How to Set Up a Chess Board

Bernie Hubble
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How to Set Up a Chess Board

If you’re interested in playing chess, then you can easily learn to play chess by watching videos on youtube or by using free chess computer programs. For example, I prefer playing against the computer opponent in Chessmaster program.

But chess is much easier to learn by just sitting down and playing a game against someone.

And playing with someone is challenging in the sense that you’re forced to learn the game better, because you have to make decisions quickly and it's much harder to walk away.

Chess is a very simple board game that is not hard to learn but difficult to master, similar to the ancient game of go.

It’s played by two players moving pieces in different sets and trying to lock the opponent’s king, capture the opponent’s pieces and eventually get the opponent’s king in checkmate.

Chess 101: How to Set Up a Chess Board

Playing on a checkered board was invented by Indians in 600 AD, and it’s been a popular board game ever since. Depending on the type of game you’re playing, this can be a large 20 X 20 board, or a smaller one. However, all of them will have an 8 x 8 grid on them. Once you know that it’s going to be a battle to the death, go ahead and put the board on top of a table, and get the pieces ready!

The way a chessboard is set up does not vary from person to person. According to the American and international chess standard, the pieces go in the first two rows in front of the player and opposite from each other.

The placement is usually not affected by which are the lighter colored squares as pieces can also go on the darker ones too. Whichever way you do it, you set the pieces up so that the squares alternate between light and dark and the pieces are in the correct spot where they belong.

Step 1: Setting The Board

Place the board face-up on the playing surface.

The White-side pieces go on the left side and the Black-side pieces go on the right.

The chessboard should be set up so the white “h” is in the white player’s bottom right-hand corner.

Specialized board chess match are designed to be easy to setup and pack for travel.

Step 2: Placing the Pawns

The pawns are the smallest in size and are located directly as the front line before your king. The whole row of eight pawns is going to be the first line of defense and attack. Even though they’re the smallest, they are fairly powerful on the battlefield thanks to their quantity. However, the pawns on their own belong to the least powerful pieces in the game.

Relocate the pawns on the 2nd row (white) and 7th row (black) and adjust it to make the game board even.

Step 3: Rooks Come Next

After forming a double rank of 8 pawns, the next piece you need to place is the rook. After the pawns which are worth 1 point, the rooks are considered to be more important pieces in the game. They are worth 5 points and start the edges of the next row to set up. The rooks go to the right and the left side of the board. When they come to a stop, they should be positioned on the side of the board which is closest to the player’s seat and occupy the very corners of the board. They should be aligned to complement the arrangement of the pawns.

Step 4: The Knights Follow

The knight is also known as a horse which is basically a piece with an extreme jump and control. This piece is located on the furthest row from the king and can only be placed on the file where the player is sitting.

Leave the knight on the edge of the move that is directly in front of you.

The board was set for the battle of White versus Black, and White made the first move. How would you place the goal of reaching the King of the other person on the board? You would probably choose the most direct route. If you used a chess board to do this, you would move your knight in the following manner:

Join the left point of the triangle to the goal point. The result is a line going diagonally across the board, often called a long jump.

The problem is that in this position, your goal has many paths to reach. It can go off in either direction in a number of pathways.

This is often the case in everyday life. You don’t always go directly toward your goal. Your path will be more like a long jump, with branching paths that will allow you to perhaps return to your original path… or not.

Step 5: Next Come the Bishops

Bishops should be placed next and they will move in a diagonal line from your king one and two spaces away respectively. One will occupy and black and the other a white field. They are the only pieces which will never be able to occupy a field with a different color.

In other words, the bishops should be positioned mirror images of each other, along the same line.

Step 6: The Queen Must Match

This is a small but very important step. When setting up the chess board, you have to make sure that your queen matches the color of the board you’re using. This is to avoid confusion. If the black queen is placed on a white squares, it can become tricky to identify from a distance and you know you made a mistake.

Step 7: The Final Piece

Now that you have all of the pieces on the board, it’s time to put the final piece in and finish the game off. This can be one of two pieces, depending on what type of game you’re playing. If it’s the first game, the king should be the final piece to be placed. It will be placed next to the queen on a square with the opposite color.

Again, arranging pieces according to the player’s number will help you with keeping track in case it’s one of those complicated games with lots of pieces you need to count.

The king even more vulnerable than other pieces.

Compare Sides

When setting up the chess pieces for a game, there needs to be two of each type of piece, with one in front of each player. The player who is white should put their pieces in front of them on the first two rows of hte board closest to them, and the player who is black puts their pieces in front of them on the first two rows.

This means that the fronts of the pieces of a given color will be facing each other. The sides of a given color will be facing each other.