Chess and Checkers: The Way to Mastership
by Edward Lasker
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Chess and Checkers: The Way to Mastership

Complete instructions for the beginner [and] valuable suggestions for the advanced player.


Edward Lasker







Board and men The moves of the men Special terms Symbols for moves Chess laws


Fundamental endings Relative value of the men How the different men cooperate Sacrificing


King's Pawn openings Queen's Pawn openings The middle game


Game No. 1: Jackson Showalter vs. Edward Lasker, Lexington, Ky., 1917

Game No. 2: Edward Lasker vs. Jose R. Capablanca, New York, 1915






The first position The second position The change of the move The third position The fourth position The fifth position




The following is an e-text of "Chess and Checkers: The Way to Mastership," by Edward Lasker, copyright 1918, printed in New York.

This e-text contains the 118 chess and checkers board game diagrams appearing in the original book, plus an extra chess diagram that appears on the front cover of the book, all in the form of ASCII line drawings. The following is a key to the diagrams:

For chess pieces,

R = Rook Kt = Knight B = Bishop Q = Queen K = King P = Pawn

Black pieces have a # symbol to the left of them, while white pieces have a ^ symbol to the left of them. For example, #B is the Black bishop, while ^B is the white bishop. #Kt is the black knight, while ^Kt is the white knight. This will let the reader instantly tell by sight which pieces in the ASCII chess diagrams are black and which are white.

For Checkers pieces,

* = black single piece o = white single piece

** = black king oo = white king

Those who find these diagrams hard to read should feel free to set up them up on a game board using the actual pieces.


The present world war has given great impetus to the game of Chess. In the prison camps, in the field hospitals, in the training camps and even in the trenches Chess has become a favorite occupation in hours of leisure, not only because it offers a most fascinating pastime, but mainly because it serves beyond any doubt to develop what is now the most interesting study for every soldier—the grasp of the principles underlying military strategy and the ability to conceive and to carry out military operations on a large scale.

Frederick the Great, Napoleon and Moltke, the great scientists of war, had a decided liking for the game of Chess and owed to it many an inspiration which helped them in laying out their military plans. Indeed, no other game exists which offers such complete analogies to war.

Two armies oppose each other on the Chess board, composed of different units which may well be compared with infantry, cavalry and artillery.

The success of the operations on the board, which represents the battlefield, does not depend upon any element of chance, but solely upon the ingenuity and the skill of the players who are the commanders-in-chief of the forces.

Although a Chess game differs from a battle in that the material strength of the opponents is equal, the order of events is the same in Chess as in war. The troops are first mobilized and made ready for action with utmost speed, then important positions are occupied which give the troops freedom of action and insure safe lines of retreat and, finally, when the formation of the enemy is known, the strategic plan is made which the generals try to carry out by means of different tactical maneuvers.

Considering this similarity of Chess and war it is not surprising that Chess has gained greatly in popularity among all those whose work or thought is more than superficially influenced by the present war.

No special inducement, however, would be necessary to learn the game, were it more generally known that great advantage is to be derived from the study of Chess, quite apart from the cultivation of strategic ability.

The faculty which is developed by playing Chess is useful wherever logical thinking and concentration are needed, and it cannot be denied that these qualities are most desirable in the every day struggle in which mental work has so largely superseded manual labor.

The thoughtful playing of the game not only cultivates the logical quality and imaginative power of the mind but also tends to develop strength of character. It teaches us not to be hasty in our decisions, but to exercise foresight at all times as we must abide by all consequences of our actions. Moreover, we learn from it circumspection which causes us to survey the whole scene of action and does not allow us to lose ourselves in detail; we also learn not to be discouraged by reverses in our affairs but to hold out and always search for fresh resources.

Thus, Chess serves a good purpose for young and old. The boy will find it a fascinating pastime and, unconsciously sharpening his wits in playing the game, will acquire a fine preparation for his calling in life, no matter what it may be. For the man, and the woman too, Chess is well worth learning, as it will prove the best companion in hours of leisure.

The reason why many people hesitate to learn the game and to teach it to their children is that Chess has been misrepresented as a game which is very difficult to master. This false impression has been created mainly by the wrong methods of teaching usually employed. The majority of writers on Chess deal with a maze of variations and they expect the reader to memorize the moves with which to parry the maneuvers of the opponent, instead of simply developing a few common sense principles which are easy to grasp and perfectly sufficient to make a good player of any one.

This is really the great advantage of the game of Chess over any other board game, that it lends itself to the application of general principles, so that any one can grasp and enjoy it without memorizing more than the rules according to which the men move.

I have tried to develop these principles in a simple way so that they are sure to be easily understood, and I have been greatly aided in my task by Miss Helen Dvorak and Mr. Eugene Fuller, who, without any previous knowledge of the game, have learned it in reading through the manuscript of this book. They have given me many valuable hints in pointing out all that did not seem readily intelligible to the mind of the beginner.

In explaining the game of Checkers, to which the second part of the book is devoted, I have also tried to develop general principles of strategy, rather than to offer a mere classification of analyzed lines of play, which the reader would have to memorize in order to be able to compete with experts.

I was fortunate enough to secure the collaboration of the Checker Champion, Alfred Jordan, who enthusiastically adopted the new idea of teaching and furnished most of the material which I have used in illustrating the vital points of the game.



The History of Chess

The game of Chess in the form in which it is played to-day is usually assumed to be of a much older date than can be proved with certainty by documents in our possession. The earliest reference to the game is contained in a Persian romance written about 600 A.D., which ascribes the origin of Chess to India. Many of the European Chess terms used in the Middle Ages which can be traced back to the Indian language also tend to prove that India is the mother country of the game.

We are, therefore, fairly safe in assuming that Chess is about 1300 years old. Of course we could go farther, considering that the Indian Chess must have been gradually developed from simpler board games. Indeed we know from a discovery in an Egyptian tomb built about 4000 B.C. that board games have been played as early as 6000 years ago; but we have no way of finding out their rules.

The game of Chess spread from India to Persia, Arabia and the other Moslem countries, and it was brought to Europe at the time of the Moorish invasion of Spain. It also reached the far East, and games similar to Chess still exist in Japan, China, Central and Northern Asia, the names and rules of which prove that they descended from the old Indian Chess.

In Europe Chess spread from Spain northward to France, Germany, England, Scandinavia and Iceland. It became known with extraordinary rapidity, although at first it was confined to the upper classes, the courts of the Kings and the nobility. In the course of time, when the dominance of the nobility declined and the inhabitants of the cities assumed the leading role in the life of people, the game of Chess spread to all classes of society and soon reached a popularity which no other game has ever equaled.

While in the early Middle Ages the game was played in Europe with the same rules as in the Orient, some innovations were introduced by the European players in the later Middle Ages which proved to be so great an improvement that within a hundred years they were generally adopted in all countries including the Orient. The reason for the changes was that in the old form of the game it took too long to get through the opening period. The new form, which dates from about 1500 A.D. and the characteristic feature of which is the enlarged power of Queen and Bishop, is our modern Chess, the rules of which are uniform throughout the civilized world.

In the Seventeenth Century Chess flourished mostly in Italy, which consequently produced the strongest players. Some of them traveled throughout Europe, challenging the best players of the other countries and for the most part emerging victorious. At that time Chess was in high esteem, especially at the courts of the kings who followed the example of Philip the Second of Spain in honoring the traveling masters and rewarding them liberally for their exhibition matches.

Towards the beginning of the Eighteenth Century the game reached a high stage of development in France, England and Germany. The most famous master of the time was the Frenchman, Andre Philidor, who for more than forty years easily maintained his supremacy over all players with whom he came in contact, and whose fame has since been equaled only by the American Champion, Paul Morphy, and by the German, Emanuel Lasker.

During the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries the number of players who obtained international fame increased rapidly, and in 1851, due to the efforts of the English Champion Staunton, an international tournament was held in London to determine the championship of Europe. It was won by the German master Anderssen, who maintained his leading place for the following fifteen years, until he was beaten by the youthful Morphy. The latter, at twenty years of age, was the first American master to visit Europe and defeated in brilliant style all European masters whom he met.

Morphy withdrew from the game after his return to America and did not try to match himself with the Bohemian Steinitz, who in the meantime had beaten Anderssen, too, and who had come to America. Steinitz assumed the title of the World's Champion and defended it successfully against all competitors until 1894, when he was beaten by Emanuel Lasker, who is still World's Champion, having never lost a match.

The next aspirant for the World's Championship is the young Cuban, Jose Raoul Capablanca, who has proved to be superior to all masters except Lasker. He entered the arena of international tournaments at the age of twenty-two in San Sebastian, Spain, in 1911, and won the first prize in spite of the competition of nearly all of Europe's masters. In the last international tournament, which was held in Petrograd in 1914, he finished second, Emanuel Lasker winning first prize.

The present ranking of the professional Chess masters is about the following:

1. Emanuel Lasker, Berlin, World's Champion. 2. J. R. Capablanca, Havana, Pan-American Champion. 3. A. Rubinstein, Warsaw, Russian Champion. 4. K. Schlechter, Vienna, Austrian Champion. 5. Frank Marshall, New York, United States Champion. 6. R. Teichmann, Berlin. 7. A. Aljechin, Moscow.

