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Chess Online

Chess is perhaps the world’s very own game of games.

With its roots in India and the Middle East, it has been known in its current incarnation at least since the Middle Ages (the Lewis chess set from the Outer Hebrides off the West of Scotland date from the 12th century) and became an internationally popular competitive game in the 20th century, with geniuses such as Gary Kasparov and Bobby Fisher becoming household names.

The arrival of powerful computers in the latter half of the century culminated (so far!) with IBM’s ‘Deep Blue’ computer defeating Kasparov in 1997.

But chess isn’t off limits to we mere mortals either!

Betting on Chess – Yes It Can Be Done (with Paddy Power)

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Chess isn’t a game which many people wouldn’t normally associated with gambling. (more…) [...]
Perhaps it isn’t the first game that springs to mind when it comes to playing for money, but it is possible, and obviously revolves around skill and intellect rather than random chance (more to the point when the odds are sometimes stacked against you).

First we’ll look a little at how to play chess, before turning to some basic chess strategy and a few Internet chess tips in particular.

Basic chess rules

We’ll start from the very, very beginning – apologies if this insults your intelligence, but when Vince Lombardi did the same thing in the 1960s (‘now this is a football’) he turned the Green Bay Packers into Superbowl winners within a few years!

So, chess is played on a black and white chequered board, of 64 squares (8x8), with one player having white pieces and the other, black.

The pieces comprise 8 pawns, which have the lowest ‘value’, and progresses through 2 Knights and 2 Bishops, 2 Rooks (castles), a Queen, and King, which is the most ‘valuable’ piece.

We use this term guardedly because the relative value of a piece can change depending on the position of the pieces on the board, but it’s pretty key that you don’t want to lose your Queen early on in the game, and the game ends when one player’s King is pinned to one square by the opposing player’s piece(s) and cannot move to a free square (‘checkmate’).

But how do you do this? One of the most important of the basic rules of chess is to understand 1) how pieces move and 2) how they should move in concert with each other (which is already moving into the realm of strategy).

The pieces will already be set up for you when you play online, so no need to worry about where they should all go.

The first thing to understand is that pieces can only move on to open squares, via a route which is completely open.

Pawns move 1 square immediately forward (except on their first move, where they can move 2 squares forwards). So for instance, if there is a piece immediately in front of the pawn you wish to move, you can’t until that square is clear.

Other pieces move differently, and these are, briefly, Rooks, which move forwards of horizontally on a straight line, in both directions, as many unblocked squares as needed. Bishops are the same except they move on diagonals (in both directions). One Bishop moves only on black diagonal and the other on white. Look at the starting positions, the color square which a Bishop starts on is the color where it remains.

The Queen can move in ways which combine those of Bishops and Rooks, both diagonally and vertically/horizontally, in both directions.

Knights have a slightly different pattern, they move 3 squares forward, and then one to the right (or 3 squares back, or 3 squares to either side, then 1 to the right in all cases).

Knights are also unique in that they can ‘jump’ over pieces in between their starting and finishing positions. They must simply be landing on a vacant square. Thus, Knights are the only pieces other than Pawns which can be used in the initial move of a game (since all the other pieces require you to move any Pawn(s) blocking them, in order to be unlocked.

Pieces can ‘take’ opposing players’ pieces by simply terminating a move on a square where the opposing piece lies. So whereas one of your own pieces on a square blocks you from moving to that square, an opposing player’s piece can (usually) be taken in that situation.

Incidentally whilst Pawns move forwards, they take diagonally one square. So an opposing piece on the square immediately in front of a Pawn cannot be taken, but a piece one square to the left or right of that most certainly can.

The exception to this is the King. The King is a special piece which holds the key to the game. Although only able to move one square at a time (in any direction) the King must be protected, as the game ends with checkmate.

Whilst the King cannot be taken, if an opposing player’s piece threatens him (ie. the King is on the terminating space of a legitimate move by the opposing player) then the King is in ‘check’ and MUST be moved on the very next move before anything else is done, in order to be extricated from check.

Alternatively a player can move a piece to block the check.

If the King is in check, and can’t move anywhere in order to be unchecked, it is game over with the checking player obviously being declared winner (if the King is unchecked but cannot move to a square without being checked, a ‘stalemate’, ie. a draw, is declared).

That’s about all we have space for as regards rules, there is quite a bit more to it of course, but as a basic intro you can start playing.

One advantage of the online chess game is that not only do you physically not have to move the pieces, but electronic versions can also show you which squares you can legitimately move to, as well as sometimes other information which is invaluable for the beginner - such as what the best next move(s) are.

Online chess tactics

Turning to strategy, there are chess strategies to fill a book of course, so no need to go into them here, but here are a couple of pointers which will help you on your way.

First, you can play chess online free, which is obviously not only a way to get a feel for the game without committing yourself, but also may be all you need – chess is not primarily a gambling game and playing against opposing players via the internet (or against a computer) may be all you need for a lifetime’s enjoyment.

On the other hand, if you do intend to play for money or enter into a tournament then a free chess game will be equally valuable in preparing you to play live chess or against a computer for that matter.

In general, remember when you play that chess pieces should not be seen in isolation from one another, but should move in conjunction with each other.

Pawn structure is important in the opening phases and can make or break a game later on when you start to move out the bigger pieces.

Don’t be afraid to ‘sacrifice’ a piece in order to gain a later advantage, but certainly don’t squander pieces either.

The battle for control, of the center 4 squares is key as well so you need to set up your pieces to achieve that.

In general, if you are serious about searching down a casino chess game, study as much strategy as you can, including ‘playing over’ the games of the great masters (which can easily be found online), learn chess notations (a shorthand way of representing how moves unfold in a game) and of course play chess online free as much as you can!



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