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Russia is Making Space Science News

Soyuz 2-1B launches new GLONASS spacecraft

written by William Graham June 16, 2018

Russia has launched a replenishment satellite for its GLONASS navigation system Sunday, with a Soyuz-2-1b rocket and its Fregat-M upper stage carrying the Uragan-M No.756 spacecraft into orbit. Soyuz lifted off from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome at 00:30 Moscow Time (21:30 UTC).

Following checkout and commissioning, the new satellite will bring the GLONASS system back up to full strength, enabling it to once again provide full worldwide coverage. A Russian analogue to the US Global Positioning System, and more recently Europe’s Galileo and China’s Beidou, GLONASS was developed by the Soviet Union beginning in the 1970s.

GLONASS uses a constellation of satellites in medium Earth orbit (MEO) to broadcast navigation signals. Like other satellite navigation systems, GLONASS works by broadcasting precise timing signals which a receiver can use to calculate how long a signal took to reach it – and therefore how far away the satellite is. Using orbital ephemeris, also broadcast by the satellites, to determine their exact positions, the receiver can use the distances to four different satellites to triangulate its position.

Each spacecraft in the GLONASS constellation broadcasts four L-band navigation signals: restricted-access L1 and L2 signals for the Russian military, and equivalent unrestricted signals for civilian applications.

The GLONASS system requires 24 satellites across three orbital planes to enable continuous worldwide service. A minimum of eighteen satellites are required to provide coverage of just Russia and its territories.

Named Uragan – meaning Hurricane – these satellites are manufactured by ISS Reshetnev (formerly NPO Prikladnoi Mekhaniki) with each current-generation Uragan-M spacecraft designed to provide seven years of service. Uragan-M spacecraft are three-axis stabilised and deploy twin solar panels to provide power once on orbit.

Each 1,415-kilogram (3,120 lb) satellite carries caesium atomic clocks for accurate timekeeping.

The Soviet Union’s deployment of GLONASS began in October 1982, with the launch of a single Uragan satellite and two mass simulators aboard a Proton-K rocket with a Blok DM-2 upper stage. Launches in the 1980s and late 1990s built up the GLONASS constellation, which reached initial operational capability with coverage of Russia in 1993, and full worldwide capability in 1996.

Under Russian control after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, GLONASS began to fall into disrepair in the late 1990s, as older spacecraft failed faster than new ones could be launched. By 2001 only ten satellites were serviceable.

Following a 1999 directive from Russian President Boris Yeltsin, the second-generation Uragan-M spacecraft were developed to enable Russia to rebuild and upgrade the constellation. Vladimir Putin also took a personal interest in the project after becoming President in 2000. The first Uragan-M was launched in December 2001, accompanied by two first-generation spacecraft.

Compared to its predecessors, the Uragan-M offers an increased timing frequency by a factor of five, as well as introducing the civilian L1 signal that was not provided by the first-generation spacecraft. With Uragan-M, the service life of GLONASS satellites also increased from three to seven years.

While Uragan-M spacecraft continue to launch, Russia has been moving its focus to the next-generation Uragan-K spacecraft. Two Uragan-K1 prototypes were launched, in 2011 and 2014, with the second prototype now being used as part of the operational GLONASS constellation. Uragan-K1 spacecraft were originally to have served purely as prototypes, with the upgraded Uragan-K2 being used for operational satellites, however additional K1 satellites were ordered after the planned introduction of Uragan-K2 slipped to 2020. The next Uragan-K1 launch is expected towards the end of 2018.

The Uragan-M No.756 satellite aboard Sunday’s launch is a replacement for Uragan-M No.734, in slot five of the constellation’s first plane. No.734 – which is also known as Kosmos 2458 – is one of three satellites that were launched aboard a Proton-M/DM-2 rocket in December 2009 and reached the end of its design life in 2016. This satellite is to be replaced following an outage earlier this year, however it is expected to remain in service as an on-orbit spare.

Uragan-M satellites can be launched individually aboard Soyuz-2-1b rockets, or in trios atop the more powerful Proton-M. Both rockets require an upper stage to transport the satellites into their operational medium Earth orbits – with Soyuz using a Fregat-M and Proton the Blok DM-03. Sunday’s launch used the Soyuz-2-1b/Fregat-M combination and flew from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northwest Russia.

Soyuz-2-1b is an evolution of the Soyuz rocket that was designed by Sergei Korolev, itself based on the earlier Voskhod rocket and ultimately the R-7 missile. R-7, which first flew in 1957, was the world’s first intercontinental ballistic missile and a modified version of the rocket was used to launch the first satellite, Sputnik, later the same year.

The current generation of Soyuz rockets consist of the Soyuz-2-1a, a modernised version of the previous-generation Soyuz-U incorporating upgraded engines and digital avionics; Soyuz-2-1b, which uses an RD-0124 third stage engine to increase performance; and the lightweight Soyuz-2-1v which eliminates the rocket’s first stage and re-engines the second with and NK-33 motor to reduce the cost of launching smaller payloads. Soyuz-2-1b first flew in December 2004 deploying France’s CoRoT exoplanet detection satellite.

Sunday’s launch was its thirty-ninth mission, including thirteen launches as Soyuz-STB, a modified version optimised to fly from Arianespace’s Centre Spatial Guyanais (CSG) launch site at Kourou, French Guiana.

In its thirty-eight launches before Sunday’s, Soyuz-2-1b had achieved thirty-five successes. Launch failures in 2011 and 2017 resulted in the loss of the Meridian No.15L and Meteor No.2-1 satellites respectively. Another anomaly in 2014, involving a Soyuz-STB/Fregat-MT, placed two of Europe’s Galileo navigation satellites into an incorrect orbit. Reliability has been a concern for Russia’s space programme over the last few years, with a high number of failures attributed to faults in the manufacturing and quality control processes.

Sunday’s launch took place from Site 43/4 at the Plesetsk Cosmodrome. One of four launch pads at Plesetsk built to support operational deployment of the R-7A missile in the 1960s, Site 43/4 is currently the only Soyuz launch pad in use at the Cosmodrome. Two other pads – 43/3 and 16/2 – are undergoing renovations that will see them take on a share of launches in the near future. Soyuz rockets can also launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome – which has two Soyuz launch complexes – from the new Vostochny Cosmodrome and from Kourou, French Guiana.

