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Chess 101

A Step-by-Step course on how


you play the game.

Michael Lenox MMC/SS/DV USN (Ret)

Contents
Forward....................................................................................................................................... 3
Lesson 1. The Cast................................................................................................................... 4
Lesson 2. The Set Up................................................................................................................5
Lesson 3. The Address..............................................................................................................6
Lesson 4. The Secret Lovers.....................................................................................................7
Lesson 5. The Love Child..........................................................................................................8
Lesson 6. The Old Man.............................................................................................................8
Lesson 7. The Sneaky Steed....................................................................................................9
Lesson 8. The Ambitious Squire................................................................................................9
Piece Movement Quiz................................................................................................................ 10
Lesson 9. God save the King!..................................................................................................11
Lesson 10. Get the King to the Towers!...................................................................................12
The King Quiz............................................................................................................................ 13
Lesson 11. The Squire has skills.............................................................................................14
The Pawn Quiz.......................................................................................................................... 15
Lesson 12. Hear Ye Hear YeThe King has Fallen!...............................................................16
Lesson 13 To Arms!................................................................................................................. 16
Epilogue..................................................................................................................................... 16
Quiz Answers............................................................................................................................. 17

Forward
Why you should learn to play chess.
10 ways chess can help you:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.

It can raise your IQ


It helps prevent Alzheimers
It exercises both sides of the brain
It increases your creativity
It improves your memory
It increases problem-solving skills
It improves reading skills
It improves concentration
It grows dendrites (the stringy things in your brain that helps you think and
remember stuff)
10. It teaches planning and foresight
Why chess is unlike most other games.

There is no luck. If you win, you won all on your own.


There can be a tie. It happens all the time.
It is an internationally recognized way to prove your intelligence. Most people
assume that if you can play chess (even though you just learned to play), that
you are smart.

How to use this course book.


This course was designed for veterans with Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) that have
difficulties learning new or simply remembering material. Please complete the course at
your own pace, but ensure you complete and master each lesson prior to proceeding to
the next.
Please use the Cheat Sheet provided with this manual while you are playing games
until you do not need it anymore. It will help reinforce your memory and expedite the
learning process.
Successful completion of this course at a VA recreational program will allow you to
receive a completion certificate and to earn an Illinois Chess Vet (ICV) hat.

Lesson 1. The Cast


Let me introduce the cast of the game. This is only an introduction of their names and
what they look like. More info on them will be presented as this course progresses.
Piece

Letter

The King

The Queen

The Rook

The Bishop

The Knight

The Pawn

N/A

White

Black

Exercise: Match up your chess set pieces with this list. Then proceed to the next lesson.
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Lesson 2. The Set Up


Place the chessboard on the table with the following in mind.
1. The white square goes on your right side. Remember white and right.
2. If the board has numbers on it 1-8. The white army is set up on the 1 side.
Remember that the 1st US president, George Washington, had a white wig.
Set up the chess pieces with the following in mind.
1. On the 1st rank, place the white rooks on the corner squares. They look like
castle towers and make sense there.
2. Then the white Knights, which look like horses, guard the towers.
3. Next is the Bishop who advises the King and Queen on kingdom affairs.
4. The Queen goes on her own square color because it brings out the color of
her eyes.
5. The white King goes next to the Queen to hold her hand.
6. The white pawns then form a castle wall on the 2nd rank.
7. Set up the Black army on ranks 7 & 8 mirroring the white army.
The board should look like this.

Queenside

Kingside

The half of the board the Queens are on is the Queenside. Conversely, the other half is
the Kingside.
Exercise: Set the board up until you dont need to follow these directions. Then proceed
to the next lesson.

Lesson 3. The Address


Like every restaurant, every piece has a street address. If I told you the restaurant was
on 1st and Main Street. Im sure you could find it for me to buy you lunch.
Example: This white Bishop in on c3. Annotated = Bc3. I hear he makes a mean
cheeseburger.

Just like in a military formation. There are Ranks and Files. It makes sense to know
that these terms were borrowed from the military.
The Ranks are the 1-8 rows across the board.
The Files are the a-h columns up and down the board.
Exercise: Set up the board and name the street address of each piece. Ex. White King =
Ke1. After you complete this successfully, proceed to the next lesson.
Answer:

White: Ra1, Nb1, Bc1, Qd1, Ke1, Bf1, Ng1, Rh1 and a2-h2.
Black: Ra8, Nb8, Bc8, Qd8, Ke8, Bf8, Ng8, Rh8 and a7-h7.

