With time and effort, it is easier than you think to get involved.
• Chess is a two-player strategy board game played with 32 pieces on a chessboard which is a checkered gameboard with 64 squares arranged in an 8×8 grid.
• Each player begins with 16 pieces: one king, one queen, two rooks, two knights, two bishops, and eight pawns. The pieces are arranged on opposite sides to fill two rows (called ranks) with the pawns on the front row and the others filling the very back rank. From left to right, the back row order is rook, knight, bishop, queen, king, bishop, knight and rook.
Typically in a basic set design, one player's pieces are white and the other player plays with black pieces. Many sets can be colorful or elaborate, but in all circumstances, one side is a dark color and the other light.
• Each of the six pieces moves differently, with the most powerful being the queen and the least powerful the pawn.
• The objective is to checkmate the opponent's king by placing it under an inescapable threat of capture. To this end, a player's pieces are used to attack and capture the opponent's pieces, while supporting each other.
In addition to checkmate, the game can be won by voluntary resignation, which typically occurs when too many of a player’s pieces are captured or checkmate appears inevitable. A game can also end in a draw.
• A pawn can move only forward one square at a time except its first move when it can move two squares. It can only move diagonally when it is capturing its opponent. If a pawn reaches the back rank on the opposite side of the board, it can be promoted to one of the other pieces except the king. In many cases, players promote pawns to queens.
*One special move for a pawn is called an en passant. A pawn may capture a horizontally adjacent enemy pawn that has just advanced two squares in one move. The capturing pawn moves to the square that the enemy pawn passed over as if the enemy pawn had advanced only one square.
• A rook can move only forward or sideways, but can move any number of squares that are open and capture opponents accordingly. Rooks cannot move diagonally.
• A knight moves two squares in one direction and one square over in an "L" motion. It is also the only piece that can jump over others. It can capture an opponent resting on the square where it lands, regardless of the square's color.
• A bishop moves diagonally in any direction along the same color squares that are open and can capture accordingly. For each player, there is a bishop that stays only on dark squares and one that stays on light squares.
• The Queen can move any number of squares of any color that are open, diagonally, forward and sideways in any direction, and can capture accordingly. It is considered the most powerful piece on the board.
• The King can only move one square of any color at at time, any direction, that is open and not threatened with check by an opponent. It is the piece that a player must protect at all times from check and checkmate to stay in the game. The only time that a king can move more than one square is during castling when it can move two and the corresponding rook moves to its other side.
• Chess piece values indicate the value of the different pieces and how they relate to each other. Every piece has different strengths and weaknesses, so they are valued differently. A pawn is worth 1 point; a knight and a bishop are worth three points each; a rook is worth five points; and a queen is worth nine points. The king has no point value.
• There are three phases of chess - opening, middlegame, endgame. The opening covers the first 10 to 15 moves in which both players are moving their pieces from their starting positions to take up active posts ready to do battle in the next phase. It can be difficult to pinpoint the exact transition from opening to middlegame, but as a general rule it occurs once the pieces have been deployed from their starting squares and the kings have castled to safety. The middlegame is often considered the most exciting phase of chess. If neither player achieves a knockout blow in the middlegame, the game will eventually reach the endgame. This is the phase when most of the pieces have been captured and only a few remain. It can be difficult to pinpoint the transition between middlegame and endgame.
Each chess piece has a history and story. Go deeper into their legacy. Click the button at right.
According to studies done at the University of Memphis, playing chess significantly improves visual memory, attention span, and spatial-reasoning ability.
With its focus on problem solving and move variables, it’s not surprising that chess can improve math skills. But numerous studies show that chess improves reading skills as well.
Chess favors the “if–then” thinker. “If I move here, then my opponent may move here, here, or even here.” That’s logic and critical thinking in action! Studies also show that chess boosts creativity, most dramatically in one specific area — originality.
Chess offers immediate feedback. Lose your focus, lose a piece. Practice and study the strategies, win more games. In chess, you control your destiny.
Games like chess that challenge the brain actually stimulate the growth of bodies that send out signals from the brain’s neuron cells. Communication within the brain improves and becomes faster. A study indicated that when chess players were asked to identify chess positions and geometric shapes, both the left and right hemispheres of the brain became highly active.
At least one scientific study has shown that playing the game can actually raise a person’s Intelligence Quotient (IQ).
A study found that people over age 75 who engage in brain-games like chess are less likely to develop dementia than their non-board-game-playing peers.
Playing chess helps unleash originality, since it activates the right side of the brain, the side responsible for creativity.
Chess requires fast thinking and problem-solving on the fly because your opponent is constantly changing the parameters.