The launch began with ignition of the Soyuz rocket’s first and second stage engines, about sixteen seconds ahead of the planned liftoff. Under the stage numbering system used by Russia, the Soyuz is a three-stage vehicle with the rocket’s core considered the second stage and the four liquid-fuelled boosters that burned in parallel are its first stage. The boosters are powered by RD-107A engines, while the core stage sports an RD-108A, which is a closely-related development. The core and boosters, as well as the rocket’s third stage, consumes RG-1 propellant – a refined form of petroleum similar to the Western RP-1 – oxidised by liquid oxygen.

After ignition, the engines ramped up to full thrust before Soyuz lifted-off. The first and second stages burned alongside each other for a little under two minutes, before the first stage boosters burned out and separated – making a pattern named the Korolev Cross after the rocket’s chief designer. Soyuz’ second stage continued to burn through first stage separation, cutting off 170 seconds later. Between these two events – likely about 45 seconds after first stage separation – the payload fairing was also jettisoned from the nose of the rocket, exposing Uragan-M No.756 to space for the first time.

Shortly before second stage cutoff, the rocket’s Blok-I third stage ignited to begin its four-and-a-half-minute burn. Powered by an RD-0124 engine, the third stage brought the Uragan-M satellite close to orbital velocity before cutting off and separating from the Fregat-M, which is continuing the satellite’s journey.

Fuelled by unsymmetrical dimethylhydrazine (UDMH) and dinitrogen tetroxide, Fregat-M’s restartable S5.98M engine will make a series of burns during Sunday’s mission, initially completing its insertion into a parking orbit before raising Uragan-M No.39 into its planned circular 19,100-kilometre (11,900-mile, 10,300-nautical-mile) orbit, inclined at 64.77 degrees. Spacecraft separation is expected several hours after launch.

Sunday’s is the first replenishment launch for GLONASS since last September – further Uragan-M satellites are expected to fly aboard Soyuz-2-1b rockets in July and October.

The launch comes ten days after an older Soyuz-FG rocket was used to carry three cosmonauts into space aboard the Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft, while the next flight of a Soyuz rocket is currently scheduled to be made by a Soyuz-2-1a on 9 July, with the Progress MS-09 resupply craft bound for the International Space Station.

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Students around the world will be learning how to play chess in the Occupy Mars Learning Adventure training programs.

The Barboza Space Center is training Jr. astronauts, scientists and engineering in the Occupy Mars Learning Adventures Program to play chess.  This will help to keep our minds sharp on the long eight month journey to Mars.    www.BarbozaSpaceCemter.Com

How to Play Chess

Five Parts:Understanding the Board and PiecesKnowing How to WinPlaying the GameUtilizing StrategyKnowing the Special MovesCommunity Q&A

Chess is a very popular game, thought to have originated in eastern Asia many centuries ago. Although it has a set of easily comprehended rules, it requires a lot of practice in order to defeat a skilled opponent. To win, a player must use his or her pieces to create a situation where the opponent’s king is unable to avoid capture. This article offers a beginner the information he or she needs to get started playing this complex but fascinating game.

Chess Help

Chess Rule Sheet
Chessboard Diagram

Part 1

Understanding the Board and Pieces

A chessboard consists of 64 square spaces in an 8×8 grid. Each space is uniquely identified by a letter-number combination denoting first the file (vertical column “a” through “h”) of the square and then its rank (horizontal row 1 through 8). Each piece has a specific name, an abbreviation (in chess notation), and specific move capabilities. Here, we’ll explore the board, then each piece one by one. If you already know the basics, skip to the next section.

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    Position the board correctly. The orientation of the board is important for proper play. When positioned properly, each player will have a dark square (typically black) in the lower left corner.
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    Place the rooks on the corners of the board. The rook is also known as the castle. It is abbreviated as “R” in notation and starts on a1, h1, a8, and h8. Those are the corners as denoted in the rank and file system.

    • How do they move? Rooks may move any number of vacant squares vertically or horizontally. If an opponent’s piece blocks the path, that piece may be captured by moving the rook to (but not beyond) the occupied square and removing the opponent’s piece.
    • Rooks cannot jump over pieces of either color. If one of your other pieces blocks your rook’s path, your rook must stop before reaching that square.
    • Castling is a special move involving rooks detailed below.
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    Place your knights next to your rooks. This is the “horse” piece. In notation, it’s referred to as “N” (or “Kt” in older texts). The knights start on b1, g1, b8, and g8.

    • How do they move? Knights are the only pieces that can jump over other pieces and thus are the only pieces that cannot be blocked. They move in an L-shaped pattern — that is, two squares horizontally or vertically and then one square perpendicular to that (in other words, two spaces horizontally and one space vertically or one space horizontally and two spaces vertically).
    • A knight captures a piece only when it lands on that piece’s square. In other words, the knight can “jump” over other pieces (of either color) and capture a piece where it lands.
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    Place the bishops next to the knights. In notation bishops are referred to as “B.” They start on c1, f1, c8, and f8.

    • How do they move? Bishops may move any number of vacant squares in any diagonal direction. Like rooks, they may capture an opponent’s piece within its path by stopping on that piece’s square.
    • The bishop proceeds, lands, and captures diagonally and remains throughout the game on the same color squares on which it begins the game. Thus, each player has a white-square bishop and a dark-square bishop.
    • As with rooks, if another of your pieces blocks your bishop’s path, the bishop must stop before reaching the occupied square. If the blocking piece belongs to your opponent, you may stop on (but not jump over) that square and capture the occupying piece.
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    Place the queen near the center of the first rank on her color. The positions for black and white are mirrored. If you’re playing white, your queen will be on the fourth file (counting from the left). If you’re playing black, she’ll be on the fifth file from your left. In notation this is d1 (a white square for the white queen) and d8 (a dark square for the black queen). (Note that the two queens start on the same file, as do the two kings.)

    • How do they move? The queen is the most powerful piece on the board. She can be thought of as the rook and bishop combined. The queen can move any number of vacant squares horizontally, vertically or diagonally.
    • Attacking with a queen is the same as with rooks and bishops. That is, she captures an opponent’s piece that lies within her path by moving to that piece’s square.
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    Place the kings in the last empty squares in the first and eighth ranks. The king is notated as “K” and starts on e1 and e8.

