Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Chess is a game of skill played by two persons on a board of sixty-four squares, coloured alternately black and white. Though it is admittedly one of the most ingenious and fascinating of pastimes, both its origin and development are shrouded in mystery, the solution of which has long been abandoned by historians of the game. Whether it was invented by the Chinese or the Hindoos, the Persians or the Greeks, whether it was one of Solomon's diversions, or whether the Greeks played it when beleaguering Troy, are questions beyond settlement, even if they were worth settling. Still, we may take it as practically certain that chess had its beginnings in the East, and was played in Hindostan probably 1.500 years ago. Many centuries later the Moors brought it into Spain in one form or another, whence it passed to France. England, it is supposed, obtained it from the Norsemen, and chessmen in use by the Anglo-Saxons are still extant. The game now played in Europe differs in many respects from that of either ancients or moderns in the East. In Japan, at the present day, the board consists of eighty-one squares; in China the squares are of one colour, and the pieces, sixteen in number, are arranged in three lines, a river, or supposed river, dividing the hostile forces, which can only cross the dividing line under certain conditions and restrictions.

In the European game sixteen pieces are used by each player, one set black, the other white, which are placed at the beginning of the game on the first two lines of squares at both ends of the board, the players having each a white corner on his right hand. Of the sixteen chessmen eight are termed "pieces," in contradistinction to the other eight which are known as "pawns." The pieces occupy the first line of squares next the side of the board, and are king with his bishop, knight and rook (or castle), and queen with her bishop, knight and rook, the bishop being placed next the queen and king respectively, the knight next the bishop, and the rook on the flank. The king and queen stand together at the opening of the game, and the queen is always on a square of her own colour.

As for the moves, the pawn marches straight ahead, one square at a time, but at the first move has the privilege of advancing either one or two squares. In capturing, however, the pawn moves diagonally either to the right or left. It never goes backwards, but when it has forced its way to the eighth square it becomes a piece, with all the powers of a piece. The player has the option of exchanging this advanced pawn for a knight, bishop, or rook, but the queen, as the most formidable fighting piece, is usually selected - hence the phrase "queening a pawn." There is another peculiarity of the pawn, known as capturing en passant (in passing). If a pawn has advanced to the fifth square, and an adverse pawn on either of the adjoining lines, not having moved before, advances two squares, it can be captured by the pawn on the fifth square as though it had moved only one step forward.

The king can only move one square at a time, but in any direction. Once in a game, however, he makes a double move, and this is termed "castling." He can castle on his own side when the bishop and knight have been moved out, and neither he nor the rook has been touched, by moving to the knight's square, the rook being transferred to the bishop's. He can also castle on the queen's side, provided the queen, bishop, and knight are elsewhere than on their respective squares. In this case the king moves to the queen's bishop's square, the rook being brought over to the queen's square. As in castling on the king's side, so on the queen's, neither rook nor king must have moved previous to the operation. Castling cannot take place if in the act the king crosses a square commanded by a hostile piece, or if the king is in check.

The queen is the most powerful of all the pieces. Placed near the centre of the board, she commands twenty-seven squares, while the rook only commands fourteen, the bishop thirteen, the king eight, and the knight eight. She can move in any direction backwards, forwards, diagonally, or sidewise.

The rook moves in straight lines up or down or horizontally across the board.

The bishop moves diagonally only, and always remains on the colour of its original square.

The knight has a rather eccentric action. It moves two squares at a time, but always from black to white or vice-versa. It is the only piece which can leap over a friend or a foe, and the only one where check of the king cannot be met by interposition. It must either be taken or the king must move. The move with the knight may most readily be understood by putting the piece two squares backwards or forwards, and then one to the right or left.

The object of the game is to drive the adversary's king into a position where he is checked by an opposing piece or pieces (which he cannot take or intercept), and from which he cannot move. He is never really captured, that is, he is never removed from the board, but he is shut in so that he is forced, so to speak, to surrender. This is what is termed "checkmate," and to accomplish this the efforts of the players are directed from the first moves of the game. The different lines of attack are known as "gambits" or "openings," a gambit being the sacrifice of a pawn or piece early in the game by a player who hopes to obtain a strong position thereby. The ordinary "king's gambit" turns upon the sacrifice of the king's bishop's pawn, the "Muzio gambit" involves the sacrifice of a knight, the "Evans' gambit" entails the abandonment of the queen's knight's pawn, and so forth. As there are forty or fifty methods of opening a game, space forbids us even to enumerate them, far less describe them. All games, of course, are not gambits. There are close games in which neither player offers a sacrifice. There are counter gambits where a sacrifice is offered by both players, and there are games known as "defences," where the tactics of the second player give the name to the opening. Any shilling handbook will afford the student all the information he requires on this part of the subject, and also upon the best methods of playing the end game. The beginner should carefully study the openings, otherwise he is likely to be quickly beaten by an opponent who is perhaps his inferior in real strength, but who has given some attention to the gambits. With regard to draws, a game is drawn when towards the close both sides are so equal that a win is impossible. If two kings are alone on the board, of course there must be a draw, since a king cannot even give check, or if there is a knight and king against a king, or two knights and a king against a king, or a bishop and king against a king. If a player also persists in repeated checks, from which the king cannot escape, the game must be drawn. The same result follows when a king and his pieces are in such a position that they cannot move without exposing the king to check. This is termed "stalemate." It is unnecessary to give detailed instructions as to how a game should be played by a beginner. The principles are simple enough, and the putting of them into practice is a matter of time, care, and observation. But the learner should avoid giving useless checks; he should have a well-defined purpose in view; he should be careful in accepting tempting offers of pawns or pieces; he should watch his adversary's game as carefully as his own; and he should not bring his queen too early into the field, unless, indeed, his opponent is a novice, and then he might perform what is "known as fool's mate or scholar's mate on him thus:

