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  • How The Pieces Move >> Pawns         Knights     Bishops     Rooks     Archbishops     Chancellors     Queens     Kings


    When we teach children how the Knight moves, we say "It goes one, two, then over."
    Knights basically make an "L-shaped" move on the board.
    Move two squares vertically, then one horizontally. That describes 4 different moves of the Knight.
    Move two squares horizontally, then one vertically. That describes the other 4 ways to move the Knight.
    You can see that the Knight on square f5 in the diagram above on the left has 8 legal moves, each shown with the circular dot.
    The Knight on squares i1, on the other hand, only has 3 legal moves. That is because the other moves would be "off the board."
    The Knight is said to be a "jumping" piece, and it can literally "jump over" pieces to land on its destination square.
    Knights can jump over enemy and friendly pieces alike, but it cannot land on a square occupied by one of its own pieces. When it lands on an enemy's square, it captures that piece and removes it from the board.
     
    Forking: Part 1         Pawns     Bishops     Rooks     Archbishops     Chancellors     Queens     Kings


    The most common threat a Knight can make is the so-called forking move.
    It is white to move above on the left, and the Knight takes the Pawn, simultaneously checking the black King.
    As you can see in the diagram above on the right, after the black King moves, the white Knight takes the black Rook on the j8 square. The Rook is said to have been "forked."
    For this reason, the forking move works. No matter what, white will lose material as a result of coming under two simultaneous threats.
     
    Forking: Part 2         Pawns     Bishops     Rooks     Archbishops     Chancellors     Queens     Kings


    A fork can occur without the need for checking the enemy King. In this example, with black to move, the Knight on the f5 square issues a fork.
    As shown above on the right, the Knight captured the white Pawn on the d4 square and simultaneously threatens two pieces of much greater value.
    Notice how the white Queen on the c2 square and the white Archbishop on the f3 square are BOTH able to be captured next by the black Knight on the d4 square.
    While it is true that the white Archbishop could capture the black Knight on d4 in the diagram above on the right, notice there is a black Bishop on f6 protecting it.
    For this reason, the forking move works. No matter what, white will lose material as a result of coming under two simultaneous threats.
     
    More Advanced Forking: Part 1         Pawns     Bishops     Rooks     Archbishops     Chancellors     Queens     Kings


    This next example is one level more complex that the previous one that was demonstrated. Now that you see how the forking mechanism works, you should recognize black's threat shown above on the left.
    After a brief review, you should see that the black Knight on g4 is trying to "hold the Archbishop hostage" on g1. That Archbishop is protecting the h2 square.
    If the h2 square becomes unguarded, then the black Knight will capture onto h2 with check, winning the white Rook on j1.
    White needs to think about how to compel the black Knight to vacate the post on g4. As shown above on the right, he moves the Pawn to f3, which threatens to capture the Knight diagonally.
    This move "looks good" at first glance, but as shown below, black was actually hoping for this move. The best defensive move for white was to put the Chancellor on g2. (Not Archbishop to f3, or else the Knight on c6 goes to e5).
     
    More Advanced Forking: Part 2         Pawns     Bishops     Rooks     Archbishops     Chancellors     Queens     Kings


    As shown above on the left, black ignored the white Pawn's threat to the Knight on g4, and instead moved the dark-squared Bishop to d4.
    This Bishop is protected by the Knight on c6, and it threatens the white Archbishop. White does not want to take the Bishop with the Archbishop, since the Archbishop will be captured next.
    So white moves his Archbishop to a safe square (see the diagram on the right) in this case, e2. Notice that the h2 square is now undefended. Black will fork the King with a check, and then take the Rook.
     
    Even More Advanced Forking: Part 1         Pawns     Bishops     Rooks     Archbishops     Chancellors     Queens     Kings


    The previous example demonstrated that even knowledge of the elementary forking mechanism could be exploited, if you think more deeply than your opponent.
    While white did make a mistake, this mistake was created by applying the notion of the fork to some deceptive moves where more potent threats were lying in wait.
    This next example takes the deception and planning even deeper. Here, black "knows" that white wants to try to remove the guard that is protecting the forking square.
    Notice that above on the left, the white Knight, already on i5, is threatening to capture onto h7, forking the King and winning the Rook. Black played his Archbishop out to f6, still guarding h7 from that post.
    But white had a Bishop that could attack it, and black saw this, and made his move anyway. So white played the Bishop to g5, attacking it, and it looks like the Archbishop must retreat back to g8 in order to defend against the forking move.
    But black looked even further ahead, and will allow the fork! Black moved the Archbishop to h5 as shown above on the right. Play continues below.
     
