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Chess set and board

Why play chess worksheet

Basic chess rules worksheet

Chess Notation worksheet


Over 1500 years after its invention, the game of chess is still the most popular strategy game in the world. In this lesson, students will learn some of the many reasons why the game of chess is so popular, the rules of the game, and how to “read and write chess” (chess notation).


Students will learn some of the reasons people play chess.

Students will learn the rules of chess.

Students will learn how to write down their moves.

Background Information

Chess is a two-player strategy board game played on a chessboard, a checkered gameboard with 64squares arranged in an eight-by-eight grid. Chess is played by millions of people worldwide in homes, urban parks, clubs, online, and in tournaments. Because of the many positive benefits associated with playing chess, in recent years some schools have added chess to their curricula.

Grade level: 2-12

Time: 1 hour

Standards: Science

Each player begins the game with 16 pieces: one king, one queen, two rooks, two knights, two bishops, and eight pawns. Each of the six piece types moves differently. The objective is to 'checkmate' the opponent's king by placing it under an inescapable threat of capture.

Chess originated from the two-player Indian war game, Chatarung, which dates back to 600 A.D. In 1000 A.D, chess spread to Europe by Persian traders. Medieval chess was also extremely popular.

American chess was promoted by founding father and chess aficionado Benjamin Franklin, who in 1750 penned "The Morals of Chess." Franklin's article praises the social and intellectual development that chess inspires. Franklin loved chess and spent many hours playing it.

The Boy Scouts have awarded over 100,000 chess merit badges since it was first introduced in September, 2011. "The chess merit badge teaches youth members strategic planning, critical thinking, concentration and decision-making skills – as well as good sportsmanship,", said Darren Smith, Director of Communications for the Boy Scouts of America. "In fact, while discussing the merit badge with her counselor, Scouts must describe how the skills he obtained can help them in other areas of their life. These life skills align with the BSA's mission to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes." The chess merit badge has maintained itself as one of the fastest-growing merit badges, landing in the top-25 in each calendar year since inception.

It is estimated that over 45 million people play chess in the United States alone – under half of these are under the age of 18!


Perhaps the best reason and play chess is, very simply, that it’s a lot of fun!

People have played chess for over 1500 years.

There are more books written about chess than about all the other games in the world put together.

Some people estimate that over 600 million people in the world play chess!

Playing chess is a great way to meet people.


· develops logical thinking

· sharpens problem-solving skills

· improves concentration and focus

· enhances imagination and creativity

· develops the capacity to foresee the consequences of one's actions

· promotes independence and a sense of responsibility

· hones memory

· heightens self-esteem

· reinforces the concept of deferred gratification

- Chess For Success, Maurice Ashley

Chess is a game for people of all ages. You can learn to play at any age and in chess, unlike in many other sports, you don't ever have to retire. Age is also not a factor when you're looking for an opponent —young can play old and old can play young.

Chess develops memory. The chess theory is complicated and many players memorize different opening variations. You will also learn to recognize various patterns and remember lengthy variations.

Chess improves concentration. During the game you are focused on one main goal — to checkmate your opponent and become the victor.

Chess develops logical thinking. Chess requires some understanding of logical strategy. For example, you will know that it is important to bring your pieces out into the game at the beginning, to keep your king safe at all times and not to blunder your pieces away for free.

Chess promotes imagination and creativity. It encourages you to be inventive. There are an indefinite amount of beautiful combinations yet to be constructed.

Chess teaches independence. You are forced to make important decisions influenced only by your own judgment.

Chess develops the capability to predict and foresee consequences of actions.

Chess inspires self-motivation. It encourages the search of the best move, the best plan, and the most beautiful continuation out of the endless possibilities.

Chess shows that success rewards hard work. The more you practice, the better you'll become. You should be ready to lose and learn from your mistakes. You may learn much more from a game you lose than from a game you win.

Chess and Science. Chess develops the scientific way of thinking. While playing, you generate numerous variations in your mind. You explore new ideas, try to predict their outcomes and interpret surprising revelations. You decide on a hypothesis, and then you make your move and test it.

Chess and Mathematics. Chess involves an infinite number of calculations, anything from counting the number of attackers and defenders in the event of a simple exchange to calculating lengthy continuations.

Chess and Research. There are millions of chess resources out there for every aspect of the game. In life, is it important to know how to find, organize and use boundless amounts of information. Chess gives you a perfect example and opportunity to do just that.

Chess and Art. In the Great Soviet Encyclopedia chess is defined as "an art appearing in the form of a game." Chess enables the artist hiding within you to come out. Your imagination will run wild with endless possibilities on the 64 squares. You will paint pictures in your mind of ideal positions and perfect outposts for your soldiers. As a chess artist you will have an original style and personality.