Other players of international fame are the Germans, Tarrasch and Spielmann, the Austrians, Duras, Marocy and Vidmar, the Russians, Bernstein and Niemzowitsch, the Frenchman, Janowski and the Englishman, Burn. Up to the time of the outbreak of the war the leading Chess Clubs of the different countries arranged, as an annual feature, national and international tournaments, thus bringing the Chess players of all nationalities into close contact.

This internationalism of Chess is of great advantage to the Chess player who happens to be traveling in a foreign country. There are innumerable Chess Clubs spread all over the globe and the knowledge of the game is the only introduction a man needs to be hospitably received and to form desirable social and business connections.

It would be going beyond the limit of this summary of the history of Chess if I tried to give even an outline of the extremely interesting part Chess has played in French, English and German literature from the Middle Ages up to the present time. Suffice it to mention that Chess literature by far exceeds that of all other games combined. More than five thousand volumes on Chess have been written, and weekly or monthly magazines solely devoted to Chess are published in all countries, so that Chess has, so to speak, become an international, universal language.

The History of Checkers

The literature on the game of Checkers (English: Draughts) is very limited and there are no certain references to prove that the game was known before the Sixteenth Century. Two theories are current as to its origin; one of them claiming it to be a simplified Chess, the other explaining it as the result of transferring the Spanish game Alquerque de doze to the Chess board.

H. J. R. Murray, the greatest authority on the history of games, considers it most likely that the game has been evolved from both Chess and Alquerque. The method of capturing men and the rule concerning the huffing of a man unquestionably point to the Spanish game, while the board, the diagonal move of the men and the idea of crowning a man are taken from Chess.

In France, Germany, Italy and Spain the name of the game is still that of the Queen of Chess (Dame, Dama) whose move in the Middle Ages was identical with the move of the Checkermen.

Checkers has never been able to attain more than national uniformity, and it is played with different rules in different countries. In the United States it is more popular than in any other country and a number of players have obtained national fame. The best players at present are considered to be Newell Banks and Alfred Jordan.





The game of Chess is played by two armies who oppose each other on a square board or battlefield of sixty-four alternate white and black squares. Each army has sixteen men; one King, one Queen, two Rooks (or Castles), two Bishops, two Knights and eight Pawns. The Generals of the two armies are the two players themselves. The men of one side are of light color and are called White, those of the other side are of dark color and are called Black.

The object of the game is to capture the opposing King. When this is done the battle is ended, the side losing whose King is captured. To understand what is meant by the capture of the King it is first necessary to become acquainted with the laws according to which the different men move on the board.

To start with, the board must be placed so that the players have a white square at their right. Then the men take the positions shown in Diagram 1.

The Rooks occupy the corner squares; next to them stand the Knights; then the Bishops and in the center the King and the Queen.

- 8 #R #Kt #B #Q #K #B #K #R - 7 #P #P #P #P #P #P #P #P - 6 - 5 - 4 - 3 - 2 ^P ^P ^P ^P ^P ^P ^P ^P - 1 ^R ^Kt ^B ^Q ^K ^B ^Kt ^R - a b c d e f g h


The white Queen must be on the white square and the black Queen on the black square. These eight, men are commonly known as "pieces" in distinction from the Pawns. The latter occupy the line of squares immediately in front of the Pieces.

The lines of squares now occupied by the men and the other four vacant horizontal lines between them are called RANKS. The vertical lines of squares running perpendicularly to the ranks are called FILES. The oblique lines of squares, that is, lines which connect squares of the same color, are called DIAGONALS.

To describe the moves of the men on the board in a simple way it is necessary to indicate every square and every man by a short symbol. For this purpose different systems have been suggested at different times, but only two of them have been generally adopted. The older one, called the "descriptive notation," still predominates in the English, French and Spanish speaking countries, but as leading English and American writers have lately used the newer "algebraic notation" which is much more simple, the latter will be employed in this book. Later the former method will be explained for the sake of completeness.

In the algebraic notation the files are lettered from a to h, starting from the file on White's left. The ranks are numbered from 1 to 8, starting from the rank on which White's pieces stand at the beginning of the game. Each square is now easily indicated by naming the file and rank at which it forms the intersection. The Rook in Diagram 2, for instance, stands on e4, the Bishop on C4, the Pawns on h4 and g7, the Knight on f7, the Queen on d6 and the Kings on c1 and g3.

- 8 - 7 ^Kt #P - 6 #Q - 5 - 4 #B ^R ^P - 3 #K - 2 - 1 ^K - a b c d e f g h


As symbols for the men the first letters of their names are used. Thus K stands for King, Q for Queen, R for Rook, B for Bishop, Kt or N for Knight and P for Pawn.


Each of the six kinds of men moves in a different way. To remember the six varieties of moves naturally requires a little more effort than to remember just the one way of moving as in most other board games. But it takes only very little practice to become familiar with the various moves of the Chessmen and it is soon revealed to the learner that the variety of the moves enables a surprising depth and wealth of combinations which give keener and greater pleasure to this game than to any other.

The Rook

The Rook may move forward, backward or sideways in a straight line along a path not obstructed by a man of the same color. In other words, he may move to any square of the rank or file on which he stands unless another man of his own color is in the way. If there is a hostile man in the way he may capture him by occupying his square and removing him from the board.

In Diagram 2, for instance, the Rook could move to e5, e6, e7, e8, e3, e2, e1, f4, g4, d4 and c4. In making the latter move he would capture the black Bishop. The Rook may not go to h4 because a man of his own color stands there nor may he go to b4 or e4 because he is not allowed to jump over the Bishop. He could, of course, move to either of these squares on his next move after capturing the Bishop.

The Bishop

The Bishop moves along an oblique line, that is, he may move to any square of the diagonals on which he stands unless—as in the case of the Rook—his way is obstructed by a man of his own color. If there is a hostile man in the way he may capture him. In Diagram 2, therefore, the Bishop may move to a2, b3, d5, e6 or, by capturing the Knight, to f7. He may not move, however, to g8, until his next move after capturing the Knight. In the other diagonal all squares, that is, fi, e2, d3, b5 and a6, are accessible to him.

As the Bishop is confined to squares of the same color as the one on which he stood at the beginning of the game he has access only to thirty-two squares of the board, and from this it is evident that the Rook to whom all squares of the board are accessible is a stronger man.

The Queen

The Queen has the power of both Rook and Bishop having the choice of moving to any square of the rank, file or diagonal on which she stands as long as her path is clear. In Diagram 2 the squares to which the Queen may move are, therefore, e3, b4, c5, e7, f8, f1, b5, C7, b8, d1, d2, d3, d4, ds, d7, d8, a6, b6, c6, e6, f6, g6 and h6. Like the Rook and Bishop she has the power of capturing a hostile man by occupying his square.

The Queen is by far the most powerful of the pieces. Later it will be seen that ordinarily her strength is about equal to the strength of two Rooks.

The King

The King, like the Queen, moves and captures in any direction, but he is much less powerful because he may move only one square at a time. Nevertheless, he is the most important man, for, as said at the beginning, the object of each side is the capture of the opposing King.

To save the King from untimely death there is a rule that the King may not move into any square which is in the direct range of any man of his enemy. Thus, in Diagram 2 the black King may move to f2, g2, h2, f3 and h3, but he may not move to f4 or g4 nor may he capture the Pawn on h4, for on any of these squares he could be captured by the white Rook.

The white King in Diagram 2 has only three squares to which he may go, namely, b1, b2 and c2, as the squares d1 and d2, though being in his range, are commanded by the black Queen.

The Knight

The Knight moves neither in rank nor file nor diagonal and, therefore, usually offers a little more difficulty to the beginner than the other pieces. The Knight's move is perhaps best described as a leap to the next but one square of different color.[Footnote: It may be helpful to consider the Knight's move when completed as having described a letter "L" composed of four squares, three in one direction and one at right angles to them.] For instance, in Diagram 2 the Knight may move to d8, d6, e5, g5, h6 and h8. In moving to d6 he would capture the Queen.

His move would be in no way obstructed if some of his own or his adversary's men were occupying the squares next to the one on which he stands. This enables the Knight as the only one of the pieces to move at the beginning of the game before any Pawn move has been made.

The strength of the Knight is ordinarily regarded as about equal to that of the Bishop. The latter's range is larger but the Knight has the advantage of being able to reach any square of the board regardless of color.

The Pawn

It remains to describe the move of the Pawn, the only man who captures in a different way from that in which he moves. The Pawn moves FORWARD ONLY in the file in which he stands, and only one square at a time with the exception of his first move on which he may advance two squares. Thus, in Diagram 2, the white Pawn may move only to h5 while the black Pawn may move to either g6 or g5.

The Pawn may capture only diagonally, only forward and only one square at a time. The privilege of taking a double step on the first move does not extend to the capture. Thus in Diagram 2, the white Pawn could capture only a black man on g5, the black Pawn only a man on either f6 or h6, but not on e5. If a man stood on h5, the Pawn h4 would be blocked. Likewise would the Pawn on g7 be blocked by a man on g6.

