Hoyle's Games Modernized/Chess

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The game of Chess is a battle between two armies, numerically equal, of which the two players are the generals. The battle-field upon which this mimic warfare takes place is called the chess-board. This is a square board divided into sixty-four equal alternate white and black squares, and should be so placed that each player shall have a white square at his right.

The Men.

The forces consist of thirty-two "men," each side having eight Pieces and eight Pawns, of a light and dark colour (known as "white" and "black"), to distinguish the opposing forces from each other.

In print the pieces and pawns are pictorially represented as on p. 337.

At the commencement of the game, the pieces are placed as shown in Fig. 1. It is to be noticed that the white king occupies a black square, and the black king a white square.

The horizontal divisions are called "rows," and the vertical divisions are called "files."

The Movements of the Men and their Power to Take.

A piece or pawn has the power to take any adverse piece or pawn, according to the laws which govern its movements. The King alone, as will presently be seen, is inviolable. If the King is attacked, the fact must be notified by the warning "Check," and if the King cannot by some means escape from the attack, the game is at an end.

Fig. 1.—The Men in Position.
Fig. 1.—The Men in Position.

Fig. 1.—The Men in Position.

1. The King.

The King, as the name denotes, is the most important piece on the board, inasmuch as the object of the game is to capture the King. It is, however, never actually "taken," the game ending whenever (the opposing player having the move) the King remains liable to capture. The King may move from any square upon which it stands to any adjoining square not occupied by any piece or pawn of its own colour. If one of such adjoining squares is occupied by an undefended piece or pawn of the opposite colour, it may take such piece or pawn.

An additional privilege of the King ("castling") will be explained in its proper place.

2. The Rook.

The Rook (or Castle) moves upon straight lines only, in a horizontal or vertical direction, to any square not occupied by any piece or pawn of its own colour. If the line on which it operates terminates in a piece or pawn of the opposite colour, it can take such piece or pawn.

3. The Bishop.

The Bishops move and take upon diagonals only: the King's Bishop upon the diagonals of its own colour, the Queen's Bishop on those of the opposite colour; stopping short, however, when it reaches a square occupied by any piece or pawn of its own colour.

4. The Queen.

The Queen combines the power of Rook and Bishop—i.e., the Queen may move and take horizontally or vertically like a Rook, or upon diagonals like a Bishop. It is, therefore, the most powerful piece on the board, because not only has it the power of Rook and Bishop, but it has also the privilege to move like either of the two Bishops, according to the colour of the diagonal it may for the time being stand upon.

5. The Knight.

Fig. 2.—The Knight's Move.
Fig. 2.—The Knight's Move.

Fig. 2.—The Knight's Move.

The movement of the Knight is more complicated than that of any other piece. One move of the Knight combines two King's moves: one square straight, and one square diagonally to any but the adjoining squares to its starting-point. Unlike any other piece, it may leap over any piece or pawn of its own or the opposite colour intervening between its starting-point and the square to which it moves. Thus, in Fig. 2, the white Knight may move to K B 2, K Kt 5, Q 6, Q B 5, or Q B 3, but not to Q 2, that square being occupied by a piece of its own colour.[74] It may take the black pawn at K Kt 3, or the black Knight at K B 6. It will be noticed that with every move the Knight changes colour—viz., from a white to a black square, and vice versâ.

6. The Pawn.

The pawn, in spite of its limited power of movement, plays a most important rôle amongst the forces. The pawns are the rank and file of the array. The pawn, is, so to speak, the tirailleur; it engages the enemy, advances into the opponent's camp, and clears the road for the officers who follow in its wake to the attack; the pawn is mostly the first victim, and in the large majority of cases the pawn decides the game. Like the private soldier, who is supposed "to carry the marshal's baton in his knapsack," the pawn may be promoted to the highest rank. If it reaches the "eight" square, it may be converted, according to the choice of the player, into a Bishop, Knight, Rook, or Queen. Even though the player has still his full complement of pieces, any pawn may be so converted. Thus a player may have at the end of a game as many new pieces as pawns reach the eight squares.

The pawn may only move one square at a time, straight forward on the file on which it is placed, with the option of moving two squares at first starting. Thus in Fig. 3, section a, the pawn at K 2 has the choice of moving either to K 3 or at once to K 4. But the pawn takes on diagonals only; thus, in section b of the same figure, the pawn at K 7, having the move, can take either the black Bishop at K B 8 or the black Queen at Q 8, and in either case it must be converted into some piece of its own colour (other than a King), according to the choice of the player, when the converted piece will act immediately in its new capacity. It is against the laws of the game to leave it still a pawn.

Fig. 3.—The Pawn's Moves.
Fig. 3.—The Pawn's Moves.

Fig. 3.—The Pawn's Moves.

The pawn cannot move backwards nor sideways, but only forward along the "file" on which he stands. The pawn is also restricted in his power of taking. Thus any adverse piece or pawn standing on the adjacent squares to a pawn (other than forward diagonals) cannot be taken. Pawns placed as shown in section c or d of Fig. 3 could not take each other.

