Winning Moves Games is proud to present No Stress Chess™, a new game
that will help you learn the world’s greatest game—Chess. You can play
instantly because the special gameboard guides you to set up your pieces
and each card in the innovative deck shows you how to move the piece it pictures. You just set the pieces on the board, shuffle the deck, and begin to
No Stress Chess teaches players the moves of all the Chess pieces. The
game is played on a regulation Chess board, but doesn’t require the movement knowledge or planning of Standard Chess. No Stress Chess can be
played at several levels of difficulty, gradually introducing players to
Standard Chess in incremental steps. When you’re ready, just flip the board
to its Standard Chess board side and play the authentic “king of games.”
It’s up to you to decide when to stop moving along this line. You may never
move onto or through a space occupied by one of your pieces. You must
always stop moving when you enter a space occupied by an opposing piece,
which you then capture and remove from the board (keep it).
You must move if you can (your choice if more than one piece of this type
can be moved). If you cannot move a piece shown on the card, you lose
your turn. (When the deck is depleted, shuffle both discard piles
together to form a new draw pile; play continues.)
In “No Stress Chess” (unlike
Standard Chess) you can take a
chance of exposing your pieces to
possible capture in the hopes your
opponent won’t draw a card picturing
a piece he can move to capture
yours. This results in some interesting game play, even for experienced Chess players, because it’s
Contents: 2 sets of Standard Chess pieces (one white, one black), a
two-sided Chess board, a deck of 56 Action cards and a black plastic card
tray. Most Action cards identify which piece to move and how to move it.
Set Up
1. Place the Chess pieces on the board where indicated. They are arranged
just like in regular Chess, except for two Pawns, which are moved forward as shown on the board and in Diagram 1. These two Pawns are typically moved first by experienced
players, in order to clear t h e w a y
for the more powerful pieces behind
them to move.
2. Shuffle the deck of cards thoroughly
and place face down in the center compartment of the tray, forming the draw
Six cards say “Move Same Type of
Piece Again.” When you draw one,
Here, the white Queen will be captured if the
opposing player draws a Bishop card. But if not,
you move a piece of either type, picthe Queen can capture the Rook if another
Queen card is drawn
tured on the cards on top of the
draw piles. For example, if the
card on your opponent’s discard pile is a Knight and the top card on your
discard pile is a Rook—you can move one of your Rooks, or one of your
Players alternate (white first) turning
over the top card on the draw pile and
placing it face up on their discard pile (compartment of the tray closest to you). Next, move a piece of the type identified and pictured on
this card. The card always explains how you can move this type of piece.
Most pieces can be moved one or more spaces along a straight line.
The OBJECT of Chess is always to capture the opposing King. In Standard
Chess, the opponent “resigns” when this becomes inevitable. In No Stress
Chess, a player wins by actually capturing his opponent’s King (by moving a
piece onto its space). This makes the King a more useful piece in No Stress
Chess as you can risk attacking with it and don’t have to spend as much time
worrying about it being “checked” (as will be explained in the “Standard
Chess Rules”).
Diagram#1–Placing the Pieces
(Note: each player’s Queen always
begins on its own colored space)
PLAY–Basic Game–Level One
General Rules of Movement
and Capture
Basic Game—Level Two and Three
After you’ve played Level One a few times, you’ll enjoy moving up to Level
Two or Level Three.
• In Level Two, deal each player a hand of three cards before play begins.
• In Level Three, deal each player five cards.
Place the remaining deck face down in the draw compartment.
On either level, you begin your turn by drawing a card, then playing any one
card from your hand, face up, onto your discard pile and moving a piece of
the type pictured (if none of this type can be moved, you lose your turn).
“Move Same Type of Piece Again” cards, when played, are handled as in the
Level One rules. Selecting from a limited number of possible m o v e s
makes the play of No Stress Chess closer to Standard Chess.
If a player’s hand contains three or more identical cards, or a mix of cards
which do not allow any piece to be moved, he may discard his entire hand
and draw a new one, but may not play on this turn.