Lesson 4. The Secret Lovers


The Rook (R)
The rook travels in a straight line vertically and horizontally as many square as
possible if its path is not blocked. Her actions are direct and straight forward, as any
mothers would be. More on that subject later.

The Bishop (B)


The bishop travels in a straight line diagonally as many square as possible if its path is
not blocked. A white square Bishop can never be on dark square, or vice versa. Think of
the square color as his religion. Once a Bishop has chosen a religion it is impossible to
change it. What would his flock think if he did?!

Reread until confident. Proceed to next lesson.

Lesson 5. The Love Child


The Queen (Q)
The Queen travels like the bishop and rook combined- She is after all the Love Child
of the Rook and Bishops torrid affair. Be quite thoughthe King doesnt know. She is
young and full of energy and likes to move around and cause trouble. The Kingdom
doesnt know what to think about her. She is so very powerful and hopefully not too
foolish with her safety.

Reread until confident. Proceed to next lesson.

Lesson 6. The Old Man


The King (K)
The King travels one square only in any direction. He is the King after all. But he is
old and doesnt move fast at all with his gout attacks. He can NEVER move into danger
and if he is in danger MUST be taken out of danger. He is King after all. There will be
more discussion on this later.

Reread until confident. Proceed to next lesson.

Lesson 7. The Sneaky Steed


The Knight (N)
The Knight is special. It moves in an L shape by jumping. Horses do jump you know. It
moves two spaces horizontally or vertically then a right angle 1 square. Where a
Knight landsit captures. It can jump over its own or enemy piecesno problem.

Reread until confident. Proceed to next lesson.

Lesson 8. The Ambitious Squire


The Pawn
The pawn is special, just ask its mother. The pawn moves straight ahead (never
backward), but it captures diagonally. If it is blocked by a piece, it cannot move. It
moves one square at a time, but its first move has the option of moving forward
one or two squares. There are a couple more special rules for the pawn that will be
covered later. I bet you can barely wait!

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Reread until confident. Proceed to Piece Movement Quiz.

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Piece Movement Quiz

1. What pieces can the White Queen capture?


2. Can the White Queen capture the Black Knight or Black Rook?
3. Can the White King capture the Black Knight?
4. Can the White Bishop capture the Black Knight? Black Pawn on c3?
5. Can the White Pawn on e2 capture the Black Bishop?
6. What moves/capture(s) can the Black Pawn on c3 make?
7. Can the White Pawn on b4 move and/or capture?
8. What move(s) can the White Pawn on a2 make?
9. Can the Black Knight capture the White Rook?
10. Can the Black light square Bishop EVER capture the White dark square Bishop?
Answers to quiz on page 17.
If you got 100% Congratulations! Proceed to lesson 9.
If you didnt get a 100%, dont worry. Just reread lessons 1-8 until you do.

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Lesson 9. God save the King!


Remember way back in Lesson 6 that The King can NEVER move into danger and if
he is in danger MUST be taken out of danger. He is King after all.
As the Jackson Five sang, A, B, Cits easy as 1, 2, 3
Where:
A = Avoid, Move the King
B = Block, Block the attack with one of your pieces.
C = Capture. Capture the attacker. Usually, this is your best choice.
Example.

The Black King is being attacked by the White Rook aka Check.
Avoid. Simply move the King to a safe square. In the diagram you have 4 choices (Kd8,
Kd7, Kf7 or Kf8). In another situation, the King might be able to capture the Attacking
piece (if the attacker is undefended). Run away! said the loyal subjects.
Block. Move the Black Rook to Block the White Rook attack.Ill save you! said the
Rook.
Capture. Capture the White Rook with the Black Bishop. Your best move by far. How
dare you threaten meoff with its head! said the King.
Reread until confident. Proceed to next lesson.

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Lesson 10. Get the King to the Towers!


Each player may castle only once per game and when certain conditions are met.
Castling is a special move that lets a player move two pieces at once the King and
one Rook. In castling, the player first moves their King two squares left or right towards
one of the Rooks. Then that Rook hops over the King.
In order to castle all of the following conditions must be met:
1.
2.
3.
4.