    • How do they move? The king can move one space at a time vertically, horizontally or diagonally. The king is not used as an attacking piece (except perhaps at the very end of the game) because, since he’s so valuable, you want to keep him protected and out of harm’s way. Nonetheless, he is capable of attacking any of the opposing pieces except the king and queen, to which he cannot get close enough to capture.
    • Kings are not offensive pieces. Your king is the piece you most want to protect, because if you lose him, you lose the game.
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    Place your pawns in the rank in front of your other pieces. Pawns are not notated with a letter. They begin the game forming a shield for your other pieces.

    • How do they move? Usually pawns move forward (never backward) one square. However, the first time it moves, a pawn may move forward either one or two squares. In all subsequent moves, a pawn is limited to moving one square at a time.
    • If an opponent’s piece is directly in front of it, a pawn may not move forward and may not capture that piece.
    • A pawn may attack an opponent’s piece only if the piece is one square diagonallyforward from the pawn (i.e. up one square and one square to the right or left).
    • There is another move a pawn may make under very specific circumstances. The move is called en passant (“in passing”). (See below).
    • Pawn promotion, detailed below, occurs when your pawn has marched all the way across the board to the eighth (your opponent’s first) rank.
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    Learn the rank and file system. This is not required, but it makes it easier to visualize moves and talk about moves, especially in chess literature and on websites. Also, when your opponent wasn’t paying attention and says, “Where did you go?”, you can respond with “Rook to a4 (Ra4).” Here’s how it works:

    • The files are the columns going up and down, pointing at you and your opponent. From left to right as white views it, they are files “a” through “h.”
    • The ranks are the horizontal rows from the players’ perspective. From bottom to top as white views it, they are ranks 1 through 8. All of white’s main pieces start at the 1 position (first rank); black’s main pieces start at the 8 position (eighth rank).
    • It is an excellent learning habit to notate your games, listing each move you and your opponent make, writing down the piece and the square to which it moves (using the piece and square notations already mentioned).

Part 2

Knowing How to Win

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    Understand the object of the game and how it’s achieved. To win, you need to checkmate your opponent’s king. This means forcing the opposing king into a position where he will be captured no matter what, so that he cannot move and no other piece can protect him. Checkmate (the end of the game) can occur in as few as three moves, but it’s more likely that a game will last for dozens, even hundreds, of moves. A typical game requires a lot of patience.

    • A secondary goal is to capture as many of your opponent’s pieces as possible, thus making checkmate easier. You capture pieces by landing on the squares they occupy.
    • While attacking the opposing pieces, you must simultaneously protect your own king so he doesn’t get captured.
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    Know how to put your opponent’s king in “check.” That means threatening to checkmate the king on your very next move if your opponent doesn’t do something immediately to protect him.

    • When you place your opponent in check, as a courtesy you should say “check” out loud Your opponent must then, if possible, do one of the following:
      • Avoid checkmate by moving their king to any vacant square not attacked by one of your pieces.
      • Block the check by placing a piece between your piece and their king.
      • Capture your piece that has placed their king in check.
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    Remember that you are not allowed to put yourself in check. You cannot make a move that exposes your king to capture in the opponent’s next move. This means you cannot move your king onto a square to which an opponent’s piece could move in their the next move. It also means you cannot unblock your king from attack (that is, expose your king to direct attack by moving an interposing piece).

Part 3

Playing the Game

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    Set up the chess board. Use the positions described in the first section. If you don’t have a board, you can make your own.
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    Start the game. The player with the white pieces begins the game by moving one piece as described above. Then it’s black’s turn to move, and the players take turns moving for the rest of the game.

    • Choose who plays white by a coin flip, or the stronger player may let the weaker player take white. In an evenly matched game, white has a slight advantage by moving first. [1]
    • If two players engage in a series of games, they can alternate colors from game to game, or they could agree that the previous loser could take white.
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    Capture an opponent’s piece by moving one of your pieces into a square occupied by that piece. The captured piece is then permanently removed from the game.

    • In formal tournament play there is often a rule stating that a player may not touch a piece unless s/he intends to move it and in fact, must move it if s/he touches it. If s/he wants only to adjust the piece, s/he must say “adjust” before touching it. [2]
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    Continue to play with each player moving one piece per turn until the game ends. Making a move is compulsory; it is not legal to “pass”, even when having to move is detrimental. Play continues until a king is checkmated or a draw occurs. Draws can occur in five ways:[2]

    • Stalemate: a king is the only piece left of his color, is not in check, but cannot move without placing himself in check (which is not legal).
    • Insufficient material: the pieces left on the board cannot force a checkmate on either side so that neither player can win.
    • Threefold repetition: The position of all pieces on the board has been repeated three times, such as players moving pieces back and forth.
    • Fifty-move rule: at least fifty moves for each player have occurred since the last time any piece was captured or any pawn was moved.
    • Agreement: both players simply agree to a draw.
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    End the game with a checkmate. Any game not ending in stalemate or a draw will end in checkmate, where either your king or your opponent’s king cannot avoid capture. Whoever accomplishes checkmate announces “checkmate!” out loud to make sure both players are aware the game is over. Here’s more about “check” and “checkmate”:

    • Do one of the following to get out of check (where your king is threatened with capture, but you have a way to escape):
      • Capture the piece threatening your king. You can do this with one of your other pieces or (if the opponent’s piece is not protected) with your king.
      • Move your king from the square being attacked.
      • Use one of your pieces to block the piece threatening your king.
    • If you cannot get your king out of check in your next move, it’s “checkmate,” and your opponent wins. If their king is checkmated, you win.

Part 4

Utilizing Strategy

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    Know the relative offensive-strength value of each piece:

    • Pawn – 1 point
    • Knight – 3 points
    • Bishop – 3.5 points
    • Rook – 5 points
    • Queen – 9 points
    • The king has no offensive value because it is normally not used as an offensive weapon except in the last stage of a game.
    • When assessing the relative strength of the two sides during a game, compare the total point value of all the captured pieces. This will show who has the current disadvantage and by how much.
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    Understand the individual strengths of each piece and their best positioning.Generally, pieces are strongest near the center of the board. Specifically, the queen and bishops can control longer diagonals from the center, knights lose some of their range of movement if situated near an edge, and pawns are more dangerous the farther they advance.

