How to Set Up a Chess Board

The Correct Chess Set Up

In order to start playing a game of chess, you must first set up the pieces properly.

The simplest way to show you how to set up the pieces properly is to show you a diagram that has the proper setup. Here it is:

chess board setup

You can also check out this video I made to show you how to set up the chess board.

If you need to know what the pieces look like, you can review this blog post about the chess pieces. There are a couple of things to keep in mind as you set up the pieces:

  • Make sure to set up the chess board with “white on the right,” i.e., with a white (or light) square in the corner at each player’s right.
  • Put the Queens “on their own color.” The White Queen goes on the light square next to the King, and the Black Queen goes on the dark square next to the Black King.

Also, if you’re playing with a chess clock, be sure to set up the clock on White’s left (though Black is commonly given the option of putting the clock on the side he prefers).

If you’ve never seen a chess diagram before, you should know how to tell the King from the Queen. Again, the King usually has a cross on his head.

chess king

And the Queen has the crown with several points … it looks like a tiara.

chess queen

That’s it. I’ll have more videos for the absolute chess beginner soon. If you would like a book to learn about the basics of chess, I have a couple of recommendations for you. Learn Chess, A Complete Course is an excellent book to cover all the basics of how to play chess. Another great book for the chess beginner is Logical Chess: Move By Move. This book is great because it explains every move for every game in the book. Just the thing for a new chess player who wants to learn. (It was my first chess book too!)

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