Conrad/Tasby/Jack Lowe Chess Club Rules

Definitions: prospect, candidate, provisional member, full member, member on probation.


Anyone who signs up for Chess Club and attends a club session is a prospect. A prospect becomes a chess club candidate after (s)he attends three Chess Club meetings.


Each Chess Club candidate will be assigned a ct username. That candidate must then play and finish an online game with a coach, and the candidate must demonstrate that (s)he can upload a game to our google drive without assistance. That accomplishment promotes the candidate to provisional member status.


Full membership status is given to those who attain chesstempo 'active status' re. standard tactics problems. Full members are given priority consideration for tournament activity.


Provisional members are required to spend their time on chesstempo problems and cannot play online with other members during Chess Club meetings. All members have a responsibility to maintain active chesstempo status. Those who do not may be demoted to probationary status.


All candidate members must assume responsibility to 'catch up' with the program with minimal disturbance to the progress of other Chess Club members.



The rules of chess are simple, and they can be learned in an hour or so. Read a rule book for baseball or Monopoly for comparison, and you will find that chess has a very limited and precise set of rules. Those rules are discussed briefly below, and you are required to know all of these rules. If there is any rule that you don’t understand, discuss it in class. These three pages answer almost every question that I’ve ever heard from elementary or middle school students. If you read these rules carefully, you can really understand them, and you will be able to move the pieces quite well. You will know and understand every rule in a very short time, and you will then be one of our many Chess Club Rules Experts.


Rule 1.

Etiquette and Protocol: No Cell Phone Use; no video Games; no active apps on computer except and Play quietly. - Chess Club is a privilege: not a right. Sportsmanlike etiquette and good behavior are mandatory. Listen to your chess coaches. Keep your conversations at low volume. Pay attention to your own game; do not comment on games in progress on other boards.



Rule 2.

Each day when you come to Chess Club it is your responsibility to do the following:


Put your back pack and other paraphernalia where they do not interfere with movement in our playing area. Then sign in onto the attendance sheet. If we are not playing online, set up a chessboard if none is available. Make sure you have a pencil and an [AN Form] so you can fill in and circle your name as soon as you obtain an opponent and determine colors. Also fill in your opponent's name, along with the date and the start time. Each double-sided AN Form has room for four games. Our objective is to walk into the library and start playing chess as soon as we can.


Write down all of your moves and your opponent's moves in [Algebraic Notation]. At the end of the game, or when it is time to wrap up the Chess Club session, sign your AN Form and your opponent's AN Form, and write the [FEN String]    for the final position on the AN Form. At the end of each game, White is required to fill in a [DB Form] and give it to the Chess Coach. At the end of each Chess Club session, put your chess pieces and pencils and blank DB Forms back into the individual chess set bowl. Place your chessboard upside down on the stack so that the Chess Coach can roll them and put them into the storage tube after all nine boards have been collected. Keep your AN Form until you complete your game. Recycle all AN Forms that have any blank games available. The Chess Coach will collect and review all AN Forms after they have been completely used up.


[Click Here] to see a completed AN Form. Note that the FEN String documents the final (checkmate) position for the game. The illustration also shows that position. Be able to write a proper FEN string for any board position.


Play Chess - Unless otherwise instructed, at each meeting you are required to sign in and set up a board or find an opponent and a vacant board quickly. Then quietly start playing chess with another member. Every Club member is required to play as much chess as possible at every meeting. Anyone who violates this rule may be dismissed from the Club. Until further notice, all club games shall open with Sicilian Variation 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6. 6.Be2 e5 7.Nb3 Be7 8.O-O O-O. Memorize this opening.


Clocks and Game Records


Fill in an AN Form for every game that is not played online. Each recorded game will be marked with date and start time, and finished games will be signed by both players, or by the winning player in case of forfeit. Suspended games will be notated with FEN strings and will be completed in a timely fashion.


Rule 3.