As you know from playing NO STRESS
CHESS, each type of piece has its own
powers of movement. A piece may only be
moved according to its movement power. A
piece may never move through or land on a
friendly piece (although a Knight can jump
over intervening pieces). If a piece moves
onto a space occupied by an opposing
piece, that piece is CAPTURED and
removed from the board; the moving piece
must end its turn on this space. If a piece is
capable of moving several spaces in a
straight line (like the Bishop, Rook and
Queen), and such a line of spaces is vacant,
you may elect to end its move on any space
along such a line. You are never obligated
to move as far as you can or capture an
opposing piece by moving onto its space.
Diagram#2–Placing the Pieces
(NOTE: each player’s Queen always begins on its
own colored space)
Among serious players, it is often agreed
that once a piece has been touched by a
player it must be moved. Decide if you
want to adopt this rule.
Advanced Game
Experienced Chess players like this variation. Play at Level Three, and add
the rules for “Pawn Promotion,” “En Passant,” “Castling,” and “Checking” as
described in the Standard Rules of Chess below. In essence, this game follows all the rules of Chess, except that movement is by play of a card
instead of by choosing among all of your pieces. (For experienced Chess
players, this permits risk taking as found in other games!)
There are 6 different kinds of pieces. Each side has an identical set of 8 Pawns, 2 Rooks,
2 Knights, 2 Bishops plus a King and a Queen,
The Power of Each Piece
Because each piece moves and captures differently, some are more powerful than others. In
fact, Chess players have come to assign a “power rating” to each type of piece.
These ratings are:
Pawn... 1
Knight... 3
Bishop... 3
Rook... 5
Queen... 9
King... (game)
Chess was originally invented in India around the 6th century AD. Since then, Chess has
become known as the game of kings and the greatest of games. Now that you’re comfortable
with how the Chess pieces move and capture, here are the rules to play Standard Chess.
Thus, the Knight is worth 3 Pawns, while the Queen is worth 9 Pawns, or a Pawn, plus a
Bishop, plus a Rook. It is useful to know this when you begin to “trade” captures during the
play of the game.
Standard Chess is a game of logic. No Action cards are used. Instead, on his turn a player is
free to move any one of his pieces among those that can be moved.
Example: It would be unwise to capture a Rook if you then lost your Queen. (The exception
being if such a “trade” brings about Checkmate; nothing in Chess is more important than
To play Chess well, you have to think several moves ahead. If I make this move, what piece
will my opponent move? What piece will I move next? How do I put him on the defensive
and take control of the game? How will I force Checkmate?
The OBJECT of Standard Chess is to CHECKMATE the opposing King. CHECKMATE
is the term given to a situation where a King is not only under attack but has no safe space
to move onto. In other words, no matter what move it might make, the King will be captured
on the next turn. When this happens, the game is over.
Note: sometimes a draw occurs, as will be explained.
Begin by flipping over the board and playing on the unmarked “official” board. Set the 32
pieces on the board according to diagram #2.
The player with the lighter colored pieces is known as “White.” The player with the darker
set is known as “Black.” White always moves first. Players alternate taking turns, moving
one and only one piece per turn. (There is one exception, “castling,” as will be explained.)
To play Chess, you need to know how to move each type of piece. (Refer to the Action cards
to see diagrams of how each type of piece moves.)
• Pawns
Power: 1
Each player has eight Pawns situated in a row at the beginning
of the game. They are the least powerful pieces. But because
they can be “promoted”(as you will see) they can become very
Pawns can NEVER be moved backward or sideways. They can
only move straight ahead. Pawns normally move only one
square at a time. However, the first time a Pawn is moved,
it may move forward one or two vacant squares.
Unlike every other type of piece Pawns have a special way to
capture an opposing piece. A Pawn captures a piece that lies
one space ahead on either diagonal (never directly ahead).