The pawn may also take "en passant," which means that if a pawn moves two squares at starting, thus "passing" an adverse pawn which could have taken it had it moved only one square, such adverse pawn has the option of taking it as if it had moved one square only; but the taking en passant must form the next move of the adversary. Thus in section c of the diagram, supposing the black pawn to have just moved from Q R 2 to Q R 4, it may be taken by the white pawn at Q Kt 5; the white pawn standing, after the move, at Q R 6. Such a move would be recorded thus: P takes P e.p.

Chess Notation.

It is necessary that the novice be thoroughly familiar with the original position of each piece, this being the foundation of what is called Chess Notation, or the system by which moves are recorded, and without which it would be impossible to convey written instruction in the game. Various systems are employed in different countries, but what is called the English notation is the only one with which our readers need trouble themselves.

Each square in the two outer rows is named (see Fig. 4) after the piece which occupies it, and the other squares by reference to these. For instance, the square upon which the King stands is called the

Fig. 4.—English Notation.
Fig. 4.—English Notation.

Fig. 4.—English Notation.

King's Square, or more shortly K sq., or K 1. The square in front of it is K 2; the next K 3, and so on throughout the file. In like manner with the other files. The pieces on the right side of the King are called the King's pieces—i.e., King's Bishop, K B; King's Knight, K Kt; King's Rook, K R; and the pieces on the left of the Queen are called Queen's pieces—i.e., Queen's Bishop, Q B; Queen's Knight, Q Kt; Queen's Rook, Q R. The same rule applies to the black pieces; so that each square has two names, as it may be necessary to describe it with reference to the one or the other player. Thus White's King's square would be Black's King's eight (K 8), whilst Black's King's square would be White's King's eight (K 8), and so on with all the other squares.

Method of Recording Games.

The following are the abbreviations in use in scoring with the aid of the English notation:

K = King; Q = Q; R = Rook; K R = King's Rook; Q R = Queen's Rook; B = Bishop; K B = King's Bishop; Q B = Queen's Bishop; Kt = Knight; K Kt = King's Knight; Q Kt = Queen's Knight; P = Pawn; ch. = check; dis. ch. = discovered check; e.p. = en passant; Castles, or o—o = Castles on the King's side; and Castles Q R, or o—o—o = Castles on the Queen's side. To take may be noted "takes," or shorter thus, ×; (!) indicates a good move; (?) a bad or indifferent move; + the better game; - the inferior game; = an even game. To familiarise himself with the system the reader is recommended to study, with the aid of the board, the following example, a "Ruy Lopez" game, recorded according to the English notation.

   X.    Z.
1. P to K 4 1. P to K 4
2. Kt to K B 3 2. Kt to Q B 3
3. B to Kt 5 3. P to Q R 3
4. B to R 4 4. Kt to B 3
5. Castles 5. P to Q Kt 4
6. B to Kt 3 6. B to K 2
7. P to Q 4 7. P to Q 3
8. P to B 3 8. B to Kt 5
9. B to K 3 9. Castles
10. Q Kt to Q 2 10. P to Q 4
11. K P takes P 11. K Kt takes P
12. Q to B 2 12. P takes P
13. B takes P 13. Kt takes B
14. Kt takes Kt 14. Q to Q 2
15. Q Kt to B 3 15. B to B 3
16. Q to K 4 16. K B takes Kt
17. B takes Kt 17. B takes Kt
18. Q takes Q B 18. Resigns.

A variation of this is the "fractional" notation, in which White's move is recorded above the line, and Black's below the line—e.g.:

1. P to K 4 2. Kt to K B 3 3. B to Kt 5
P to K 4 Kt to Q B 3 P to Q R 3

The moves may be recorded in columns or in lines, according to individual choice. "To" is frequently represented by a dash—e.g., instead of P to K 4, P—K 4. A single move of Black is recorded thus: 1. ... P to K 4 (or, P—K 4); 16. ... K B takes Kt (or, K B × Kt); the dots standing in lieu of White's preceding move.


Having mastered the notation, the student should next familiarise himself with—

The Technical Terms used in the Game.

The more important of these are as under:

Check and Checkmate.—The whole object of the game is the capture of the opponent's King, though, as we have said, the King is never actually taken, the game coming to an end when the next move, if made, would result in his capture. If the King is attacked, the attack must be accompanied with the warning, "Check." A check may be met in three different ways. The player may either interpose one of his own pieces[75] (or pawns) between the King and the attacking piece; he may move it out of the range of the attacking piece; or he may take the attacking piece with the King or any other of his forces which may be available for that purpose. If he cannot resort to either of these three defences, he is checkmated, or more shortly, "mated," and the game is lost.

"Discovered" check is given when, by moving a piece, another piece is unmasked which attacks the adversary's King.

Drawn Game.—Beside the more decided issue of checkmate, there is another possible termination of a game—viz., the "drawn game," or "draw."

A draw ensues: 1. If neither side can give checkmate.

2. If both sides remain with King only, or with a single Bishop, or single Knight only in addition.

3. If both players repeat the same series of moves three times, thereby tacitly admitting that they are not strong enough to give checkmate, or that they do not intend to venture upon another line of play.

