Chess is a game for 2 players. The game is played in real time. You can find information about multiplayer games here: How do multiplayer games work?
When opening a new round, you can determine the skill level of your potential opponent. There is also a “Speed Chess” option, where every move is limited to 3 minutes. If this time is exceeded the player loses the game and the round ends early.
The board consists of 64 black and white squares laid out in two colours for better visibility. The playing grid has numbers and letters around the edges to help with orientation. Chess is played with a total of 32 figures. 16 are white and 16 are black. They are positioned in the first and last row of the board.
The figures all look different and have various names and characteristics:
- Pawns: There are 8 pawns of each colour that form the front facing the opponents. They can only attack opposing figures diagonally. Pawns can move a maximum of one square forwards, but never backwards. The exception to this is when the pawn is moved from its starting position - in this case, it is permitted to move 2 squares forwards.
- Rooks: The 2 black and 2 white rooks are positioned on the end of the first and last rows. They can only attack opposing figures vertically or horizontally.
- Knights: The 2 figures with a horse’s head move forwards in an L-shape. I.e. when a knight “vaults”, it will move either 2 squares forwards/backwards first and one to the side or vice versa. This means that its destination square will always be of a different colour to its starting position. The knight is the only piece that can jump over other figures.
- Bishops: The 2 bishops of each colour may only move any number of vacant squares diagonally.
- Queen: The Queen is the strongest piece in the game, in that she can move any number of vacant squares diagonally, horizontally and vertically.
- King: The most important piece in the game is the king. If you the king is checkmated, the game is lost. The King may only move to a square that borders his starting position.
How to play
The pieces can be moved using the mouse. Click on the piece with the left mouse button and keep it pressed down until you have e.g. moved the queen to the desired square.
You will now take it in turns with your opponent to move your pieces from one square to another tactically. When possible, you should “take” an opponent’s piece. This means that this piece will be removed from the board for the rest of the game. You can do this by arranging your turns in such a way that one of your pieces lands on a square where one of your opponent’s pieces is positioned. The main aim is to take the opposing King, i.e. to “checkmate” it.
Should a player’s King be under threat, but can somehow escape, this is called “check”. If the King is in check, the player must remedy the situation. This can be done in one of three ways:
- Take the threatening piece
- Block the line of sight by moving another piece into the way. You can do this by moving another piece between the threatening piece and the King.
- Move the King to a safe square
If the opponent has positioned his/her pieces in such a way that none of the above-mentioned strategies are possible, the King is in checkmate.
Special moves can also be made that have an effect on the game.
Castling King’s side and Queen’s side
Under the following circumstances, the King and a Rook can castle, i.e. both be moved at the same time:
- The King involved in the castling has not yet been moved in this game.
- The Rook involved in the castling has not yet been moved in this game.
- The King is not in check
- The King does not move through a square when castling in which it would be in check.
- The King may not move to a square, in which he could be directly attacked by an opposing piece. In other words, the King may not be put in check as a result of the castling.
Every square between the King and the Rook must be free before the castling. This move involves the King moving two squares towards the Rook (from the left or right). The Rook then passes the King and stops on the next square. For example: King E1 - C1 and Rook A1 - D1 = castling Queen’s side. King E1 – G1 and Rook H1 – F1 = castling King’s side.
If your opponent moves a Pawn two squares from its original position and it lands next to one of your Pawns, you can take the opposing Pawn. This special move is an extended variant and must be carried out immediately.
If a Pawn reaches the far edge of the board, it must be exchanged immediately for a taken piece. This can be a Queen, Rook, Knight or Bishop. The promotion remains for the remainder of the game.
End of the game
As soon as you have checkmated your opponent’s King, the game is over and you have won. Players may also give up or a draw may occur:
- A draw can occur when the King of the player whose turn it is is not in check, but the player cannot legally make any other move with any of his/her pieces. This player’s King is therefore stalemated. In this situation, the game ends immediately.
- The game can also end in a draw if both players are in agreement. A draw may only be requested once per turn.
Furthermore, a game may end as a draw if the following occurs:
- Only the two Kings remain in play
- Only the two Kings and either Bishops or Knights remain in play