Diagram #3–Pawn Captures
o n e s p a c e f o r w a rd , o n t h e
Pawn Promotion
Should a Pawn move all the way across the board and reach a space in the farthest row from
you, it will be promoted. The Pawn is exchanged for any piece that was previously captured,
OR for a duplicate of any piece (except a King or Pawn). Under normal circumstances, a
player will want to exchange his Pawn for a Queen since it is the most powerful piece. Use a
small object to represent a duplicated piece (some players
turn a captured Rook upside down to represent a second
Queen). The new piece is placed where the Pawn ended its
En Passant
Ah, the Pawn! For such a simple piece, it has yet another
nuance of movement. A Pawn may capture an opposing Pawn
“en passant” (in passing) in one special circumstance. If you
advanced your Pawn two squares on its first move and, as a
result, an enemy Pawn is now adjacent to your Pawn, the
enemy Pawn can capture the advancing Pawn by moving diagonally behind it (but only on the next move of the game).
This rule is not as strange as it seems. The same result would
occur if you moved your Pawn only one space forward, rather
than two, and the opposing Pawn captured it on that space.
Thus, the en passant rule grants more power to a Pawn that
has inched its way forward and is now only two spaces
from the line of enemy Pawns.
• Knights
• The Queen
Power: 9
The Queen is the most powerful piece on the board. She can move as many squares as she
desires in any straight or diagonal line direction, unless blocked by another piece. (She
has the movement powers of a Bishop and a Rook combined!)
• King
Power: The Game!
Though a weak piece, the King is the most vital, for once he is checkmated the game is lost.
White pawn moved 2 spaces on its
first move. Adjacent Black Pawn
may capture it as shown.
The King can only move one square per turn, but may move in any direction. There is one
important restriction–the King may not move into a position where he could be captured
by an opposing piece. (Because of this rule, two Kings may never stand next to each
other or capture each other.)
Diagram #4–En Passant Special
Pawn-Pawn Capture
You should guard your King as well as you can.
Power: 3
As you know from the “General Rules of Movement,” the Knight captures an enemy piece
if it is on this space. Naturally, your Knight cannot land on a space occupied by one of
your other pieces.
Power: 3
Your Bishops are easy pieces to move. Each moves only along diagonal lines. Note: one of
your Bishops will move only along white diagonals, while the other will move only along
black diagonals–look at the setup and you’ll see why.)
The Bishop is a great piece to range the board when play “opens up.”
• Rooks
Castling is a helpful way of protecting the King, since it will end up closer to the corner of
the board, where it is less vulnerable.
Because the Queen is so valuable, it is usually unwise to bring the Queen out too early. The
early-game (cluttered) board makes her less mobile and more vulnerable to capture.
The Knight is the only piece on the board that may jump (“fly”) over other pieces. This
can be very helpful when attacking a closely packed enemy position. A Knight’s move is
“L-shaped.” It “levitates” two spaces to either side (left, right, north or south) then turns
90 degrees in either direction and lands on the adjacent space.
• Bishops
This move is the only time that the King can travel more than one square at a time, and each
player is allowed to castle just once during a game.
Power: 5
The Rook, shaped like a castle, is the most powerful piece aside from the Queen. It is also
an easy piece to move. A Rook moves any number of squares in a straight line along any
column or row. (Rooks can never move diagonally).
The game ends when one of the players captures his opponent's King, or when one of the
players resigns, or there is a draw (“Stalemate” is a type of draw. See below.)
Checking and Checkmate
When a player's King is threatened by an opposing piece, it is
said to be in “check.” That means that unless the King moves,
it will be captured on the next turn. When a player places the
opposing King in check he announces: "check". Since the
object of the game is to Checkmate the opposing King, “checking” can lead to Checkmate because once you force the opposing King to move, you have the initiative and can continue to
move additional pieces that will (hopefully) keep the King on
the run until he can no longer move without being captured
(Checkmate!). The only way an opponent can avoid moving
the King out of Check is by capturing the piece checking the
King, or blocking its path to his King.
