Chess is a two player game which takes place on a grid made up of eight columns and eight rows. The rows are referred to as ranks, and the columns as files. The rows are labeled one through eight, and the columns labeled a through h. The formal notation of each square allows the game to be played by mail, with players on opposite sides of the globe. On a traditional chess board each grid of the board alternates between black and white squares. Each side starts the game with 16 pieces. The pieces are able to move in six different manners, with the eligible movement patterns determined by which of 6 kinds of pieces is in play. Each side has eight pawns, two rooks, two knights, two bishops, one queen, and one king. The two sides are often referred to as “Black” and “White” after the traditional colors of the pieces.
The chess game is completed when one side is unable to move its king without it being captured. However, a chess game need not be played out to its conclusion. If a player believes his or her loss is inevitable, he or she may elect to “resign.” Chess games can also end in a draw if both the kings on both sides are unable to make a legal move which would not endanger them with “check.” Another possible outcome to a chess game is for a game to result in a draw. A draw may occur in one of three ways. The first is called a stalemate, which is when a player has not remaining legal moves remaining in the chess game but his or her king is not in check. The second is called threefold repetition. Threefold repetition is when the same position occurs three times, although these movements need not occur sequentially. It may even occur if two different pieces of the same type exchange positions. This is considered a draw because it is presumed that if the same organization of pieces has occurred in a chess game no further progress will me made. The only time this is not a draw is when it is the continual movement of a king in and out of check. The third time a draw may be called is known as the fifty-move rule. This can be invoked during chess games if there has not been a pawn move or piece capture during the last fifty successive moves. Although players may agree to a draw as early as they desire, unless specifically forbid by tournament rules, ethical considerations generally preclude this course of action while one participant in the chess game still has a reasonable chance of victory. Another way that chess games may conclude is if players run out of time. Outside of casual play, games are played with varying amounts of time control. When a player’s time runs out they lose, so long as their opponent has enough pieces to force a checkmate.
The first publication of the rules of managing chess games was in 1497 by Luis Ramirez de Lucena, following the changes to the permitted movements of the queen, pawn, and bishop, which brought them to their modern format. Chess games began to be organized into tournaments in the sixteenth century. Wilheim Steinitz was crowned the first official World Chess Champion in 1866. The title of World Chess Champion has been held continuously since then. The title of World Chess Champion is currently heard by Viswanatan Anad. However the game is played by a wide variety of people from all walks of life. It is popular across many demographics.
Chess matches, with very few notable exceptions, only allow one piece to be moved at a time. The first of these moves can only happen near the beginning of a game. This move is known among chess players as castling. This is the only time that the king piece can move more than one square at a time. When castling the king moves two spaces to his right or left, so long as he is on his starting row and has not moved from his starting position. The same requirement is also made of rooks in a chess game during which this move is employed. The rook on the side which the king has moved towards moves two or three spaces to compensate. If the king moves towards the right it is referred to as a short castle, because the rook has only moved two spaces. In a chess move in which the king castles to his left it is referred to as a long castle because the rook is required to move three spaces. Whether a long or short castle, this move serves two vital roles. The first is that it allows the rook to get involved in a chess game much sooner than they would otherwise be available. The other is that it moves the weak king into a more secure position, typically behind the pawns which are able to provide him with better protection than if he was still in the middle of the board, where he starts. In order to be able to castle several requirements must be met. First, neither the king nor the rook involved is allowed to have moved prior to being castled. Second, no pieces are allowed to occupy the spaces between the king and rook. Next, the king may not currently be in check, and may not pass through a space which would place him in check, and may not be in check at the end of the move, although this is true of all legal moves which the king may engage in. During castling the rook is not limited in its available movements based on the presence or the lack of an enemy piece. The final requirement of a successful castle is that the king and rook must occupy the same rank when the move occurs. Despite common belief to the contrary, the king is still allowed to commit a castle if he has previously been in check. The status of the king being in check only matters if he is in check at any point during the castle.
Other than when castling there are very strictly proscribed methods of moving each piece during a chess game. Outside of castling a king is only allowed to move one space at a time in any direction of his choosing. A queen is also allowed to move in any direction of her choice, but is not limited in the number of spaces she is allowed to move in one turn. A bishop may move an unlimited number of spaces, but only so long as he moves in a diagonal direction. A rook is allowed to move along a single column or row for an unlimited number of spaces. A knight is the most interesting piece to move. It can choose to move two spaces vertically and one horizontally, or one vertically and two horizontally. The movement of a knight is often remembered by novice players as resembling an “L” or a “7.” The rules for moving a pawn during a chess game are the most complicated. The first time a pawn moves it is allowed to move two squares, although the player can elect to move the pawn only one space. Once the pawn has moved however, it is generally limited to moving one square at a time along the file it begins upon. The exception to this is when a pawn attacks another piece. A pawn is only allowed to attack another piece which lies diagonally in front of it. A pawn is the only piece which attacks differently than it moves. An attack is initiated by moving a piece into a square occupied by an opponent. The attacker automatically takes the square, and the defeated piece is removed from the field of play. The knight is the only piece which can move through an occupied space. In colloquial usage among players during games the word “pieces” is used to refer to everything with the exclusion of pawns. As a result of their traditional shapes young players often refer to rooks as “castles” and knights as “horses.”
Creating a computerized chess game was an early project for computer programmers. In 1997 they achieved their goal by designing a computer called Deep Blue which played six chess games against reigning World Chess Champion Gary Kasparov. Deep Blue won two of the chess games, Kasparov won one chess game, and they tied in the other three chess games. The computer and Kasparov had faced off the previous year, with the original Deep Blue becoming, on February 10, 1986, the first computer to defeat a World Champion, although Kasparov defeated the computer by a handy margin of four chess games to two matches for the computer, with each victory earning a full point and ties worth a half a point, in accordance to the normal and established rules regarding the scoring of chess games taking place amongst players in tournament play.