WHITE. 1- King's pawn to king's 4.
2. King's bishop to queen's bishop 4.
3. Queen to king's rook 5.
4. Queen takes bishop's pawn (mate).


1. King's pawn to king's 4
2. King's bishop to queen's bishop 4.
3: King's knight to king's bishop 3.

Here the second player, at his third move, instead of defending his bishop's pawn, attacks his opponent's queen and is at once mated. It may be noted here that during the last thirty years chess players have adopted a much more cautious style of play. When Paul Morphy came from America in 1858, and vanquished every European player of eminence who was pitted against him, he offered and accepted gambits with almost reckless audacity. Nowadays in a match gambits are seldom offered. The one which has been most thoroughly analysed, the Evans, is perhaps the one where the theoretical disadvantage is smallest. The pawn which is given up is not required for the defence of the king, like the king's bishop's pawn in the Allgaier or the knight's gambit, and the disadvantages are not felt till near the middle of the game. Hence a bold player will sometienes offer it in a match. But the more daring forms of gambit such as the Allgaier and the Muzio are too risky to be tried in serious play. At the present time the Ray Lopez is one of the most favourite forms of attack, and one that is very difficult to parry. The queen's gambit (sacrificing the queen's pawn on second move) would be a good attack, but it is generally declined. The Steinitz gambit, which involves the moving out of the king under check of the queen, is full of danger for the first player if properly met. Steinitz himself, though he has given his name to a risky game, has done much to introduce a cautious style of play.

The laws of chess as sanctioned by the London Tournament in 1883 are rather voluminous, but the more important of them may be briefly summarised: - If the board or pieces have been misplaced at the beginning of a game, or if a piece is left off the board, they can be adjusted if no more than four moves have been played by each player. If it is a player's turn to move and he touches a piece or pawn he must move it, unless on touching he says "j'adoube" (I adjust) or words to that effect. Should a player touch an adversary's piece without saying "j'adoube," the adversary may compel him to take it unless it cannot legally be taken, and then he may oblige him to move his king; if the king cannot be moved there is no penalty. There are also penalties in the case of a player moving out of his turn, or capturing one of his own pieces. If a piece that cannot be moved without exposing the king to check be touched, it must be replaced and the king moved. If the king cannot be moved there is no penalty. If a player's king has been in check without being observed, he must take back his last move and free his king from the check; if all the moves made subsequent to the check be known they must be taken back. If a player attack a king without saying check, his opponent is not bound to take notice of it. Should a player say "check" without giving it, and the adversary move his king or interpose, he may retract the move. If towards the close of a game a player has a decided superiority of force, such as king and two bishops against, a king, the adversary can claim a draw, unless the game is concluded in fifty moves. The giver of odds is entitled to the first move. Though the "laws "of the game are strictly enforced in tournaments and matches, they are little observed in ordinary play, where there is a good deal of give and take. The touch and move rule, however, should always be observed, even in friendly games. One of the best and easiest methods of learning chess is to play one good game such as the following, which has the double advantage of being a fine specimen of Blackburne's blindfold play, and illustrating also a brilliant yet sound combination. (See White's 13th move.) The game is one of those played blindfold and simultaneously at the City of London Black.

Mr. Blackburne.Amateur
1. P to K41. P to K4
2. P to KB42. B to B4
3. Kt to QB33. Kt to QB3
4. Kt to B34. P takes P
5. P to Q45. B to Kt5
6. B takes P6. P to Q4
7. P to K57. B takes Kt ch
8. P takes B8. B to K3
9. B to Q39. P to KR3
10. Castles10. K Kt to K2
11. R to Kt sq11. P to QKt3
12. Q to Q212. Castles
13. B takes P13. P takes B
14. Q takes P14. Kt to Kt3
15. Kt to Kt515. R to K sq
16. R takes P16. B takes R
17. Q to R7 ch17. K to B sq
18. Q takes B mate

Chess Club on the 5th of October, 1891.