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Knowing the Moves that Chess Pieces Can Make

By James Eade

Part of Chess For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Before you can play a game of chess, you need to know how to move the pieces (legally). A chess piece’s power is tied to its mobility. The more mobile a piece is, the more powerful it is:

  • Pawns: Pawns can only move forward. On their first move, they can move one or two squares. Afterwards, they can move only one square at a time. They can capture an enemy piece by moving one square forward diagonally.

  • Bishops: Bishops can move any number of squares diagonally.

  • Knights: Knights can move only in an L-shape, one square up and two over, or two squares over and one down, or any such combination of one-two or two-one movements in any direction.

  • Rooks: Rooks can move any number of squares, up and down and side to side.

  • Queens: Queens can move any number of squares along ranks, files and diagonals.

  • Kings: Kings can move one square at a time in any direction.