You'll be an expert on chess rules in less than an hour. Even if you don't know the first thing about chess. You'll be ready to wade into battle in no time.
Developing good, sound strategy may take a while, but the rules are a snap. The game of chess is played between two opponents on a square board called a chess board.
The object of the game is to capture the opposing King.
The player with the white pieces starts the game. Play then alternates with each player taking turns to move. If you're not clear on anything when you've finished reading these rules you should visit the FAQ.
For an intro or a refresher on chess terminology take a look at the chess glossary. You can find any page very quickly in the Sitemap.
The diagram on the left shows the initial set-up to start a game. Both players start with 16 pieces. Some people do not regard the pawns as pieces.
They would say you start with 8 pieces on the back row and 8 pawns in front. The pieces for both sides are:
A King, Queen, 2 Rooks, 2 Knights, 2 Bishops and 8 pawns.
White Rooks: a1,h1; Black Rooks: a8,h8; White Knights: b1,g1; Black Knights: b8,g8; White Bishops: c1,f1; Black Bishops: c8,f8; White Queen: d1; Black Queen: d8; White King: e1; Black King: e8. White pawns: a2,b2,c2,d2,e2,f2,g2,h2; Black pawns: a7,b7,c7,d7,e7,f7,g7,h7.
Apart from castling, you make moves by moving one of your pieces from one square to another square. The destination square on a given move must be either vacant or occupied by one of your opponent's pieces.
Only the Knight may cross a square occupied by another piece. The only possible exception to this rule is the special castling move between King and Rook.
You capture an enemy piece by moving one of your pieces to a square occupied by your opponent's piece. On capturing, you immediately remove your opponent's piece from the chess board.
The various pieces have their own unique movements. For a crash course on the main rules you can take a look at the chess basics.
The Queen's move gives her maximum range on the files, ranks or diagonals on which she stands. The King moves just like the Queen except instead of enjoying maximum range he is restricted to minimum range. He can move only one square at a time in any direction.
The right to claim the draw belongs exclusively to the player:
1. who is about to play a move leading to such a repetition of the position, or
2. who is about to reply to a move that has produced the repeated position.
If you move without claiming a draw in the manner described in 1. or 2. you lose the right to claim a draw. This right is restored to you, however, if the same position appears again, you again having the move.
If pieces of the same kind and of the same color occupy the same squares, but the possibilities for moving these pieces are not the same, then the player moving cannot claim a draw.
For example, you would no longer be entitled to demand a draw if, after the repetition of a position, castling or taking a pawn "en passant" was no longer possible.
You may draw if you show while moving that at least fifty consecutive moves have been made by each side with no capture of any piece or the movement of any pawn.
You may only propose a draw when you have just completed a move. You start your opponents clock after the request, not before. Your opponent may accept the draw or, either orally or by completing a move, he may reject it. In the meantime you cannot withdraw it.
Well done, you've just worked your way through a comprehensive run-down of the official rules of chess. Give yourself a well deserved clap on the back! For further reading on Over the Board rules, check out FIDE Rules and USCF Rules.
When you break them down, it's not that hard really. Hopefully you will found this run-down well explained. If not ask me a question on the FAQ section.
If you're satisfied that you have a handle on the rules and you feel you've got the moves down, you are ready to dig into strategy.