    • Pawns are stronger when together, such as in chains (diagonal lines in which each pawn protects another). Try not to break this formation unless there is a clear, overriding advantage to be had by doing so.
    • Knights are weakest near the edge of the board.
      • The maximum number of spaces a knight can control is eight. If a knight is on the edge of the board, the number of squares it can jump to is cut in half. Likewise, if a knight is one row from the edge, it controls only six spaces.
      • You may not miss the power of the knight right away, but if you move a knight near the edge of the board, you will often find yourself wasting a move to reposition it closer to the action near the center of the board.
    • Bishops are strongest on or near the long (“major”) diagonals where they command the most squares.
      • Realize that the bishop’s power can be diminished if the opponent places a protected piece along a diagonal controlled by your bishop. On the other hand, that piece is pinned in that position if the piece it is protecting is of high value.
    • Rooks are very powerful in open files. Position rooks on files that contain none of your pawns. Rooks are also powerful when controlling the seventh rank for white (second rank for black), but only if the opposing king is on its starting rank.
    • Queens have the most power when commanding the center of the board. On the other hand, they are in the most danger there as well. It is often a good strategy to keep the queen one move away from this position and to avoid blocking your queen’s movement with your own pieces.
    • Kings should always be protected. They are best shielded by lower-value pieces.
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    Aim to control the center of the board. As deduced from the optimal piece positionings detailed above, pieces near the center of the board are at their most powerful. Usually, the game is a fight for control of the center and, when you’re in the center, your opponent has far fewer “good” places to choose from. You have the power that can expand in all directions, while your opponent is relegated to the side, putting him/her on the defensive.

    • Pawns can help with this. While your more powerful pieces are attacking, a pawn or two can maintain control in the center.
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    Have a strong opening. A weak opening automatically puts you at a disadvantage for the rest of the game. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

    • Usually you’ll be best off opening with the d or e pawn. That opens up the center of the board.
    • Make only a couple of pawn moves at the start. You want to get your more powerful pieces into play as soon as possible.
    • Get your knights out and then your bishops. Knights’ range is limited. It often takes several hops to get them into the fray. (Bishops, rooks, and queens can swoop the entire length of the board, whereas the lowly pawn must trudge space by space.) Sometimes it is less obvious what effect moving a knight might have, so their attack is often stealthiest.
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    Use all of your pieces. If your rook is sitting back in the corner, you are wasting powerful ammo. The beauty of chess is that no one piece can win the game. You need a team of pieces to bombard your opponent’s king.

    • This is especially important if your opponent is skilled. It’s fairly easy to thwart one attacking piece; it’s possible to fend off two; but a skilled opponent will mount a three-pronged attack if you don’t keep him/her busy with your own attack.
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    Protect your king. It’s important to capture pieces and to attack the opponent’s king, but if your king is unprotected, you’ll be checkmated, the game will be over, and that offense you were running will be entirely useless.

    • Chess is challenging because you have to think about half a dozen things at once. You have to protect your king while planning moves for your other pieces. You have to understand what your opponent is doing while anticipating all of his/her possible next moves. It can be a daunting task, but with plenty of practice, you’ll find it easier to do all of these things at once.
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    Think several moves ahead. When your opponent makes a move, there’s a reason why. They’re setting something up, eyeing a potential attack. What’s happening? What are they aiming for? Try your best to anticipate and circumnavigate their actions and thwart their plan.

    • The same goes for you. Maybe you can’t capture a pawn on your next move, but what can you do to set yourself up for subsequent moves? This isn’t your usual board game. Every move you make now affects the moves you make in the future.
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    Never give up pieces needlessly. When your opponent makes a move but doesn’t take one of your pieces, take a second to scan the board. Are they in a position to take one of your pieces? If so, don’t allow it! Move that piece out of the way, or threaten another of your opponent’s pieces. Even better, capture that threatening piece yourself. Never just let a piece go.

    • It’s OK to give up a piece if it’s bait to draw your opponent to a specific area of the board where you’re planning to trap an even more valuable piece.
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    Try for a speedy checkmate. Did you know you can checkmate your opponent in as little as two moves? There are very specific instructions for a win in two, three, and four moves. If you’re curious, here are some wikiHow articles to read:

Part 5

Knowing the Special Moves

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    Use the “en passant” rule for pawns. En passant (from French: “in [the pawn’s] passing”) is a special capture made by a pawn. It’s permitted immediately after a player moves a pawn two squares forward from its starting position, and if an opposing pawn could have captured it if it had only moved only one square forward. In this situation, the opposing pawn may on the very next move capture the pawn as if taking it “as it passes” through the first square.

    • The resulting position would then be the same as if the pawn had only moved one square forward and the opposing pawn had captured it normally. En passant must be done on the very next move, or the right to do so is lost.
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    Promote your pawns. If a pawn reaches the far side of the board (eighth rank for white, first rank for black), it can be promoted to any other piece (except a king). The piece to which the pawn is promoted does not have to be a previously captured piece; it can be any piece. Usually, a player promotes a pawn to a queen. Thus a player could wind up with two (or more) queens, three (or more) rooks, etc. This is a very powerful offensive move.

    • To indicate pawn promotion in chess notation, write the square where the pawn is promoted (e.g., c8). Then write an equals sign (e.g., c8=) and then the symbol for the piece to which the pawn is promoted (e.g., c8=Q).
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    Use castling as a means to protect your king. This is used to get your king out of the middle of its rank where it is most vulnerable. To castle, move your king two squares toward either rook, then move that rook to the square immediately on the other side of the king. You can castle only if:

    • There are no pieces between the king and that rook.
    • The king at that point is not in check and does not have to pass through or to a square in which he would be in check.
    • Neither the king nor that rook has made any moves yet in the game.