    Even More Advanced Forking: Part 2         Pawns     Bishops     Rooks     Archbishops     Chancellors     Queens     Kings


    White sees that the h7 square is unguarded, and plays the forking move shown above on the left. He captured the Pawn on h7, checks the black King, and will win the Rook on j8 next.
    Black calmly moves the King out of check, making the only move available to him. White is happy. Now he can win the Rook. Right?
     
    Even More Advanced Forking: Part 3         Pawns     Bishops     Rooks     Archbishops     Chancellors     Queens     Kings


    The white Knight takes the black Rook on j8, as shown above on the left. But, black has a stunning surprise in store.
    The black Archbishop captures the pawn on g3, and checkmates the white King!
    Look closely at the diagram above on the right. The white Knight on e2 looks like it can capture the black Archbishop on g3. But, this Knight is pinned!
    The black Bishop "way out of the way" on a6 is pinning the Knight on e2. This Knight cannot move, since otherwise the white King would be in check.
    Black cannot evade the check, move his King to safety, nor capture the piece delivering check. This is checkmate!
     
    How The Pieces Move         Knights     Bishops     Rooks     Archbishops     Chancellors     Queens     Kings



    Pawns are probably mentioned most often in the real world, both inside and outside of chess circles.
    While equated with the lowest value for all of the pieces in the game of chess, their movements take quite a few steps to explain.
    In general, Pawns move irreversibly forward. That is to say, they cannot move backwards, ever.
    When not making captures, they can only move to unoccupied squares, and cannot "jump" over any pieces.
    When they are on their starting squares, as is the pawn on square e2 in the diagram, they may move one or two spaces forward on their first move.
    This is shown by the white dots on squares e2 and e3.
    The Pawn on square a2 is blocked by the enemy King. Unfortunately, this poor Pawn cannot move at all.
    The pawn on square c5 has three move choices. It can move forward one space to square c6.
    Pawns capture by moving one square diagonally forward, so this Pawn may either take the Knight on square b6 or the Bishop on square d6.
    There is another type of Pawn capture, referred to as the en passant capture. This is shown below.
     
    The En Passant Pawn Capture: Part 1         Knights     Bishops     Rooks     Archbishops     Chancellors     Queens     Kings



    There is a type of pawn move that most beginners find annoying: the en passant capture.
    This is a French term for "on the passing," which refers to the fact that an enemy Pawn moved twice on its first turn, mostly to avoid having an advanced pawn of yours capture it.
    The diagram above shows a pawn arrangement as black is about to bypass the capturing range of white's Pawn on the e5 square
     
    The En Passant Pawn Capture: Part 2         Knights     Bishops     Rooks     Archbishops     Chancellors     Queens     Kings



    Even though black landed "safely" next to the white pawn on the d5 square, it can still be captured.
    This type of capture must be executed immediately and is therefore only in effect for one move!
    To make the capture, imagine as if the enemy Pawn had only moved one square instead of two.
    Move your Pawn onto the destination square of such a capture, then remove your opponent's Pawn.
     
    The En Passant Pawn Capture: Part 3         Knights     Bishops     Rooks     Archbishops     Chancellors     Queens     Kings



    Shown above is what the final position should look like, with black to move. If your opponent looks shocked, let them know this was an en passant capture.
    I can still remember the first time the Macintosh chess program Sargon III made this type of capture against me. I accused the program of cheating! And that is how I learned the en passant rule.
     
    Pawn Promotion         Knights     Bishops     Rooks     Archbishops     Chancellors     Queens     Kings



    Once a Pawn completes the arduous task of traversing the board to the other side, it gets a reward. It can become any other piece on the board, except the King.
    In almost all cases, you would want to promote the Pawn to a Queen. There are, however, some exceptions to this guideline.
     
    UnderPromotion         Knights     Bishops     Rooks     Archbishops     Chancellors     Queens     Kings



    Above on the left, we see white to move can promote his Pawn. But notice, promoting to a Queen allows the game to continue.
    However, as shown on the right, underpromoting to an Archbishop checkmates the black King! Game over!
     

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