Thousands of books have been published relating to the strategies during the three key stages of chess, including the opening, the middle game, and the endgame. The objective of the modern chess game is to force the opponent’s most important piece, the king, into checkmate, which practically makes the “king” unmovable to avoid capture. The player with the white pieces begins the game by moving a piece to another square following the rules that govern piece movement. The players alternate moves until one player are either checkmated, resigns, or there is a draw.
A typical chess set has 32 pieces. These are broken down into two sets of 16 pieces each. In each set, there are eight pawns, two rooks, two knights, two bishops, one queen, and one king. The different pieces are distinguished by their appearance. The designs vary from simple plastic shapes to intricate, hand-carved statues. While piece size varies depending on the specific set, the tallest piece is typically the king, followed closely in height by the queen. The shortest, least notable pieces are the pawns. The book has varied considerably over the years, being represented as a ship, castle turret, or a warrior in a chariot.
The standard set for modern chess pieces was introduced by Nathaniel Cook in 1835. His set was patented in 1849 and endorsed by the leading player of the day, Howard Staunton. Staunton’s promotion of the set as the standard led to it being known as the Staunton pattern. Today, only Staunton sets are allowed in official international competitions.