A Beginner’s Guide to Setting Up a Chess Board: Tips, Tricks, and More


Chess is one of the oldest and most beloved games in the world, with a history that dates back over a thousand years. While the game itself can be complex, the first step towards playing it correctly is learning how to set up a chess board. Whether you’re a seasoned chess player or a beginner, this article will provide you with clear instructions, helpful tips, and practical advice for setting up your chess board like a pro.

A Beginner’s Guide to Setting Up a Chess Board

Before you begin playing chess, you need to know how to set up your board. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Start with the board itself: Place the board on a flat surface so that it is oriented with a white square in the bottom right-hand corner. The letters A-H should be facing you.
  2. Place the rooks: The rooks (also known as castles) go in the corners of the board. They are the big, rectangular pieces with flat tops. Put one rook in the bottom-right corner of the board, and the other in the top-left corner of the board.
  3. Add the knights: The knights go next to the rooks, and are represented by the horse heads. Place a knight on the square next to the rook, leaving one space between the rook and the knight. Repeat this on the other side of the board.
  4. Place the bishops: The bishops go next to the knights, and are represented by the tall pieces topped with a pointed head (similar to a king’s crown). Place one bishop on the square next to the knight, leaving one space between the knight and the bishop. Repeat this on the other side of the board.
  5. Place the queen and king: The queen always starts on her own color, which means she is placed on a square of her own color. On a standard chess board, this means the queen is placed on the fourth square from the left on her own side (so on a white square for white, black for black). The king is placed on the remaining square of his own color, next to the queen.
  6. Add the pawns: Finally, add the pawns to the second row. The pawns are the smallest pieces that look like little hats. They should fill the row in the front of each player’s side of the board.

Remember, it’s important to focus on the corners of the board first and then fill in the center. This will help you avoid mistakes and ensure that each piece is placed in the correct square.

The Importance of Proper Placement

It’s not just about putting pieces in the right squares; the placement of each piece affects the outcome of the game. Here are some tips to help you remember where each piece belongs:

  • Remember the phrase “queen on her own color.”
  • The king goes on the remaining square of his own color, next to the queen.
  • The knights are the only pieces that can jump over other pieces on the board.
  • The bishops will always be on opposite color squares, one on a dark square and one on a light square.

Tips for Speed Set-Up

While it’s important to be careful when setting up your chess board, you may want to speed up the process if you’re short on time or playing multiple games. Here are some tips for a quick setup:

  • Place the pawns first, as they are the easiest pieces to set up.
  • Follow a specific pattern to ensure that each piece is placed in the correct square. For example, you could start by placing the rooks, then the knights, then the bishops.
  • Take a step back and look at the board after each piece is placed to ensure that there are no mistakes.

However, be careful not to rush too much. Mistakes made during setup can have a big impact on the game, so it’s important to take your time and focus on accuracy.

Importance of a Level Board

One often overlooked aspect of setting up a chess board is making sure that the board is level. A tilted board can affect the outcome of the game by making pieces slide or fall over. You can ensure that your board is level by placing it on a flat and steady surface. If necessary, adjust the table or surface to avoid any wobbling.

The Art of Setting Up a Chess Board

Setting up a chess board can also be an opportunity to showcase your creativity and aesthetic sensibility. Here are some tips to make your board visually appealing:

  • Use an attractive chess board, such as one made from wood or marble.
  • Match your chess pieces to the board. For example, if you have a wooden board, you might want to use pieces made from the same type of wood.
  • Consider matching the colors of the pieces to the colors of the board.

Remember, however, that while a visually appealing board can be impressive, the most important part of chess is the game itself. Don’t get too caught up in the aesthetics if it means sacrificing accuracy or making the game more difficult to play.

Chess Board Variations

While the standard chess board is the most common and well-known, there are many variations that can alter the game. Here are a few examples:

  • Larger boards: Some chess boards are larger than the standard 8×8 configuration, such as 10×10 or even 12×12. These boards can allow for more complex strategies and longer games.
  • 3-D boards: 3-D chess boards feature multiple levels for pieces to move on, creating a more complex game with additional layers.
  • Magnetic boards: Chess boards with magnetic pieces can be ideal for travel or outdoor play, as the pieces are less likely to fall over or get lost.

Before playing on a variation of a chess board, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the rules and strategies unique to that board. While these variations can be fun and interesting, they can also make the game more difficult and challenging.


Setting up a chess board is just the first step towards a great game. Whether you’re playing for fun or competition, taking the time to set up your board correctly and with care is important. Remember to be accurate and focused when placing each piece, and pay attention to details such as board level and aesthetics. With these tips and tricks, you’ll be able to set up your chess board like a pro.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Proudly powered by WordPress | Theme: Courier Blog by Crimson Themes.