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Updated November 20, 2004

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Chessmaster's Journal: The Rook
(4/23/2003) In lieu to V Planet's Chess-themed Minigame Compo, we're releasing a series of QB-style chess tutorials, starting with the mighty rook.

Just in case you missed it, V Planet is currently holding a Chess AI Minigame Competition, where the goal is to make the 100% pure QB-coded virtual chess player in the world! The programming competition, which lasts from March 26 to November 2, 2003, gives all QB programmers a great chance to take a very casual pace in this year's programming contest while still having plenty of time for social lives and other QB projects. Of course, everybody's still free to join =)

With this casual pace in mind, the V Planet Chessmasters Journals are here to give both seasoned chess players and people new to chess an opportunity to learn the game from an AI-making perspective. These journals will be posted throughout the competition to help out contestants and also exploit the lovely chessboard edit features of QB Chess!, an excellent chessboard display tool coded in QB for PC World Magazine.

Out of all of chess's attacking pieces, the rook's attacking style is the easiest to explain. These tower-shaped structures move in a straight line up, down, left, of right of it's position. The black rook, shown above, may move to any of the highlighted squares shown.

Rooks can't move through or onto a piece of the same color. Shown here is a rook whose movement is impeded by a group of his own pieces. Though limited in movement, the rook shown is doing a great job of defending his allies.

Rooks can't move through a square impeded by an opponent's piece, but he can "capture" an opponent's piece by moving into a square which the opponent occupies, then removing the captured piece from the board before taking over the square.

Here is an example of a really nice position for the black rook. Not only is the rook protecting the queen, but he can capture the opponent's rook by moving to the correct highlighted square.

This is simply the best move for the black rook. When the opponent's king is under attack by any of your pieces, it's considered in check. At this position, the opponent has no choice but to retreat it's king, giving you valuable tempo!

With the rook's range only impeded by other pieces, rooks are best when playing in an open field, after many of the other pieces in the board have already been captured. Here, the two black rooks have put the opponent's king in a very uncompromising position. Not only is the king in check, but the king can not escape check, since the king can only move in one space per turn. When you trap the enemy's king in this manner, the king is in checkmate and you've won the game!

Article written by Vance Velez, Editor

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