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Setting Up the Chess Board

Here is a foolproof method to set up your chess board so you can start playing!

Step 1. Lay out the chess board and orient it correctly.

The chess board should be between the two players, sitting across from each other.

To orient the chessboard correctly, ensure that a dark-colored square is on each player’s left-hand side.

If your board has numbers and letters printed on it, this means that the letters will be in front of each player.  The letters represent the “files” on the chess board, or vertical columns of squares, while the numbers represent “ranks,” or horizontal rows of squares.

One player will play with the white pieces and the other will play with the black pieces.  Each player will place their pieces on their side of the board.

Step 2. Rooks (or ) in the corner.

Each player places their rooks in each of the 2 corners on the back rank, which is the row closest to them.

Step 3. Knights (or ) next to rooks.

The knights are then placed next to the rooks.

Step 4. Bishops (or ) next to knights.

The bishops are placed next to the knights.

Step 5. Queen (or ) on her own color.

The queen is placed in the center on the square of her color.  The white queen goes on the light-colored square and the black queen on the dark-colored square.

If you are playing on a non-traditional chess board or aren’t sure which color should be considered light or dark, the dark square color should be the same as the square at the bottom left of the chess board!

Step 6. King (or) next to the queen.

Place the king in the empty square next to the queen.

Step 7. Pawns (or ) on the second rank.

Line up all eight of your pawns on the second rank, the row directly in front of the pieces you set up already.

Step 8. Play!

Remember, white goes first!