Each of the 6 different kinds of pieces moves differently. Pieces cannot move through other pieces (though the knight can jump over other pieces), and can never move onto a square with one of their own pieces. However, they can be moved to take the place of an opponent’s piece which is then captured. Pieces are generally moved into positions where they can capture other pieces (by landing on their square and then replacing them), defend their own pieces in case of capture, or control important squares in the game.

  • The King  ♔♚

The king is the most important piece, but is one of the weakest. The king can only move one square in any direction – up, down, to the sides, and diagonally. The king may never move himself into check (where he could be captured).

  • The Queen  ♕♛

The queen is the most powerful piece. She can move in any one straight direction – forward, backward, sideways, or diagonally – as far as possible as long as she does not move through any of her own pieces.

  • The Rook  ♖♜

The rook may move as far as it wants, but only forward, backward, and to the sides. The rooks are particularly powerful pieces when they are protecting each other and working together!

  • The Bishop  ♗♝

The bishop may move as far as it wants, but only diagonally. Each bishop starts on one color (light or dark) and must always stay on that color. Bishops work well together because they cover up each others weaknesses.

  • The Knight  ♘♞

Knights move in a very different way from the other pieces – going two squares in one direction, and then one more move at a 90 degree angle, just like the shape of an “L”. Knights are also the only pieces that can move over other pieces.

  • The Pawn  ♙♟

Pawns are unusual because they move and capture in different ways: they move forward, but capture diagonally. Pawns can only move forward one square at a time, except for their very first move where they can move forward two squares. Pawns can only capture one square diagonally in front of them. They can never move or capture backwards. If there is another piece directly in front of a pawn he cannot move past or capture that piece.

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