One of the last parts of the brain to develop during adolescence is the area responsible for judgment, planning and self-control. Chess helps this area’s development and helps teenagers make better decisions in all areas of life.
A study showed that playing chess causes increased performance in reading.
Memory improvement while playing chess is attributed to remembering complex rules and strategies, the memory recall needed when trying to avoid previous mistakes, and remembering a certain opponent’s playing style among other things. Many chess players have exceptional memory performance and recall.
The U.S. Chess Federation regulates and governs the game in the United States. It sanctions
tournaments and officials as well as oversees the ratings system that measures players' skills.
Chess is recognized as an essential tool that promotes inclusiveness and benefits education,
rehabilitation, recreation, and friendly competition.
The Scott County Chess Club is a registered affiliate of the U.S. Chess Federation.
For more information about the U.S. Chess Federation, click the button at right.
Chess is believed to have originated in Eastern India, c. 280–550, in the Gupta Empire, where its early form in the 6th century was known as chaturaṅga.
The game reached Western Europe and Russia by at least three routes, the earliest being in the 9th century.
By the year 1000, it had spread throughout Europe.
Around 1200, the rules started to be modified in southern Europe, and around 1475, several major changes made the game essentially as it is known today.
Modern rules for the basic moves were adopted in Italy and Spain.
As the 19th century progressed, chess organization developed quickly. Many chess clubs, chess books, and chess journals appeared. The first modern chess tournament was organized by Howard Staunton, a leading English chess player, and was held in London in 1851.
After the end of the 19th century, the number of master tournaments and matches held annually quickly grew. Some sources state that in 1914 the title of chess Grandmaster was first formally conferred by Tsar Nicholas II of Russia. The tradition of awarding such titles was continued by the World Chess Federation.
The World Chess Federation, also known as Fédération Internationale des Échecs (FIDE), was founded in 1924 in Paris.
While no one can say for certain, there are some estimates of the numbers of chess players, club members, tournament players, and grandmasters.
This oft-cited measure of the number of chess players who have played in the past year was put forward by FIDE in 2012. The number was extrapolated from survey data. Other estimates range as high as a billion, an estimate seemingly based on word of mouth, and as moderately as FIDE's prior estimate of 200-300 million. While no one can ever certainly identify the real number of players, it's clear that chess is one of the most popular games in the world today and in the past.
Benjamin Franklin and chess have long been associated in the popular mind largely because of this bagatelle, which was the most widely reprinted product of his Passy press. Made public for the first time in 1786, His essay would be reprinted at least a dozen times by the end of the century, and translated into French, German, and Russian. Franklin played chess with a single-mindedness that threatened to exclude all else.
Franklin compared chess to life and writes that foresight, circumspection and caution can be learned from the game. After describing the effects chess can have on one's perception of life, he described a set of moral rules that a chess player should hold, including to not cheat and not disturb the opponent. Franklin suggested that the opponent be told about mistakes he makes, for example if he would lose a piece.
The Morals of Chess
The game of Chess is not merely an idle amusement. Several very valuable qualities of the mind, useful in the course of human life, are to be acquired or strengthened by it, so as to become habits, ready on all occasions.
1. Foresight, which looks a little into futurity, and considers the consequences that may attend an action; for it is continually occuring to the player, 'If I move this piece, what will be the advantages or disadvantages of my new situation? What use can my adversary make of it to annoy me? What other moves can I make to support it, and to defend myself from his attacks?
2. Circumspection, which surveys the whole chessboard, or scene of action; the relations of the several pieces and situations, the dangers they are respectively exposed to, the several possibilities of their aiding each other, the probabilities that the adversary may make this or that move, and attack this or the other piece, and what different means can be used to avoid his stroke, or turn its consequences against him.
3. Caution, not to make our moves too hastily. This habit is best acquired, by observing strictly the laws of the game; such as, If you touch a piece, you must move it somewhere; if you set it down, you must let it stand. And it is therefore best that these rules should be observed, as the game becomes thereby more the image of human life, and particularly of war . . .
And lastly, we learn by Chess the habit of not being discouraged by present appearances in the state of our affairs, the habit of hoping for a favourable change, and that of persevering in the search of resources. The game is so full of events, there is such a variety of turns in it, the fortune of it is so subject to sudden vicissitudes, and one so frequently, after long contemplation, discovers the means of extricating one's self from a supposed insurmountable difficulty, that one is encouraged to continue the contest to the last, in hopes of victory from our own skill, or at least of getting a stalemate from the negligence of our adversary . . .
If your adversary is long in playing, you ought not to hurry him, or express any uneasiness at his delay. You should not sing, nor whistle, nor look at your watch, not take up a book to read, nor make a tapping with your feet on the floor, or with your fingers on the table, nor do anything that may disturb his attention. For all these things displease; and they do not show your skill in playing, but your craftiness or your rudeness.
