The objective of chess is to checkmate your opponent. Obviously, this needs to happen before they have checkmated you.

What does this mean?

  • Place your pieces in such a way
  • That your opponent’s king is under attack
  • And your opponent has no legal moves left

Under attack?

Something is under attack if it can be captured the next turn.


When you move a piece into s quare that’s occupied by a piece from your opponent, you capture it.

  • Take the opponent’s piece off the board
  • Place your own piece on that square!

In other words, only one piece can be on a square. If a second one arrives, it removes the first from the board. But you can’t capture your own pieces.

This depends on the specific piece. Next chapter explaines each piece and its possible moves.

But there’s one general important rule here:

If your king is under attack (checked), your next move needs to make sure he isn’t anymore.

In other words, the king may never be captured. So if they are under attack, you have to solve that attack on your turn.

And if you can’t do that? Then all requirements for checkmate have been reached and you’ve lost the game.

Here’s a preview of what you’ll learn in this course. How do you uncheck your king? Three ways:

  • Simply moving it out of the way
  • Capturing the piece that’s threatening it
  • Putting a piece between the king and it’s attacker, blocking the line of attack


Sometimes there’s no winner. Then the game ends in a draw and both players get equal points.

This occurs in 5 situations:

  • There are not enough pieces left on the board to checkmate. (Example: if both players only have a king left, you obviously can’t threaten each other anymore and nobody can win.)
  • Stalemate: a player can’t do a legal move, but his king isn’t under attack. (In other words: one requirement for checkmate is satisfied, but the other isn’t.)
  • If both players see that a situation is hopeless, they can (verbally) agree on a draw.
  • If the exact same board position has occurred three times in the game, a player can say that it’s a draw.
  • If 50 moves have been played, in which none of the players have moved a pawn or captured a piece.

The first three options are more common than the last two.

Stalemate is something that needs a little special attention. Even if you have all your pieces left, and the opponent has only his king left, a stalemate is a draw. Even if you are clearly winning, a stalemate is an immediate draw.

Therefore, a smart player who is losing will always try to force a stalemate. Pay attention to that.

Continue with this course
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