There is one peculiar rule to be remembered in connection with the move of the Pawn. If a Pawn uses his privilege of making a double step to avoid capture by a hostile Pawn he can be put back one square and captured just the same. For instance, in Diagram 2, if the white Pawn stood on h5 and Black moved his Pawn to g5, White could put Black's Pawn back to g6 and capture him with his Pawn. This way of capturing is called taking "en passant" (French for "in passing") and can be done only by a Pawn, never by a piece.

Lastly must be mentioned the power of the Pawn to become transformed into a piece. This is done automatically whenever a Pawn reaches the extreme opposite side of the board. That is, the player must remove the Pawn from the board and put any piece on his place except a King. Thus it can happen that a player may play with three or more Rooks, Bishops, Knights or Queens. As the Queen is the strongest Piece the Pawns are practically always exchanged for Queens and for this reason the process of the exchange is called "queening."

Although a Pawn has comparatively little value as measured by his mobility—his range of movement—he is really a very valuable man because of the possibility of his eventually queening.


Only once in a game is a player allowed to move more than one piece at a time. This one move is called "castling" and is made by the King together with one of the Rooks. In castling the King moves two squares toward the Rook and the Rook is placed on the square over which the King has passed. In the position of Diagram 3 both players may castle either side.

White, in "castling King's side" would place his King on g1 and the King's Rook on f1; in "castling Queen's side" the King would leap to c1 while the Queen's Rook would take his stand on d1. Likewise Black would castle by either playing the King to g8 and the Rook from h8 to f8, or the King to c8 and the Rook to a8 to d8.

- 8 #R #K #R - 7 #P #P #P #Q #P #P #P - 6 #Kt #P #Kt - 5 #B #P ^B - 4 ^B ^P #B - 3 ^Kt ^P ^Kt - 2 ^P ^P ^P ^Q ^P ^P ^P - 1 ^R ^K ^R - a b c d e f g h


- 8 #R #Kt #K #R - 7 #P #P #P #P #P - 6 #P - 5 #P ^P - 4 ^B ^P - 3 #Kt ^Kt - 2 ^P ^P ^P ^P ^P - 1 ^R ^K ^R - a b c d e f g h


Castling is permitted only when neither King nor Rook concerned has previously moved, when none of the squares between the King and the Rook are obstructed and when none of the three squares involved in the King's move are controlled by an adverse man. Thus if in check (see page 17) the player may not castle. In Diagram 4, neither White nor Black may castle.


Attack and Defense

A man is said to ATTACK another man if he moves so that on his next move he could capture the other man. Thus, in Diagram 5, White could attack Black's Bishop by moving his Rook to d1 or to e6.

A man is said to DEFEND or to PROTECT another man if he moves so that in case the other man is captured by a hostile man he could recapture the latter. Thus, in Diagram 5, Black could defend his Bishop by moving his Knight to either e4 or e8 in case White attacks with the Rook from d1. Should White attack from e6, then Black would not defend the Bishop with the Knight, for on e4 as well as on e8 the Knight is unprotected and could be captured by the Rook without White losing anything in exchange. Black has a much more simple way to defend the attack of the Rook from e6, that is, by capturing the Rook with the Pawn f7. For this reason White would not have moved the Rook to e6.

Check and Checkmate

If a man makes a move which attacks the opposing King the King is said to be in "check." The player whose King is checked then has to make a move which gets the King out of check

- 8 #K - 7 #P #P - 6 #B #Kt #P - 5 - 4 ^P - 3 ^P ^P - 2 ^P - 1 ^R ^K - a b c d e f g h


or he forfeits the game. This is the only case in which a player is not at liberty to make any move he likes.

Unless the attacking man can be captured there are only two ways of getting out of check. One of these is to interpose a man between the King and the attacking piece, and the other to move the King out of the line of attack. In Diagram 5 Black could give check by moving the Bishop to c5. In answer to this White has four moves at his disposal. He may either move the King to f1 or h1 or h2, or he may interpose his Rook on e3. The latter would be very unwise as Black would simply take the Rook with his Bishop, again checking White's King. The situation would then not have changed at all except that White would have lost his Rook. White's King could not move to f2, for this would leave him still attacked by the Bishop.

Instead of checking on c5 Black could have attacked White's King on h2. But in this case the King would have simply captured the Bishop.

If it were White's move he could give check with the Rook on e8. But Black could take the Rook with the Knight. He would naturally do this instead of either moving out with the King to h7 or interposing the Bishop on f8.

If a King is in Check and there is no move with which to get him out of it he is said to be "checkmate" and the game is ended. Diagram 6 shows an example in which either player can give checkmate on the move.

If it were White's move he would take the Pawn on g6 with his Queen. Now Black's King is in check as White's Queen threatens to take him on the next move. The King cannot move to either g7 or h7, for these two squares are also commanded by White's Queen.

- 8 ^R #Kt #K #R - 7 #P #B #P #P - 6 #P #Q #B #P - 5 - 4 ^Kt ^Kt - 3 ^B ^Q ^P - 2 ^P ^P ^P ^P ^K - 1 - a b c d e f g h


Moreover, the latter cannot be taken by the Pawn on f7 as the black King would be in check by the Bishop on b3. The Pawn is "pinned" by the Bishop. Black's Knight cannot take White's Queen either as he is pinned by White's Rook. Finally, there is no piece available which may be interposed between White's Queen and Black's King; in other words: Black is checkmate, his game is lost.

If it were Black's move he would take the Pawn g2 with the Queen. Now White's King is in check as Black's Queen threatens to take him on the next move. He may not take the Queen as he would then be captured by the Bishop b7. Neither may the Knight f4 take the Queen as he is pinned by the Bishop d6. Moreover, the King may not escape to g1, h1 or g3, these three squares lying in the rangeof Black's Queen; and so there is no move on the board with which to get White's King out of check: He is checkmate, White loses the game.


If a player, without being in check, cannot make any move which would not get his King into check, he is said to be STALEMATE. In this case the game is considered a draw. Diagram 7 shows an example.

White on the move, although his forces are much inferior, can draw the game by checking with the Rook on f3. Black cannot very well make a move with his King in reply, as then White's Rook would take the Queen. Black, therefore, must capture the Rook with the Queen and with this move he stalemates White, as the latter has no move left which would not bring his King into check.

- 8 - 7 - 6 - 5 - 4 - 3 #Q #K - 2 ^R - 1 #R ^Kt ^K - a b c d e f g h


If it were Black's move he would easily win. In fact he has two different ways of checkmating White in three moves. One of them would be to take the Knight with the Rook, attacking the King and forcing White's Rook to recapture as the King has no square to go to; then to give check with the Queen on g3 forcing White's King to h1 and enabling the mate with the Queen on g2 or h2.

The other way would be to start with the check on g3. As White's Knight is pinned he cannot capture the Queen.

- 8 #K - 7 #P - 6 - 5 - 4 ^Q - 3 #Q ^P - 2 #P ^P - 1 ^K - a b c d e f g h


Interposing the Rook on g2 would not help either as the Queen would simply take him at the same time checkmating the King. White's only move is, therefore, to play the King into the corner, and Black then mates by first taking the Knight and then moving the Queen to g2 or h2.

Perpetual Check

If a player is able to check the opposing King continually and he indicates his intention to do so the game is considered a draw. In the following position, for instance, White on the move can draw the game by giving a perpetual check on e8 and h5. Black cannot help himself as he has to go back and forth with the King on h7 and g8. Without the possibility of this perpetual check White would be lost, for he cannot prevent the Pawn a2 from queening and with two Queens against one Black would easily win as will be seen later from the discussion of elementary endings.


To exchange means to capture a hostile man when it allows a man of the same value to be captured by the opponent.

It is rather confusing that the term "exchange" is also used for the difference in value between a Rook and a Bishop or a Knight. To win the exchange, in this sense, means to capture a Rook and to lose for it only a Bishop or a Knight.

Double Pawn

Two Pawns of the same player standing in one file are called a double Pawn. Three Pawns in one file are called a triple Pawn.

Passed Pawn

A Pawn whose advance to the eighth rank is not blocked by an opposing Pawn in the same file and who does not have to pass one on an adjoining file is called a passed Pawn.

Isolated Pawn

A Pawn is called isolated if there are no Pawns of the same player on the adjoining files.

Backward Pawn

A Pawn is called backward if he cannot advance far enough to be protected by fellow Pawns in an adjoining file.


A Pawn is said to fork two pieces if he attacks them simultaneously.

Minor Piece

The Bishops and the Knights are called minor Pieces as compared with the Rooks and the Queen.


To sacrifice means to give up a man without obtaining for him a man of the opponent or to give up a man for one of lesser value.

Discovered Check and Double Check

A discovered Check is an attack on the King caused by a man moving out of the line of a piece which he was obstructing. If the man discovering the Check also attacks the King the Check is called a double Check.


In addition to the symbols used for squares and men, as explained on page 5, the following are used to indicate the moves:

— means "moves to"

X means "captures"

o-o means "Castles King's side"

o-o-o means "Castles Queen's side"

+ means "check"

+/- means "checkmate"

Thus: R-f5 means the Rook moves to square f5. If either Rook could move to f5 then the original square of the Rook to be moved must also be shown.

