Chess cheat sheet

Chess cheat sheet. Explore our ultimate gaming quick reference for Chess.

This Chess Cheat Sheet offers a comprehensive overview of the game's fundamentals, including setup, movements, and special rules, alongside strategic tips for openings, gameplay, and endgame scenarios. Designed for both beginners and intermediate players, it serves as a quick reference to enhance understanding and improve strategy. Visual aids and concise explanations make complex concepts accessible, aiming to boost your chess skills in practical and competitive settings.

Basics Rules


Setting Up the Board

  1. Chess board position: Regardless of the board's orientation, the bottom-right square must always be white.
  2. Setting Up the Board: Place pieces on the two rows closest to each player. Rooks in the corners, knights next, then bishops, and the queen on her color, with the king next to her.

Algebraic Notation

Check example

  • Numbers & Letters: Chess boards are labeled with letters (a-h) for columns and numbers (1-8) for rows, creating a coordinate system (e.g., a1, b5) to identify squares. This notation system is essential for recording moves, discussing strategies, and studying game plays. Understanding these coordinates enhances your ability to navigate the board and communicate effectively about chess positions.

Pieces' Values

Chess Pieces' Values

  • Chess Pieces' Values: In chess, each piece is assigned a value to help assess its importance and potential impact on the game. Pawns are valued at 1 point, Knights and Bishops at 3 points each, Rooks at 5 points, the Queen at 9 points, and the King, while invaluable for the game's outcome, doesn't have a specific point value due to its critical role. These values guide players in making trade-offs and decisions throughout the game.

Chess Captures

Chess Pieces' Values

  • Chess Captures: In chess, captures are fundamental throughout the game. A capture occurs when a player removes an opponent's piece from the board by moving their own piece to the same square. Each piece captures in a unique way, for example, pawns capture diagonally, while other pieces follow their own movement rules for capturing. Strategic use of captures can be crucial in shaping the outcome of the game.


Check example

  • Check: When a king is attacled, it's called 'check,' signaling the king is in danger. Players must remove their king from check immediately.


Check example

  • Checkmate: Checkmate the opponent's king, meaning the king is under threat of capture and cannot escape. Checkmate immediately concludes the game, resulting in a win for the player who achieves it.

Basic Moves

The Pawn

Pawn Chess Moves

  • Initial Move: On its first move, a pawn may move forward either one or two squares.
  • Subsequent Moves: After the initial move, it can only move forward one square at a time.
  • Capturing: Pawns capture differently from how they move; they can capture an opponent's piece diagonally in front of them, one square to the left or right.

The Knight

Knight Chess Moves

  • Movement: The knight moves in an L-shape, either two squares in one direction and then one square perpendicular to that, or one square in one direction followed by two squares perpendicular. This unique move can be made in any direction.
  • Jumping: Unlike other pieces, knights can leap over any pieces that are in their path.

The Bishop

Bishop Chess Moves

  • Movement: Bishops move diagonally, staying on the same color square they started on.
  • Range: They can travel to any square diagonally from their current position, as long as their path is unobstructed.
  • Capturing: Bishops capture opposing pieces by moving to their square diagonally.

The Rook

Rook Chess Moves

  • Movement: Rooks can move any number of squares along a row or column, but cannot move through or over other pieces.
  • Positioning: For maximum effectiveness, rooks need open files (vertical paths) or clear ranks (horizontal paths).
  • Strategic Goal: Try to move a rook to the 7th rank (directly opposite your opponent's pawns' starting position) to pressure your opponent's position.

The Queen

Queen Chess Moves

  • Movement: The queen combines the powers of the rook and bishop, moving any number of squares along a row, column, or diagonally, in any direction.
  • Strategy: As the most powerful piece, the queen should be used carefully. Generally, deploy your queen after advancing your pawns, knights, and bishops to ensure the board is set up for her to make a significant impact.

The King

King Chess Moves

  • Movement: The king moves one square in any direction, either to an unoccupied square or to capture an opponent's piece.
  • Castling: A special move involving the king and a rook, allowing them to switch places. This move is detailed in the 'Special Moves' section.
  • Opening Strategy: Aim to castle your king early in the game for safety.

Special Moves

En Passant

En Passant Chess Move Step 1

  1. Setup: When a pawn moves two squares from its starting position and lands beside an opposing pawn. En Passant Chess Move Step 2
  2. Capture: The opposing pawn can capture it "en passant," as if the first pawn had moved only one square. En Passant Chess Move Step 3
  3. Outcome: The capturing pawn moves to the square directly behind the pawn it captures, removing the passed pawn from the board.

Pawn Promotion

Pawn Promotion Chess Move Step 1

  1. Trigger: Promotion happens when a pawn advances to the opposite end of the board from its starting position. Pawn Promotion Chess Move Step 2
  2. Choice: The player can then replace the pawn with a queen, rook, bishop, or knight of the same color.

Kingside Castle

Kindside Castle Chess Move Step 1

  1. Movement: The king moves two squares towards the rook on its side of the board (to the right for white, to the left for black). Kindside Castle Chess Move Step 2
  2. Rook's Position: The rook then moves to the square immediately next to the king, on the opposite side of the king's starting square.

Queenside Castle

Queenside Castle Chess Move Step 1

  1. Movement: The king moves two squares towards the rook on the queenside (to the left for white, to the right for black). Queenside Castle Chess Move Step 2
  2. Rook's Position: After the king's move, the rook passes over the king, landing on the square immediately next to the king.

Strategy tips

Common Openings

  • King's Pawn Opening (e4 e5): Opens lines for the queen and bishop.
  • Sicilian Defense (e4 c5): Black fights for central control without mirroring White's moves.
  • French Defense (e4 e6): Black establishes a strong pawn chain, aiming for a counterattack.
  • Queen's Gambit (d4 d5 c4): White offers a pawn to control the center.

Tactical Motifs

  • Fork: A single piece attacks two or more pieces at once.
  • Pin: A piece is attacked and cannot move without exposing a more valuable piece behind it.
  • Skewer: Similar to a pin, but the more valuable piece is in front and must move, exposing the less valuable piece.
  • Discovered Attack: A piece moves, uncovering an attack by another piece.
  • Double Check: Two checks from different pieces at the same time.

Strategic Principles

  • Control the Center: Dominance of the center allows more mobility for your pieces.
  • Develop Your Pieces: Move your pieces to effective positions early in the game.
  • King Safety: Ensure your king is protected, often through castling.
  • Pawn Structure: Maintain a strong pawn formation to control squares and create paths for your pieces.
  • Material: Aim to capture enemy pieces of higher value while protecting your own.

How Chess Games Can End

Chess games conclude in several ways, determining the outcome as a win, loss, or draw:

  • Checkmate: Occurs when a king is under threat of capture (in check) and cannot escape. This results in a win for the attacking player.
  • Stalemate: Happens when a player has no legal moves and their king is not in check. This is considered a draw.
  • Insufficient material: The game is drawn if neither player has enough pieces to force a checkmate.
  • Threefold repetition: A game is drawn if the same position occurs three times with the same player to move and all possible moves.
  • Fifty-move rule: A draw can be claimed if no pawn has been moved and no capture has been made in the last fifty moves by each player.
  • Agreement: Players may agree to a draw at any point during the game.

Endgame Tips

  • King Activation: In the endgame, the king becomes a strong piece; use it actively.
  • Pawn Promotion: Push passed pawns towards promotion.
  • Simplify: When ahead in material, exchange pieces (not pawns), simplifying to a won endgame.