Each player starts with sixteen pieces: eight pawns, two knights, two bishops, two rooks, one queen and one king. The goal of the game is for each player to try and checkmate the king of the opponent. Checkmate is a threat ('check') to the opposing king which no move can stop. It ends the game.
During the game the two opponents take turns to move one of their pieces to a different square of the board. One player ('White') has pieces of a light color; the other player ('Black') has pieces of a dark color. There are rules about how pieces move, and about taking the opponent's pieces off the board. The player with white pieces always makes the first move. Because of this, White has a small advantage, and wins more often than Black in tournament games.
Chess is popular and is often played in competitions called chess tournaments. It is enjoyed in many countries, and is a national hobby in Russia.
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