Nonzero Games: Chess

Eager to play chess on Nonzero? You are in luck, look no further for a fully comprehensive guide on how to play chess on our bot. We hope you enjoy.

How do I play?

Two sides are on the board: white and black, and each side has 16 pieces: 8 pawns, 2 rooks, 2 knights, 2 bishops, 1 queen, and 1 king. Each piece has its own unique movements, as seen below.

Each game always starts with white's move, and alternates between each side until one side either forfeits or goes into checkmate, or the game is drawn either by request or by stalemate.

Key Terms


A check is when the king is in direct threat of being captured by another piece. Check forces the player to move so that the king is out of threat's way, either by blocking the piece, capturing it, or removing the king from harm's way.


When the king is unable to escape from a check position, this is called checkmate, and results in the game ending.


A stalemate is when the there are no legal moves left for the player. The game ends resulting in a tie in the case of a stalemate.


Castling is a special move where the king moves two squares over, and a rook moves next to the king on the opposite side. This move is only possible when both the king and the rook have not been moved, the king is not in check, and there are no pieces between them.


Promotions occur when a pawn reaches the opposite side of the board. Upon reaching the other side, it can become any other piece aside from the king, allowing for any lost pieces to be regained into play.

En Passant

If a pawn moves out two squares on its first move, and by doing so lands to the side of an opponent's pawn (effectively jumping past the other pawn's ability to capture it), that other pawn has the option of capturing the first pawn as it passes by. This special move must be done immediately after the first pawn has moved past, otherwise the option to capture it is no longer available.

The Pieces


Pawns are unusual because they move and capture in different ways: they move forward, but capture diagonally. Pawns can only move forward one square at a time, except for their very first move where they can move forward two squares.

Pawns can only capture one square diagonally in front of them. They can never move or capture backwards. If there is another piece directly in front of a pawn he cannot move past or capture that piece.


The rook may move as far as it wants, but only forward, backward, and to the sides.

The rooks are particularly powerful pieces when they are protecting each other and working together!


Knights move in a very different way from the other pieces – going two squares in one direction, and then one more move at a 90 degree angle, just like the shape of an “L”.

Knights are also the only pieces that can move over other pieces.


The bishop may move as far as it wants, but only diagonally. Each bishop starts on one colour (light or dark) and must always stay on that colour.

Bishops work well together because they cover up each other's weaknesses.


The queen is the most powerful piece. She can move in any one straight direction - forward, backward, sideways, or diagonally - as far as possible as long as she does not move through any of her own pieces.

And, like with all pieces, if the queen captures an opponent's piece her move is over.


The king is the most important piece, but is one of the weakest. The king can only move one square in any direction - up, down, to the sides, and diagonally.

The king may never move himself into check (where he could be captured). When the king is attacked by another piece this is called "check".