Kte3xd5 means the Knight standing on e3 captures the man standing on d5.

o-o-o means the player castles Queen's side and in so doing gives check.

[Footnote: In the descriptive notation alluded to on page 5 every square of the board has two different names, each player counting the ranks from his own side. The files are named after the pieces which stand on them at the beginning of the game. Thus, c4 would be QB4 (Queen's Bishop's fourth) or QB5 depending on whether a black or a white move is described. If a square is referred to without relation to a particular move it is necessary to add from which side of the board the square is counted. It is customary to say in cases of this kind "White's Queen's fourth" or "Black's Queen's fourth," etc.

Instead of naming the square on which a capture takes place, the man captured is named, so that an additional description is necessary in case more than one man of the same kind can be captured.

As a matter of comparison the first ten moves of a game are described above in both notations.]

! signifies a good move.

? signifies a bad move.

(1) P-d4 P-d5 (2) P-c4 P-e6 (3) Kt-c3 P-c5 (4) Kt-f3 Kt-c6 (5) Pxd5 Pxd5 (6) B-f4 Kt-f6 (7) P-e3 B-e6 (8) B-d3 B-e7 (9) o-o o-o (10) R-c1 Kt-h5

(1) P-Q4 P-Q4 (2) P-QB4 P-K3 (3) Kt-QB3 P-QB4 (4) Kt-B3 Kt-QB3 (5) PxQP KPxP (6) B-KB4 Kt-B3 (7) P-K3 B-K3 (8) B-Q3 B-K7 (9) Castles Castles (10) R-B Kt-KR4


If a player having the move touches one of his men he is compelled to move him; if he touches a hostile man he must capture him. This law is void, however, if the man so touched cannot be legally moved or captured.

A man may be moved to any square accessible to him as long as the hand of the player has not left him. If an illegal move has been made it must be retracted and if possible another move must be made with the same man. If a player has castled illegally, King and Rook must be moved back and the King must make another move, if there is a legal one.

If a player touches a man with the sole object of adjusting his position, he must indicate his intention by saying "j'adoube" (French for: I adjust) beforehand. In castling, the King must be moved first as otherwise a doubt might arise whether castling or a Rook's move only was intended.

A game is void if a mistake has been made in setting up board or men or if in the course of the game the position or number of men have been altered in a manner not in accordance with the rules of play and the position cannot be reconstructed from the point where the error was made.

If a player resigns his game before he is actually mated he acknowledges that in the end mate is unavoidable, and the game is counted as a loss to him.

If neither player has sufficient material left to enforce a mate (compare following chapter) the game is considered a draw. A draw may also be claimed by either player if the moves are repeated so that the same position occurs three times with the same player on the move, or if fifty moves have been made without the capture of a man or the move of a Pawn.



The beginner who thinks he ought to be able to play a good game of Chess after learning the moves of the men is like the soldier who is confident that he could lead an army after he has learned how to march.

He may have great strategical gifts but he will not be able to use them to any advantage unless he is thoroughly conversant with the tactical possibilities afforded by the cooperation of the different units of which his army is composed and by the topography of the ground on which the battle takes place.

The different conditions of the battle ground in war which make some positions more easily accessible to infantry than to artillery and vice versa have their equivalent on the Chess board in the different ways in which the men move and which make certain squares accessible to some of them which others cannot reach.

The first thing, then, for the beginner to do is to acquaint himself thoroughly with the characteristic features of each man so that he may know exactly how much work to expect from him. The best way to accomplish this is the study of the elementary problems which are in end games, that is, in positions where only a few men are left on each side.


Considering that the object of the game is the capture of the opposing King, it seems most important to find out whether there are positions in which this capture can be accomplished in the face of the best possible defense. Naturally a player must have a certain material superiority to be able to force a mate, and the first question which offers itself is what MINIMUM force is required to compel the surrender of a King whose men have all been captured during the game.

It is clear that in order to checkmate the lone King it is necessary to attack the square on which he stands as well as all adjacent squares to which he could escape. The most unfavorable position for the King is, of course, a corner of the board as there he has only three squares to go to while in the middle of the board eight squares are accessible to him. Consequently, in an ending in which one player has only his King left the other player will try to drive the King into a corner where he needs control over only three additional squares.

It can easily be seen that this can be done without difficulty with King and Queen or with King and Rook. Supposing, for instance, White has his King on c3 and his Queen on h3 while Black's King stands on d6 as shown in the following diagram.

- 8 - 7 - 6 #K - 5 - 4 - 3 ^K ^Q - 2 - 1 - a b c d e f g h


How will White proceed in order to drive the King into a corner and checkmate him there?

A direct onslaught with the Queen on e6 or d7 is clearly not advisable as the Queen would not be protected on these squares, so that the King could simply capture her. A long range attack from h2, g3, d3 or h6 is not effective either as it would not restrict the mobility of the King who could go to either d5 or e6 or e5, that is away from the corner to which he is to be driven.

The correct way of maneuvering for White will be to confine Black's King to a smaller and smaller territory until he finally has to back up against the side or the corner of the board. This consideration indicates the following line of play:

(1)Q-f5, K-c6; (2)Q-e5, K-d7; (3) K-c4, K-c6; (4) Q-e7, K-b6; (5) Q-d7, K-a6. White must now be very careful to avoid a stalemate which would result if he deprived the King of all mobility without attacking him at the same time. This would be the case if he now moved Q-c7. For then Black could not move the King to b5, as this square is controlled by White's King, and he could not go to any of the other four squares in his range on account of White's Queen attacking all of them. The correct move is (6) K- c5. This leaves only the square a5 for Black's King, and White checkmates by (7) Q-a7 or (7) Q-b5.

If, in Diagram 9, White had a Rook on h3 instead of the Queen, the mating process would take a few more moves, but there would be no escape for Black either.

It will again be White's aim to confine Black's King to a smaller and smaller number of squares. The best way to start will therefore be (1) R-e3. No matter what Black replies, he cannot prevent White from driving him to the edge of the board in a similar way to the one shown in the following example:

(1) ..., K-d5; (2) R-e1. This is a WAITING MOVE. Black must leave d5, thus enabling either White's King to advance or the Rook to occupy e5. (2) ..., K-c5; (3) R-e5; K-d6; (4) K-d4, K-c6; (5) R- d5, K-b6; (6) R-c5, K-b7; (7) K-d5, K-b6; (8) K-d6, K-b7; (9) R- b5, K-a6; (10) K-c6, K-a7; (11) K-c7, K-a6; (12) R-h5, K-a7; (13) R-a5 mate.

The two examples discussed show that it is not necessary to drive the King into the corner but that he can be mated on any square of the edge by Queen or Rook. It will be observed that in the mating position three of the six squares at Black's disposal are controlled by White's King and the other three by the Rook (or the Queen). If White had only a Bishop or a Knight in addition to the King he could never mate Black, for neither Bishop nor Knight can attack the King and at the same time control a square adjacent to the King. This, however, is at least necessary to force the mate, even in the most unfavorable position of the King, that is, in the corner.

- 8 - 7 - 6 ^Kt - 5 - 4 - 3 #P - 2 ^K #K - 1 - a b c d e f g h


There are possibilities of a player mating his opponent with only King and Knight or King and Bishop, but then there must be a man of the opponent blocking the escape of the King. Diagram 10 is an example of such a case. White plays (1) Kt-c5, K-h1; (2) Kt-e4. Now Black cannot continue with P-h2, as White would checkmate with Kt-g3. Therefore, he must play (2) ..., K-h2. White then gets the Knight in such a position as to deprive Black's King of the escape to h2 and to keep the square g3 accessible to the Knight: (3) Kt-d2 (not Kt-g3, which would stalemate Black's King), K-h1; (4) Kt-f1. The only move left to Black is now P-h2, and White mates by (5) Kt-g3.

If it were Black's move in the position of the Diagram the game would be a draw, for after (1) ..., K-h1; (2) Kt-c5, P-h2 Black is stalemate unless White moves his King so as to make the square g1 accessible to Black. However, he will not do that as it would enable Black to queen the Pawn and to win the game.

In the case of King and Bishop against King and another man a mate can only occur through a blunder. Supposing for instance White has the King on f3 and a Bishop on d5 and Black has the King on h1 and a Bishop or a Pawn on h2, then White on the move would mate by K-f2. But it is evident that Black must have made a blunder, for on the move preceding the position of the Diagram he must have either played his King into the corner or moved the Bishop or Pawn to h2, both moves which were in no way forced.

To checkmate with King and two Bishops against King or with Bishop and Knight against King offers no difficulty.

