How to Play Chess: 8 Basic Chess Rules to Follow


Chess was first originated in India around the 6th century by a person named Chaturanga. It is one of the most popular indoor games for two players.

It consists of a chessboard and six unique pieces, including King, Queen, Rook, Bishop, Knight, and Pawn. Each player has 16 of them, including 8 Pawns, 2 Rooks, 2 Knights, 2 Bishops, 1 Queen, and 1 King.

Even though everybody can enjoy this game, it might be complicated to play chess for beginners. However, they can enjoy it once they learn the chess rules properly.

There is no defined best way to learn chess. However, you will eventually learn to play chess if you know the proper chessboard layout, pieces roles with their moves, and situations to win or draw a game.

In this guide, you will learn how to play chess by following all the rules of chess correctly.

Start With the Correct Chessboard Layout

A chessboard should be arranged in a proper way to enjoy perfect gameplay.

To set up a chess board correctly, place white squares on the right. Such that, for each player, the light square should be at the bottom right corner.

After placing the chessboard, place all pawns at the second rank on the board. Then place Rooks at both corners. Place knights next to the rooks and bishops as neighbors on both sides.

The two squares left are for Queen and King, such that a queen goes on the same color, and the king occupies the only place left behind.

Start the Game with White Piece

The chessboard square and pieces have two colors, light and dark (generally white and black).

White pieces always hold the starting position and move first, and then the other takes the turn. Just look which player has white and start the play accordingly.

Move Chess Pieces According to the Rule

Now you completed the chess set up and started the play. But how can you proceed if you don’t know how chess pieces move?

Just memorize these chess moves to follow during the gameplay, and you will learn to play chess eventually.

  • Pawns: Pawns can only move in the forward direction, one square at a time.
  • Rooks: Rooks can move in any direction, horizontally and vertically. It can move in left, right, forward, or backward direction but can not move diagonally.
  • Knights: Knights can move three squares at a time in an ‘L’ shape. They can move either two spaces a single way, then one in the other direction, or one square at first, then two in another.
  • Bishops: Bishops can move diagonally in any direction. It can also move multiple numbers of squares at a time but always straight in a diagonal direction.
  • Queen: Queen can move horizontally, vertically, and diagonally in any direction across the board. It can move any number of squares at a time.
  • King: King can move toward any path, however, just one square at a time or two in case of castling.

Check the Opponent King to Safe an Attacking Position

Check means that the king is under attack. In this stage, the king is not actually captured but has the threat to get caught in the next move.

Check the opponent king does not make you win the game. But it increases the chances of a win and makes it impossible to draw. But a tricky opponent move may change the result.

Move King to a Safe Position When Get Checked

If your king is under attack, you have to get out of the check on the very next move. Otherwise, you cannot continue the game.

You can try the following techniques to get out of the check.

  • Move the king to a safe square where it gets out of the attack.
  • Capture the piece from which the king is getting checked.
  • Block the attack with one of your pieces.

Checkmate the Opponent King to Win the Game

Chess is the game of intelligence and strategy. You have to checkmate the opponent with a move that the opponent cannot foresee. It requires a proper technique with good thinking and intelligence.

Each player needs to checkmate the other to win the game, where the king gets captured, and the opponent has no move left to save the king.
You also have to support the piece with whom you are giving checks. It will be a plus point and benefit you.

There are many strategies to capture the king. You can apply Queen’s gambit, English opening, the four knights game, and other strategies to win a game. More strategies you master, the higher the chance to win.

Avoid Draw Conditions

The draw means that both players have agreed to tie. In tournaments, both players get 0.5 (1/2) points if there is a tie.

It is necessary to avoid any draw condition, as it results in no win or loss. There are some conditions to avoid when the game can be declared a draw.


It happens when a player makes a move that is not giving a check, but the other player got no option left with either king or other pieces. It is one of the biggest reasons to get a match draw.

Mutual Agreement

Players can draw the match by mutual agreement. Such that a player can offer a draw to the opponent player at any time during the game. If the player accepts it, the game will be declared a draw, and each player gets awarded half points.

Threefold Repetition

If the same position occurs thrice, the game will be declared drawn. Such a situation is called threefold repetition.

For example, if players move the knight three times here and there, the game will be declared a draw. In modern chess, fivefold repetition is also considered the same way the threefold is.

50 Move Rule

If both players don’t move a pawn or do not capture any single piece for consecutive 50 moves, then you can claim a draw. In modern chess, the same rule is applied for 75 moves, called the 75 move rule.

Dead Position

When a situation occurs in which no player can give checkmate to the opponent with a valid move, the game will be a draw. Such a situation is called a dead position.

It usually occurs when both the players have no material left to checkmate the king. Such that there would be only two kings remaining on the board.

Play Chess with Deep Focus and an Active Mind

Chess is one of the most complex games around the world. But playing chess is not a difficult task. You just need to remember and follow the basic chess rules while keeping fully attentive during the game.

This game requires a deep focus and an active mind to become a better player. It also helps you to develop your brain and handle pressure in a difficult situation.

Learning and playing chess following the above steps is a lot of fun. You can play with a friend or a family member to effectively enjoy the gameplay. So get a chess set right now, and let’s start playing.