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I started playing chess before I was 9. My dad taught me the basics and I always found it fascinating.

I’m not as good as I should be though. I always play as white and against the computer. I lose so much sometimes I get discouraged and stop playing for long periods. I think one period lasted for over nine years. Of course some people say I play well but when they talk like that I just think “Please, that’s just because you’re not such a good player.”

For the next few days I’m going to be taking you through the basics of chess. This is weird because I won’t be teaching you how to play. Ok maybe a bit of the rules but that’s it. Mainly I’ll be talking about each piece and where they stand on the board.

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As you can see in the board above every game starts with each side having the same 16 pieces each. The light square of the board is always set up to be on your right (don’t ever forget, light is right) and this means if you play as white your king is on the right in the centre. The light king is the right king even though he sits on a black square, never forget. He is usually the tallest piece and is often shown with a cross on his head.

Beside the king in the centre of the board is the queen. She insists on matching her colours so she always starts the game wearing shoes matching her dress. That’s right, the white queen sits on a white square and the black queen sits on a black square right at the beginning of any game. The queen is usually the second tallest figure on the chess board and she, not the king, is represented with a crown on her head.

The bishops are the trusted advisers of the king and queen, one for each, and they sit right next to their monarchs. The knights come next as you move out away from the centre. Usually the knight is represented by a horse head figure (what’s a knight without his horse, ey?) The blokes that sit in the far corners of the club are the rooks. They are also called the castles. You see that the knights are able to gallop into the castle when they feel like. All right, not exactly but you get the picture. The rooks/castles are represented by pieces with castle tower heads so it’s easy to recognize them.

The soldiers or laborers are represented by the small pawns in front of the ranking officers. Each side starts with 8 pawns each and you can recognize them easily by the fact that they are all over the place and are shorter than everybody else. (Short people have a way of making noise all over the place, don’t you agree? Ugh!) The bishops look like big pawns. Bishops and pawns are the only pieces without distinguishing figure heads so most times we arrange them after arranging all the others. Or we just arrange randomly if we’re so good because we’ve been playing so long.

So do you think you can arrange a chess board? Sketch a grid 8 squares long and 8 squares wide and write the names of the pieces where they are supposed to start. Try not to look at the picture up there until you’re done.

Did you get it right? ๐Ÿ™‚ I hope so.

See y’all tomorrow.

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It’s better to be wise than strong;
intelligence outranks muscle any day.
(Prov. 24 vs. 5, The Message)

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