- 8 #K - 7 - 6 - 5 - 4 - 3 - 2 - 1 ^K ^B ^B - a b c d e f g h


The only thing the player must keep in mind is that he needs his King for the drive. The two pieces are not sufficient to confine the opposing King to the corner. In Diagram 11 for instance, it will be the best policy for White to advance right away with his King in order to prevent Black's King from escaping into the middle of the board. The following play might then ensue:

(1) K-b2, K-b7; (2) K-c3, K-c6; (3) K-d4, K-d6; (4) B-f5, K-c6; (5) B-f4, K-b5; (6) B-e4, K-b4; (7) B-d3, K-b3; (8) B-d2, K-b2; (9) K-c4, K-a3; (10) K-c3, K-a4; 11) K-c2 (not K-b2 which would stalemate Black's King), K-a3; (12) B-b5, K-a2; (13) B-c1, K-a1; (14) B-b2, K-a2; (15) B-c4 mate.

In the fight of King, Bishop and Knight against the King the mate can be enforced only in a corner controlled by the Bishop, if the lone King always makes the best move. Diagram 12 may serve as an example of this ending. White has a black Bishop and so he will have to drive Black's King to either h8 or a1 as it is not possible to mate him in the white corner a8, unless he makes a blunder.

After (1) B-e5 for instance, Black must of course not go into the corner as Kt-b6 would mate him. He will play K-c8 and White will have to prevent the flight of the black King into the middle of the board. It is easy to see, by the way, that the Kt cannot be placed so as to control the square c8, thereby forcing the King into the corner, and to threaten the mate on b6 at the same time. For he can control c8 only from a black square while he would have to stand on a white square to be able to reach b6 in one move.

After (1) B-e5, K-c8; (2) K-b6, K-d7; (3) Kt-f4 Black's King is confined to the seventh and eighth ranks and it is only a question of time when he will be forced to h8.

- 8 #K - 7 - 6 ^K - 5 ^Kt - 4 - 3 ^B - 2 - 1 - a b c d e f g h


White's Bishop being only capable of commanding black squares the Knight will have to be used to drive the King from white squares. For instance: K-c8; (4) K-c6, K-d8; (5) Kt-g6, K-c8; (6) Kt-e7, K-d8; (7) K-d6, K-e8; (8) K-e6, K-d8; (9) B-h2. A waiting move. White wants to place the Bishop on c7 so as to make d8 inaccessible to Black. (9) K-e8; (10) B-c7, K-f8; (11) Kt-f5, K- e8; (12) Kt-g7, K-f8; (13) K-f6, K-g8; (14) K-g6, K-f8; (15) B- d6, K-g8; (16) Kt-f5, K-h8; (17)

- 8 #K - 7 - 6 ^K ^Kt - 5 ^Kt - 4 - 3 - 2 - 1 - a b c d e f g h


B-a3. Again a waiting move. White cannot play Kt-h6 right away as Black would be stalemate. (17) ..., K-g8; (18) Kt-h6, K-h8; (19) B-b2 mate.

It is not possible to force a mate with King and two Knights, for even if a position similar to Diagram 13 is arrived at, in which the King can be driven into the corner, the Knight who prevents the King from escaping is never ready to give the checkmate, and in order to prevent a stalemate the other Knight would have to let the King out of the corner again. If Black had a spare move, for instance if he had a Pawn left, then White would win. (1) Kt- a6, K-a8; (2) Kt-e8, Pawn moves; (3) Kt-c7 mate.


From the foregoing examples it is possible to form a vague idea of the strength of the different pieces. The Queen is apparently the strongest piece. On account of her superior mobility she can confine the hostile King with a few moves and force him into a mating net. Of the other pieces the Rook is no doubt the strongest for he is sufficient to force a mate in conjunction with his own King, while Bishop or Knight cannot do so. Two Bishops apparently are stronger than two Knights, while it is not possible yet to say anything about the relative value of one Bishop and one Knight.

The above valuation, however, holds good only on the comparatively vacant board, where the pieces can make full use of their mobility. It is the mobility alone which decides the value of a man, and positions often occur in which a Knight is more valuable than a Rook or in which a Pawn might be preferable to a Bishop and so on. The reason is that sometimes the weaker man occupies a commanding square while the stronger man is obstructed somehow or other so that he cannot be made to work. Examples for positions of this kind will be discussed in the Chapter on combination.

Although it is impossible to indicate exactly the relative value of the men in each position, experience enables a fair estimation of their average strength. The Queen is about as strong as two Rooks or as three minor pieces (Bishops or Knights). A minor piece is about equivalent to three Pawns, and a Rook is consequently equal to a minor piece and one to two Pawns.

The value of a Pawn is the hardest thing to grasp for the beginner. A Pawn appears to be of so little use on account of his limited mobility, that it seems hardly worth while to waste time on saving a Pawn that is attacked, as so much greater things are apparently at issue. What he overlooks is the latent value of the Pawn which lies in the possibility of queening him later in the game.

To realize the importance of the Pawn it is necessary to know exactly under what conditions he CAN be queened. This knowledge is all the more indispensable to the Chess player as the vast majority of all games finally resolve themselves into Pawn endings in which the advantage of one or more Pawns decides the issue.

In most of these cases some pieces are on the board in addition to the Pawns and sometimes it is only by their exchange that the game can be won. The most elementary example is that shown in the following Diagram.

- 8 - 7 - 6 - 5 - 4 #Q ^P - 3 #K - 2 - 1 ^Q ^K - a b c d e f g h


White is a Pawn ahead and it will be his object to Queen it. The beginner, in his haste to advance the Pawn, will probably play P- e5 at once and lose the Pawn, as Black can answer Q-d4 check with simultaneous attack on the Pawn. The correct way to play for White is (1) Q-d1+, K-a3 or b4; (2) Qxa4, Kxa4. Now that the Queens are exchanged White need not any longer worry about any interference with his plans to queen the Pawn except maneuvers of the black King, which might still lead to the capture or the blockade of the Pawn.

A rash advance of the Pawn would again be the wrong thing. The right way of playing is indicated by a simple calculation. The Pawn needs four moves to reach the queening square. But the black King arrives there in the same number of moves, so that he can capture the Pawn the moment he queens. Consequently White will only be able to enforce the safe queening of his Pawn if he can gain control of the queening square with his own King, thus protecting the Pawn at the time of queening.

Now, White needs three moves to bring his King up to his Pawn on f4. In the meantime Black will have reached the square d6 and after White's (4) K-f5 Black will block the further advance of White's King by K-e7. However, White can force Black to give the way free. The maneuver by which he does this is one which occurs in a similar form in nearly all Pawn endings and its thorough grasp is therefore essential. Diagram 15 shows the critical position.

- 8 - 7 #K - 6 - 5 ^K - 4 ^P - 3 - 2 - 1 - a b c d e f g h


White can win the game only by playing (5) K-e5. The technical term for this move is "going into OPPOSITION." The Kings oppose each other in one line on squares of the same color and the one who has to move out of opposition—in this case Black's King—is compelled to allow the advance of the opposing King to the next line. If Black plays K-d7, White answers (6) K-f6, and if Black plays K-f7, (6) K-d6 would follow. Then, after Black's K-e8, White repeats the maneuver by taking the opposition with (7) K- e6, and again Black must back out with either K-d8 or K-f8, so that White can advance to either f7 or d7. This clears the way for the Pawn who now advances unimpeded to the queening square.

The important role which the opposition of the Kings play in Pawn endings is still more strikingly illustrated by the situations which would result if in the position of Diagram 15 White played (5) P-e5 instead of K-e5. Black would then draw the game by maintaining the opposition himself. He would play K-f7 and although after (6) P-e6, K-e7; (7) K-e5 White has regained the opposition he cannot keep it if Black continues correctly. The move which saves the game for Black is K-e8. K-d8 or K-f8 lose, as then White could go into opposition by K-d6 or K-f6. The play in these three cases would be this: A: (7) ..., K-e8, (8) K-f6, K-f8; (9) P-e7+, K-e8; (10) K-e6 and Black is stalemate, the game is drawn. B: (7) ..., K-d8; (8) K-d6, K-e8; (9) P-e7 and Black must move K-f7 enabling White to obtain control of the queening square by (10) K-d7. C: (7) ..., K-f8, (8) K-f6, K-e8, etc., similar to the play in B.

To sum up the investigation of this Pawn ending: The deciding factor is the opposition of the Kings on the 6th and 8th ranks. If the weaker party succeeds in obtaining that opposition with the Pawn on the 6th rank he draws the game.

If the Pawn is not yet advanced to the 6th rank the opposition of the Kings is of no avail to the weaker party as the Pawn advancing would force the opposing King out of opposition again. Suppose, for instance, White has the King on e6 and the Pawn on e5 while Black's King stands on e8 with White on the move. White must get out of opposition by playing K-f6 or K-d6 and Black keeps the opposition by K-f8 or K-d8. But then White has a move to spare which forces Black out of opposition and thereby wins the game. He plays P-e6 and the game ends in the way discussed above.

The ending King and Pawn against King is one of the most important for every Chess player to know, not only because a great number of positions can be reduced to this ending by the exchange of all the other men left on the board, but also because it gives the first insight into the peculiar maneuvers of the King which have to be carried out in connection with gaining or giving up the opposition, and which, as will be seen later on, constitute the essence of the most frequent pawn endings.

