- In the initial position each side has eight pawns, two rooks, two knights, two bishops, a queen and a king arranged as shown in the diagram below.
- Note that the only pieces on either side which can initially move are the pawns and knights.
- Beginners usually set up the board incorrectly; it is a complex position to remember. The following anectotes may help you remember where the pieces go.
- White on the Right It is important that the bottom-right-hand square is light-colored.
- Knights live in castles One knight is placed next to each rook. (rooks look like the towers of a castle)
- Queens on their color The White Queen goes on a White Square, Black Queen goes on a Black Square.
- Bishops are advisers to the Royalty Bishops surround the King and Queen.
- White King on the Right From the White Player's perspective, both Kings are on the right, and from the Black Player's perspective, the Kings are on the left.