How to set up a Chessboard - A Beginner's Guide with Images

Mar 13, 2024

Welcome to the fascinating world of chess! Whether you’re a novice or just need a quick refresher, understanding how to set up a chessboard correctly is essential. In this guide, we’ll cover the nuances and step-by-step instructions to ensure you start your game on the right foot.

Step One: Board Orientation

Orientate the board correctly. Set up the chessboard like this - it's important that it's the right way round. A white square is always on the right, from the perspective of the players who are sitting at the board. If the chessboard is annotated then make sure A8 or H1 square is on your right. We at ChessnBoards carry chessboards and pieces made of metal, marble, resin, plastic, glass, terracotta, camel bone and wood.

How to Set up ChessboardWrong way to set up board

Step Two: Pawn Placement

Set up the pawns on the board. Put the pawns on the board as shown. They go along the second row. A row of white pawns, and a row of black pawns.

Setting Pawns

Step Three: Rooks in the Corners

Place your rooks (castles) on the board. The rooks go on the furthest corners. White rooks with the white pawns, black rooks with the black pawns. Place them as shown here.

Setting up Rooks

Step Four: Knights and Their Smelly Horses

Place your knights (horses) on the board. Place your knights as shown - they go next to the rooks. You should now have a row of four empty squares between your knights.

Setting up Knights

Step Five: Bishops Between Knights and Royalty

Place your bishops on the board. Place your bishops on the chess board as shown here. Each bishop goes next to its knight of corresponding color. You should now just have a row of two squares between your bishops.

Setting Bishops

Step Six: Queen’s Color Matters

Place your queen on the board. Place your queen as shown. It's important that she goes on her own color. The black queen on a black square, the white queen on a white square. This will leave one empty square between your queen and a bishop.

Step Seven: King Takes His Place

Place your king on the board. Place your king as shown here. He fits in the last square between your queen and a bishop. He will be on a square that's different to his own color.

You are now ready to play. 

Remember, in chess, white always moves first. You can decide who plays white and black through any method of chance.

Identifying the Pieces

Use this diagram to identify the pieces by their most commonly used name. This picture is of a classic and very traditional chess set. This makes identification of the pieces really easy. Some themed chess sets make it harder to immediately identify which piece is which. 


 Wooden Chess Pieces

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