For the beginner, of course, the opposition maneuvers are rather difficult to grasp and it is fortunate for him that the vast majority of pawn endings are of a much simpler form. The winning maneuver in these endings into which most Chess games resolve themselves, is easily explained and after understanding it the beginner can readily see the fundamental principle underlying every game.

Diagram 16 shows a typical position on which the winning method should be studied. White is a pawn ahead, but as demonstrated on the position of Diagram 15 he cannot queen his passed Pawn because his King is not in front of it. On the other hand, there cannot possibly be any advantage in advancing the Pawns on the other side of the board as there Black has the same number of Pawns as White and consequently there is no reason why one of the white Pawns should succeed in breaking through. It is all the same very easy for White to win and the strategy to be employed will be evident from the following consideration: Black's King is considerably confined in his movements as he has to be constantly watching White's passed Pawn.

- 8 - 7 - 6 #P - 5 #K #P - 4 - 3 ^P ^P - 2 ^K ^P - 1 - a b c d e f g h


White's King, however, is free to go wherever he likes without any immediate danger. There is consequently nothing to hinder him attacking and capturing the black Pawns, for if Black's King tries to stop White's advance, White's passed Pawn marches on and compels the opposing King to catch him, thereby giving the way free to his own King. According to this scheme play could proceed like this: (1) K-d3, K-d5; (2) K-e3, K-e5; (3) P-b4, P-g5; (4) P- b5, K-d5; (5) P-b6, K-c6; (6) K-d4, Kxb6; (7) K-e5, P-f4; (8) K- f5, K-c6; (9) Kxg5, K-d6; (10) Kxf4, K-e6; (11) K-g5, K-f7. Now White would win even without the Pawn g2 by playing (12) K-f5 and so on as explained on Diagram 15.

From the foregoing it will be clear to the beginner that if a player succeeds in winning a Pawn he can win the game if he is able to exchange all pieces so that only the Pawns are left. However, he will not yet see the way in which this exchange of pieces can be forced. It is evident that the player who has lost the Pawn will try to avoid the exchange, hoping that he may be able to regain the Pawn with his pieces. Therefore, he will permit his opponent an exchange only if, in avoiding it, he would sustain an additional loss. The position of Diagram 17 offers a simple example. White on the move will play R-e5, offering the exchange of Rooks. If Black tried to avoid the exchange by playing R-b6, White would capture the Pawn f5 with the Rook and after Black's King moves out of check he would take the Pawn g4 too. Therefore Black has to make the offered exchange of Rooks, and White then wins by advancing the c-Pawn which forces Black's King over to the Queen's wing and leaves the Pawns of the King's wing unprotected.

- 8 - 7 #P - 6 - 5 #R #P #K - 4 ^P ^K #P ^P - 3 ^P ^P - 2 ^R - 1 - a b c d e f g h


The beginner might think that inasmuch as the loss of a Pawn in most cases means the loss of the game on account of the final promotion of the Pawn to the Queen, it may be advisable to sacrifice a piece if thereby the loss of a Pawn can be avoided. However, this idea, which is frequently met, is altogether wrong as the additional piece will easily enable the opponent to gain as many Pawns as he likes within the further course of the game. The position of Diagram 18 may serve as an example.

- 8 - 7 #P #P #P - 6 #P #K - 5 - 4 #B ^K ^P - 3 ^Kt - 2 ^P ^P ^B - 1 - a b c d e f g h


In the following line of play it is assumed that Black makes the best moves, but the method employed is the same for any defensive maneuvers which Black might try, with the only difference that White would win still more quickly. (1) Kt-c5, B-c6; (2) B-f3, Bxf3; (3) Kxf3, P-b6; (4) Kt-e6, P-c5; (5) P-a4. This move retains the black Pawns so that the Knight can attack them with better effect. (5) ..., P-c4; (6) Kt-c7, K-g7; (7) Kt-b5, P-a6; (8) Kt-d6, K-f6; (9) Ktxc4, P-b5; (10) Pxb5, Pxb5; (n) Kt-a3, P- b4; (12) Kt-c2, P-b3; (13) Kt-d4, etc.

Often it happens that a player can give up his additional piece to advantage for one or two Pawns thereby enforcing an ending which is won on account of the Pawn position. Diagram 19 is an example.

- 8 - 7 #P - 6 #B #K - 5 ^P - 4 ^Kt ^K ^P - 3 ^Kt #P - 2 #P - 1 - a b c d e f g h


Black is a piece down but his two connected passed Pawns constitute a dangerous threat. White, therefore, does best to sacrifice a Knight for the two Pawns, as he then remains with two Pawns against one. Black must finally give up his Bishop for White's a-Pawn who threatens to queen, and then White wins by capturing Black's g-Pawn and queening his own. Play might proceed as follows: (1) Ktxc2, Pxc2; (2) Ktxc2, B-d5; (3) Kt-b4, B-a8; (4) P-a6, K-g6; (5) P-a7, K-f6; (6) Kt-a6, K-e7; (7) Kt-c7, B-h1; (8) P-a8 (Queen), Bxa8; (9) Ktxa8, K-f6; (10) Kt-c7, K-g6; (11) Kt-d5, K-h6; (12) K-f5, K-h7; (13) K-g5, K-h8; (14) K-g6, K-g8; (15) Kt-e7+, K-h8; (16) Kt-f5, K-g8; (17) Ktxg7, K-h8; (18) K-f7, K-h7; (19) P-g5, K-h8; (20) Kt-f5, White could not play P-g6, as Black would have been stalemate. (20) ..., K-h7; (21) P-g6+, K- h8; (22) P-g7+, K-h7; (23) P-g8 (Queen) mate.

The game endings discussed up to now have illustrated the method of winning with a superior force and it is now possible for the beginner to understand that the leading rule for all maneuvers is to AVOID THE LOSS OF MATERIAL—no matter how small—as it will ultimately lead to the loss of the game by one pawn or the other queening.

The next step will be to find out under what conditions it is possible to gain a man and when it will be possible to avoid loss. To understand the attacking and defensive maneuvers involved it is necessary first to become acquainted with the different ways in which the various pieces can be made to do some useful work, where their strength lies and where their weakness, and how they are able to cooperate. Not before all this is clear to the beginner—in the outlines at least—will he be in a position to play a sensible game or even to understand the most elementary strategic principles.

The reader is therefore urged to study carefully the next chapter in which the characteristic features of the different men are discussed. In this way he will much more quickly arrive at a fair playing strength than by relying on the experience which he may gain in playing a great number of games, trying to find out everything for himself instead of profiting by the knowledge which has been gathered by others in centuries of study.


There are two kinds of elementary attack. One when a single man attacks two or more hostile men at the same time; the other when more men are brought up to attack an opposing man than can be mustered for defense. The beginner, as a rule, makes attacks with the sole aim of driving away a hostile piece; it is clear that these attempts will in most cases be futile as they generally allow the attacked piece to move to another square just as or perhaps more favorable. The advantage of attacking two men at once is evident in that probably only one of them can be saved. The advantage of bringing up more men for attack than can be gathered for defense is not less obvious, but will be found more difficult to carry out. Using both methods of attack in conjunction is the secret of the successful cooperation of the men.

In the following diagrams simple illustrations are shown of elementary cases of such attacks. These positions often occur in games of beginners on account of their placing the men on unfavorable squares. In studying them the eye of the beginner will become accustomed to dangerous formations of the pieces and he will be able to foresee similar threats in his games.

- 8 #R #K #Kt #R - 7 #P #B #P #B #P #P #P - 6 #P #Kt #P #Q - 5 #P - 4 ^B ^P - 3 ^Kt ^P ^B ^Kt - 2 ^P ^P ^P ^P ^P ^P - 1 ^R ^Q ^R ^K - a b c d e f g h


This is especially true of the mating positions which are discussed below in connection with attacks instituted by the Queen in the middle of the game. It is these attacks to which the beginner at an early stage of the game falls victim in ninety out of a hundred cases when playing against an experienced opponent.

In the position of Diagram 20 White on the move wins the exchange and thereby practically the game by playing (1) Kt-d5. With this move he attacks the Queen and at the same time the Pawn c7. Black, in order not to lose the Queen, must move her, but he cannot move her so that she will protect the Pawn c7.

- 8 #R #Kt #B #K #B #R - 7 #P #P #P #P #P #P - 6 #Q - 5 #P - 4 ^P - 3 ^Kt - 2 ^P ^P ^P ^P ^P ^P - 1 ^R ^Q ^K ^B ^Kt ^R - a b c d e f g h


On the next move White will, therefore, take the Pawn calling Check and at the same time attacking the Rook a8. The King must move and the Knight takes the Rook.

Quite frequently a similar attack with the Knight is likely to win the Queen if the opponent is not familiar with situations of that kind. If in the position of Diagram 21 White plays (1) Kt- d5, Black must protect the Pawn c7 by Q-d8 or Q-d6, but not by Q- c6; for in the latter case White would continue with (2) B-b5, Qxb5; (3) Ktxc7+ and (4) Ktxb5.

