Novice chess players know that the most important aspect of the game that they need to master first is how to set up a chess board. The chessmen all have specific places on the board and misplacing one piece is unforgivable in the game of chess.
Chess 101: How to Set Up a Chess Board
It is the most basic part of your training to memorize where each piece stands. If you have yet to learn the basics you’re in the right place.
Follow these easy steps when you set up for your chess game and repeat them until they become automatic every time a chess board is set in front of you.
Step 1: Setting The Board
Although it may seem like you can position the chess board at any angle or on any side there is actually a correct way to do this. Keep in mind the saying “white on the right” and lay out the chess board ensuring that the light square is positioned at the bottom-right corner of each side.
This is very important because if you do not set it this way there will be no balance on both sides.
Step 2: Placing the Pawns
Before you get down to the chessmen with higher ranks, put your pawns down first. Think of them as the first line of defense before the higher ups need to show themselves during a battle.
Put all of your pawns in a line across the second row, also known as ranks. Doing this is also very strategic because it clears up your pile of pieces to make sorting through them easier in the next steps.
Step 3: Rooks Come Next
Aside from the pawns the rook has the easiest position on the chess board. The rook or the tower goes on the corner of your side.
This is symbolic of them being your castle’s towers. They go on the corners because they are the protective barriers of your royal court.
Step 4: The Knights Follow
The horse-shaped pieces are also called knights and they go beside the rooks. Think of them as guardians of the tower while at the same time keeping the smelly horses away from royalty.
Step 5: Next Come the Bishops
The pieces with the rounded tips are called the bishops and they are positioned beside the knights. They serve as the barricade between the royals and those smelly horses.
Step 6: The Queen Must Match
It is understandable that you are confused where to put your queen and king. They are royalty, and they can stand wherever they (you) want on the chess board, right?
Wrong! A lot of novices make the mistake of thinking that it doesn’t matter which square the king and the queen are placed, but it does!
Interchanging their position means you have not successfully learned how to set up a chess board, but undoing this mistake is easy. To make it easier to remember, always keep in mind that the queen is always fashionable and wants to match her colors.
This means that a dark queen goes on a dark square while a light queen goes on the light square. Otherwise the queen is not properly positioned on the board.
Step 7: The Final Piece
The king is the last piece to put on the board, and he goes on that last square left. It is easy to put him in his rightful place when his queen is right beside him in her rightful place as well.
Once you are done setting up your side, take a look at your opponent’s set up. They should perfectly mirror each other if all the pieces are in their correct places. If they are not, it means one of you has misplaced their pieces.
Usually players confuse the placement of the king and queen and this causes delays and distractions. Always remember their respective spots on the chess board and keep practicing setting them up until it becomes second nature.
Practice and Mastery
No one becomes a chess Grandmaster without learning how to set up a chess board properly first. Before you set your sights on achieving that coveted title, master setting up a chess board and show your competitors that you know what you’re doing.
When you’re confident about where you place your chessmen, you can focus on improving your game and strategy.