Board title

The Board

The game is played on a square chequered Chessboard with 64 squares arranged in an 8x8 grid of two alternating colors (Fig. 1). Half the squares are of light color and are called ‘white’ squares or ‘light’ squares. The other half are of dark color and are called ‘black’ squares or ‘dark’ squares.


Chess Board

Chess Board

Fig. 1


Chessboard diagram commonly used to illustrate Chess positions (Fig. 2)


Chess Board Diagram

Chess Board Diagram

Fig. 2


The board should always be placed so that the rightmost square on the row nearest to each player is a ‘white’ or a ‘light’ one (Fig. 3 & 4).

Correct board position

Wrong board position

Correct board position  

  Wrong board position

Fig. 3

Fig. 4


The eight vertical columns of squares are called ‘Files’, each with eight squares (Fig. 5). The horizontal eight rows of squares are called ‘Ranks’, each with eight squares (Fig. 6). The diagonal lines across the board are called ‘Diagonals’ being all these squares of the same color (Fig. 7)

Files  Ranks Diagonals
Files board Ranks board Diagonals board
Fig. 5 Fig. 6 Fig. 7

More about the Board

1.1 Material:

Wood, plastic, cardboard or cloth are recommended as material for Chessboards. The board may also be of stone or marble with appropriate light and dark colors, provided the Chief Arbiter finds it acceptable.

Natural wood with sufficient contrast, such as birch, maple or European ash against walnut, teak, beech, etc., may also be used for boards, which must have a dull or neutral finish, never shiny.

Combination of colors such as brown, green, or very light tan and white, cream, off-white ivory, buff, etc., may be used for the Chess squares in addition to natural colors.

1.2 Measurements:

The board size should be such that the pieces appear neither too crowded nor too lonely on the squares. It is recommended that a side of the square should measure 5 to 6 1/2 cm (2 to 2.6 inches).

A comfortable table of suitable height may be fitted in with a Chessboard. If the table and the board are separate from one another, the board must be fastened and thus prevented from moving during play.

The Board The Pieces The King The Queen The Rook The Bishop

The Knight

The Pawn

Check Checkmate Draws Notation

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