Chess and Maths – Right at the beginning

This is the starting position in the game of chess.

Now let me see where some very basic Mathematics can come in.  Let’s play around with some numbers in chess.  Lets start with MULTIPLICATION The board has 64 squares, each side with 8 squares. 8 multiplied by 8 = 64.

ADDITION – Each side has 16 pieces made up as follows: 8 pawns, 2 rooks, 2 Knights, 2 bishops, 1 Queen and 1 King.  16 = 8 + 2 + 2 + 2 +1 + 1.   From the time the game starts each player will keep track of the material he wins. It will add up.

DIVISION – In total there are 64 pieces, made up of 2 sets of 32. 64 divided by 2 gives us 32.

SUBTRACTION – From the 64 pieces we have if we take away 32 pieces for white, we are left with 32 pieces for black. 64 pieces – 32 white pieces = 32 32 black pieces

The Knight, which is the second piece from the right (or left) and looks like a horse, moves in an L shape. The L shape is always made up of 5 squares, which includes the starting square and landing square. The possible moves that white can make are shown below.

Can you guess how many possible first moves white can make at the beginning of the game? Let’s count. The pawns have 16 possible moves (they can each move one or two squares). Each of the knights has 2 possible moves it can make. So in total there are (16 + 2+2) 20 moves. The knight is the only piece that can jump over other pieces as shown above.

Bruce Mubayiwa

I am the founder and editor of Africa Chess Net. I have been playing chess for over 25 years and love writing about the game. Our goal is simple, to get more people playing chess in Africa! The game of chess is not only absorbing but a great deal of fun.

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