4 Rules: How to Set up a Chess Board

Setting up a chess board is easy to learn and easy to master.

Before you make your first move, make sure your board is set up correctly with these 4 rules.

Rule 1: White on Right

The bottom-right square of your chess board should be a white (or light) square. Not a dark square.

empty chess board with highlighted bottom right square
Empty chess board

Rule 2: Pawns on the 2nd and 7th rank

Pawns belong one rank (horizontal row) from the bottom and top.

chess board with pawn ranks highlighted
chess board with pawns only
Get 3D pieces on chess.com

Rule 3: Rooks -> Knights -> Bishops

Starting in each corner, rooks are placed first, then the knights, then the bishops.

Rule 4: Queen on her own color

The queen and king go in the center of the board. The queen will always go on her own color. The white queen goes on a light square. The Black queen goes on a dark square.


You will be able to set up a full chess board using these 4 rules to ensure you’re playing a proper game of chess. If you want to play online, we highly recommend chess.com.

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