Chess and Psychology. Chess is a test of patience, nerves, will power and concentration. It enhances your ability to interact with other people. It tests your sportsmanship in a competitive environment.

Chess improves schoolwork and grades. Numerous studies have proven that kids obtain a higher reading level, math level and a greater learning ability overall as a result of playing chess. Chess-playing kids do better at school and therefore have a better chance to succeed in life.

Chess opens up the world for you. You don't need to be a high ranked player to enter big important competitions. Even tournaments such as the US Open and the World Open welcome players of all strengths. Chess provides you with plenty of opportunities to travel not only all around the country but also around the world. Chess is a universal language.

Chess enables you to meet many interesting people. You will make life-long friendships with people you meet through chess.

Chess is cheap. You don't need big fancy equipment to play chess!

Chess is fun! This isn't just another one of those board games. No chess game ever repeats itself, which means you create more and more new ideas each game. It never gets boring. Every game you are the general of an army and you alone decide the destiny of your soldiers. You can sacrifice them, trade them, pin them, fork them, lose them, defend them, or order them to break through any barriers and surround the enemy king. You are in charge!


Setting up the board: The board should be set up with the white square in the nearest row on the right, “white on the right”. If this isn’t done the king and queen will be mixed up. Shake hands across the board before the game starts. White always moves first.

Capturing, Capturing, Check, and the End of the Game:

• Capturing: A piece captures an opponent’s piece by moving onto the square occupied by the opponent’s piece. That piece is removed from the board and replaced by the capturing piece. Knights, Bishops, Rooks, Queens, and Kings capture by moving in their normal way. The pawns capture differently, by moving one square diagonally, either to the right or left, onto the piece to capture. They cannot capture by moving straight forward. At no time may more than one piece stay in any square, and pieces cannot capture a piece of the same color.

• Check and Checkmate: When a piece would be able to capture the opposing king on the next turn, the king is said to be in check. The king in danger must get out of check on the next turn, either by moving out of the way, blocking the check with another piece, or by capturing the attacking piece, whatever removes the threat. It is illegal to move your king into check, so, for instance, you can’t move your king next to the opponent’s king. The goal of the game is to put the opposing king in

Checkmate, which means he is in check and cannot be saved by any of the ways of escaping check. The first player to get the opponent’s king wins. If you see that you are going to lose, you can resign by knocking over your king, gently!. After checkmate or a resignation, shake hands across the board with your opponent and congratulate him or her on a good game.

• Draws: If a king is not in check, but no legal move can be played without putting the king in check, then the game is a stalemate, which is a tie, or draw. Players may also agree on a draw; to do this, extend your hand over the board, to shake hands, and say, “I offer a draw.” If the opponent shakes your hand, it’s a draw. The opponent does not need to accept! They may think they can win.

• Pieces and how they move: Once you move a piece and take your hand off it, you cannot change your move. However – in non-tournament games – you may touch a piece, consider a move, and put the piece back in its original position, as long as you don’t take your hand off of the piece during the process.

Special moves:

• Castling: If both the king and a rook have not been moved yet during the game, there are no pieces between them, and the king is not in check, then the king and rook can move in a special way called castling: the king moves two spaces toward the rook, and the rook moves to the other side of the king, right next to the king. Often, this puts the king in a more protected position, behind some pawns. The king cannot castle out of ,through or into check.

• En passant: When a pawn advances two squares from its starting position and there is an opponent's pawn on an adjacent file next to its destination square, then the opponent's pawn can capture it en passant (in passing), and move to the square the pawn passed over. However, this can only be done on the very next move, otherwise the right to do so is forfeit. For example, if the black pawn has just advanced two squares from g7 (initial starting position) to g5, then the white pawn on f5 may take it via en passant on g6 (but only on white's next move).

“Life is a kind of Chess, with struggle, competition, good and ill events.” Benjamin Franklin


