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THE OPEN VERSION
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THE HISTORY OF CHESS
According to the most authoritative literature concerning the history of chess, this simple game was invented some time ago by either the Greeks, Romans, Babylonians, Scythians, Egyptians, Jews, Persians, Chinese, Hindus, Arabians, Araucanians, Castilians, the Irish, or a Welshman or two.
One thing appears rather obvious. Nobody knows where Chess originated, but we do have some seemingly reliable accounts of the game itself since the sixth century.
One of the first accounts of the game, as I was told, was something like this:
A rich, gambling, avid game-playing caravan owner, bored with the games of his time, experimented with ways of making checkers more exciting. To him, the game was a war. Instead of silly little pieces "jumping over each other," he envisioned two Pharaohs (Kings) and their armies at war on the battlefield.
One day he found a rock that looked remarkably like a horse with a mounted man holding a sword. During those days the main warriors in a kingdom were known as Knights. An idea began to formulate in his mind.
He envisioned an army with people of various talents and skills. He had a King, some Knights, and the mainstay of all armies, the foot soldiers, but he needed something special. In those days they also had their own versions of special weaponry, such as, armored soldiers, rock throwers, chariots, etc. That was the birth of the Rook, originally the most powerful piece on the board, the only piece that could move more than two squares at a time. It didn't represent anything specific; it was simply the ultimate battlefield weapon of the time.
That is why the Rook is sometimes depicted as an elephant with a watchtower mounted on its back. The elephant was layered with leather and armor and the man or men were in an arrow and spear-proof enclosure from which they could fight with a fairly good degree of protection. Sort of a predecessor of our tanks.
There is very little known about the creation of the Bishop. It probably represented the Pharaoh's spiritual counselor and adviser, a necessity in those days.
With foot soldiers, a Knight, a Rook, and a Bishop, he had the basic forces necessary to wage war. For the battlefield, either giving very little thought to creating a playing field, or being unable to come up with a better idea, he used his checkerboard.
After years of experimenting, he finally came up with a "perfected" game.
Each army consisted of a Pharaoh, a Bishop, A Knight, a Rook, and four foot soldiers. They were placed on opposite corners of the board in the present day "white" king-side configuration. Some stories have the kings placed in the corners instead of on the fourth and fifth files.
It was during the 8th century in India, considered the birthplace of Chess, that the game evolved to sixteen pieces on a side. The Pharaoh's name was changed to King. Since there could only be one King on a side, and to keep the pieces symmetrical, another piece had to be created.
The new piece was called a Viceroy, (the second-in-command). Being more of an advisor rather than a warrior, he could only move diagonally one square at a time. Except for the Pawns, the Viceroy was the weakest piece on the board.
Since then there have been many major changes in the rules of the game.
About the middle of the 15th century, the French made the single most profound change in the evolvement of the game of Chess. They changed the Viceroy from a him to a her, called her the Queen, and gave her unlimited moves in any direction, suddenly making an almost useless piece into the strongest warrior on the battlefield.
Before the 15th century the Bishop could only move two squares diagonally in any direction, and it could jump over any piece on the first square of its move.
In the early 16th century, pawn promotion-allowing a pawn, upon reaching the eighth rank, to be promoted to any other piece of higher powers-came into effect. Originally, the pawns could only move one square at a time, even on their first move. Their main function was to form the "front lines" as in more modern warfare, a place the enemy wasn't to be allowed past.
A pawn became relatively useless if it advanced too far into enemy territory.
But with the introduction of pawn promotion, an increase in the pawn's mobility became desirable. This brought about the two-move rule used at present.
Seeing that a pawn could sometimes use its two moves to pass an adjacent, opposing pawn, avoiding the necessary opposition of the foot soldiers, the "en passant" rule was introduced.
The King seems to have always moved the same as at the present, except that the game used to be played until he was actually captured. Because of the King's vulnerability due to the Queen's enormous scope and power, several methods of "castling" were tried before the 16th century.
One method was to allow the King to move two or three squares on its initial move.
Another method was to allow the King to move directly to King's Knight two.