- 8 #R #Kt #B #K #B #R - 7 #P #P #P #P #P #P - 6 #P #Kt - 5 #Q - 4 ^B ^P - 3 ^Kt - 2 ^P ^P ^P ^B ^P ^P ^P - 1 ^R ^Q ^K ^Kt ^R - a b c d e f g h


Sometimes two pieces are involved in the double attack, the line of one of the pieces being discovered by the other. Thus, in the position of Diagram 22, which could be brought about by the moves (1) P-e4, P-d5; (2) Pxd5, Qxd5; (3) Kt-c3, Q-a5; (4) P-d4, Kt-f6; (5) B-c4, P-e6; (6) B-d2, white threatens to play (7) Kt-d5, uncovering the Bishop d2 on Black's Queen and at the same time attacking the Pawn c7, which Black cannot keep protected.

Threats of this kind more frequently occur in connection with a discovered Check. As an example the following opening will serve: (1) P-e4, P-e5; (2) Kt-f3, Kt-f6; (3) Ktxe5, Ktxe4; (4) Q-e2, Kt- f6. Black's last move exposes his King to a discovered Check, and White wins the Queen by playing (5) Kt-c6+.

Next to the Knight the Queen is most frequently in a position to carry out a double attack. Two typical examples are shown in the following diagrams.

After the opening moves (1) P-e4, P-e5; (2) P-f4, B-C5; (3) Pxe5?? the position of Diagram 23 is reached, in which Black wins a Rook by Q-h4+. White cannot reply (4) K-e2 on account of Qxe4 mate. His only move is (4) P-g3 and then follows Qxe4 attacking King and Rook simultaneously.

This opening offers another opportunity to demonstrate the dangerous mobility of the Queen. Instead of (3) Pxe5 White should have played (3) Kt-f3. The game could then have continued as follows: P-d6; (4) B-c4, Kt-f6; (5) Pxe5, Pxe5: Again White cannot win the Pawn e5 for (6) Ktxe5 would be answered by Q-d4, attacking Knight and Bishop and threatening mate on f2.

- 8 #R #Kt #B #Q #K #Kt #R - 7 #P #P #P #P #P #P #P - 6 - 5 #B ^P - 4 ^P - 3 - 2 ^P ^P ^P ^P ^P ^P - 1 ^R ^Kt ^B ^Q ^K ^B ^Kt ^R - a b c d e f g h


Diagram 24 shows a typical case of a double threat with the Queen in conjunction with other pieces. White on the move plays B-d3, and now Black cannot castle as White would continue with Q-e4 threatening mate through Qxh7 and at the same time attacking the Bishop e7 for the second time who is only once protected. Black would have to defend the mate by either P-g6 or P-f5 or Q-h5 and White would capture the Bishop.

When castling on the King side a player must always beware of an attack by the Queen and another piece on the King's Rook's Pawn.

- 8 #R #B #K #R - 7 #P #P #P #P #B #P #P #P - 6 - 5 ^B #Q - 4 - 3 ^P ^Q - 2 ^P ^P ^P ^P ^P ^P - 1 ^R ^B ^R ^K - a b c d e f g h


In the case illustrated above it was the Bishop who assisted the Queen. A Knight could aid in an attack on h7 from either g5 or f6. More frequently he does so from g5 as usually the square f6 is not accessible to him on account of the Pawn g7 protecting it. In the majority of cases the Knight goes to g5 from f3, and the Queen attacks h7 from h5, coming from her original square d1. Then, if Black cannot protect h7 by a Knight from f6 or by the Bishop, from f5 for instance, or from g6, the only protection as a rule is to advance the Pawn to h6. The position of Diagram 25 may serve as an example.

- 8 #R #Kt #B #Q #K #R - 7 #P #P #P #P #Kt #P #P #P - 6 - 5 #B - 4 ^B #P ^P - 3 ^Kt - 2 ^P ^P ^P ^P ^P ^P - 1 ^R ^Kt ^B ^Q ^K ^R - a b c d e f g h


Black's last move was Kt-e7, while Kt-f6, which protects the Pawn h7 against future attacks, is generally preferable in any opening. White can now play Kt-g5, attacking the Pawn f7 for the second time, as it is already attacked by the Bishop c4. The student will, at this stage of his development, not yet know why Black should be so anxious to defend the Pawn f7, considering that he is a Pawn ahead so that the loss of a Pawn would only equalize the forces but would not give White a material advantage. However, later on, when discussing the strategy of the opening, it will become evident that in the position of the diagram Black must, under all circumstances, defend the Pawn f7 as otherwise his game would soon become hopeless on account of the exposed position of his King.

There are only two ways for Black to defend f7. One is to advance the Queen's Pawn to d5, interrupting the diagonal of White's Bishop; the other is to castle, so that the Rook procures the second protection for the Pawn f7 which is needed. It would then not be good for White to capture the Pawn because he would have to give up Knight and Bishop for Rook and one Pawn, which is not a sufficient equivalent.

Of the two ways indicated only the first one is feasible. For if Black castles he gives White an opportunity to institute an attack on the weak Pawn h7 with Knight and Queen against which Black has no satisfactory defense. Play would develop as follows:

(1) Kt-g5 o-o (2) Q-h5 P-h6

This is the only defense against the threat Qxh7 mate. But White's Queen's move involved a double threat. It brought up a third attack on the Pawn f7, and the latter now falls, forcing Black to give up some more material.

(3) Ktxf7 Rxf7

Black has to sacrifice the exchange. If he moved the Queen, which is attacked by the Knight, he would expose his King to a deadly double check, viz.: (4) Ktxh6+, K-h8 or h7; (5) Kt-f7+ (discovered), K-g8; (6) Q-h8 mate. After giving up his Rook for the Knight on the third move Black has a lost game, for as explained in the previous chapter White can simply exchange all pieces and force the win in the ending with his superior material.

Another square which after castling on the King side is often the mark of attack for the Queen in connection with either Knight or Bishop, is the one immediately in front of the King in the Knight's file. Diagram 26 illustrates several possibilities of this kind. White, on the move, can play (1) Q-g5, attacking for the second time the Pawn g7 which is only once protected. The threat, however, is not only to win a Pawn, but to win the game, for in taking the Pawn with the Queen White would checkmate Black's King.

- 8 #R #R #K - 7 #P #P #P #P #P #P - 6 #B #P - 5 #Q #P ^Kt - 4 #Kt ^P ^B - 3 ^P ^P - 2 ^P ^P ^Q ^P ^P ^P - 1 ^R ^R ^K - a b c d e f g h


The only defense at Black's disposal is P-g6, but this move helps only temporarily. White can force the mate within a few moves in different ways. One would be the following:

(2) Kt-h6+ K-g7

If the King goes to h8 White mates by Q-f6.

(3) Q-f6+ Kxh6 (4) B-g5+ K-h5 (5) P-h3

and the mate through P-g4 cannot be protected. Another way would be:

(2) Q-h6 Pxf5 (3) B-f6

and the mate through Q-g7 cannot be protected.

The position of Diagram 26 enables another mating attack for White, demonstrating the possibility of mating with Bishop and Knight in the middle of a game, which occurs oftener than one would be inclined to think. White can play (1) B-f6 instead of Q- g5 as suggested above. Black cannot take the Bishop as White would continue Q-h6 with Q-g7 mate. Neither can Black play P-g6 as then White would mate right away with Kt-h6. The latter mate with Knight and Bishop White can force, even if Black does not move the Pawn g7 but makes some other indifferent move, as for instance Qxc2. White would then make the surprising move Q-h6, allowing Black to take the Queen. In doing so, however, Black again enables the mate Kt-h6.

The only move which Black could try in answer to (1) B-f6 is P- h6, preventing the Queen from occupying g5. Now Qxh6 would not be feasible as after Pxh6 White does not mate with Ktxh6, but leaves the square h7 open to Black's King.

- 8 #R #B #Q #R #K - 7 #P #P #P #P ^Kt #P #P #P - 6 - 5 #Kt ^R - 4 - 3 - 2 ^P ^P ^P ^P ^P ^P ^P - 1 ^R ^B ^Q ^K - a b c d e f g h


However, White wins easily through (2) Ktxh6+. If Black takes the Knight, White mates with Qxh6 and Q-g7. If Black does not take but plays K-h7, White goes back with the Knight to f5, again threatening Q-g5 and Qxg7. (3) ..., R-g8 is of no avail, as (4) Q-g5 threatens mate of h5 which can only be prevented by either P-g6 or a move with the Rook, after which White mates by either Q-h6 or Qxg7.

It remains to show some examples of the cooperation of Rooks with other pieces. Diagram 27 shows one of the positions in which the beginner is frequently caught.

- 8 #R #K - 7 ^R - 6 #P - 5 ^P - 4 #B ^Kt - 3 #P - 2 ^K - 1 - a b c d e f g h


White plays (1) Q-h5, and if Black makes an indifferent move he mates through (2) Qxh7+, Kxh7; (3) R-h5.

Black could try to defend himself with (1) ..., P-g6. White can then continue with (2) Q-h6 and again Black cannot make an indifferent move such as P-d6 for instance, as White would have another mate in two moves, namely (3) R-h5 (threatening Qxh7), Pxh5; (4) Q-f6.

More frequent than the mate with Rook and Knight shown above is one which usually occurs in the end game and which is illustrated in Diagram 28.

