The game of chess is the oldest game of skill, and it has been played for the first time in what now is India or Afghanistan somewhere around 600 AD. After some time, chess has gained its popularity outside India and reached Japan and China. Slowly it became well-known in other continents as well, to European and American people has got through Iran (which was in the Persian Empire), reaching Spain and Italy around 1000 AD, when some Arab armies –the Moors invaded Persia.

With the passing of time, the Vikings have introduced this game in Scandinavia and Iceland. By 1400 AD, it was known all around Europe, applying the same rules which remained unchanged till today. Furthermore, if you think it over and pay a great attention to how a chess board is set up, how the pieces are arranged, you can clearly see the way people lived in medieval times. It’s just like as if you would see the medieval kind of living in miniature when looking on the board. The ones who gave the specific names for chess pieces are the European people.

So, the chess is played by two people, each having 16 pieces, out of which there are 6 different types of chess pieces and altogether there are 32 on the board. These types of pieces are the following: the pawns, the knight, the bishop, the rook, the king and the queen.

The pawns are 8, all situated in the same line, one next to each other and there are two pieces of knights, bishops and rooks. Taking a glance at the history we can easily figure out what each piece is representing.

The pawns reflect the slaves as they are sacrificed many times in order to save the other pieces of chess; the rook, or it is also called the castle, represents the home; the knights illustrate the professional soldier of those time, whose duty was protecting the higher level of society.

The bishop represents the church, as in medieval times churches played an important role. This stature is a Catholic priest’s grade, and he had a leading role and was respected. Besides these, there is only one queen, and she is the only piece who reflects a woman; not to mention the fact that she has the best powers in the game of chess. She can go in every direction. In medieval times a queen had high and deciding position; also she possessed more power than the king himself.

Least, but not last comes the king. It is the most important piece of chess on the board, which does not mean that he is the strongest one also. He’s not. It’s just that the objective of chess is to do your best to protect your king and not letting the enemy giving you checkmates; not protecting your king means loosing your game.

Just like it was mentioned above, that chess is a game of skill, it requires lots of concentration and one must think forward when making a move. The surroundings, as much as the state of mind of the players can influence their way of playing, so chess cannot be played anywhere.

During your game there are some special combined moves which are helpful for everyone to use them in order to improve his game play. One of these exceptional combinations is called “castling”, which is consisting of getting your king into a safe position and move your rook out of the corner. When someone wants to castle, certain conditions must be taken into consideration, such as:

  • it must be the king’s and rook’s first moves, so these pieces never made a move before

  • the king is not situated in check position or passing through it

  • between the king and the rook may not be any other piece

  • these two pieces must be in the same line or row

Then, comes the “check, mate and stalemate”. We will take these separately.

“Check” happens when the king of a player is taken by one of the opponent’s pieces. In this situation it is advisable for you to say “check” to your opponent. The king is mated when he cannot make a move such that he made after the move.

“Stalemate” happens when the King is in a position where he is not in check, but the only alternative he has is to place him into check without having other pieces on the board.

Another important move is the “En passant” which mean “in passing” and this seems to be one of the most difficult chess moves. It can happen when one of the pawns moves two squares forward (this can be done only on his first move) and gets next to the enemy’s pawn. This time the opponent’s pawn can capture your pawn en passant. The capturing can happen only right after your pawn has moved two squares forward.

Another advantage of the pawns is that they can be promoted into any other piece of chess, but only in case they reach to the end of the opponent’s side (this is called “promotion”).

In what the chess strategy consists of, there are four basic facts which require a great attention:
  • protect your king

  • don’t give pieces away

  • control the centre

  • use all of your pieces

You should do your best in order to keep your chess pieces, as each one of these have a specific value: a pawn is worth 1, a knight 3, a bishop also 3, a rook is worth 5, a queen 9 and the king’s value is incomprehensible.

The real secret of chess is o play as much as possible, as the more games you take part in, the more experienced you become. So, don’t waste your time and start setting up your chess pieces!