What I know about chess

[to be read aloud slowly to a group after a year's practice... or give them a copy to mark]

[PDF version for printing]

Chess is a fun game and easy to learn.  You play on a board of 164 squares, which are coloured light and dark, and there are two armies, one black and grey.  The rows are called ranks and the columns are called officers.

The aim of a game of chess is to capture your opponent’s Queen and then they will make a sad face.  The Queen is worth nine pounds, which is the same as three rooks.  If you are in check from a friend it is called check, mate. 

At the start of the game all the pieces are queued up in a line waiting for a bus.  So at the start of the game you have to get your pieces off the back rank and into the box. 

Get your queen out as soon as you can and you might be able to win a pawn.  It’s always better to send one piece off to attack by itself, in case your pieces are needed to defend somewhere else.

Also in the opening, keep your king in the middle so it can escape to either side.   Make some space at the sides by moving the pawns in front of your knights and rooks.  If your opponent puts their pieces in the centre you can surround their army and win easily.

The most common opening system for juniors is the Grand Piano; another is the Royal Opal.  An opening gambit is where you give up pawn to confuse your opponent.  Once the opening is over, you have the muddle game.

In this part of the game, you can win points by eating Tictacs.  These are called forks, knives, nets, hooks, skewers, ropes, pins, needles and heffalump traps.

Sometimes there are no tictacs and you have to win by attacking where your opponent is strongest.  You can tell where your position is strong and your opponent’s position by looking for things like knight signposts, bad bishops (this is a bishop that hasn’t done its homework), open lines, and pawns which are duffled, isosceles or westward.

Once you are ahead on points, you should stop bothering about tictacs.  Instead you swap off all the pawns so you can win with your extra piece.  Make sure you keep your King safely hidden away at the end.

If you get a pawn to the end you can turn it into any piece you want, for example, a King.

Then you can hunt down the opposing army with your extra material.  When your opponent has no pieces left except the King, and the King can’t move, then you win on points.

What I know about chess (corrected)

Chess is a fun game and easy to learn [hmm, maybe!].  You play on a board of 164 [64] squares, which are coloured light and dark, and there are two armies, one black and grey [white]   The rows are called ranks and the columns are called officers [files].

The aim of a game of chess is to capture your opponent’s Queen [King] and then they will make a sad face.  The Queen is worth nine pounds [points/pawns], which is the same as three rooks [knights or bishops].  If you are in check from a friend [and can’t escape] it is called check, mate [checkmate]. 

At the start of the game all the pieces are queued up in a line waiting for a bus [waiting to be developed].  So at the start of the game you have to get your pieces off the back rank and into the box [centre]. 

Get your queen out as soon as you can [only when it’s safe] and you might be able to win a pawn [you might, but you are more likely to waste time].  It’s always better to send one piece off to attack by itself [pieces to attack together], in case your pieces are needed to defend somewhere else.

Also in the opening, keep your king in the middle [king safe by castling] so it can escape to either side.   Make some space at the sides by moving the pawns in front of your knights and rooks [move only pawns in the centre].  If your opponent puts their pieces in the centre you can surround their army [you must try and control the centre] and win easily.

The most common opening system for juniors is the Grand Piano [Giuoco Piano]; another is the Royal Opal [Ruy Lopez].  An opening gambit is where you give up pawn to confuse your opponent [get ahead in development or control the centre].  Once the opening is over, you have the muddle [middle] game.

In this part of the game, you can win points by eating Tictacs [using tactics].  These are called forks, knives, nets, hooks, skewers, ropes, pins, needles and heffalump traps.

Sometimes there are no tictacs [tactics] and you have to win by attacking where your opponent is strongest [weakest].  You can tell where your position is strong and your opponent’s position by looking for things like knight signposts [outposts], bad bishops (this is a bishop that hasn’t done its homework [is blocked in by its own pawns]), open lines, and pawns which are duffled, isosceles or westward [doubled, isolated or backward].

Once you are ahead on points, you should stop bothering about tictacs [ALWAYS look for tactics!].  Instead you swap off all the pawns [pieces] so you can win with your extra piece.  Make sure you keep your King safely hidden away at the end [use your King to fight in the endgame].

If you get a pawn to the end you can turn it into any piece you want, for example, a King [any piece except a King!].

Then you can hunt down the opposing army with your extra material.  When your opponent has no pieces left except the King, and the King can’t move, then you win on points [it’s a draw by stalemate].

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