The present method of castling was introduced in the mid 16th century by a priest named Ruy Lopez.
The squares on the chess board were all the same color until the 13th century. It's hard to imagine that they spent over five hundred years of having to remember, or figure out, which squares could or could not be attacked by, or guarded by a particular Bishop.
Playing Chess blindfolded was exhibited by Arabian and Persian experts in the 11th Century. On many occasions, prior to his death in 1795, Philidor played three simultaneous games blindfolded. It was an absolutely unbelievable feat for the times.
Years later, Paulsen, Blackburne, and Zukertort often played 10 to 12 games blindfolded. Then, using improved visualizing techniques and meditation, outstanding feats became more commonplace. Alekhine played 28 and Reti 29 in 1925. Then Alekhine played 32 and Koltanowski played 34 in 1937. The record continues upward.
In 1943, Miguel Najdorf exceed all previous performances by winning forty out of forty blindfolded, and with time restrictions, in Buenos Aires.
At present, eighty-plus simultaneous, blindfolded games is almost taken for granted.
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The Benefits of Playing Chess
Although Chess is recognized as the ultimate game, somehow, it has fallen from its once exalted position to a place a little lower than that dice game called Yahotze, or whatever it's called.
What most people don't understand is that Chess is not simply a game. It is a learning tool for the development of the mind, and just happens to be in the form of a game. How fortunate we are to have an easy method of exercising and developing much deeper thought processes in our minds while also amusing the simpler side of our nature.
It is also an unending challenge. Its spectrum extends from "learning how the pieces move," to seeing how many simultaneous blindfolded games we can play. Obviously it takes a highly developed mind just to play one game blindfolded. And for most of us, playing Chess is much more fun than using math for this necessary mental exercise.
That's why thinking games are such excellent tools for young children. They can be played and enjoyed while deeper thought patterns are being developed.
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Why Royal Chess?
Regular Chess is a great game. It stimulates the mind, challenges the soul, and strengthens ones patience and resolve. It encourages the development of deep thought patterns, and instantly demonstrates the benefits of thinking things out clearly before acting. And it's much more fun than using mathematics, or the "trial and Pain" method which is so terribly overworked in our present society.
But it is time to upgrade the game of Chess, not because it's not a great game, but because it has failed to grow and change. The game has been analyzed to death by man and machine. Most championship games end in draws, and the games move much too slowly for the later generations of faster paced people.
Who can really be enthused about a game that requires years of memorizing and studying previously played games just to have a fair shot at spending hours to play a game that ends in a draw.
The past changes in the game were done to liven it up a bit, but four hundred years of Queen dominated Chess has taken its toll.
By playing the game as it was before the Queen became dominant, you can easily see what the game needs. There used to be seven power players on a side. Now there is one giant, six pieces of much lesser strength, and one old man hiding in the corner. Chess needs more balance.
The original game was played without the necessity of swapping as many pieces due to the limited mobility of the pieces. It created games of taunt struggles with multiple clashes and conflicts between pieces that could give a good account of themselves against the other pieces on the board.
Since Knights, Bishops, and Rooks cannot protect each other, the present game makes them spend too much of their energy dealing with the Queen.
But going backwards to the original game is an intolerable answer. So is forever staying the same.
Human nature demands that we always go forward, that we expand, build, create, challenge, and improve. And above all, conquer.
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Rules of Royal Chess
Royal Chess is played using the same rules as regular Chess plus the additional rules concerning the Royal Guards explained in Chapter V, and those concerning stalemates, perpetual check, and draws at the end of this chapter.
The game is played between two "Armies" each consisting of 20 "Warriors" of various capabilities.
Each army consists of a King, a Queen, two Bishops, two Knights, two Royal Guards (a King's Guard and a Queen's Guard), two Rooks, and ten Pawns.
The lighter colored army is called "white" and the darker colored army is called "black."
The battle takes place on a rectangular board consisting of 80 alternately colored squares 8 rows deep and 10 rows wide.
The board is placed between two players with the wide sides of the board facing the players.
Each player places their pieces on the first two rows directly in front of them. They should have identical pieces directly across from each other.
