50 Most Common Questions About Chess [Chess FAQs]

⭐⭐⭐ Take 14 minutes to read and improve your chess game ➡️ : This article was first published on, and is Copyright of Chessquestions.com

Do you have questions about chess that you’ve been struggling to find answers to? You’re in luck! In this article, I will provide short, concise answers to some of the most common chess questions.

I also provide links to more in depth articles on Chess.com, where you can get even more information about these topics. So whether you’re just starting out in chess and have basic questions, or are a seasoned player looking for some new strategies to add to your arsenal, we’ve got you covered!

Frequently Asked Questions About Chess

These are the most frequently asked questions about chess. I have answered each with a concise answer that should provide answers to what you are looking for, if the answer requires more information you will find a link to a more in-depth article on the site.

I hope you find what you are looking for and enjoy everything CghessQuestions.com has to offer – Steve

1. What Happens When a Pawn Reaches the Other Side?

In a game of chess, when a pawn reaches the other side of the board, that is the 8th rank [white] or 1st rank [black], the pawn can be promoted to a Queen, Rook, Bishop or Knight, with the queen being the most popular choice. There are no limits to how many times this can be achieved.

featured image showing a pawn growing in stature as it is promoted in a game of chess. Pawn promotion

2. How Many Squares on a Chessboard?

In general terms of a usable chess board, there are 64 individual usable squares that can be occupied by any of the 32 pieces in a chess set. If considering all potential squares that can be mathematically created by an 8×8 chessboard, the answer is 204.

Featured image for article explaining how many squares there are on a chess board

3. How Many Chess Grandmasters Are there?

As of January 31st, 2022, there are 1750 Grandmasters in chess as recognized by the official FIDE chess of which 1263 remain active. 1235 of currently active Gms are male and 28 are female. Yifan Hou is the highest-rated female at 2658 and Magnus Carlsen is the highest male at 2865.

All FIDE ratings and more can be found on the FIDE ratings website, from which this information is sourced and updated monthly

4. How to Win Chess in 4 Moves?

There is a very specific way of winning a game of chess with just four moves and it is known as Scholars Mate.

  1. King’s pawn 2 Spaces (1. e4)
  2. Black Kings Pawn 2 Spaces (1…e5)
  3. Move your Queent o the edge (2. Qh5)
  4. Black Moves a Knight (2…Nc6)
  5. Now line up your Bishop on the c4 Square (3. c4)
  6. When black plays his other Knight (3…Nf6)
  7. Checkmate with the Queen to f7 Capturing the pawn (4…Qxf7#)

The ECO name is the Kings Pawn Opening, Wayward Queen [C20]

Scholars Mate
scholars mate in chess featured image

5. Can You Castle Out of Check?

You can not castle out of a check position in chess as one of the rules states this is an illegal move. Likewise, if the King would move through check by castling, again it is not permitted. The Rook can however be castled out of a direct attack which can be useful.

Castle In Chess

6. How Many Pieces in Chess?

There are 32 pieces in a game of chess, although most chess sets come with an extra white queen and black queen for pawn promotion purposes and therefore contain 34 pieces as a set.

Each of the black and white sides will have

  • 8 x Pawns x 2 = 16
  • 2 x Rooks x 2 = 4
  • 2 x Knights x 2 = 4
  • 2 x Bishops x 2 = 4
  • 1 x Queen x 2 = 2
  • 1 x King x 2 = 2
  • Total pieces in a game of chess = 32

7. Can You Have Two Queens in Chess

Not only can you have two queens in chess, but it is possible to have even more, but each extra queen can only be gained by pawn promotion. Some sets come with extra queens, or you could use something else as a queen as long as both players agree and understand.

8. How Many Possible Moves Are There in Chess?

To begin with, there are 20 different moves white can play as the first move in a game of chess, with Black having the same number, that’s 400 possible combinations for the first 2 moves, expanding exponentially from there to over 300,000 after just five moves to arrive at One novemtrigintillion by one calculation for a single game.

9. What color goes first in chess?

Since about 1880 the rule has been that the player with the light pieces [White in most cases] will make the first move from whence the dark pieces move next and thus alternately. It was first suggested in 1857 and universally adopted in 1889 after Wilheim Steinitz repeated the rule in his book.

