Chess - Commonly Asked Questions

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Below are some quick answers to some of your questions!

For longer explanations, check out our Chess Rules page.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  • General
  • How the King Moves
  • How the Queen Moves
  • How the Rook (Castle) Moves
  • How the Bishop Moves

 

  • How the Knight Moves
  • How the Pawn Moves
  • Chess Board Setup
  • Castling in Chess

GENERAL

Q: Which chess piece only moves diagonally

A: The Bishop is the one piece that can only move diagonally.

Q: How does each chess piece move?

A: the King moves from its square to a neighboring square in any direction,

the Queen can move in its line or row, or diagonally, any number of squares,

the Rook can move in its line or row in any number of unoccupied squares,

the Bishop moves any direction diagonally in any number of squares,

the Knight moves in an "L" shape be moving two squares vertically and one square horizontally or two squares horizontally and one square vertically, and can jump pieces to get to its destination,

the Pawn moves one square straight ahead

Q: How many pieces in a chess set

A: There are 32 pieces in a chess set, which means each side starts with 16 pieces.

Q: Directions chess pieces can move

A: Here are the directions each chess piece can move:

Chess Piece Vertically Horizontally Diagonally

King

Queen

Rook

Bishop

Knight

Pawn

*

* Pawn can move diagonally when capturing.

Q: All chess pieces names

A: KingImage of chess piece names

Queen

Rook (looks like a castle)

Bishop

Knight (looks like a horse)

Pawn

HOW THE KING MOVES

Q: How can a king move in chess

A: A king can move only one space in any direction. The King may never move into or through danger and the King may never be removed from the board.

Q: Can a king take a queen

A: Yes, this is when a King lands on a space occupied by an opposing Queen.

Q: How many spaces can a king move in chess

A: The King only moves one space, except when Castling, when it moves two spaces.

Q: Where can the king go in chess

A: The King can move any direction, unless it puts it in or through danger.

Q: Chess king on color

A: The dark-colored King starts on a dark square, and the light-colored King starts on a light square.

HOW THE QUEEN MOVES

Q: How does the queen move in chess

A: The Queen can move 1-7 squares in any direction, up, down, left, right, or diagonal, until the Queen reaches an obstruction or captures a piece. It cannot jump over pieces and can only capture one piece per turn.

Q: Can the queen move like a horse

A: The queen moves in a straight line, but the knight (horse) does not. The queen may not jump over pieces, but the knight can.

Q: What does the queen do in chess

A: The Queen is the most powerful piece. The Queen can move 1-7 squares in any direction, up, down, left, right, or diagonal, until the Queen reaches an obstruction or captures a piece; however, the Queen cannot jump over pieces and can only capture one piece per turn. The white Queen begins the game on d1 and the black Queen on d8.

Q: Can a queen move like a knight

A: The Queen moves in a straight line, but the Knight does not. The Queen may not jump over pieces, but the Knight can.

Q: How many spaces can a queen move in chess

A: The Queen can move 1-7 squares, but cannot jump over pieces and can only capture one piece per turn.

Q: Where does the queen go in chess

A: Light colored Queen goes on light square, D1. Dark colored Queen goes on dark square, D8.

HOW THE ROOK (CASTLE) MOVES

Q: How does the rook move in chess

A: The Rook (sometimes incorrectly called a castle) moves up, down, left, or right, 1 - 7 squares in any direction until the Rook reaches an obstruction or captures a piece. The Rook cannot jump over pieces and can only capture one piece per turn.

HOW THE BISHOP MOVES

Q: How does the bishop move in chess

A: The Bishop only moves diagonally. The Bishop may move 1-7 squares in any diagonal direction. The Bishop cannot jump over pieces and can only capture one piece per turn. Because the Bishop moves diagonally, it may never move to a different color other than the one it starts on. Each player has a light-squared Bishop and a dark-squared Bishop.

Q: Can a bishop move backwards in chess

A: A Bishop may move backwards diagonally.

HOW THE KNIGHT MOVES

Q: How does the knight move in chess

A: The Knight moves in a direction described as an “L”. The Knight, from a starting square, moves 2 squares, up, down, left, or right, and then one square at a right angle, forming an “L”. The Knight is the only piece that may jump over other pieces but only captures the piece of the square that he lands on (not the pieces he jumps over).

Q: What are the chess horse moves?

A: The Knight is often mistaken for the "horse." Please see answer above.

HOW THE PAWN MOVES

Q: How does a pawn move in chess

A: The Pawn moves directly forward, never backward or to the side. Pawns move exactly one square forward; though each Pawn may advance two squares forward the first time it is moved. Pawns capture a piece that is one square diagonally forward. Though Pawns normally cannot move diagonally, this is the only way they capture. Pawns are the only piece that capture differently than they move.

Q: Can a pawn take a king

A: Although a Pawn cannot take a king, it can attack a king and put it in check or checkmate.

Q: Pass pawn rules in chess

A: A Pawn is a "passed pawn" (sometimes called a "passer") if none of the enemy's Pawns are obstructing it, in rank or file, from being promoted.

Note: "Rank" refers to rows that go from side to side, and "file" refers to columns that go up and down.

Q: Can pawns move sideways

A: The Pawn moves directly forward, never backward or to the side. Pawns capture a piece that is one square diagonally forward. Though Pawns normally cannot move diagonally, this is the only way they capture.

CHESS BOARD SETUP

Q: What order do chess pieces go in

A:

8 Pawns go in second to last row:

Pawns Setup

 

2 Rooks (Castles) go in the corner:

Image of Rooks setup

 

2 Knights (not Horses) sit next to Rooks:

Knights Setup

 

2 Bishops go next to the Knights:

bishop setup

 

Light Queen sits on a light square:

Image of light queen

 

Dark Queen sits on a dark square:

Image of dark queen

 

One square left open for the King:

Image of Kings

Q: What is the proper chess board position

A: From the vantage point of each opposing player, the square to the far left, in the nearest row, is always black.

Q: Where does the king go in chess

A: From each respective player's vantage point, the player with light-colored King is placed four squares from the left, and the player with the dark-colored King is placed five squares from the left.

Q: Where does queen go in chess

A: The light colored Queen goes on light square, next to a Bishop. The dark colored Queen goes on dark square, next to a Bishop.

CASTLING IN CHESS

Q: How to castle in chess

A: Castling is a special move to make the King safer. In one turn, the King moves two squares towards one Rook and that Rook jumps over the King, landing next to the King.

Q: When can I castle in chess

A: The King cannot castle if either the King or the Rook involved have already moved in that game. There can be no pieces between the King and the Rook. The King cannot castle while in check. The King cannot castle into or through check. The King can never “un-castle”.

For more extensive explanations, visit our Chess Rules page.