn:

1) One player does not have any legal moves. This most often occurs when one player only has his king on the board. If (say) the king is not in check, but moving his king to any available square would put the king in check, there are no legal moves and the game is a draw.
2) Neither player has sufficient "material" to checkmate the enemy king. This (again) most often occurs when both players on have their king on the board. However, if a player plays optimally, it is not possible to force a checkmate with only a king+bishop, or only a king+knight. King+rook can force checkmate, as can (obviously) king+queen. King+pawn can not force checkmate on their own, but if the pawn is in a position where it's possible to safely promote, that will provide sufficient material.
3) One player can force "perpetual check." This is a case where a player can play a repeating sequence of two (or more) moves which will result in infinite checks, but not checkmate. The player who is giving perpetual check can force a draw in this instance.

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Alright, you're past step 1. You understand what the board looks like, what the pieces are and how they move, and how to win the game.

Step 2 is understanding basic strategy. The two main concepts here are a) the relative "value" of each piece and pawn, and b) the three "phases" of the game.

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Each piece/pawn you have on the board is referred to as "material." Rough point values have been ascribed to everything except the king, to give players an idea of how they're doing during a game:

Pawn: 1 point
Knight: 3 points
Bishop: 3 points
Rook: 5 points
Queen: 9 points

Bishops are sometimes said to be worth slightly more than Knights, but context and positioning is key to evaluating bishop vs. knight.

There is a general concept that underlies the point valuations for each piece/pawn: if you can (safely) exchange pieces/pawns in such a way that you are capturing more points' worth of opposing "material" than your opponent is capturing of yours, you are said to be "winning the exchange." Having more material than your opponent is an excellent way to set yourself up to win the game. If you can exchange a rook for your opponent's queen, it's almost always correct to do it!

PHASES: OPENING, MIDGAME, AND ENDGAME
The opening phase of a game has a weirdly circular definition. you have three general goals in the opening:
1) Gain control of some of the center squares of the board (d4, d5, e4, e5)
2) "Develop" some of your pieces (meaning, get them off the back row, where they can exert control over more squares
3) Get your king into safety. This is usually (but not always) accomplished by castling.

The opening is said to be done when you have... accomplished the goals of the opening.

During the midgame, you are looking to attack your opponent's pieces and pawns, and defend your opponent's attacks. You accomplish these goals in the following ways:
1) Capturing undefended pieces or pawns
2) Attacking an enemy piece/pawn with more attackers than the opponent has defending it. So long as you're trading your pieces for pieces of equal (or greater value), you will finish the attack ahead on the exchange.
3) Presenting more threats than your opponent can deal with. You only get one move per turn, so making the most of that move is key. Often, if you can move a piece/pawn in such a way that it attacks two or more enemy pieces/pawns at once (the "double attack"), your opponent can only move one of them out of the way.
4) Employing tactics to create situations like the ones presented in points 1-3. For example, you may advance a pawn forward in such a way that it attacks an enemy piece, and after your enemy retreats that piece, it may leave something else undefended as a result of being forced to reposition itself.

You advance to the endgame when one player decides they have a significant enough advantage that want to substantially reduce the number of pieces/pawns on the board through exchanges. In the endgame, the goal is to check-mate your opponent.

I realize this is a nebulous definition.

There's a basic concept at work here: if you have a material advantage, that advantage is magnified when there are fewer pieces on the board. Imagine you set up a normal chess board, except black only gets one rook. At the start, this is certainly an advantage for White, but Black has enough other pieces such that the game is not immediately lost. However, if White then proceeds to exchange off pieces evenly, you reach a board state where White has his king and a rook, and Black has only his king. In this case, White does in fact have an insurmountable advantage and will win easily.

Sometimes, an advantage of a single pawn is sufficient for one player to want to advance to the endgame. Pawns become very valuable in the endgame, especially a "passed pawn" (one that has gotten behind any enemy pawns that could capture it). Remember, pawns who reach the last rank can be promoted to any piece.

RESOURCES
chess.about.com: If I did a shit job explaining the basics (probably), they are covered quite well here.
chess.com: A free website where you can complete live or asynchronously against other players or bots. Has a fully implemented ELO ranking system that adjusts based on your skill level and W/L rating.
chesstactics.org: An incredibly thorough investigation of the advanced tactics that separate the wheat from the chaff.
Chess Arena: A free, downloadable chess engine. Don't use this to pick your moves for you when playing online, you fucking cheater. However, chess engines are an indispensable tool for analyzing your own play.
Kingscrusher's YouTube channel: The YouTube channel for a player I find to be quite strong and entertaining. He plays a lot of 5-minute chess (where each player has only 5:00 total to make every move in the game), and I find his post-game analyses interesting as well.

So? Any chess players on here? Former world champions? I'm always looking for people around my level to play against, and would happy to have any of ya'll shit on me in a correspondence game on chess.com.

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