Community Q&A

  • What if the opponent doesn’t move the way I wish?
    wikiHow Contributor
    You need a strong defense and to be prepared for almost anything. One of the main strategies of chess is forcing your opponent into a situation where, no matter what he or she does, you are given an advantage, such as capturing a piece or securing a better position.
  • Can the pawn move forward two spaces only once?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Yes. Your pawns may each move either one or two spaces forward on their first move. In all subsequent moves, each may move only one space.
  • Can the rook and king move together?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Under certain conditions, yes. It is known as castling and is very useful. It was one of the few changes made in the last millennium.
  • What are promoted pawns?
    These are pawns that have reached their eighth row (the opponent’s first row) and have been converted to some other piece such as a queen.
  • Can a horse come back to its previous place?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Yes, it can.
  • What will happen if in the end only both kings are left?
    wikiHow Contributor
    This is called a stalemate, which is a draw or tie, because neither player can capture the other’s king. The game ends as soon as such a situation occurs.
  • What are the moves of the bishop?
    wikiHow Contributor
    A bishop moves diagonally in any direction and as many open squares as it wants. It must stop before coming to a square occupied by a piece of its own color. It can stop on a square occupied by an opponent’s piece (thereby capturing that piece).
  • Can you ever capture the king and take it off the board?
    wikiHow Contributor
    No. The king remains on the board until the very end of the game. If your king can be captured on your opponent’s next move, you are in check and must get out of check immediately. You can do so by moving your king to a safe spot, by putting one of your own pieces between your king and the attacking piece, or by capturing the attacking piece. If you are in check and cannot immediately get out of check in one move, you are in checkmate, and the game is over (without your opponent’s actually having to remove your king).
  • Can any chess pieces move backwards?
    wikiHow Contributor
    All pieces except pawns can move backwards in directions permitted for the piece in question (e.g. rooks can move straight backwards, bishops can go backwards diagonally, etc.). Promoted pawns can move backwards in the same manner as the piece they’ve become.
  • Can the king move without check?
    wikiHow Contributor
    A king can move anytime except if a move would put himself into check. A king becomes more powerful toward the end of the game and can help checkmate the other king.

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Quick Summary

In chess, you want to capture the opponent’s king while protecting yours, which you can do by moving your pieces across the board and eliminating their pieces. Remember how each piece moves: pawns move 1 space forwards but capture pieces by moving diagonally; rooks move vertically or horizontally as far as they’d like; bishops move diagonally as far as they’d like; knights move 2 spaces in one direction and then 1 space perpendicularly and can hop over pieces if necessary; the queen can move in any direction for as many spaces; and the king can move 1 space in any direction.

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Teaching Astronauts to Play Chess

The Barboza Space Center is training Jr. astronauts, scientists and engineering in the Occupy Mars Learning Adventures Program to play chess.  This will help to keep our minds sharp on the long eight month journey to Mars.    www.BarbozaSpaceCemter.Com

How to Play Chess

Five Parts:Understanding the Board and PiecesKnowing How to WinPlaying the GameUtilizing StrategyKnowing the Special MovesCommunity Q&A

Chess is a very popular game, thought to have originated in eastern Asia many centuries ago. Although it has a set of easily comprehended rules, it requires a lot of practice in order to defeat a skilled opponent. To win, a player must use his or her pieces to create a situation where the opponent’s king is unable to avoid capture. This article offers a beginner the information he or she needs to get started playing this complex but fascinating game.

Chess Help

Chess Rule Sheet
Chessboard Diagram

Part 1

Understanding the Board and Pieces

A chessboard consists of 64 square spaces in an 8×8 grid. Each space is uniquely identified by a letter-number combination denoting first the file (vertical column “a” through “h”) of the square and then its rank (horizontal row 1 through 8). Each piece has a specific name, an abbreviation (in chess notation), and specific move capabilities. Here, we’ll explore the board, then each piece one by one. If you already know the basics, skip to the next section.

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    Position the board correctly. The orientation of the board is important for proper play. When positioned properly, each player will have a dark square (typically black) in the lower left corner.
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    Place the rooks on the corners of the board. The rook is also known as the castle. It is abbreviated as “R” in notation and starts on a1, h1, a8, and h8. Those are the corners as denoted in the rank and file system.

    • How do they move? Rooks may move any number of vacant squares vertically or horizontally. If an opponent’s piece blocks the path, that piece may be captured by moving the rook to (but not beyond) the occupied square and removing the opponent’s piece.
    • Rooks cannot jump over pieces of either color. If one of your other pieces blocks your rook’s path, your rook must stop before reaching that square.
    • Castling is a special move involving rooks detailed below.
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    Place your knights next to your rooks. This is the “horse” piece. In notation, it’s referred to as “N” (or “Kt” in older texts). The knights start on b1, g1, b8, and g8.

    • How do they move? Knights are the only pieces that can jump over other pieces and thus are the only pieces that cannot be blocked. They move in an L-shaped pattern — that is, two squares horizontally or vertically and then one square perpendicular to that (in other words, two spaces horizontally and one space vertically or one space horizontally and two spaces vertically).
    • A knight captures a piece only when it lands on that piece’s square. In other words, the knight can “jump” over other pieces (of either color) and capture a piece where it lands.
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    Place the bishops next to the knights. In notation bishops are referred to as “B.” They start on c1, f1, c8, and f8.

    • How do they move? Bishops may move any number of vacant squares in any diagonal direction. Like rooks, they may capture an opponent’s piece within its path by stopping on that piece’s square.
    • The bishop proceeds, lands, and captures diagonally and remains throughout the game on the same color squares on which it begins the game. Thus, each player has a white-square bishop and a dark-square bishop.
    • As with rooks, if another of your pieces blocks your bishop’s path, the bishop must stop before reaching the occupied square. If the blocking piece belongs to your opponent, you may stop on (but not jump over) that square and capture the occupying piece.
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    Place the queen near the center of the first rank on her color. The positions for black and white are mirrored. If you’re playing white, your queen will be on the fourth file (counting from the left). If you’re playing black, she’ll be on the fifth file from your left. In notation this is d1 (a white square for the white queen) and d8 (a dark square for the black queen). (Note that the two queens start on the same file, as do the two kings.)

    • How do they move? The queen is the most powerful piece on the board. She can be thought of as the rook and bishop combined. The queen can move any number of vacant squares horizontally, vertically or diagonally.
    • Attacking with a queen is the same as with rooks and bishops. That is, she captures an opponent’s piece that lies within her path by moving to that piece’s square.
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    Place the kings in the last empty squares in the first and eighth ranks. The king is notated as “K” and starts on e1 and e8.

