Table of contents

Chess Rules

In India, Chess is believed to have originated when the Gupta dynasty rose to power between the fourth and sixth centuries. However, playing Chess online is very similar to playing the game on a traditional board in the modern era. Artificial intelligence is proving to be a force to reckon with when it comes to the online version of the game. This technological development took place only in the 20th century, with online chess being governed by super-intelligent chess engines, databases, and other modern capabilities.

On MPL App, the variant is called ‘Speed Chess’, which is basically a fast-paced version of the strategy board game. It is paramount for any player to know the various rules of chess. This helps with the basic understanding of playing chess and lays the perfect foundation to get better at it.

Also, it makes sense to know all relevant chess rules (or laws of chess) – before you sign up for a chess game or a competitive chess tournament with multiple chess games. From setting up the initial board to the movement scale of each and every piece, we will cover everything related to chess rules here.

What are the Basic Rules of Chess?

No. of players and basic objective

We play chess with two players on a chequered board. The game's objective is to attack the opponent’s king in such a manner that the king cannot escape threat from an opponent's piece.

Chessboard arrangement

The chessboard should always be placed such that there should be a white square at the right-hand corner for both players, irrespective of the colour of the pieces assigned.

No. of pieces

There are a total of 32 chess pieces (16 each of black and white pieces). Each player is assigned one of the colours to start the game. Each player starts the game with one king, one queen, a couple of rooks, bishops & knights, and eight pawns.

Each piece has a specific movement pattern. Pieces cannot move through one of their pieces on the board. They can, however, occupy the space occupied by one of the opponent’s pieces, which is then captured and cannot be used further in that game.

Arrangement of pieces on the board

The first row, i.e. the closest row to the player, occupies the rooks in the two corners in the initial position. The knights are placed next to the rook, followed by the bishops. The queen is always placed on a square that is the same as her colour.

The king occupies the last remaining square. The eight pawns occupy the second row. The placement of the pawns acts as a shield for the ranked pieces behind.

Generally Applicable Chess Rules

A "Stalemate" applies in case a player´s turn is to move when he is not in check, though, has no legal moves - then, the game ends in a draw. Each type of piece follows its own unique method of movement in chess. A piece can move to another position or capture the opponent's piece, replacing the position on its square (with the only exception being en passant). Apart from the knight, no piece can jump over or move through any of the present pieces.

Movement of pieces

· The king moves one square in any direction - up, down, to the sides, and diagonally. Though the king is the pivotal piece, it is also one of the weakest.

· The queen moves any number of squares in any one direction - up, down, to the sides, and diagonally. That said, the queen cannot directly jump past a Chess piece from her side lies in the way.

· The rooks can move any number of squares but only in a straight direction - up, down, and to the sides. Rooks, when used together, can be deadly.

· The bishops can move any number of squares but only in diagonal lines in any direction. The two bishops start and finish the game on the same coloured space (white or black). All through the game, they remain and travel on this specific colour.

· The knights can move in any direction but in an ‘L’ path. They move two squares in any direction - forward, backward and side-to-side - followed by one square to the left or right. Knights can also 'jump over' the board, implying that they can move past any piece that is on their projected path.

· Pawns are mostly the first pieces you move when you play online Chess. Pawns can only move forward. The first move of the pawn can be either one or two squares. After the first turn, it moves only one square in the forward direction.

Pawns move diagonally when they have to capture an opponent piece, which is also one square diagonally in the forward direction. Pawns cannot jump past or capture pieces that are directly in front of them.


The player who is assigned white pieces is always the first to make a move, post which both players make alternate moves. The player can move only one piece at a time. Once a move is made, you have to wait for the opposing player to complete his turn.


As mentioned, the basic objective of the game is to attack the king. Checkmate is in effect by placing your pieces in such a manner that they can capture the king (if not moved) on their next turn. This is called ‘check’. The king can avoid a check by either moving out of the path of the enemy piece, block the check using one of his own pieces or capture the enemy piece.

A player wins the game when he traps the opponent king such that it has no options to evade a check from an enemy piece. This is called checkmate. In chess, the king is generally not captured. The game ends when one player ‘checkmates’ his opponent.

Special Chess Rules

En Passant

French for ‘in passing’, this rule is applicable to only pawns. If a pawn moves two squares on its first move and by doing so, it lands on the side of an opponent's pawn; the opponent pawn has the option to capture it as the first pawn has only moved one space. En Passant is valid only if the capture is made immediately after the first pawn has made its two-square move.

This rule was introduced to restore parity to the game and prevent players from using the two-square first move of a pawn to evade being captured by an enemy pawn. The Chess world has formally welcomed this rule since it makes the chess game livelier.

Pawn Promotion

If a pawn reaches the opponent’s end of the board, it will be promoted to one of the higher ranks. The player may choose to promote the pawn to a queen, rook, bishop or knight. A general misconception in the pawn promotion rule is that the player only is limited to bring back captured pieces.

According to chess rules, the player can promote the pawn into any piece, which could even mean having more than one queen (or more than two rooks) of the same colour. Surprisingly, it is indeed possible to have up to nine queens, ten bishops, rooks, or knights if every pawn is promoted.


Is speed chess more difficult than regular chess?

How do I maintain sufficient board control?

Why should I try speed chess?