Chess is a board game for two players, ‘White’ and ‘Black‘, each controlling an army of chess pieces in their color, with the objective to checkmate the opponent’s king.

Let’s walk through how to set up a chess board together step-by-step, starting with a brief explanation on each chess piece, then aligning the board between both players so that each has a light square corner on their right-hand side. Let’s go!

1. Know your Chess Pieces

On each side of the captivating 64-square realm, there stand six unique chess pieces, gallantly awaiting their call to action. A symphony of white and black, each set represents one player’s army, led by its formidable monarch;

2. Align the Chess Board Correctly

Before placing any pieces on the chess board make sure you are looking at the board in the right way. This is an important step to take before you set up a chess board. An easy way to know if you are aligned well is to look at the far right square of the board from the angle you are looking at it. If the square is black (or filled) then you are not correctly aligned as you can see in this image below:

how to setup a chess board incorrectly aligned

It is important to remember that the white square in the first row must always be on the far right of each player. This is the correct alignment:

how to setup a chess board correctly aligned

3. How to set up a chess board – Place the Pawns on the Board

Pawn Chess Piece

The pawn, arguably the humblest piece on the chessboard, may seem unremarkable at first glance, but it possesses a subtle power that can shape the entire game. Learn more about the Pawn in chess.

You may now start lining the front ranks of your army, by adding the pawns to the second row of your side like this:

Pawns starting positions in chess

4. How to set up a chess board – Place Rooks in the Corners

Rook Chess Piece

The rook, recognizable by its castle-like appearance a powerful and sturdy piece, stands tall as one of the cornerstones of chess strategy. Formerly, the rook was called ‘the tower’, and possibly also incorrectly used be to called the “castle”. However this is considered to be informal and incorrect, perhaps even old-fashioned.

Rook Chess Piece Starting Positions in Chess

5. How to set up a chess board – Place the Knight beside the Rook

Knight Chess Piece

The knight, with its unique and captivating L-shaped movement, brings an aura of mystique and excitement to the chessboard. They are placed next to each rook on each side of the board respectively. Like this:

Knight Chess Piece Starting Positions in Chess

6. How to set up a chess board – Place the Bishop next to the Knights

Bishop Chess Piece

The bishop, with its graceful and diagonal movement, exudes elegance and finesse on the chessboard. These pieces are placed adjacent so the Knights, like this:

Bishop Chess Piece Starting Positions in Chess

7. How to set up a chess board – Place the Queen on its Respective Color

Queen Chess Piece

The queen, the most powerful and versatile piece in the game of chess, reigns supreme as the “queen of the board.” Place this piece on the respective color of the Square. i.e. White queen is placed on the white square, Black queen is placed on the black square:

Queen Chess Piece Starting Positions In Chess

8. Finally Place the King beside the Queen

King Chess Piece

The king, the heart and soul of the chessboard, is the most cherished and revered piece in the game. As the monarch of the realm, the king’s survival is the primary objective for both players. Here is the final Chess board set up fully and ready to play:

King Chess Piece Starting Positions in Chess

If you still need guidance on how to set up a chess board, this video may help you:

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