    • How do they move? The king can move one space at a time vertically, horizontally or diagonally. The king is not used as an attacking piece (except perhaps at the very end of the game) because, since he’s so valuable, you want to keep him protected and out of harm’s way. Nonetheless, he is capable of attacking any of the opposing pieces except the king and queen, to which he cannot get close enough to capture.
    • Kings are not offensive pieces. Your king is the piece you most want to protect, because if you lose him, you lose the game.
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    Place your pawns in the rank in front of your other pieces. Pawns are not notated with a letter. They begin the game forming a shield for your other pieces.

    • How do they move? Usually pawns move forward (never backward) one square. However, the first time it moves, a pawn may move forward either one or two squares. In all subsequent moves, a pawn is limited to moving one square at a time.
    • If an opponent’s piece is directly in front of it, a pawn may not move forward and may not capture that piece.
    • A pawn may attack an opponent’s piece only if the piece is one square diagonallyforward from the pawn (i.e. up one square and one square to the right or left).
    • There is another move a pawn may make under very specific circumstances. The move is called en passant (“in passing”). (See below).
    • Pawn promotion, detailed below, occurs when your pawn has marched all the way across the board to the eighth (your opponent’s first) rank.
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    Learn the rank and file system. This is not required, but it makes it easier to visualize moves and talk about moves, especially in chess literature and on websites. Also, when your opponent wasn’t paying attention and says, “Where did you go?”, you can respond with “Rook to a4 (Ra4).” Here’s how it works:

    • The files are the columns going up and down, pointing at you and your opponent. From left to right as white views it, they are files “a” through “h.”
    • The ranks are the horizontal rows from the players’ perspective. From bottom to top as white views it, they are ranks 1 through 8. All of white’s main pieces start at the 1 position (first rank); black’s main pieces start at the 8 position (eighth rank).
    • It is an excellent learning habit to notate your games, listing each move you and your opponent make, writing down the piece and the square to which it moves (using the piece and square notations already mentioned).

Part 2

Knowing How to Win

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    Understand the object of the game and how it’s achieved. To win, you need to checkmate your opponent’s king. This means forcing the opposing king into a position where he will be captured no matter what, so that he cannot move and no other piece can protect him. Checkmate (the end of the game) can occur in as few as three moves, but it’s more likely that a game will last for dozens, even hundreds, of moves. A typical game requires a lot of patience.

    • A secondary goal is to capture as many of your opponent’s pieces as possible, thus making checkmate easier. You capture pieces by landing on the squares they occupy.
    • While attacking the opposing pieces, you must simultaneously protect your own king so he doesn’t get captured.
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    Know how to put your opponent’s king in “check.” That means threatening to checkmate the king on your very next move if your opponent doesn’t do something immediately to protect him.

    • When you place your opponent in check, as a courtesy you should say “check” out loud Your opponent must then, if possible, do one of the following:
      • Avoid checkmate by moving their king to any vacant square not attacked by one of your pieces.
      • Block the check by placing a piece between your piece and their king.
      • Capture your piece that has placed their king in check.
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    Remember that you are not allowed to put yourself in check. You cannot make a move that exposes your king to capture in the opponent’s next move. This means you cannot move your king onto a square to which an opponent’s piece could move in their the next move. It also means you cannot unblock your king from attack (that is, expose your king to direct attack by moving an interposing piece).

Part 3

Playing the Game

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    Set up the chess board. Use the positions described in the first section. If you don’t have a board, you can make your own.
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    Start the game. The player with the white pieces begins the game by moving one piece as described above. Then it’s black’s turn to move, and the players take turns moving for the rest of the game.

    • Choose who plays white by a coin flip, or the stronger player may let the weaker player take white. In an evenly matched game, white has a slight advantage by moving first. [1]
    • If two players engage in a series of games, they can alternate colors from game to game, or they could agree that the previous loser could take white.
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    Capture an opponent’s piece by moving one of your pieces into a square occupied by that piece. The captured piece is then permanently removed from the game.

    • In formal tournament play there is often a rule stating that a player may not touch a piece unless s/he intends to move it and in fact, must move it if s/he touches it. If s/he wants only to adjust the piece, s/he must say “adjust” before touching it. [2]
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    Continue to play with each player moving one piece per turn until the game ends. Making a move is compulsory; it is not legal to “pass”, even when having to move is detrimental. Play continues until a king is checkmated or a draw occurs. Draws can occur in five ways:[2]

    • Stalemate: a king is the only piece left of his color, is not in check, but cannot move without placing himself in check (which is not legal).
    • Insufficient material: the pieces left on the board cannot force a checkmate on either side so that neither player can win.
    • Threefold repetition: The position of all pieces on the board has been repeated three times, such as players moving pieces back and forth.
    • Fifty-move rule: at least fifty moves for each player have occurred since the last time any piece was captured or any pawn was moved.
    • Agreement: both players simply agree to a draw.
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    End the game with a checkmate. Any game not ending in stalemate or a draw will end in checkmate, where either your king or your opponent’s king cannot avoid capture. Whoever accomplishes checkmate announces “checkmate!” out loud to make sure both players are aware the game is over. Here’s more about “check” and “checkmate”:

    • Do one of the following to get out of check (where your king is threatened with capture, but you have a way to escape):
      • Capture the piece threatening your king. You can do this with one of your other pieces or (if the opponent’s piece is not protected) with your king.
      • Move your king from the square being attacked.
      • Use one of your pieces to block the piece threatening your king.
    • If you cannot get your king out of check in your next move, it’s “checkmate,” and your opponent wins. If their king is checkmated, you win.

Part 4

Utilizing Strategy

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    Know the relative offensive-strength value of each piece:

    • Pawn – 1 point
    • Knight – 3 points
    • Bishop – 3.5 points
    • Rook – 5 points
    • Queen – 9 points
    • The king has no offensive value because it is normally not used as an offensive weapon except in the last stage of a game.
    • When assessing the relative strength of the two sides during a game, compare the total point value of all the captured pieces. This will show who has the current disadvantage and by how much.
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    Understand the individual strengths of each piece and their best positioning.Generally, pieces are strongest near the center of the board. Specifically, the queen and bishops can control longer diagonals from the center, knights lose some of their range of movement if situated near an edge, and pawns are more dangerous the farther they advance.

