Chess/Board

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The board used in Chess consists of 8 rows and 8 columns of squares arranged in alternating colors. The colors are called "black" and "white", although the actual colors are dark green and buff for all boards used in competition. Some play sets may use red and black, which is also used for Checkers. It is always placed so that the rightmost square on the row nearest each player is a "white" square.

In all modern commentary, the columns (called files) are labeled by the letters a to h from left to right from the white player's point of view, and the rows (called ranks) by numbers 1 to 8 from the white player's point of view, thus providing a standard notation called /Algebraic notation.

In older English commentary, the files are labeled by the piece originally occupying the its first rank, and ranks by the numbers 1 to 8 from each player's point of view, depending on the move being described. This is called /English notation, and is no longer commonly used.

The pieces are arranged in rows 1 and 2 (or 8 and 7 for black) as follows:

Rank 1 contains /Rook, /Knight, /Bishop, /Queen, /King, /Bishop, /Knight, and /Rook in this order from left to right. The three pieces on the Queen's side are also called "queen's rook", "queen's knight" etc. and the other pieces are "king's rook", "king's bishop" etc. Rank 2 contains 8 /Pawns. Black's pieces on ranks 7 and 8 are a mirror image of white's. In particular, both kings share the same file (file e), as do both queens (on file d).

If your browser supports Unicode chess piece symbols, the following is a representation of the starting layout of a chess board:

8
7
6                
5                
4                
3                
2
1
 abcdefgh

Here's the same arrangement with the pieces represented by letters as in standard English algebraic notation:

8 R N B Q K B N R
7 P P P P P P P P
6
5
4
3
2 P P P P P P P P
1 R N B Q K B N R
 abcdefgh