The pieces are represented by these symbols:
Place the pieces on the board in this order:
When the pieces are properly placed, each side will
have identical pieces directly across from each other.
Each player alternately moves one piece, with White always making the first move.
The object of the game is to trap and capture your opponent's King.
When a King can be captured on the very next move it is "in check." If there is nothing a player can do to avoid the capture, his King is said to be "checkmated" and the game is over at that point.
Stalemate, Perpetual Check, and Bating the King
In Royal Chess, a stalemate, a game ending with a perpetual check, and a game when one of the opponents is left with only their King are all considered a win for the player forcing the situation.
Obviously, if the King cannot move without being captured, the King IS effectively captured. It's like being in jail! Scores .7 points for the winner and .25 for the loser.
The king is either trapped or on the run and can no longer offer any resistance. That IS a loss. Scores .65 points for the winner and .3 for the loser.
Baring the King
When a player is left with only the King with which to fight, and the other player has a King and any other piece, the 'Bared King' is defeated. Scores .75 points for the winner and .20 for the loser.
There are four ways that a game can end in a draw.
- When neither side has enough material to effect either a stalemate or checkmate.
- When each player repeats the same series of moves for the third time, either player can declare the game a draw.
- No piece has been captured by either side for fifty moves.
- By mutual agreement of the players.
In tournament play, a draw counts as a half point for the "black" player, and 2/5 of a point for the "white" player. When wagering, black is paid 20% of the bet.
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How the Pieces Move
The King moves one square per turn in any direction.
It can capture any enemy piece as long as it does not move into check.
Once during the game the King has the privilege of making a special move in conjunction with either Rook. This move is called "castling." There are five rules that must be observed before castling is allowed.
- Neither the King or the Rook with which it is to castle has previously been moved.
- The King cannot castle if it is IN check.
- The King cannot castle INTO check.
- The King cannot pass over a square which is being attacked by any of the opponent's pieces.
- ONLY Royal Guards can be between the King and the Rook with which the King is to be castled.
During the castling move any Guard between the King and Rook to be castled may make ANY legal move or capture prior to the actual castling of the King and Rook.
The Guard may actually capture or block a piece checking the King or a piece attacking a square the King wishes to castle over, thereby allowing the King to Castle out of check.
If castling is intended to include a Guard move, it must be announced before making the Guard move, otherwise, moving the Guard completes the turn.
Move the King's Guard if desired.
Then the King is placed either on the King's Bishop, King's Knight or the King's Guard square, provided the square is vacant.
The King's Rook is then placed on the opposite side of the King on the first vacant square nearest to the King.
These next illustrations show the Kingside castling configurations:
These next two illustrations show the possible castling positions of the King and Rook after the King's Guard has moved from the back rank.
Move the Queen's Guard if desired.
Then the King is placed either on the Queen's Bishop, the Queen's Knight, or the Queen's Guard square provided the square is vacant.
The Queen's Rook is then placed on the opposite side of the King on the first vacant square nearest to the King.
The Queen can move any number of squares in a straight line horizontally, vertically, or diagonally as long as they are vacant.
She cannot jump over another piece.
She captures an opponents piece in her path by removing the "captured" piece and occupying the square it was on.
Rooks move any number of squares in a straight line, either horizontally or vertically, as long as they are vacant.
A Rook captures an opponent's piece in its path by removing the "captured" piece and occupying the square it was on.
There are two instances where Rooks can jump over their OWN Guards:
- A Rook can always jump over its own Guards on the first rank.
- Two Rooks on any other identical rank or file may jump over their own Guards anywhere between them, but they cannot capture an opponent's piece, with this exception:
If one of the Rooks is captured, the other Rook may recapture the opponent's capturing piece ONLY on the very next move or forfeit this ability.
A Bishop can move any number of vacant squares in a straight line diagonally.
It can never jump over another piece.
It may capture an opponent's piece in its path by removing the "captured" piece and occupying the square it was on.
A Knight moves two squares farthest from its present position by moving a combination of one diagonal square and one horizontal or vertical square.
A Knight can jump over any piece to makes its move.
A Knight captures an opponent's piece on its final resting place by removing the "captured" piece and occupying the square it was on.
