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The following is an abridged version of the official FIDE handbook for chess.
Basic rules of play
Article 1: The nature and objectives of the game of chess
1.1 The game of chess is played between two opponents who move their pieces alternately on a square board called a `chessboard`. The player with the white pieces commences the game. A player is said to `have the move`, when his opponent`s move has been made.
1.2 The objective of each player is to place the opponent`s king `under attack` in such a way that the opponent has no legal move. The player who achieves this goal is said to have `checkmated` the opponent`s king and to have won the game. Leaving one`s own king under attack, exposing one`s own king to attack and also `capturing` the opponent`s king are not allowed. The opponent whose king has been checkmated has lost the game.
1.3 It is not allowed to capture the King
Article 2: The initial position of the pieces on the chessboard
2.1 The chessboard is composed of an 8×8 grid of 64 equal squares alternately light (the `white` squares) and dark (the `black` squares). The chessboard is placed between the players in such a way that the near corner square to the right of the player is white.
2.2 At the beginning of the game one player has 16 light-coloured pieces (the `white` pieces); the other has 16 dark-coloured pieces (the `black` pieces): These pieces are as follows:
2.3 The initial position of the pieces on the chessboard is as follows:
2.4The eight vertical columns of squares are called `files`. The eight horizontal rows of squares are called ranks`. A straight line of squares of the same colour, touching corner to corner, is called a `diagonal`.
Article 3: The moves of the pieces
3.1 It is not permitted to move a piece to a square occupied by a piece of the same colour. If a piece moves to a square occupied by an opponent`s piece the latter is captured and removed from the chessboard as part of the same move. A piece is said to attack a square if it can capture an opponent’s piece on that square even if this piece cannot itself move
A piece is considered to attack a square, even if such a piece is constrained from moving to that square because it would then leave or place the king of its own colour under attack.
3.2 The bishop may move to any square along a diagonal on which it stands.
3.3 The rook may move to any square along the file or the rank on which it stands.
3.4 The queen may move to any square along the file, the rank or a diagonal on which it stands.
3.5 When making these moves the bishop, rook or queen may not move over any intervening pieces.
3.6 The knight may move to one of the squares nearest to that on which it stands but not on the same rank, file or diagonal.
a.The pawn may move forward to the unoccupied square immediately in front of it on the same file, or
b.on its first move the pawn may move as in (a); alternatively it may advance two squares along the same file provided both squares are unoccupied, or
c.The pawn may move to a square occupied by an opponent`s piece, which is diagonally in front of it on an adjacent file, capturing that piece.
d.A pawn attacking a square crossed by an opponent`s pawn which has advanced two squares in one move from its original square may capture this opponent`s pawn as though the latter had been moved only one square. This capture is only legal on the move following this advance and is called an `en passant` capture. This move must be made in the event that no other legal move is possible
e.When a pawn reaches the rank furthest from its starting position it must be exchanged as part of the same move for a new queen, rook, bishop or knight of the same colour. The player`s choice is not restricted to pieces that have been captured previously. This exchange of a pawn for another piece is called `promotion` and the effect of the new piece is immediate.
3.8 There are two different ways of moving the king, by:
1.moving to any adjoining square not attacked by one or more of the opponent`s pieces. The opponent`s pieces are considered to attack a square, even if such pieces are constrained from moving to that square because they would then leave or place their own king in check.
The opponent`s pieces are considered to attack a square, even if such pieces cannot themselves move.or
2.`castling`. This is a move of the king and either rook of the same colour on the same rank, counting as a single move of the king and executed as follows: the king is transferred from its original square two squares towards the rook, then that rook is transferred to the square the king has just crossed.
(1) The right for castling has been lost:.
a. if the king has already moved, or
b..with a rook that has already moved
(2) Castling is prevented temporarily
a. if the square on which the king stands, or the square which it must cross, or the square which it is to occupy, is attacked by one or more of the opponent`s pieces.
b. if there is any piece between the king and the rook with which castling is to be effected.
c. The king is said to be `check` if it is attacked by one or more of the opponent`s pieces, even if such pieces are constrained from moving to that square because they would then leave or place their own king in check.
3.9 No piece can be moved that will either expose the king of the same colour to check or leave that king in check.a
The Act of Moving the pieces
Article 4: The act of moving the pieces
4.1 Each move must be made with one hand only.
4.2 Provided that he first expresses his intention (e.g. by saying “j`adoube” or “I adjust”), the player having the move may adjust one or more pieces on their squares.
4.3 Except as provided in Article 4.2, if the player having the move deliberately touches on the chessboard
a. one or more of his own pieces, he must move the first piece touched that can be moved, or
b. one or more of his opponent`s pieces, he must capture the first piece touched, which can be captured, or
c. one piece of each colour, he must capture the opponent`s piece with his piece or, if this is illegal, move or capture the first piece touched which can be moved or captured. If it is unclear, whether the player`s own piece or his opponent`s was touched first, the player`s own piece shall be considered to have been touched before his opponent`s.
d. If a player touched more than one piece simultaneously without a note for J`adoube, , and it wasn’t known what piece he touched first, then he must move one of these touched pieces. I.e. he is given the choice to choose which of them he wants to move.
a. If a player deliberately touches his king and rook he must castle on that side if it is legal to do so.
b. If a player deliberately touches a rook and then his king he is not allowed to castle on that side on that move and the situation shall be governed by Article 4.3(a).
c. If a player, intending to castle, touches the king or king and rook at the same time, but castling on that side is illegal, the player must make another legal move with his king which may include castling on the other side. If the king has no legal move, the player is free to make any legal move.
d.If a player promotes a pawn, the choice of the piece is finalised, when the piece has touched the square of promotion.
4.5 If none of the pieces touched can be moved or captured, the player may make any legal move.
4.6 A player forfeits his right to a claim against his opponent`s violation of Article 4.3 or 4.4, once he deliberately touches a piece.
4.7.1. When, as a legal move or part of a legal move, a piece has been released on a square, it cannot then be moved to another square. The move is considered to have been made when all the relevant requirements of Article 3 have been fulfilled.
a. in the case of a capture, when the captured piece has been removed from the chessboard and the player, having placed his own piece on its new square, has released this capturing piece from his hand;
b. in the case of castling, when the player`s hand has released the rook on the square previously crossed by the king. When the player has released the king from his hand, the move is not yet made, but the player no longer has the right to make any move other than castling on that side, if this is legal;
c. in the case of the promotion of a pawn, when the pawn has been removed from the chessboard and the player`s hand has released the new piece after placing it on the promotion square. If the player has released from his hand the pawn that has reached the promotion square, the move is not yet made, but the player no longer has the right to play the pawn to another square.
Completing the game
Article 5: The completion of the game
a. The game is won by the player who has checkmated his opponent`s king. This immediately ends the game, provided that the move producing the checkmate position was a legal move.
b. The game is won by the player whose opponent declares he resigns. This immediately ends the game.
a. The game is drawn when the player to move has no legal move and his king is not in check. The game is said to end in `stalemate`. This immediately ends the game, provided that the move producing the stalemate position was legal.
b. The game is drawn when a position has arisen in which neither player can checkmate the opponent`s king with any series of legal moves. The game is said to end in a `dead position`. This immediately ends the game, provided that the move producing the position was legal.
c. The game is drawn upon agreement between the two players during the game. This immediately ends the game. (See Article 9.1)
d. The game may be drawn if any identical position is about to appear or has appeared on the chessboard at least three times. (See Article 9.2)
e. The game may be drawn if each player has made at least the last 50 consecutive moves without the movement of any pawn and without any capture. (See Article 9.3)
You can get more detailed rules from the fide website