Rules of Chess: Lesson for Kids Video

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  • 0:04 Objective & Set-Up
  • 0:26 Order of Play
  • 0:42 Regular Moves
  • 1:10 Special Moves
  • 2:17 Wins & Draws
  • 3:01 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Suzanne Rose

Suzanne has taught all levels PK-graduate school and has a PhD in Instructional Systems Design. She currently teachers literacy courses to preservice and inservice teachers.

When playing chess, there are some basic and special rules that you should know. Find out how to begin the game, how to win the game and which pieces can make special moves.

Objectives & Set-Up

In the game of chess, two armies are battling. Your job is to outsmart your opponent and capture his or her king.

Before playing, set up the chessboard, as shown in the image.

How to Set Up a Chessboard

Each player should have a white square in the right-hand corner of the board and the following pieces:

  • One king
  • One queen
  • Two rooks
  • Two knights
  • Two bishops
  • Eight pawns

Order of Play

  • The player using the white pieces always makes the first move.
  • The player using the black pieces moves second.
  • Players move one piece during each turn. The only exception is when you castle, as we'll discuss later in the lesson.
  • Pawns cannot move backwards.

Regular Moves

Each chess piece can only make certain moves.

  • Pawn: forward one space (two spaces allowed on the first move)
  • Rook: up and down or side to side, as many spaces as you want
  • Bishop: diagonally as many spaces as you want
  • Knight: two spaces to the front, back, or sides, and then one space over
  • Queen: in any direction, as many spaces as you want
  • King: one space in any direction

Special Moves

Pawn Promotion

If you're able to move a pawn to the other end of the chessboard, the pawn can be ''promoted,'' or exchanged for another piece! It's to your advantage to exchange your pawn for a queen, since the queen is the most powerful piece. You can promote your pawn to any piece; you aren't limited to pieces that have already been captured.

En Passant

A pawn can make a special move called en passant, which means ''in passing'' in French. If you move a pawn two squares on its first move and it lands next to one of your opponent's pawns, your opponent's pawn can capture your pawn on his or her next move.


A special move that involves your king and one rook is called castling. To castle, move your king two squares toward one of your rooks. Then move that rook to the space directly on the other side of the king. You can castle to either side using either rook, but the king can only move two spaces regardless of which side you castle to.

You can only castle if:

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