Object of the Game: To capture the enemy King!
King (K): The most important piece on the board is the King. The king can move one and only one space at a time, in any direction (left, right, forward, backward, and diagonally). The capture of the king is the object of the game. The King’s value is … Infinite.
Queen (Q): The Queen is the most powerful piece, as it can either move diagonally or in a straight line, which makes it like a bishop and rook put together. When the board is set up the queen always starts on her own color, so the white queen always starts on a white square. The queen is worth 9 points.
Knight (N): Knights move in an L-shaped pattern. A knight moves one square over and two squares up, or two squares over and one square up, one square over and two squares back, etc. as long as the same shape and size of the jump is maintained. The knight is the only piece that can jump over other pieces; it jumps straight to a square without disturbing any of the pieces in between. Knights are generally brought out early, and this is good. The knight’s value is 3.
Bishop (B): The Bishop moves diagonally, any distance along a diagonal, without jumping over any pieces. The bishop’s value is 3.
Rook (R): The Rook moves in a straight line in any direction, as many spaces as it likes, without jumping. The rook is valued at 5.
Pawn (P): White pawns start on rank two, black pawns on rank 7. The first time a pawn is moved it can move forward either one or two ranks. It cannot jump over another piece. After it has moved once, whether it has moved up one or two, a pawn can only move one square forward at a time, and it cannot move backward. If a pawn advances to the end row then it is promoted, which means it is exchanged for any other piece, with the exception of a king or another pawn. No pieces are moved from the chessboard itself; in this way a color can have two (or more!) queens at the same time. The pawn’s “value” is 1.


Why learn chess notation?

It’s the best way to become a better player!

You can play over games from chess books, or games you’ve played earlier

Naming the squares

Each square of the chessboard is identified by a unique coordinate pair—a letter and a number. The vertical columns of squares (called files) from White's left (the queenside) to his or her right (the kingside) are labeled a through h. The horizontal rows of squares (called ranks) are numbered 1 to 8 starting from White's side of the board. Thus each square has a unique identification of file letter followed by rank number. (For example, White's king starts the game on square e1; Black's knight on b8 can move to open squares a6 or c6.)

Naming the pieces

Each piece type (other than pawns) is identified by an uppercase letter, usually the first letter in the name of the piece in whatever language is spoken by the player recording. English-speaking players use the letter K for king, Q for queen, R for rook, B for bishop, and N for knight (since K is already used).

Pawns are not identified by uppercase letters, but rather by the absence of one. Distinguishing between pawns is not necessary for recording moves, since only one pawn can move to a given square. (Pawn captures are an exception and indicated differently as explained below.)

Notation for moves

Each move of a piece is indicated by the piece's uppercase letter, plus the coordinate of the destination square. For example, Be5 (move a bishop to e5), Nf3 (move a knight to f3), c5 (move a pawn to c5—no piece letter in the case of pawn moves). In some publications, the pieces are indicated by icons rather than by letters, for example: ♞c6.

Notation for captures

When a piece makes a capture, an "x" is inserted immediately before the destination square. For example, Bxe5 (bishop captures the piece on e5). When a pawn makes a capture, the file from which the pawn departed is used to identify the pawn. For example, exd5 (pawn on the e-file captures the piece on d5).

En passant captures are indicated by specifying the capturing pawn's file of departure, the "x", the destination square (not the square of the captured pawn), and (optionally) the suffix "e.p." indicating the capture was en passant.[3] For example, exd6e.p.

Disambiguating moves

When two (or more) identical pieces can move to the same square, the moving piece is identified by specifying the piece's letter, followed by the file of departure (if they differ); or the rank of departure (if the files are the same but the ranks differ);

For example, with knights on g1 and d2, either of which might move to f3, the move is specified as Ngf3 or Ndf3, as appropriate. With knights on g5 and g1, the moves are N5f3 or N1f3. As above, an "x" can be inserted to indicate a capture, for example: N5xf3. Another example: two rooks on d3 and h5, either one of which may move to d5. If the rook on d3 moves to d5, it is possible to disambiguate with either Rdd5 or R3d5, but the file takes precedence over the rank, so Rdd5 is correct. (And likewise if the move is a capture, Rdxd5 is correct.)

Pawn promotion

When a pawn moves to the last rank and promotes, the piece promoted to is indicated at the end of the move notation, for example: e8Q (promoting to queen). Sometimes an equals sign or parentheses are used: e8=Q or e8(Q), but neither format is a FIDE standard. In Portable Game Notation (PGN), pawn promotion is always indicated using the equals sign format (e8=Q).


Castling is indicated by the special notations 0-0 (for kingside castling) and 0-0-0 (queenside castling).

Check and checkmate

A move that places the opponent's king in check usually has the symbol "+" appended. Or sometimes a dagger (†) is used, or the abbreviation "ch". Double check is commonly indicated the same as check, but is sometimes represented specially as "dbl ch", or in older books as "++". The Encyclopedia of Chess Openings omits any indication of check.

Checkmate at the completion of moves can be represented by the symbol "# "

Can you play through the following game? 1. e4 e5 2. Bc4 d6 3. Qf3 Nc6 4. Qxf7#. This game is called “Scholar’s Mate”.

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