Neither the King nor the Rook involved may have moved before.
The King may not Castle if currently attacked.
The King may not move through any square currently attacked.
There may not be any other pieces of either color between the King and Rook
involved.

Before Kingside Castling

After Kingside Castling

Before Queenside Castling

After Queenside Castling

Reread until confident. Proceed to The King Quiz.

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The King Quiz

1. Is there a legal castle in the above diagram? If so, what is/are the King and Rook
positions following the castle?

2. The White King is in check from the black Queen. What ways can the White
King Get out of check?

Answers to quiz on page 17.


If you got 100% Congratulations! Proceed to lesson 11.
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If you didnt get a 100%, dont worry. Just reread lessons 9-10 until you do.

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Lesson 11. The Squire has skills


It is poetic that the game is normally won or lost by the under rated pawn. Not
surprising, that is usually the case with many historical battles. The pawn has a couple
of special moves.
En Passant
This French phrase is used for a special pawn capture. It means in passing and it
occurs when one player moves a pawn two squares forward to try to avoid capture by
the opponents pawn. The capture is made exactly as if the player had moved the pawn
only one square forward.

In the above example, if either of Blacks Pawns tried to avoid capture by passing the
White Pawn. White could take the Black Pawn as if it had only moved one square. NoteIf White fails to take the Black Pawn immediately after Blacks move en passant is no
longer valid.
Promotion
A pawn can become ANY piece with the exception of a Pawn or King if it reaches the
last rank of its travel. Normally a player chooses a Queen (Why many sets have more
than one Queen). An upside down Rook of the players own color can represent a
Queen.
Queening a pawn is a common concept for the end of many chess games.
Reread until confident. Proceed to the Pawn Quiz.
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The Pawn Quiz

1. White moves the h2 Pawn to h4. Can the Black Pawn on g4 take the h4 Pawn? If
so, where is the g4 pawn placed?
2. Can the White Pawn on f7 move or capture? Then what happens?
3. What can represent a Queen if one isnt available?
4. How many Queens are possible for a player to have?
Answers to quiz on page 17.
If you got 100% Congratulations! Proceed to Lesson 12.
If you didnt get a 100%, dont worry. Just reread Lesson 11 until you do.

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Lesson 12. Hear Ye Hear YeThe King has Fallen!


Remember way back in Lesson 6 that The King can NEVER move into danger and if
he is in danger MUST be taken out of danger. He is King after all. If you are unable to
get your King out of danger and he is being attacked. You lose the game. This is also
known as Checkmate or sometimes just Mated.
Another way a player can lose is to Resign. This is usually only offered after a game is
totally lost.
However Chess is different than most games. There can be a Draw. There are a few
ways this can occur.
1. A draw is offered and accepted. It does not have to be accepted. If the other
player moves, it is then void.
2. Stalemate. This occurs when a player cannot make a move that will not put their
King in danger and the King isnt currently in danger.
3. Insufficient material. Example. Just 2 Kings left on the board. Impossible to
checkmate.
4. 50 moves being made without a capture or pawn movement.

Lesson 13 To Arms!
The Armies are now poised for battle. Who will be victorious this day General? Lead
your troops to victory! The White army moves first. Then, the Black army moves. Moves
then alternate between the White and Black armies. Skipping a turn is not allowed.

Epilogue
Thats it. You can now play chess.
You have now finished this course. If a VA recreational program participant, you can
now play a game (you dont need to win) and demonstrate you know the rules with any
VA chess recreational therapist or ICV volunteer. This will allow you to receive a
completion certificate of this course and to earn an ICV hat.
Remember that chess is an easy game to learnbut a hard one to master. More
advanced chess courses are in the works and will be available soon.

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See you at the board,


Michael Lenox MMC/SS/DV USN (Ret)

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Quiz Answers
Piece Movement Quiz

1. Qh5
2. No, No
3. No
4. Yes, No
5. No
6. Nb2
7. No
8. a3, a4
9. Yes
10. No
The King Quiz

1. Yes. Kc1 Rad1


2. Avoid=Kg1, Block= Bg2 and Capture Rxc6.
The Pawn Quiz
1. Yes, h3
2. Yes, the Black Rook. It promotes to a White Queen, White Rook, White Bishop or
a White Knight. The best choice however is a White Queen.
3. An upside down Rook of the players piece color.
4. 9, however this is very unlikely. How? 1 Queen to start with + 8 pawns who can
become Queens.

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