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Chess For Beginners

About The Book

In this book, I. A. Horowitz, Chess Editor of the New York Times and former U.S. Open Champion, applies some of the ideas and convictions acquired from thirty-five years of playing, teaching and analyzing the royal game. He emphasizes the tactical aspects of the game: how to recognize the big chance and hit hard when it occurs. He also stresses the ideas and methods in opening play, rather than the routine memorizing of variations that takes the joy out of chess for so many beginners.
When you have completed this book, you will be able to play chess with pleasure and some ability.


Chapter 1

Basic Rules

Chess is played on a board of 64 squares. All the squares are used in the course of play.

The opponents ("White" and "Black") each have eight Pawns; a King; a Queen; two Bishops; two Knights; and two Rooks. Diagram 1 shows the opening position.

Note that the right-hand corner square in White's territory is always a white square.

White always moves first.

The King

The King can move one square in any direction. This is shown by the crosses in Diagram 2. Now, returning to Diagram 1, note how the King is placed in the center of the back row at the beginning of the game.

Ideally, the King can move to eight different squares. But in chess you cannot move to a square occupied by one of your own men. So that, for example, if five of the King's possible squares are occupied by his own pieces, he has only three feasible moves left.

Capturing hostile pieces is accomplished by displacing them. The King captures pieces which are within his moving range.

For reasons that will become clear later, the King is the most important piece in chess!

The Rook

The Rook moves horizontally or vertically. In diagram 5 the Rook has its maximum 14 possible moves. The Rook cannot displace or leap over any of its own men. It can capture enemy pieces which are within its moving range. The Rook can move in only one direction at a time.

The Bishop

The Bishop moves along squares of the same color. Each player has one Bishop which moves on white squares, and one which moves on black squares. The Bishop can move in only one direction at a time. He cannot displace or leap over any of his own pieces. He can capture any enemy force within his moving range.

The Queen

The Queen, by far the most powerful piece on the chessboard, has the powers of the Rook AND the Bishop. But, like those pieces, it can move in only one direction at a time.

In Diagram 13, we see that the Queen ideally has 27 possible moves at its disposal. The Queen cannot displace or leap over any of its own pieces. She can capture any enemy piece within her moving range.

The Knight

The Knight's move is always of the same length. See Diagram 17.

You can see that the Knight's move is in the form of a capital "L."

The Knight's move has been well described:

(a) one square "North" OR "South"; then two squares "East" OR "West."

(b) one square "East" OR "West"; then two squares "North" OR "South."

Either description can be used to describe the same move! Try it.

Note that the Knight changes the color of his square each time he moves. Thus, in Diagram 17 he starts out on a black square. But in Diagram 18, having made his move, he ends up on a white square.

Unlike the other pieces, the Knight can leap over his own men and those of the enemy. He can capture enemy pieces only at the end-square of his move.

The Pawn

The Pawn is the only one of the chessmen that does not move backward. The Pawn can only move forward.

As you have seen from Diagrams 23-24, the Pawn can move forward one square at a time. The same is true of Black Pawns, which, however, move in the opposite direction. This is shown in Diagrams 25-26 (page 8).

There is one exception to the rule that the Pawn moves one square straight ahead. When the Pawn is making its first move, it has the option of advancing one square OR two.

At the beginning of the game (see Diagram 1), the Pawns are all lined up on the second row. (Such horizontal rows of squares are known as ranks.) Any Pawn on the second rank, no matter how far the game has progressed, has the choice of advancing one or two squares (Diagrams 27-30).

Still another peculiarity of the Pawn is that it captures in a different way from the one in which it moves. It captures one square forward to the right OR left (Diagrams 31-34).

In other words, the Pawn's capture is a limited application of the Bishop's capture (page 4). The Pawn's method of capture, as you will see later on, plays an important role.

Copyright 1950 by I. A. Horowitz and Fred Reinfeld

About The Author

Israel Albert Horowitz was an American International Master of chess. In 1989 he was inducted into the World Chess Hall of Fame.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Touchstone (September 15, 1971)
  • Length: 144 pages
  • ISBN13: 9780671211844

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