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Chess Board Setup – A Complete Chess Setup Guide

Hey Chess lovers, welcome to Chess Board Setup. Here you can find about everything from basics of chess to advanced chess strategy. Built to deliver A-Z of Chess resources from very basics like Chess SetupHow To Set up A Chess Board? But apart from that you can find more about all chess rules, chess openings, chess Strategy for Beginners and Advanced players in our Blog section.

However, in this section we will discuss complete newbie tips like Chess Board Setup guide and chess rules like what do you call chess pieces, how each chess piece moves, how do you win a chess game, and all such chess rules. Okay, let’s get started with chess setup!

how to set up a chess board

Chess Board Setup – How To Set Up A Chess Board

chess board setup

Chess Setup Rule 1

Before we move on to learn about setting up a chess board, let’s know a bit about it. Chess board has 64 squares (8x8 layout), 32 black and 32 white. In the similar manner, chess set comprises of 32 pieces. 16 white chess pieces and 16 black. Each side has 8 pawns, 2 knights (horses), 2 bishops (camels), 2 rooks (elephants), 1 queen and 1 king.

To begin with chess board setup, place chess board in such a way that both players have white square to their right hand bottom corner. You can check the chess board layout in the image. I suggest you use a chess board as per international standards. You can see in the image, chess board is number from 1 to 8 in horizontal manner called ROWS & and vertical columns designated by letters A to H. So when you use a standard board, White would have row 1 closest to his side while Black player would have row 8 closest to his side.

chess pawns


Setting Up Pawns

Each side has 8 pawns. A total of 16 pawns in a game of chess. Every piece on chess board is allocated some points depending on how it moves and other things. Each pawn has 1 point. While setting up a chess board, pawns are arranged on the second row from respective side. So far black it will be 7th rank (i.e row no. 7) and for white it will be 2nd rank (i.e row no. 2). Check out the image to understand how to arrange pawns in the beginning.

Pawns move straight and that too just one step. But when pawn is in it’s initial position, i.e when you are moving pawn for the first time only then can you move the pawn directly by two steps. Pawns attack on the immediate diagonal square ahead of them.


chess rooks - chess set up

Understanding Rooks

Each rook has 5 points and can move only in vertical and horizontal direction only if the square is not occupied. Moving on with chess setup, in the beginning 4 rooks take the four corners of boards. King is no doubt the most important piece. But in all other pieces, after Queen, Rook is the most important piece. Due to its huge range of mobility, it has higher priority and value.

You can see the picture on how to arrange rooks. If you have paid attention to those numbers and alphabets. Then you might understand if I mention these notations. Take a look at how rooks are placed on these squares: H1, A1, H8, A8.

Arranging Knights

Knights or horses are the exceptions in all the chess pieces. They can jump over any piece whether white or black. They move two and half squares like two steps in horizontal or vertical direction then a turn to grab its position. Knights have 3 points each (sometimes believed as 2.5). It is believed if you can place your knights properly, then you are good at tactics.

While doing a chess set up, arranging knights is easy, just place each of your knight next to the rook in first row. You can check out the chess diagram to see how Knights are placed before starting a game.

Positioning Bishops

Bishops can only move diagonally. Bishops can move back and front but only diagonally. Each side has 2 bishops, one is called black bishop and other is called white bishop. The black bishop is the one which starts on black square from the beginning and white bishop is which starts on white square from the beginning. The white bishop can move only on white squares diagonally and black bishop can move only on  black squares.

To understand where bishops are placed in the starting you can check the image. Note how, bishops are placed next to knight. In chess notations, 4 bishops are placed on these squares: c1, f1, c8 & f8.

Queens are the mot confusing

Positioning queens in chess set up is most confusing isn’t it? Whether White queen is placed on white square or black square, this is the biggest confusion a lot of people have in chess board setup. Not to worry, I’ll give you a solution to this. I’ll also tell you a better way to get out of this confusion with this chess setup trick. Queen has 9 points and can perform like rook and bishop thus it believed to be combination of both.

As far as how and where to place the queen is concerned, here’s the solution to it. After all other pieces are placed, only two squares are left now remember that, White queen has to placed on white square and Black queen on black. And if you have understood notations by now, here’s the fix position of two queens. White Queen on d1 & Black Queen on d8.



Completing The Chess Set up

Here’s the last and most important piece of the Chess. King can only move one place to its adjacent squares. Also by now there is only one position left on Chess Board. So to complete this Chess Setup, place the king on the left square. To just mention it in notations: White King on e1 and Black King on e8.

One common myth about King amongst beginners is that it cannot move until it is under check. Nope, just to mention King is free to move anytime even without check. I hope the chess board setup guide was detailed and sufficient. Have a look at complete chess setup image.

Chess Setup Video

Thanks for being with me through this long detailed guide on How to set up a chess board? But if you still have any confusion regarding Chess Set Up, I have a video for you as well. Check out this Chess Board Setup video. If you like the Chess set up video do not forget to check out other videos.

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