4. If a player under certain specified conditions is unable to give mate in fifty moves.

Fig. 5. (Drawing by perpetual check.)
Fig. 5. (Drawing by perpetual check.)

Fig. 5. (Drawing by perpetual check.)

5. Through "perpetual check"; for instance, if a player, having otherwise a lost game, can save it by constantly forcing the opponent to move his King by repeated checks. In Fig. 5 Black is threatened with checkmate by Q to R 8, or Q to Kt 7. But, it being Black's move, he would play Kt to Kt 6: ch.; White must play K to R 2; Black returns to his old position again, checking, and as there is nothing to prevent his repeating these two moves ad infinitum, the game is drawn.

Fig. 6. (Illustration of stalemate.)
Fig. 6. (Illustration of stalemate.)

Fig. 6. (Illustration of stalemate.)

6. In case of a "stalemate"—i.e., when the player whose turn it is to move cannot make a move without violating the laws of the game. For instance, in Fig. 6, Black (having the move) would be "stalemate," as his King (his only piece) cannot move without placing itself in check, the white pawn guarding the squares Q B 8 and Q R 8, and the King guarding the squares Q B 7 and Q R 7.

Castling.—Once in the game the King has the privilege of making a double move in conjunction with either Rook. This move is called "Castling." In castling on the King's side, the King is moved to K Kt square, and the Rook is placed next to it on K B square; in castling on the Queen's side, the King is moved to Q B square, and the Queen's Rook placed next to it upon Q square.

The right to castle is subject to the following conditions:

1. That no piece of its own or the opponent's colour be between the King and the Rook with which the King is to be castled.

2. That neither the King nor the Rook with which it is to castle has yet moved.

3. The King cannot castle if in check, or into check; neither can he cross a square which is commanded by any of the opponent's pieces.

Command.—A piece is said to "command" a given square if it can take any adverse piece placed on such square.

Develop.—To move a piece from its original position is to develop it or bring it into play. The quicker the development of the pieces the better. If a player can concentrate upon a given point a greater number of pieces than his opponent is enabled to develop for its defence, he must obtain an advantage.

Double Pawn.—Two pawns on the same file. A "double pawn" is weaker than two pawns in the same row, because in the former case they must be independently defended, whilst in the latter case either can be made to defend the other.

En prise.—A piece or pawn is en prise if so placed as to be liable to be taken by any other. Sometimes the same phrase is applied to a piece or pawn insufficiently defended.

To Exchange.—Is to give up a piece or pawn for another of equal value.

The Exchange.—A player gaining a Rook for a minor piece (Bishop or Knight) is said to "win the exchange." His opponent loses the exchange.

Forced Move.—Is where the player has only one move at his disposal; for instance, in case of a check with a Knight, where the Knight cannot be taken, and the King has only one square to which he can move.

Fork.—This term is chiefly used where, by advancing a pawn, two pieces are attacked. (In Fig. 3, b, the white pawn forks K & B.) But it may also be used to express that any one piece attacks two others simultaneously.

Isolated Pawn.—Is a single pawn, the pawns of same colour on the right and left being off the board. A pawn is said to be "passed" when there is no pawn of the opposite colour which can bar its progress.

Gambit.[76]—Any opening in which a pawn is sacrificed by the first player in order to obtain a quicker development of his pieces is called a gambit. The pawn so sacrificed is called the "gambit-pawn." A counter-gambit is where the second player sacrifices a pawn with a similar object.

J'adoube.—("I adjust") is said by a player, to inform his opponent, before touching a piece or pawn of his own or his adversary's, that such piece or pawn is only to be adjusted, but not played.

Pin.—A piece is said to be "pinned" if it is attacked by an adverse piece in such manner that, by moving the attacked piece, a more valuable piece would be "unmasked," and left en prise; but chiefly if it is unable to move because it guards the King from being in check.

Value of the Pieces.

The approximate value of the pieces, as they stand on their respective squares at the beginning of a game, is estimated to be as follows: Taking the pawn as unit, the value of the Knight is 3.05; of the Bishop, 3.05; of the Rook, 5.48; and of the Queen, 9.94. German authorities estimate (taking also the pawn as unit), Bishop = 3; Knight = 3; Rook = 4½; and Queen = 9. The King in the End game is worth 4. Obviously the value of piece or pawn changes as the game advances, according to the position it occupies for the time being. There are, however, general principles which hold good in a large majority of cases. For instance, two Bishops are more serviceable than two Knights in the End game.[77] Bishop and Knight are also preferable to two Knights, but a single Knight is more serviceable, in most cases, in the End game than a single Bishop.

73   For fuller information on the subject of the game, see Mr. L. Hoffer's excellent treatise on Chess in The Book of Card and Table Games (reprinted separately in the Oval Series, Routledge. 1s.), of which this section is a much condensed abridgment.
74   For the meaning of these letters and figures, see Chess Notation (p. 343).
75   This is possible in case of a check with Queen, Rook, or Bishop, but not in case of check with a Knight or pawns.
76   From the Italian Gambetto, "a trip up."
77   With two Bishops checkmate can be forced, whilst with two Knights only checkmate cannot be given against the best defence.