Due to the wide scope of this blog, and the split audience it is likely to generate (something that is not recommended for blogging, I should add), I thought it would be prudent to provide some introduction to chess for the uninitiated. Eventually, this post will be followed by a complementary entry, "Biochemistry for the Chess Player", to make any commentary I have on science more accessible to my fellow pawn pushers.
You can take a look at my crash course for the game to get you started. It is broken up into three sections: Basic Rules, which covers piece movement and recording games; Understanding Chess, which explains how to judge the value of pieces and positions; Calculating Moves, covering a few common attacking patterns and tips on how to spot them.
The guide that I have assembled aims for brevity, and does generalize quite a bit. If you are more serious in learning how to play, or how to improve your play, I would recommend looking at some of the following sites. They are roughly in order, although the list is by no means comprehensive. Another useful list is found, not surprisingly, in a post at the excellent Kenilworthian blog.
In the list below, you will find links for learning the basic rules, how to read chess notation, as well as sites for learning and practicing simple checkmate patterns, attacking themes, and chess strategy.
Rules of chess -Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Very straight forward and complete description of the rules.
How to Play Chess: Rules & Basics - Chess.com
Similar to Wikipedia entry, but interactive / animated
The Chess Comic
Starts with the movement of the pawn
How to Read and Write Algebraic Chess Notation
Wikipedia article on chess notation
A very comprehensive article
Chesskid article on notation
Simple and straightfoward, with interactive boards
Seattle times article on notation
A more adult, and more concise, introduction than the tutorial at chesskid.com
Wikipedia article on an older form of notation
Descriptive notation is not recommended for beginners, but is nonetheless necessary for reading older chess books and sources
Chesskids coverage of basic checkmate patterns, Part 1
Gives examples of check and checkmate, as well as stalemate. Notice the plural of the website name; it is distinct site from chesskid.com (another great resource for beginners and children)
Gives examples of check and checkmate, as well as stalemate.
A glossary of checkmate patterns
Common checkmate patters, from simple to more complex
Chess Endgame Simulations
Including simple checkmate patterns
Wikipedia article devoted to chess endgames
Chess Endgame Simulations
Chess.com Youtube videos on endgames
Chess Endgames: King and Pawn vs King
Chess Endgames: King and Pawn vs King 2
Chess Endgames: Rook & Extra Pawn
Introduction to tactics from chessville.com
Ward Farnsworth's field guide to chess
Very attractively built site
Wikipedia article devoted to chess tactics
Positional Play and Chess Strategy
A concise introduction to chess strategy from Chess Central
Short articles by a strong amateur player at chess.com on piece activity
Piece Activity Part 1
Piece Activity Part 2
Chessville.com introduction to strategic themes in chess
Wikipedia article on evaluating piece trades
The best sources for spring boarding further study of the game are arguably articles and link collections at the Kenilworth Chess Club site, or the resources at Chess.com