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Chess For Beginners Paperback – September 15, 1971

4.2 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

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
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Product Details

  • Series: Fireside Chess Library
  • Paperback: 132 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone; 5th Revised edition edition (September 15, 1971)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671211846
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671211844
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,449,496 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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Helpful Book for learning chess
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Great book for adults AND kids
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I really enjoyed this book. I used to play chess in grade school, but had not played more than sporadically in many years. Reading through this book helped me understand once again how to be effective in the opening and middle games, and refreshed some endgame basics. I appreciated Horowitz's prose, and found his presentation very clear and well organized. I'm looking forward to reading more of Horowitz's work.
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I like the simplicity of this book. It's a great book for those interested in learning more about chess. I purchased it to try and learn more about chess and how to get an early advantage.
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By S. hanson on January 24, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
for me this book helped, but at the same time hurt. my class it turned out needed a different style of chess then this book showed. it did however help me with the basics and teach me some new tricks! i was able to complete the class just fine between the book and teachers worksheets he handed out.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is an excellent introduction to the ideas of chess. It is a wonderful book for individuals who are interested in enjoying chess. The notation is explained and the only real drawback to it is that it is not the notation used by competitive FIDE and USCF chess players. That being said, if you want to learn enough to be able play competently and develop your own style, this book is wonderful. In fact, I'd advise you read ONLY this book and avoid other books. Part of the joy of chess is finding your own way once you've grasped the big ideas!
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