    • Pawns are stronger when together, such as in chains (diagonal lines in which each pawn protects another). Try not to break this formation unless there is a clear, overriding advantage to be had by doing so.
    • Knights are weakest near the edge of the board.
      • The maximum number of spaces a knight can control is eight. If a knight is on the edge of the board, the number of squares it can jump to is cut in half. Likewise, if a knight is one row from the edge, it controls only six spaces.
      • You may not miss the power of the knight right away, but if you move a knight near the edge of the board, you will often find yourself wasting a move to reposition it closer to the action near the center of the board.
    • Bishops are strongest on or near the long (“major”) diagonals where they command the most squares.
      • Realize that the bishop’s power can be diminished if the opponent places a protected piece along a diagonal controlled by your bishop. On the other hand, that piece is pinned in that position if the piece it is protecting is of high value.
    • Rooks are very powerful in open files. Position rooks on files that contain none of your pawns. Rooks are also powerful when controlling the seventh rank for white (second rank for black), but only if the opposing king is on its starting rank.
    • Queens have the most power when commanding the center of the board. On the other hand, they are in the most danger there as well. It is often a good strategy to keep the queen one move away from this position and to avoid blocking your queen’s movement with your own pieces.
    • Kings should always be protected. They are best shielded by lower-value pieces.
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    Aim to control the center of the board. As deduced from the optimal piece positionings detailed above, pieces near the center of the board are at their most powerful. Usually, the game is a fight for control of the center and, when you’re in the center, your opponent has far fewer “good” places to choose from. You have the power that can expand in all directions, while your opponent is relegated to the side, putting him/her on the defensive.

    • Pawns can help with this. While your more powerful pieces are attacking, a pawn or two can maintain control in the center.
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    Have a strong opening. A weak opening automatically puts you at a disadvantage for the rest of the game. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

    • Usually you’ll be best off opening with the d or e pawn. That opens up the center of the board.
    • Make only a couple of pawn moves at the start. You want to get your more powerful pieces into play as soon as possible.
    • Get your knights out and then your bishops. Knights’ range is limited. It often takes several hops to get them into the fray. (Bishops, rooks, and queens can swoop the entire length of the board, whereas the lowly pawn must trudge space by space.) Sometimes it is less obvious what effect moving a knight might have, so their attack is often stealthiest.
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    Use all of your pieces. If your rook is sitting back in the corner, you are wasting powerful ammo. The beauty of chess is that no one piece can win the game. You need a team of pieces to bombard your opponent’s king.

    • This is especially important if your opponent is skilled. It’s fairly easy to thwart one attacking piece; it’s possible to fend off two; but a skilled opponent will mount a three-pronged attack if you don’t keep him/her busy with your own attack.
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    Protect your king. It’s important to capture pieces and to attack the opponent’s king, but if your king is unprotected, you’ll be checkmated, the game will be over, and that offense you were running will be entirely useless.

    • Chess is challenging because you have to think about half a dozen things at once. You have to protect your king while planning moves for your other pieces. You have to understand what your opponent is doing while anticipating all of his/her possible next moves. It can be a daunting task, but with plenty of practice, you’ll find it easier to do all of these things at once.
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    Think several moves ahead. When your opponent makes a move, there’s a reason why. They’re setting something up, eyeing a potential attack. What’s happening? What are they aiming for? Try your best to anticipate and circumnavigate their actions and thwart their plan.

    • The same goes for you. Maybe you can’t capture a pawn on your next move, but what can you do to set yourself up for subsequent moves? This isn’t your usual board game. Every move you make now affects the moves you make in the future.
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    Never give up pieces needlessly. When your opponent makes a move but doesn’t take one of your pieces, take a second to scan the board. Are they in a position to take one of your pieces? If so, don’t allow it! Move that piece out of the way, or threaten another of your opponent’s pieces. Even better, capture that threatening piece yourself. Never just let a piece go.

    • It’s OK to give up a piece if it’s bait to draw your opponent to a specific area of the board where you’re planning to trap an even more valuable piece.
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    Try for a speedy checkmate. Did you know you can checkmate your opponent in as little as two moves? There are very specific instructions for a win in two, three, and four moves. If you’re curious, here are some wikiHow articles to read:

Part 5

Knowing the Special Moves

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    Use the “en passant” rule for pawns. En passant (from French: “in [the pawn’s] passing”) is a special capture made by a pawn. It’s permitted immediately after a player moves a pawn two squares forward from its starting position, and if an opposing pawn could have captured it if it had only moved only one square forward. In this situation, the opposing pawn may on the very next move capture the pawn as if taking it “as it passes” through the first square.

    • The resulting position would then be the same as if the pawn had only moved one square forward and the opposing pawn had captured it normally. En passant must be done on the very next move, or the right to do so is lost.
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    Promote your pawns. If a pawn reaches the far side of the board (eighth rank for white, first rank for black), it can be promoted to any other piece (except a king). The piece to which the pawn is promoted does not have to be a previously captured piece; it can be any piece. Usually, a player promotes a pawn to a queen. Thus a player could wind up with two (or more) queens, three (or more) rooks, etc. This is a very powerful offensive move.

    • To indicate pawn promotion in chess notation, write the square where the pawn is promoted (e.g., c8). Then write an equals sign (e.g., c8=) and then the symbol for the piece to which the pawn is promoted (e.g., c8=Q).
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    Use castling as a means to protect your king. This is used to get your king out of the middle of its rank where it is most vulnerable. To castle, move your king two squares toward either rook, then move that rook to the square immediately on the other side of the king. You can castle only if:

    • There are no pieces between the king and that rook.
    • The king at that point is not in check and does not have to pass through or to a square in which he would be in check.
    • Neither the king nor that rook has made any moves yet in the game.