A Knight always ends its move on a square of the opposite color than its starting square.
There are two Royal Guards; a King's Guard, and a Queen's Guard.
Each Guard has two methods of moving; a Major move, or a Minor move.
- The Major move is its strong move, allowing capture on ANY square in its range.
- The Minor move is for mobility and only allows LIMITED capturing ability.
- A Guard CAN jump over its own King if the King is on its first rank.
- A Guard CANNOT capture a piece when jumping over its King.
- A Guard CANNOT jump over any other piece.
White Guards on their home squares.
The King's Guard is like a short range Rook with limited powers of a Bishop.
The Major move for the King's Guard is to move one, two, or three squares, either horizontally or vertically.
It can capture an opponent's piece on ANY of these squares.
The Minor move for the King's Guard is a diagonal move of one, two, or three squares in any direction with these two exceptions:
- It can ONLY capture an opponent's piece on the FIRST adjacent diagonal square.
- Immediately upon crossing the center line of the board into the opponents territory, the Minor move ends on the first square into enemy territory (the fifth rank). While in enemy territory, Minor moves are limited to one square only, unless that one square brings it back into its own territory, in which case, it may make a complete two or three square move.
Black circles indicate "capturing" squares, white circles indicate legal moves in which captures are not allowed.
White King's Guard on the 4th rank.
The next two figures demonstrate the restrictions of the King's Guard when it moves into the opponent's territory.
White King's Guard on the 5th rank.
Its forward Minor move is now limited to only one square.
White King's Guard on the 6th rank.
All Minor moves are now limited to just one square.
The Queen's Guard is like a short range Bishop with limited powers of a Rook.
The Major move for the Queen's Guard is to move one, two, or three squares diagonally from its present position.
It can capture an opponent's piece on ANY of these squares.
It's Minor move is one, two, or three squares horizontally or vertically in any direction, with these two exceptions:
- It can ONLY capture an opponent's piece on the FIRST adjacent horizontal or vertical square.
- Immediately upon entering enemy territory, the Minor move ends (on the fifth rank). While in enemy territory, vertical Minor moves are limited to one square only, unless that one square brings it back into its own territory, in which case it may make a complete two or three square move.
While on the fifth rank (the first rank inside enemy territory) the Queen's Guard may still move the complete Minor move horizontally of one to three squares.
White Queen's Guard on the 4th rank.
The next two figures demonstrate the restrictions of the Queen's Guard when it moves into the opponent's territory.
White Queen's Guard on the 5th rank.
Its forward Minor moves are now limited to only one square.
White Queen's Guard on the 6th rank.
All Minor moves are now limited to just one square.
Pawns can only move straight forward one square at a time, except during each Pawn's first move, when it can move either one or two squares.
Pawns can only capture diagonally, one square forward.
A Pawn cannot capture a piece directly in front of itself.
A Pawn may also capture "en passant" (in passing), which means that if a pawn moves two squares on its first move and in doing so "passes" an opposing pawn's attacking square, avoiding possible capture had it only moved one square, the opponent's pawn has the option of capturing it as if it had only moved one square. This option must be exercised by the opponent on the next move or the move stands as it is.
When a pawn reaches the eighth rank it must immediately be promoted to a piece of higher value.
It CANNOT be promoted to a King.
It can ONLY be promoted to a piece that has been previously captured.
There is one special rule when promoting to a Guard. While the "promoted" Guard remains on the square of "promotion" it has the powers of a queen on its initial move from that square. If this power of the Queen is not desired by the promoting player, it must be immediately and irrevocably waived. Waiving this power would most likely be used to avoid a stalemate.
After the Guard moves from the promoting square, its powers revert to that of the chosen Guard on all succeeding moves.
If the Pawn is promoted to some other piece, it only has the power of that piece.
Relative Value of the Pieces
Obviously, the value of a piece changes during the course of a game. A bishop that is blocked by its own pawns might readily be exchanged for a more mobile knight, while exchanging an active bishop for a poorly placed knight is usually a bad trade.
