Catch the King Chess Materials
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"Catch the King"
(Chess For Elementary Schools)
The following questions
constitute an initial list and can be modified
with increased input from schools:
1. What two colours are
used on a chessboard?
White & Black or Light & Dark.
2. Why do most
chessboards have green and white squares?
This is because it is easier to look
at green for longer periods of time.
- 3. Why are there red chessmen on the
demonstration board instead of white, like an
ordinary chess set?
White chessmen would be the same
colour as the white squares in the background.
This would make them more difficult to see, as
opposed to the "red on white" or the
"black on green" which is the case with
the black chessmen.
4. Why are there numbers
and letters along the edge of the chessboard?
The numbers & letters are used
to identify the names of all the squares on the
chessboard. This is known as Algebraic Notation.
5. What is meant by
"ranks & files"?
Ranks are the rows of squares that
run horizontally and are identified by the
numbers 1 through 8. Files are the columns of
squares that run vertically and are identified by
the letters a through h.
6. Why is it important to
place the white men on the 1st & 2nd rank and
the black men on the 7th & 8th rank in the
The placement of the men on these
ranks in the starting position is necessary in
order to keep a record/score of the game and to
determine the direction in which the pawns are
moving. In most diagrams the white forces are set
up at the bottom of the board which means that
the white pawns are moving up
the board toward the 8th rank and the black
forces start out at the top of the board and
these pawns move down
the board toward the 1st rank.
7. How do you remember
what squares the king and queen go on in the
The king and queen are always placed
beside each other with the queen going on its own
colour square. The white queen goes on the white
square (d1) and the black queen goes on the black
8. Does the knight
capture any of the men it jumps over?
No. The knight captures like the
other pieces, the way it moves. It can only
capture a man that is situated on the square to
which it jumps.
9. Can the king ever be
No! The king may never be captured.
When it is attacked, or in check,
it must guard against the threat by moving,
capturing or blocking.
10. What is a stalemate?
Stalemate occurs when one side has
no legal moves and the king is not in check. When
this happens the game is a tie or in chess terms,
it is called a draw.
11. What is the 50 move
The most common application of the
50 move rule occurs when one side is left with a
lone king and the opponent has a king and queen,
or some other material advantage. The stronger
side must checkmate in 50 moves and if this isn't
accomplished the defender can then claim a draw.
12. What happens when
both players make the same moves over and over
When both players repeat the
position three times the
game ends in a draw.
13. What is the en
"En Passant" is a special
capture made only by the pawns. For this special capture
to take effect certain conditions must be met. To begin
with, if white were to capture en passant a white pawn
must be on the 5th rank and a black pawn on its original
square on an adjacent file.
The above diagram is an example of these conditions. The
white pawn is on "g5" and the black pawn is on
"f7". If the black pawn moves to "f5"
(f7-f5 - notice that the pawn has moved two
squares which it may only do from its
...then white has the option of
implementing the en passant capture by playing g5xf6
e.p., resulting in ...
...the above position. The black pawn
is removed from the board and the white pawn moves to f6.
It's as if an ordinary pawn capture (g5xf6) has taken
place. It is also important to remember that although the
en passant capture is optional it must be made on the
very next move. If this does not occur, then it is no
The same conditions apply when black
captures en passant. Except, of course, that a black pawn
must be on the 4th rank and a white pawn on its original
square on an adjacent file.
In the above diagram the black pawn on "c4" can
capture en passant only if the white pawn on
"b2" moves to "b4" (b2-b4).
Once this has occurred, as in the
above diagram, black has the option of capturing the
white pawn with...
...c4xb3 e.p., leaving us with the
"Pawn promotion" occurs
when a pawn reaches the end of the board. Since pawns can
only move forward their reward for making this long
journey is to become a queen, rook, bishop or knight -
but not a king. It is the
player's choice. After c7-c8 the white pawn becomes...
...a queen, or...
...rook, or etc.
It's the same thing for black. If the
pawn makes it all the way to the 1st rank by playing
...the pawn may promote to a bishop,
...knight, or etc.
"Castling" is unique in
that it is a single move that utilizes two friendly
pieces, the king and one of the rooks. In the above
position white has the choice of castling to the right
("short side"), or to the left ("long
side"). For example, if white chooses to
"castle short", first
the king moves two squares to the right (e1-g1)...
...after which the rook jumps over
the king and lands on the square immediately beside the
...resulting in the above final
position. Since castling involves two pieces, short side
is written down as "0-0". Long side castling
involves the same method and it...
...is written as "0-0-0".
Once again it's the same procedure
for black. If black chooses to castle short (0-0)...
...or long (0-0-0).
There are certain rules to castling
which the players must remember. Castling is illegal if:
there are pieces between the
king and rook;
either king or rook has
the king is in
check, moving into check
or moving through check.