Chess Board Setup – The White player’s side: a b c d e f g h - Chess board squares are designated as black or white, regardless of the colors you see (e.g. green and ivory or walnut and maple). Chess pieces are also discussed as black and white, even if your set at home that has red and yellow or pewter and bronze pieces. The board squares from White’s perspective are lettered a b c d e f g h from left to right, so each player has a white square at his bottom right corner. From Black’s perspective, the squares are lettered h g f e d c b a. So every square has a unique ID. (a1, a2, … f3, … g7, etc.)


We use algebraic notation to describe chess games and problems. Except for the pawns, the chess pieces are all designated by capital letters: R=rook, N=knight, B=bishop, Q=queen, K=king. Although knight starts with a ‘K’ we use 'N' so we don’t confuse the knights with the kings. Pawns don’t have an associated letter, but sometimes when a pawn captures a piece we use the lowercase letter of the file that the pawn moves away from.


White's pieces line up in the following order: R N B Q K B N R on squares a1, b1, c1, d1, e1, f1, g1, h1. For Black, the pieces line up: R N B K Q B N R on h8, g8, f8, e8, d8, c8, b8, a8. Pawns line up on each player's second rank.



Rule 4.

Queens Start on Their Own Colors - Each queen starts on ‘her own color’; white queen on a white square – black queen on a black square. At the beginning of the game, the queens face each other on the d file.



Rule 5.

If it’s your turn and you touch a piece (your piece or your opponent's piece) you have to move it or take it (unless that’s illegal). - When it’s your turn, if you touch any chess piece, you have to move it (if it’s yours) or capture it (if it’s your opponent’s piece), unless there’s no legal way to do it. So to be safe, don’t touch a piece until you are sure you want to move it or capture it. Everyone learns that this rule can cause a lot of grief (and can lose a game).



Rule 6.

If you want to adjust a piece, say, “I adjust”, (or “J’adoube” if you’re French or faux-French). - If you fail to announce your intention to adjust a piece in a tournament (or in Chess Club), your opponent may challenge that you touched that piece, and you will have to move it (See Rule 5).



Rule 7.

White moves first - White always moves first, and the players alternate moves in turn. A player cannot skip a move. Usually at the beginning of the first friendly game between two players, each player’s color is drawn by lot. Moving first gives White a slight advantage in every chess game. If you look at statistics for large numbers of games, White probably wins more games than Black. If you play the same opponent again, you turn the board around and trade colors after each game. Play a new opponent after each game; you become a better player by playing different opponents.



Rule 8.

Players take turns moving - You cannot skip your turn.



Rule 9.

Pawns usually move straight forward, one square at a time, and they never move backward. - They usually advance one square forward per move. But there are additional rules to explain some exceptions to this rule.



Rule 10.

A pawn is allowed to move two squares forward on its first move. - It’s your option, but if you move forward only one square on your first move, you cannot move that pawn forward two squares on a later move.



Rule 11.

Pawns capture diagonally. - A pawn always captures by moving one square forward diagonally. Otherwise, a pawn cannot move diagonally. A pawn cannot capture by moving one square forward and one square diagonal on its first move. But it can move diagonally to capture an opponent's piece that is one square diagonally forward. (That’s why Rule 10 has the word ‘usually’ in it). A pawn can never jump over anything in its way. It can capture a piece diagonally in front, even if there is another piece directly in front that otherwise would block the pawn from moving. It can never capture a piece that is more than one square diagonally away.



Rule 12.

‘en passant’ - Use it or lose it. (the only chess capture where you move to an empty square) – Usually you capture an opponent's piece by moving your piece into the square he occupies. But if an enemy pawn moves forward two squares on its first move and lands directly beside your pawn (on either side), you can capture it with your pawn as if it had only moved forward one square. You move your pawn diagonally to the square that it “skipped” and remove the pawn from the board. The ‘en passant’ capture must be made immediately. The capture is optional.



Rule 13.

When a pawn gets to the far end of the board it is promoted to a queen, rook, bishop, or knight. - A pawn that reaches the far end of the board is promoted to a queen, rook, bishop, or knight (player’s choice). You should almost always choose a queen, and it’s OK to have two or more queens, extra rooks, etc.