10. Where does the King Go in Chess?

The White King is placed on the dark square which should be the fifth square to the right when the light square is in the bottom right-hand corner as you look across the board. The Black King goes directly opposite on the other side of the board. King is placed adjacent to the Queen, positioned on her own color.

11. What is The Best Way to Learn Chess?

These are just some things to consider when finding the best way to learn chess. The link to the article below will take you to further links for dedicated articles on each of these aspects for a full guide on the best way to learn chess

  1. Learn the Pieces and How they Move
  2. Learn About Piece Development
  3. Learn How to Castle and When
  4. Learn About Special moves
  5. Learn to Fork
  6. Don’t be in a Rush to Check
  7. Pawns get more valuable the longer you keep them
  8. Learn to support and defend pieces
  9. Learn how to exchange pieces to your advantage
  10. Learn Mating Patterns
  11. Practice
  12. Analyse your games
  13. Watch Videos
  14. Read Books
  15. Take a Course
  16. Learn Chess Notation

12. How Many Pawns in Chess?

In total, there are 16 pawns in a game of chess in total; 8 individual white pawns and 8 black pawns on the other side. Pawns are the most numerous pieces on a chessboard and with the exception of the King are the piece with the most limited movement.

13. Do You Have to Say Check in Chess?

You don’t technically have to say check in chess, but between friends, it is often used, whereas In official tournaments, check is never said as it can be deemed distraction but moreover it is up to players to recognize the position and avoid an illegal move.

14. Is Chess Hard to Learn?

Chess is not a hard game to learn as the basic rules and movements can be picked up easily, especially by children and with a little effort, you can reach average ability. Once learned it is much harder to become a titled master or grandmaster taking years of top-level play.

15. How Much Do Chess Players Make?

The vast majority of chess players make very little in terms of money. The current world champion and best player in the World made $1.2m for winning the 2021 World Championship and would earn even more for sponsorship and product deals. There are very few 100% Professional chess players.

16. Does Chess Make You Smarter?

Chess can make you smarter based on the principle that the game requires concentration, mastery of tactics, and strategy and that involves problem-solving against the clock which is the basis for the general IQ test. There have to be benefits of practicing chess in terms of increasing tactical intelligence.

17. Which Chess App to Play with Friends?

I am a particular fan of the app available from Chess.com to play chess with friends. it is quick and easy to set up an account and then connect with friends on the platform to arrange and play friendly games of chess at your convenience on your desktop computer or mobile devices.

I have reviewed a number of chess apps on chess questions which can all be found in the chess apps section

18. What is the Chess 50 Move Rule?

The chess 50 move rule is a draw rule in chess that ends the game automatically if no capture or pawn move has been made after 50 moves. This rule applies to prevent games continuing endlessly should there be insufficient pieces on the board to complete the game or checkmate.

19. How to get a Chess Rating?

Playing 20 official games under FIDE rules and regulations and gaining a rating of above 1000 will provide players with an official chess rating and listing with FIDE. There are other ratings that can be gained including from The United States Chess Federation

20. How Do You Become a Grandmaster in Chess?

To become a Grandmaster a player is required to have achieved at least an Elo rating of 2500 and gained at least two but usually three grandmaster norms each by playing against opponents rated on average 2380 in a tournament winning at least 7/9 games to achieve a 2600 performance rating.

21. What is a Norm in Chess

A ‘norm’ in chess is a sufficiently high enough performance in a top level chess tournament so as to gain recognition in the quest for a Grandmaster Title; the tournament must have an international arbiter, 3 grandmasters from different countries and play at least nine rounds among other criteria.

22. What is En Passant in Chess?

En Passant is a special capture move in chess that doesn’t require landing on the captured pawns square but rather by still moving diagonally forward behind the adjacently positioned pawn as long as it is the very next move after the enemy pawn has moved to the adjacent position.

Animated gif demonstrating the en passant move in chess

23. Who is the Youngest Chess World Champion?

Nodirbek Abdusattorov at 17 years and 3 months became the youngest ever chess World Champion when winning the ‘Rapid’ version event on December 26-28th 2021; The Uzbek teenager notably beat classical World Champion Magnus Carlsen who had been the previous youngest at 18.