- 8 #R #R #K - 7 #P #P - 6 #P #P #P - 5 #Q #P - 4 #Kt ^P ^B - 3 ^P ^P ^R - 2 ^P ^Q ^P ^P - 1 ^R ^K - a b c d e f g h


White plays Kt-f6+ and Black cannot go with the King into the corner as the Rook would mate him on h7. After K-f8 White draws the game through perpetual check; for after (2) Kt-h7+, K-e8; (3) Kt-f6+ the King must go back to f8 as on d8 he would be mated by R-d7. Consequently White can check the King indefinitely on h7 and f6.

An example for the cooperation of Rook and Bishop is shown in Diagram 29. White plays B-f6, and there is no way for Black to prevent the mate threatened through R-h3 followed by R-h8.

It is evident that the force of the Rooks will increase as the board gets emptier through the exchange of men, for they will then find more open lines to act in. One of the most important lines for Rooks to occupy is—especially in the ending —the one in which most of the attackable Pawns of the opponent are standing, that is in the majority of cases the second or the seventh rank respectively. If both Rooks cooperate with each other in this rank they usually decide the victory within a short time.

Following is an example which is taken from a master game. As far as the material is concerned the players are about even, as the Queen is worth as much as the two Rooks while Knight and Bishop are an approximate equivalent of the Black Rook and the Pawn which Black is ahead. The Pawn a4 is rather dangerous for White, as he needs only three more moves to reach the first rank where he can be promoted into any piece. On the other hand the Rooks doubled in the seventh rank give White so strong an attack on the Black King that he forces the mate before Black succeeds in realizing the advantage of his advanced passed Pawn.

- 8 #R #K - 7 #P ^R ^R #P #P #P - 6 - 5 - 4 #P ^P ^Kt - 3 ^P ^B - 2 #Q ^P ^P - 1 ^K - a b c d e f g h


It is White's move. If Black's Queen did not protect the Pawn f7 White would be able to give a mate in five moves, thus: (I) Rxf7+, K-g8; (2) Rxg7+, K-h8 (not K-f8 on account of Rc7-f7 mate); (3) Rxh7+, K-g8; (4) R-g7+ and Kt-g6 mate.

Therefore, White will try to interrupt the diagonal in which the Queen defends the threat, and he can do so by (1) Kt-d5. Black being unable to keep f7 protected, must defend g7 or h7, or he will be mated. In the game in question Black played Q-a1+ ; (2) K-g2, P-a3. After (3) Rxf7+, K-g8 it would not be good for White to take g7, giving up the two Rooks for the Queen, as he would then have no more attack while Black still has the dangerous Pawn in the a-line. If possible he will rather interrupt again the diagonal of Black's Queen. This suggests the move (4) Kt-f6+. After Pxf6 White's Rooks are at last free to act unmolested in the seventh rank, and they do it with deadly effect. White forces the mate through (5) R-g7+, K-h8; (6) Rxh7+, K-g8; (7) Rh7-g7+, K-h8; (8) B-f5! Now R-g4 is threatened followed by R-h7 mate, and Black has no defense.

In the opening and in the middle game the main threat of a Rook is the "pinning" of a hostile piece. What is meant by this is illustrated in Diagram 31. Supposing Black, to save his Knight f6 which White has just attacked by P-e5, plays Kt-g4 and after (2) P-h3 takes the Pawn e5 with the Knight g4, then White wins a piece by (3) Ktxe5, Ktxe5; (4) R-e1. This move "pins" Black's Knight to his place as the King would be exposed to White's Rook if the Knight moved. (4) ..., P-d6 or Q-e7 is not a sufficient defense, for White continues with (5) P-f4.

- 8 #R #B #Q #K #R - 7 #P #P #P #P #P #P #P - 6 #Kt #Kt - 5 #B ^P - 4 ^B #P - 3 ^Kt - 2 ^P ^P ^P ^P ^P ^P - 1 ^R ^Kt ^B ^Q ^R ^K - a b c d e f g h


Pieces that can be used for pinning a hostile man are, apart from the Rooks, the Queen and the Bishops; in fact pinning is the main activity of a Bishop throughout the game. Right after the first few moves one of the Bishops, as a rule, finds an opportunity to pin a hostile Knight. For instance: (1) P-e4, P-e5; (2) Kt-f3, Kt-c6; (3) B-b5 and as soon as the Pawn d7 moves in order to give an outlet to the Bishop c8, the Knight c6 is pinned. Or: (1) P- d4, P-d5; (2) Kt-f3, Kt-f6; (3) P-c4, P-e6; (4) B-g5 and the Knight f6 is pinned, as the Queen would be lost if the Knight moved.

- 8 #R #R #K - 7 #P #P #P #B #Q #P #P #P - 6 #B #Kt #Kt - 5 #P ^B - 4 - 3 ^B ^Kt ^P ^Kt ^P - 2 ^P ^P ^P ^Q ^P ^P - 1 ^R ^R ^K - a b c d e f g h


The disadvantage arising from having a piece pinned is often that the opponent might be able to concentrate more men to attack the piece which is pinned than can be gathered for defense. The position of Diagram 32 will serve as an illustration.

Two of Black's men are pinned, namely, the Knight f6 and the Pawn e5, and of both pins White can take advantage.

The Pawn e5 is attacked twice and defended twice. White cannot take Pawn, as he would lose Knight and Rook but would get for it only Knight and Pawn. However, he can win the Pawn by playing (1) P-d4. This attacks the Pawn for the third time and although Black can defend him for the third time with R-e8, the defense is not serviceable as Black would lose Pawn, Knight and Queen for Pawn, Knight and Rook.

P-e4 in answer to P-d4 would not help either; for on e4 the Pawn is twice attacked and only once protected as the Knight f6 cannot be counted as protection on account of his being pinned by the Bishop g5. All White needs to do is to take the Knight f6 first and then to capture the Pawn e4.

It remains to examine whether in answer to (1) P-d4 Black can take the Pawn with either Bishop or Knight. Apparently this is possible as the Pawn d4 is protected only by the Knight f3 and the Queen. Indeed, the combination would be correct if the Bishop d7 were sufficiently protected. As it is White wins a piece in the following way:

(1) P-d4 Bxd4 (2) Ktxd4 Ktxd4 (3) Qxd4 Pxd4 (4) Rxe7 Pxc3

Up to this move an even exchange of pieces has taken place, but now Black loses the Bishop which is attacked by White's Rook, because White can remove the Knight which protects the Bishop.

(5) Bxf6 Pxf6 (6) Rxd7, etc.

Instead of playing (1) P-d4 and taking advantage of the fact that the Pawn e5 is pinned, White can direct his attack against the other Black man which is pinned, namely the Knight f6. He can play (1) Kt-d5 and thereby attack the Queen and at the same time the Knight f6 for the second time. It will not be evident to the beginner that White can derive any advantage from this double attack, as Black can answer either Q-d6 or Q-d8 keeping his Knight twice protected. Indeed, White does not gain anything on f6, the square itself upon which the pin is effected, but he uses the pin to force an opening into the chain of Pawns which protects Black's King by exchanging on f6, compelling Black to retake with the Pawn g7. The advantage resulting from this break in Black's Pawn position will be explained later on when discussing the strategy of the middle-game.


A player is said to SACRIFICE if he allows a certain amount of his forces to be captured without recapturing himself an equivalent amount of his opponent's forces. He will not, of course, knowingly do so unless he expects to obtain some other advantage which will at least compensate for his loss of material. Such compensation can only be afforded by a superiority of the position. In as much as a position can only be considered superior if it enables the mating of the opposing King or the obtaining of an advantage in material which will secure a win in the ending, it is evident that in sacrificing a player really never intends to give up more than he gets, but that on the contrary he expects to gain more than he loses. In other words, a sacrifice, if correct, is a sacrifice only TEMPORARILY, and very soon yields either the same, if not more material, or an attack on the King to which the latter falls victim.

The less evident the way is in which a player recovers the material sacrificed or realizes an equivalent advantage the more beautiful the sacrifice is considered. If the effect of a sacrifice is a direct mating attack on the King, it is as a rule not difficult to foresee as long as the typical mating positions are known to the player, most of which have been discussed in the previous chapter. The following diagrams illustrate examples of such sacrifices which occur fairly often in actual games.

In Diagram 33, White on the move can play for a similar mate as the one explained in the discussion of Diagram 29 by placing his Rook on g3. The best protection against Rxg7 which Black has at his disposal is P-f6. But if he does not know the mating position illustrated in Diagram 29 he is liable to play P-g6, and then White forces the mate by sacrificing his Queen on h7.

(1) R-g3 P-g6 (2) Qxh7+ Kxh7 (3) R-h3+ K-g8 (4) R-h8+

Black could have prolonged the agony one move by interposing his Queen on h4 on the third move.

- 8 #R #K - 7 #P #P #R #Q #P #P #P - 6 #Kt #P - 5 #P ^Q - 4 ^P - 3 ^P ^P ^R - 2 ^P ^B ^P ^P ^P - 1 ^R ^K - a b c d e f g h

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