Losing streaks: Kid holding a chess pieces and learning chess


Welcome to your first free online chess lessons!

If you complete all of the lessons presented here, you’ll learn everything you need to play a game of chess. Of course, there’s a lot more to know about tactics and strategy. Those topics are covered in more advanced lessons.

The chess lessons are categorized into:

  • Beginner (0-1099)
  • Intermediate (1100-1699)
  • Advanced (1700-1999)
  • Expert (2000+)

The Chess Board

We’ll start your lessons by taking a look at the Chessboard.

The Chessboard is made up of 64 squares, in a pattern of 8 x 8, alternating black and white, or dark and light, in color.

When playing a game, the board must always be turned so there’s a light square in the lower right-hand corner. The saying “Light on Right” will help you remember this. The figure above shows the right chessboard setup.


The vertical columns on the chessboard are called “files”. You might remember this by thinking about a vertical “file” cabinet. Note that each file is called by a letter.

We say, for example, that this is the “a” file, and this is the “f” file.


The rows on the chessboard are called “ranks”. You can remember this is by noting that both “row” and “rank” start with the letter R. Note that each rank is called by a number.

We say this is the 2nd rank, and this is the 5th rank. (see the marked board setup below).

Each square on the board has a name arrived at by putting together its file position and its rank position. This square is called “b5” because it’s on the “b” file and the 5th rank.

This square is called “h3” because it’s on the “h” file and the 3rd rank.

This square is called “e8”.

And this square is called “d2”.


A series of squares going from corner to corner is called a diagonal. Diagonals are identified by their beginning and ending squares.

This is the a1-h8 diagonal.

This is the f1-a6 diagonal.

Chess is a game of war between the black army at the top of the board, and the white army at the bottom of the board. Although we always call the two sides Black and White, chess sets can vary quite a lot in color.

The darker pieces are always referred to as Black and the lighter pieces are always referred to as White.

Chess Pieces

Now, let’s put the chess pieces on the board. We will start he chess board setup with the piece called the rook.


Standing solidly at the four corners of the board are the Rooks, looking like the castle towers they represent.


Next to each Rook, galloping into the castle, are the four knights, which usually resemble horses.

King & Queen

In the center stand the King and his Queen. Note that the White Queen always starts the game on a light square and the black Queen always starts on a dark square.

An easy way to remember this is by saying, “Queen on color,” or “The dress matches the shoes.”

King Side

The left and right sides of the board setup are named for the starting positions of the King and Queen. This is called the Kingside.


And this is called the Queenside.


Next to the King and Queen go their trusted advisors, the Bishops.


And finally, in front of each of these pieces, stand the Pawns, the foot soldiers of the army.

The board is now ready for a Chess Game to begin. The player with the White pieces always moves first in a game of Chess. Each player moves one piece per turn.

How The Chess Pieces Move

In the next chess lessons, you’ll learn more about each of the five different Chess pieces and pawns, how they move, and how they capture. But first, here’s a quiz about the Chessboard.

The Rook

This is a white and black rook.

Rook - chess pieces and most important also called castle

Rooks are easily identified in a chessboard setup by the fact that they usually resemble the tower of a castle. From this position on e5, the Rook can move to any of the highlighted squares.

For example, it could move to e1, or it could move to c5.

Here’s another Rook, this time on c6. Note the squares to which it can move. This time its movement is hindered by two of its own pieces, on c4 and e6. A Rook can never jump over one of its own pieces.

Now look at this Rook on f3 and the squares to which it can move. Its movement is hindered by one of its opponent’s pieces, on f6. When one of your opponent’s pieces lies in the path of your Rook, you may not jump over it, but you can capture it.


When your Rook captures a piece, it moves to the square the piece was on. Let’s capture the Pawn on f6. Rook takes Pawn.


The Rook is considered to be a strong piece because of its ability to travel long distances and attack multiple squares simultaneously.


In a game, the Rook is at its best when there are open files. In this set-up, note how much more space the Rook on b2 controls, compared to the Rook on h8.



This is a Knight.

Knights are easily identified in a chess set by the fact that they usually look like a horse.

In a chess game, the Knight has a special L-shaped way of moving: it always moves two squares in one direction, then one square to the left or right.


Some people find the Knight’s movement easier to remember if they think of it as one straight, then one diagonal. So from e5 you can either think of going two straight to e7, then one over to d7, or you can think of going one straight to e6, then one diagonal to d7. Whichever way you think of it, you’ll end up with the same results.


From this position on e5, the Knight can move to d7…, f7…, d3…, f3…, c6…, c4…, g6…, or g4.


The Knight has another special characteristic. It’s the only piece that can jump over other pieces, both its own and its opponent’s.

Look at this Knight on d4 and the highlighted squares to which it can move. Note that it can jump over the Pawns on c5 and d5 to get to square c6. However, it cannot move to square f3 because one of its own Bishops is already there. We’ll move the Knight to b5.


Now look at this Black Knight on e6. Once again, it can jump over the White Pawn on d5 and the Black Pawn on e5 to get to square d4. It can’t go to square g7 because one of its own pieces is there. But it can go to square g5 to capture the White Bishop. Knight takes Bishop.


In a game, the Knight does its best work in the center of the board where it can attack the most squares. There’s a term, “a Knight on the rim is grim,” because a Knight along the edge attacks only four squares.