17-year old prodigy Nodirbek Abdusatorov won the rapid chess crown in Warsaw, Poland, stripping Magnus Carlsen of his title. A blitz tiebreak victory against Ian Nepomniachtchi sealed the victory for the youngster, dethroning Magnus Carlsen in the process

24. How Can a King move in Chess?

A king can move only a single square at a time in any direction as long as the move is legal and does not place the King in check; the one exception is when, as long as a check position is not passed through, a special switch with the rook called ‘Castling’ is also an option.

25. Value of Chess Pieces

  • King – n/a
  • Queen – 9 points
  • Rook – 5 Points
  • Bishop – 3 Points
  • Knight – 3 Points
  • Pawn – 1 Point
Chess piece values

26. Highest Chess Rating Ever

The highest chess rating ever achieved is 2882 by Current World Champion Magnus Carlsen in May 2014 when he was aged still just 23 years and 5 months, beating the legendary Garry Kasparov. In the same year the 3rd and 4th highest ever scores were recorded by Fabiano Caruana and Levon Aronian.

12882Magnus CarlsenMay 201423 years, 5 months
22851Garry KasparovJuly 199936 years, 2 months
32844Fabiano CaruanaOctober 201422 years, 2 months
42830Levon AronianMarch 201431 years, 4 months
52822Wesley SoFebruary 201723 years, 3 months
Source: Wikipedia

27. Longest Chess Game Ever Played

At 7 hours and 45 minutes for 136 moves the longest ever-competitive chess game played came in the 2021 world championship between defending World Champion, Magnus Carlsen and the Challenger Ian Nepomniachtchi, beating the previous record of 124 moves 1978 Karpov-Korchnoi match.

28. Why Do Chess Players Write Down Their Moves?

Chess players write down their moves in order to track the game, prevent cheating as a mandatory rule in the laws of chess and  FIDE competition rules. (Article 8.1.1.) Chess players use a special way of writing moves called algebraic notation and all scoresheets have to be signed off, post-match.

29. What Are The Chess Pieces Called

There are six different pieces in the game of chess and the correct names for chess pieces are King, Queen, Rooks, Bishops, Knights, and Pawns. The Knights are sometimes called horses, and the Rooks are often called castles.

30. Can Bishops Move Backwards?

A bishop can move backward as well as forwards in a game of chess as long as it remains on its diagonal, be that the light-squared bishop or the dark-squared bishop; players often forget about advanced bishops and blunder pieces on their path forgetting they also move backward.

31. How Many Chess Openings Are There?

There are 500 codes in the Encyclopedia of Chess Openings with dozens of variations of each available for study whilst The Oxford Companion to Chess lists 1,327 named openings and variants.

In terms of a single opening move in chess, which can only be made by either a pawn or a Knight on the white side, there are a total of 20 options, with each of the 8 pawns having a 1 or 2 square move, and the 2 Knight each with 2 options.

32. Chess Titles in Order

This is a list of the FIde master titles in order of rating for both Open qualification and Women only titles.

RatingOPEN TitlesWomen Only Titles
2500(GM) Grandmastern/a
2400(IM) International Mastern/a
2300(FM) FIDE Master(WGM) Woman Grandmaster
2200(CM) Candidate Master(WIM) Woman International Master
2100n/a(WFM) Woman FIDE Master
2000n/a(WCM) Woman Candidate Master

33. Which Chess Piece Can Only Move Diagonally?

The bishop is the only piece in chess that is limited solely to diagonal movement. In addition, the King, and Queen have diagonal abilities to varying degrees, while the pawns can make single forward diagonal moves but only when making a capture in an orthodox or en passant method.

34. What’s A Stalemate in Chess?

A stalemate in chess is a forced draw that occurs when one player is unable to make any legal move on the board and avoid placing their King in a check position. The rules state you can not move your own king into a check position. Similarly, if both sides have only a king left, the game is drawn.

35. Difference Between Stalemate and Checkmate?

Checkmate is when a King has been placed in check and there is no legal move that can provide an escape from the position while stalemate is when a player is unable to make any legal move that does not place the king in a check position which is not permitted by the rules.

36. Difference Between Chess and Checkers?

The main difference between chess and checkers is that with checkers the goal is to capture and remove all of your opponent’s pieces whereas with chess the aim is to trap the opponent’s king and on occasion [Scholars mate] no capture of an enemy piece is even required.

37. What is the Clock For in Chess?

In chess, the clock is used to keep track of the remaining time left for a player to make their move or moves in a game. The game time is agreed upon prior to the first move and each time a move is made the player will stop their clock and start the opponent’s clock for their turn.

