Chess 101: setting up the board

In yesterday’s blog, I discussed the cognitive benefits of teaching your child how to play chess. Today, I’ve been teaching my 6-year-old grandson the names of the chess pieces and how set up the board.  I set up one side of one board and asked him to set up the other side. Then, I gave him a blank board and asked him to set up both sides by himself. I watched him compare pieces and count the 8 pawns. He did great.

Now, let’s you and I go over this together.

First, the pieces:

rooks - look like little castles
rooks – look like little castles
knights - look like little horse heads
knights – look like little horse heads
bishop - taller than the knight; shorter than the queen.
bishop – taller than the knight; shorter than the queen.
queen - taller than bishop; shorter than the king
queen – taller than bishop; shorter than the king
king - tallest piece
king – tallest piece
pawns - little guys that take up the whole second row
pawns – little guys that take up the whole second row

Now, let’s set the board correctly: Look at the square in the lower right-hand corner for each player.  The light-colored square should be to the far right with with the board facing each player. An easy way to remember this rule is the phrase “white on right.” Look at the photo below.

White on right
White on right

SETTING THE PIECES

  1. Put the rooks on the outer corners.
  2. Place the knights (which usually look like a horse’s head) next to the rooks of the same color.
  3. The bishops are placed next to the knights of the same color.
  4. The queen is usually the second tallest piece in a chess set. It should be placed center square of its color. In other words, the white queen is placed on the lighter center square and the black queen is place on the darker center square. A good way of remembering this is “queen on color.”If your board has coordinates, both queens should be on the d-file.
  5. The king is usually the tallest piece in a chess set, and typically has a cross on its head. Each king should be placed should be on the e-file.
  6. The pawns are the shortest and most numerous pieces in a chess set. You should have eight pawns of each color. These pawns should go in each square in the row in front of the other pieces of the same color. If your board has coordinates, the white pawns should be on the second rank, and the black pawns should be on the seventh rank.
Finished set up.
Finished set up.

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