Rule 14.

Knights – Only knights can jump over stuff - A knight can ‘jump’ over pawns and pieces (3-step-L = 1+2 or 2+1).



Rule 15.

Bishops – Bishops move diagonally - A bishop moves in a straight diagonal line as far as it wants (without jumping over something). It stays on one color. So each side has a white-square bishop and a black-square bishop. Rule 16.

Rooks – Rooks go straight in any direction that’s not diagonal. - A rook moves in a straight horizontal or vertical line as far as it wants, parallel to the edges of the board.



Rule 17.

Queens – Queens can move straight in any direction they choose. But they can’t jump like knights. - The queen moves in a straight line as far as she wants, horizontally, vertically or diagonally – (It has bishop-rook combo-power.)



Rule 18.

King – A king takes baby steps in any direction he chooses. - The king moves one square in any of the eight directions (It has baby-step queen-move power).



Rule 19.

Check – A king is ‘in check’ when he is under immediate (i.e., direct) attack by his opponent. - If a king is ‘in check’ he has to get ‘out of check’ (if possible). When your opponent attacks your king, he should announce ‘CHECK’. If the game is to continue, you have three potential choices: 1) move out of check, 2) interpose a piece to shield your king from attack, or 3) capture the attacking piece to get out of check. If you fail to notice that you are in check, it is illegal to continue to play, and your opponent cannot capture your king and claim a victory. You must replay the game from the position where you were put into check, or from the most recent known position before the checking move. If such a position cannot be recreated, the game is void and cannot be scored.



Rule 20.

Checkmate – If you’re in check and you can’t get out of check, it’s a stalemate - If your king is in check and you cannot get out of check, you lose the game, and the game is over. A king cannot ever be captured, because the game is over as soon as checkmate occurs. It is impossible to ‘capture’ a king.



Rule 21.

Castling - If 1) a king and his rook are both in their original unmoved positions, and 2) all of the squares between them are empty, and 3) the king is not in check, and 4) the opponent does not have any pieces that can be moved to occupy any of those empty squares on the next move, the king may castle. To castle, announce “I castle.” Then move the king two squares toward the rook, and place the rook on his other side. This is the only two-piece move in chess.



Rule 22.

A king is not allowed to move into check. - If a king inadvertently tries to move into check, he must retract the move. If no legal king move is available, he is allowed to move another piece per Rule 5.



Rule 23.

Scoring - If White wins, the game is scored 1-0. If Black wins, the game is scored 0-1. A draw is 1/2-1/2. If a player decides that he cannot win, he may resign the game, and the game is a draw. Both players can agree to a draw at any time.



Rule 24.

Stalemate – If you’re not in check but you can’t move without going into check it’s a stalemate - If you are NOT in check, but there is no legal move that you can make anywhere on the board, the game is a stalemate. Each player receives 1/2 a point (1/2-1/2). Just because you cannot move your king, it does not necessarily mean the game is a stalemate. For example, if you have some other piece on the board that you can move, you have to move something other than the king, and the game continues.



Rule 25.

Capturing - Capture by moving to a square occupied by an opponent, and remove the opponent from the board. En passant is the only exception to this rule. (See Rule 12 – en passant.)



Rule 26.

Move limits - If a position of all the pieces on the board occurs for a third time, the game is a draw. If each player moves 50 times without a pawn move and without any piece being captured, the game is a draw (1/2-1/2).



Rule 27.

Relative values for chess pieces: Pawn 1, Knight 3, Bishop 3, Rook 5, Queen 9, King priceless - Relative piece values help you judge whether trades or captures are advantageous. But as you progress, you will learn that on rare occasions it may be worthwhile to give away a valuable piece or trade it for a lesser piece if it leads to a winning position. If you win a game with only a few pieces, even if your opponent still has most of his pieces on the board, the relative values of the chess material on the board do not matter. When you win, you get one point and your opponent gets zero, regardless of who has the most valuable collection of pieces on the board.

If you would like to read another article about chess rules, click on this link: [How to Play Chess (]