38. World Chess Championship Prize Money?

The prize money fund for the 2021 World Chess Championship was $2,000,000 with the winner taking 60% and the runner up 40%. Magnus Carlsen won €1.2 million as the winner while Nepomniachtchi took home €800,000 for losing.

39. Can Pawns Move Backwards?

The pawn in chess is unique in that it is the only piece that is unable to make a backward move. It is limited to a 2 square forward first move, one square move thereafter or diagonal capturing in a traditional way or en passant. The only time a pawn can move backward is after promotion.

40. Is chess.com Free?

You can join and play chess at chess.com for free, although there are various premium packages available should you wish to access and utilize more from the site including training courses and videos and deeper analysis into the game that you play to improve your game

41. How Many People Play Chess?

About 10% of the people on the planet play or have played chess. This figure is somewhere in excess of 600 million adults which would include around 70% of the adult population in the US knowing the basic rules of how to play chess.

The online chess-playing website chess.com hosts around d 20,000,000 players per day playing

42. Is Chess Considered a Sport?

Whilst chess is not an Olympic sport [Yet!], it is considered a sport by the International Olympic committee because is a game of skill, widely practiced worldwide, and has competitors from a number of different countries.

43. How Long Does it Take to Get Good at Chess

It takes just 20 hours to become good at chess; 45 minutes of practice and study per day for 30 consecutive days will see a beginner transform into a good chess player within a month for just a small time investment each day.

Learn the Basics2 Hours
Become Good4 Weeks [20 Hours]
Titled Expert2 Years
Titled Grandmaster6-7 Years
This chart shows how long it takes to get good at chess and how long to master the game.

44. Best Chess App Android

This is a list of the best 5 chess apps on Android, based on what you are looking for, from playing, learning, or watching games as they take place. All are available in the play store and can be installed in just moments.

  1. For Playing – Chess.com
  2. For News – Chess24
  3. For Kids – ChessKid
  4. For Learning – Dr Wolf
  5. For Streaming – Twitch

45. What Does IM Mean in Chess

IM is the abbreviation of the FIDE title of International Master. To become an International Master (IM) players have to reach a minimum rating award of 2400. An international Master is a higher rank than Fide Master [FM] but below the Grand Master title [GM]

2000 – 2199Expertn/a
2200 – 2299Chess Mastersn/a
2300 – 2399FIDE MastersFM
2400 – 2499International MastersIM
2500 and upGrandmastersGM
Level of Elo ranking scores required for progressively higher status FIDE chess titles

46. Rule of The Square Chess

The Rule of the Square in chess determines whether a passed pawn can gain promotion to a Queen without the support of its King. If the enemy King can reach the square before the pawn moves it can capture, if not, pawn promotion without King support and defeat is inevitable.

47. Can You Make Money Playing Chess

You can make money playing chess in several ways including but not limited to, playing online tournaments, playing real-life over-the-board chess tournaments, providing lessons and training at a cost and you can even make money playing chess as a hustler.

48. Best Chess YouTube Channels

These are my 5 personal favourite chess channels on YouTube. You cant watch, learn and be thoroughly entertained, with a special shout out to Levy Rozman who grew GothamChess to over 1 million subscribers in around 8 months, by posting at least one video per day without a break and continues to do so. Props bro.

  1. GothamChess
  2. chess.com Live
  3. World Chess
  4. agadmator’s chess channel
  5. botez live

49. Bobby Fischer Chess Rating

Bobby Fischer’s highest ever official chess rating according to FIDE and the Elo system was 2785 in 1972, however, there have been many studies and unofficial calculations that give rise to a higher figure, most notably, Jeff Sonas’s ChessMetrics system providing a 2881 peak in 1971 for Fischer.

50. What Does FM Mean in Chess

FM in chess is an abbreviation of the FIDE open title of ‘FIDE master’ which is awarded under conditions with a minimum rating of 2300, there is a woman’s version of this title too, known as a WFM in chess, which mirrors the open titles but specifically for female players.


I hope you have enjoyed these 50 interesting answers to the most commonly asked questions about chess. That is if you have read as far as this without deviating to one of the associated and supporting articles on site.

If you have enjoyed the post or think it may be of use to someone else, or if there is a fun fact from it you would like to share please feel free to do so by sharing the article on your social channels.

All the best

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