This section is about learning how to play chess from the beginning. We start with minigames. These are simple games played on a chessboard. By systematically mastering these games, beginners learn how to formulate strategy and carry out plans. We use these games in our training courses.

The best way to learn is to practice. Here are the best minigames to develop your skills. Play against the computer.  Point and click to move the pieces. Five difficulty levels for each game. Discover the winning strategy of each game.

The Pawns Game
The Pawn Game starting position
Each side has a line of pawns. The pawns move as in chess i.e. The pawn moves forwards one square (optionally two squares on its first move) and captures diagonally forwards one square by replacing the opponent’s piece. White goes first. The first person to reach the other side is the winner. You also win if it is your opponent’s move and they have no moves left.
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The Pawns Game with a King
Pawns Game with Kings starting position

This is an extension of the Pawns Game. A king is added to its starting square behind the line of pawns. The king can move one square in any direction. The first person to reach the other side with a pawn or king is the winner. You can also win if you capture your opponent’s king. Note that the king is a powerful piece in the endgame and should be advanced.
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Bishop v 3 Pawns
Bishop v Three Pawns starting position
We introduce the bishop which moves diagonally any number of squares. Place the bishop on the back rank opposite three adjacent pawns without attacking them. The bishop moves first. The pawns win if one safely reaches the other end. The bishop wins if it captures all the pawns. Note the bishop must be careful not to be captured by a pawn. Arriving safely means arriving at the other end without being immediately captured.
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Rook v 5 Pawns
Rook v Five Pawns starting position
We introduce the rook which moves orthogonally (up, down, right, left) any number of squares. Place the rook on the back rank as far as possible away from five adjacent pawns. A pawn moves first. The pawns win if one safely reaches the other end. The rook wins if it captures all the pawns.
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Ultimate King Hunt
This is a whole class exercise which keeps the children focused because they take turns to call out a move. The starting position for White is the same as in chess. Black only has a lone king on its starting square e8. White, played by the children, tries to get checkmate (or capture the king). Black, played by the teacher, tries to get stalemate (or reach a position in which there are no safe squares for the black king to move.)
Disco Duel
Pawn v Knights
The story is that 8 teenagers (pawns) want to go to a disco but they have to pass 2 security guards (knights). The objective is to get as many pawns to the other side as possible. Once a pawn has reached the end it cannot be captured. Playing two games, the winner is the person who has got most pawns through.
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Homecoming Chess
Homecoming Chess
The pieces are not at their starting squares. Moving alternately, the aim is to move the pieces back to their starting squares. The pieces cannot move beyond the halfway line. Before playing this game, it is a good exercise to count the minimum number of moves required by each piece and then to plan the play so that the pieces do not interfere with each other.
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Loser’s Chess
Chess start position
The purpose of this classic chess variant is to lose all your pieces. The king does not have any special status. If a capture is possible, then it is mandatory. If more than one capture is available then you may choose which piece to capture. The game ends when one side has run out of all their pieces or when the next player has no moves in which case the player with fewer pieces is the winner. This game is good for looking ahead at forced sequences of captures.
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Progressive Chess
Chess start position
The purpose of this chess variant is to get checkmate. The special feature is that the number of moves increases each turn. White plays first and plays one move. Black then plays two moves. White then plays three moves, and so on with a progression of increasing moves. Giving check ends a sequence. This game encourages looking ahead at checkmate opportunities.
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