Community Q&A

  • What if the opponent doesn’t move the way I wish?
    wikiHow Contributor
    You need a strong defense and to be prepared for almost anything. One of the main strategies of chess is forcing your opponent into a situation where, no matter what he or she does, you are given an advantage, such as capturing a piece or securing a better position.
  • Can the pawn move forward two spaces only once?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Yes. Your pawns may each move either one or two spaces forward on their first move. In all subsequent moves, each may move only one space.
  • Can the rook and king move together?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Under certain conditions, yes. It is known as castling and is very useful. It was one of the few changes made in the last millennium.
  • What are promoted pawns?
    These are pawns that have reached their eighth row (the opponent’s first row) and have been converted to some other piece such as a queen.
  • Can a horse come back to its previous place?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Yes, it can.
  • What will happen if in the end only both kings are left?
    wikiHow Contributor
    This is called a stalemate, which is a draw or tie, because neither player can capture the other’s king. The game ends as soon as such a situation occurs.
  • What are the moves of the bishop?
    wikiHow Contributor
    A bishop moves diagonally in any direction and as many open squares as it wants. It must stop before coming to a square occupied by a piece of its own color. It can stop on a square occupied by an opponent’s piece (thereby capturing that piece).
  • Can you ever capture the king and take it off the board?
    wikiHow Contributor
    No. The king remains on the board until the very end of the game. If your king can be captured on your opponent’s next move, you are in check and must get out of check immediately. You can do so by moving your king to a safe spot, by putting one of your own pieces between your king and the attacking piece, or by capturing the attacking piece. If you are in check and cannot immediately get out of check in one move, you are in checkmate, and the game is over (without your opponent’s actually having to remove your king).
  • Can any chess pieces move backwards?
    wikiHow Contributor
    All pieces except pawns can move backwards in directions permitted for the piece in question (e.g. rooks can move straight backwards, bishops can go backwards diagonally, etc.). Promoted pawns can move backwards in the same manner as the piece they’ve become.
  • Can the king move without check?
    wikiHow Contributor
    A king can move anytime except if a move would put himself into check. A king becomes more powerful toward the end of the game and can help checkmate the other king.

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Quick Summary

In chess, you want to capture the opponent’s king while protecting yours, which you can do by moving your pieces across the board and eliminating their pieces. Remember how each piece moves: pawns move 1 space forwards but capture pieces by moving diagonally; rooks move vertically or horizontally as far as they’d like; bishops move diagonally as far as they’d like; knights move 2 spaces in one direction and then 1 space perpendicularly and can hop over pieces if necessary; the queen can move in any direction for as many spaces; and the king can move 1 space in any direction.

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Spanish and Portuguese Robots

Insight Robotics Expands its Footprint in Mexico, Portugal and Spain Through Strategic Distribution Partnership

PR Newswire

The successful delivery of the first project in Mexico and the demonstration project in Portugal opened up a new page for Insight Robotics in these continents and partner network.

HONG KONG, May 15, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Insight Robotics, a technology company that was founded in Hong Kong, with mission to safeguard natural resources and infrastructure through automation and early-warning threat detection, is pleased to announce the expansion of its business in Mexico, Portugal and Spain by establishing Distribution Partnership with Robotics Galu in Mexico and Leitek Innovative Solutions in Iberia respectively, which ensures an increased geographic sales footprint and broader access to maintenance and support resources for better client’s engagement.

Insight Robotics Wildfire Detection Robot

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Insight Robotics Wildfire Detection Robot
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The first five Wildfire Detection robots have been installed in the main forest in Guadalajara, the second largest city in Mexico. The robots are currently being monitored by state and federal authorities controlling forestry, an institution that provides assistance and resources at the national level — throughout 32 states. The potential for replicating the project across the State of Jalisco and at the national level is high.

Meanwhile, the Portugal’s demonstration was carried in March at the Europe’s largest laboratory for wildfire studies, LEIF (Laboratorio de Estudos de Incendios Florestais) and got national exposure and attention to Insight Robotics Early Wildfire Detection system to the Portuguese stakeholders, policy and key decision makers, as an effective solution to counter the recurring threat of wildfires that the country has been battered with.

Demonstration done at LEIF in Portugal (March 2018)

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Demonstration done at LEIF in Portugal (March 2018)
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The demonstration had a dedicated reportage in the major TV news channel in Portugal(SIC). “Portugal doesn’t have a culture of video surveillance of the forest and the big fire of Pedrogao Grande in June 2017 showed the benefit of video surveillance,” said Professor Domingos Xavier Viegas, professor of the University of Coimbra, who is the highest technical and scientific authority in Portugal related to wildfires. “Insight Robotics Wildfire Detection system enables not only the detection and location of the fire, but also a great added value with lots of information to the firefighter such as providing the best path towards the fire, monitoring several fires simultaneously from a Command and Control Center.” In the wake of the demonstration, Portugal government has enacted a regulation that installation of forest video surveillance systems, integrating with RGB and thermal cameras is mandatory for mitigation of wildfires.


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The USA Will Celebrate National Robotics Week

National Robotcs Week.jpg

In May 2009, top universities and industry leaders appealed to the Congressional Caucus on Robotics to create a “national road-map” for robotics technology. On March 9, 2010, the U.S. House of Representatives passed resolution H.Res. 1055, officially designating the second full week in April as National Robotics Week. This resolution was submitted by U.S. Representative Mike Doyle (PA-14), co-chair of the Caucus, and other members.

National Robotics Week (RoboWeek) is organized by iRobot with the support of an Advisory Council, which recognizes robotics technology as a pillar of American innovation, highlights its growing importance in a wide variety of application areas, and emphasizes its ability to inspire technology education. Robotics is positioned to fuel a broad array of next-generation products and applications in fields as diverse as manufacturing, healthcare, national defense and security, agriculture and transportation. At the same time, robotics is proving to be uniquely adept at enabling students of all ages to learn important science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) concepts and at inspiring them to pursue careers in STEM fields. RoboWeek is a series of grassroots events and activities during the month of April aimed at increasing public awareness of the strength and importance of the U.S. robotics industry and of the tremendous social and cultural impact that robotics will have on the future.

Initiated in 2010, the inaugural RoboWeek included 50 affiliated events around the country. The following year built on that success to include more than 100 events in 22 states, District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. In 2017, RoboWeek included over 300 events in all 50 of the United States.

We welcome all collaborators from industry and academia who would like to join us. Celebrate RoboWeek by hosting an event in your community, sponsoring or attending a local event, or spreading the word on social media.