If you have two pieces checking the opposing King simultaneously (“double” Check), you are in an extremely powerful
position because the opposing King must move since its player
cannot block or capture both of your pieces on the same move!
Note: the photo on the cover of No Stress Chess also shows a
Checkmate. When the Rook moves as shown, the black King is doomed.
Either player may resign at any time. This generally happens
when a player loses a major piece and the outlook for victory in
his case appears bleak.
The Rook has one special power. It and the king can make a “castle” move. To make the special “castle” move, both the Rook and the King must not have moved previously in the game.
Further, the spaces lying between them must be vacant (meaning the pieces that started there
will have moved elsewhere). AND, none of these
intervening spaces can be under attack by opposing pieces (meaning no opposing piece could move
onto one of these spaces on its next turn).
Diagram #5–Castling
King moves 2 spaces towards Rook, Rook
jumps over King as shown
Diagram #6–Check
Black Rook moves into same
row as white King. King is in
check because this Rook could
capture it on it’s next turn.
The Rook takes some time to get going (in its corner position, it is well blocked). But once
it is in the open, it can attack at long distances.
Castling is the only time during a Chess game that
a player can move two pieces on the same turn. To
castle, the King moves two squares towards the
Rook. The Rook on that side then JUMPS over the
King and lands on the square next to it.
Line of Attack
A Draw results when the only two pieces on the board are Kings,
regardless of their position, or if the pieces remaining on the
board make Checkmate impossible (example: you cannot
Checkmate an opposing King if you only have a King and a Bishop
left). Draws may be by agreement, or if the same pieces are moved
back and forth to the same spaces on three consecutive turns.
Diagram#7– Checkmate
Black Rook moves as
shown. White King is
checkmated because it has
no safe space to move to.
A Stalemate occurs when a player's only move would cause him to
place his own King (not currently in check) in Check. As long as
he can move another piece, or his King can move to an open
square, Stalemate may not occur.
Some Basic Chess Strategy
Among games, Chess has probably inspired more study than any other. Hundreds of books
have been published about its strategy. If you find Chess exciting, you’ll find it satisfying to
read one or more of them. For now, here are some basic strategies.
The most popular opening move is to advance your King’s Pawn two spaces. This is known
as the “King’s Pawn” opening. The second most popular opening is to advance the Queen’s
Pawn two spaces (“Queen’s Pawn” opening). The second move is typically to advance the
other of these Pawns, either one or two spaces. Doing so “opens” the board for your
Bishops to move. Your Knights can always move forward to support your Pawns and
Bishops. The aim of your early move is to “control” the center of the board and make it
tougher for your opponent to “range” his pieces across the board.
In Chess, the “initiative” is vital. If you have the initiative, your opponent will have to
react to your moves. If he has the initiative, you’ll be on the defensive and reacting to his
moves. You keep the game “neutral” at first by positioning your pieces strongly (they
support each other, meaning you can capture an opposing piece if it captures one of
yours AND in the exchange you do not give up a stronger piece). You can gain the initiative if you attack your opponent’s weakness without creating one of your own.
This means spotting a piece you can capture without your opponent capturing your attacking piece. And it also means looking at your opponent’s Pawn formation and finding its
weak point. Pawns “properly” moved support each other and deter rapid advances by
more powerful opposing pieces.
If the opponent cannot defend his weakness, attack it. You’ll gain the initiative. Once you
have even a small advantage, it often pays to “exchange” pieces of equal power, to open the
board so your more powerful pieces can range over it and threaten many spaces at once.
If you have several pieces positioned to potentially attack a common space, you can dominate that space if an exchange takes place.
Once you have the initiative and have your powerful pieces in play and have caused your
opponent to lose more power than you have, it is time to attack his King. Be patient. Chess
is not a game for the reckless!
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No Stress Chess is a trademark of Winning Moves Games ©2005.
We’d love to hear from you! Please send us any questions or comments about
“No Stress Chess” or visit our website for more information about this and
all our games.
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Danvers, MA 01923
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