These figures for relative strength are based on an average of many factors, such as, a piece's mobility on the larger board, which pieces can protect each other and their range, the number of squares a piece can attack, mating strength with various combinations of pieces, the increased pinning and forking opportunities and supporting roles for the lesser pieces, etc.
The Guards have a major influence on the value of the other pieces. For instance, a Guard working with a Bishop or Rook, might be more desirable than having a Queen, because of a Guards limited range, it can contain an opponent without risking certain stalemate situations.
Relative Value Chart:
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Most Chess players realize the advantages of using the algebraic system
instead of the descriptive system to record the moves of a game. However, there are several advantages to using numbers instead of letters to denote the files.
Some of the advantages of using a numerical system to record moves:
- Ascending numbers are toward Black and the Kingside.
- Descending numbers are toward White and the Queenside.
- It is much easier to visualize the moves. A move of five files or ranks (2 to 7, 3 to 8) is easier to "see" than b to g, or c to h, especially when the move is descending (f to a, as compared to 6 to 1).
- If BOTH numbers are odd or both are even, the piece is on a white square, especially helpful with bishops and knights.
Notations used to describe moves and situations:
- Moves To...
-+ Discovered Check
++ Double Check
P+ Perpetual Check
! Good Move
!! Excellent Move
? Poor Move
!? Surprising, But Questionable
?! Risky, But Not Totally Unsound
R- Threatens Repetitive Moves
P- Threatens Perpetual Check
T# Threatens Mate (Add Number To Indicate In How Many Moves)
WM White To Move
BM Black To Move
To note a move, use the letter designating the piece to be moved, followed by a dash (moves to...) or an x (captures), then the number of the square the piece is to occupy.
Pawn moves are indicated by the square the pawn lands on. For example, a white pawn on square 64 (king's pawn on the fourth rank) moving ahead one square would be indicated as 65. The same pawn capturing a piece on an adjacent file would be indicated as 6x55 or 6x75 (capturing the piece on square 55 or 75).
Castling is indicated by C(file the King moves to)-(Guard move, if any).
It helps to underline a castling move to make it more noticeable when reviewing a game.
A game would be noted as follows:
1. 54 N-76
2. 44 86
3. N-43 B-87
4. B-85 C8
5. Q-42 36
6. C3-G4 (Guard moved to 41, King to 31, Rook to 51.)
7. 64 5x44
8. Bx44 96
9. B-74 N-46
10. N1-62 (A number after a piece designator indicates a rank or
file to distinguish which piece is to move.)
11. 65 Nx74
12. Gx74 B-75
13. B-53 N-34??
15. B-84 N-34?
16. B-�6+ G'-97
17. Bx97+ Kx97
18. �4 �5
19. 94 R-�8
20. 9x�5 Rx�5
21. G'-94 K-�7
22. R5-91 85
23. G'x�5+ K-98 (9x�6 would have prolonged the agony.)
Could it have done more?
24. Gx85 RR (black resigns) ???
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If you want to save a particular position or adjourned game on paper, this method is quite simple.
The pieces are designated by these letters:
Looking at the board from the white side, begin with the upper left hand corner square. If there is a piece on that square, write down the appropriate designator.
Move to the next square to the right and do the same.
When you come to a vacant square or squares, write down the number of continuous vacant squares (if the rest of the rank is vacant the number of squares can be omitted).
Use a comma (,) to indicate the end of a rank.
To indicate a vacant rank use a zero (0).
A notation of a typical position would look like this:
BM 41 (Black to move its 41st move)
7 g' k,
p p 1 q 2 r p p p,
2 p g 1 R p n,
3 p b,
2 P B 2 N,
P P 1 Q 1 G P P P P,
7 K G',
When handwriting the notations, make a distinct difference between a capital K and P, and a small k and p, or underline the capital K and P.
Another example of an adjourned position:
WM-24, T#-4 (mate in four)
What is the best winning move? Hint, it's not Gx85.
r g 2 q 3 k,
p p 1 p 1 p p b,
2 p 5 p,
5 P 1 p 1 G',
2 n 1 P 1 G 2 P,
P P P 2 N P P,
2 K 5 R R,