You ought not to endeavour to amuse and deceive your adversary, by pretending to have made bad moves, and saying that you have now lost the game, in order to make him secure and careless, and inattentive to your schemes: for this is fraud and deceit, not skill in the game.
You must not, when you have gained a victory, use any triumphing or insulting expression, nor show too much pleasure; but endeavour to console your adversary, and make him less dissatisfied with himself, by every kind of civil expression that may be used with truth, such as 'you understand the game better than I, but you are a little inattentive;' or, 'you play too fast;' or, 'you had the best of the game, but something happened to divert your thoughts, and that turned it in my favour.'
If you are a spectator while others play, observe the most perfect silence. For, if you give advice, you offend both parties, him against whom you give it, because it may cause the loss of his game, him in whose favour you give it, because, though it be good, and he follows it, he loses the pleasure he might have had, if you had permitted him to think until it had occurred to himself. Even after a move or moves, you must not, by replacing the pieces, show how they might have been placed better; for that displeases, and may occasion disputes and doubts about their true situation. All talking to the players lessens or diverts their attention, and is therefore unpleasing.
Lastly, if the game is not to be played rigorously, according to the rules above mentioned, then moderate your desire of victory over your adversary, and be pleased with one over yourself. Snatch not eagerly at every advantage offered by his unskilfulness or inattention; but point out to him kindly, that by such a move he places or leaves a piece in danger and unsupported; that by another he will put his king in a perilous situation, etc. By this generous civility (so opposite to the unfairness above forbidden) you may, indeed, happen to lose the game to your opponent; but you will win what is better, his esteem, his respect, and his affection, together with the silent approbation and goodwill of impartial spectators.
It is recommended that a person interested in playing Chess should purchase a basic set to start for home use. There are many different kinds of sets from very basic to very elaborate. Some are designed to stay in place while many others are portable. It is highly recommended that beginners obtain boards that show rank and file numbers and letters for purposes of learning notation. Information about notation is available on this site near the bottom of our Tournaments page.
A basic board can cost as little as under $20 depending on the vendor. More elaborate boards can cost a little more and other more deluxe boards can costs hundreds of dollars. There are also computerized teaching boards that can be helpful if the investment is desired.
There are also many different kinds of clocks which are also recommended in order to learn time management. If tournament participation may be desired, clock and notation are required. For notation, a player may use any piece of paper to keep track of moves, but printed scoresheets are best for clarity and organization purposes.
Most local clubs do not charge dues to participate and utilizes free public venues - Just show up and play. Some clubs may take in kind donations to help fund any desired activities.
Admission fees come into the picture when a player wishes to participate in a tournament. There may be additional associated costs such as travel and other expenses depending on location.
Joining the U.S. Chess Federation carries plans and membership is required to participate in rated games and tournaments.
There also online resources available for free, but some may require a paid subscription for more advanced services. This would include chess.com which has free and paid services, but lichess.org is free.
Lichess users play more than five million games every day. Lichess is one of the most popular chess websites in the world while remaining 100 percent free. Lichess staff work on improving the site as their only goal.
This site is focused on growing the game by building great products, making learning and improving easier, and delivering great chess content and events to its fans.
A recommendation would include the U.S. Chess Federation's Official Rules of Chess, now in its seventh edition. These are the standards by which tournaments are operated and directors know.
Modern Chess Openings is a reference book on chess openings, first published in 1911 by the British players Richard Clewin Griffith and John Herbert White. The 15th edition was published in 2008. Harry Golombek called it "the first scientific study of the openings in the twentieth century."
While there are many books out there about Chess for all ages, this is an example of one for kids to get started.
The official magazine of the U.S. Chess Federation - It is available in print and online versions. It is part of adult membership in federation membership.
The official magazine of the U.S. Chess Federation for youth - It is available in print and online versions. It is part of a youth's membership in federation membership.
American Chess Magazine was launched in November 2016 to help readers keep in touch with all the most significant happenings in the exciting world of present-day chess, both at home and abroad.
This seven episode limited series released in 2020 on Netflix brought great attention to the game of Chess creating a new awareness of the game.
A movie (PG) released in 1993 where
a prepubescent chess prodigy refuses to harden himself in order to become a champion like the famous but unlikable Bobby Fischer.
A Ugandan girl sees her world rapidly change after being introduced
to the game of chess.
Chess is increasing in the mainstream awareness in that the game can be seen and is often referenced in television commercials.
Sitcoms. dramas, comedies - more television shows are including the game in their plots or referenced in backgrounds.
Garfield, Odie, and Jon have gotten into the game with a reference.