It’s always a big deal to get your hands on your first ever Chessboard. And to get started, one has to understand the Chessboard basics. Most of us must have had either the small plastic one or the one with magnets, and with those small pieces, everyone began their Chess journey.
While some left their Chess story there, some took it seriously and upgraded to bigger and better Chess sets. And with that, they started their advance Chess coaching for beginners.
There are many types of Chessboards and pieces—plastic, vinyl, marble, steel, etc. But the feeling of holding wooden pieces is unlike anything, and any Chess player can vouch for that.
Just like every other sport, Chess also has an international standard set for the boards, pieces, clocks, etc. Each aspect of the game has to be followed according to the rules and regulations.
In Chess, these standards are set by FIDE (International Chess Federation), and they change from the type of game and the type of tournament. Let’s take a look at the basics and guidelines to understand the game better.
The Chess Board
Chessboard basics start with the squares. The board is made up of 64 squares in an 8×8 grid. The squares are alternatively coloured and identical. All the squares and all the sides of the Chessboard should be of the same size. In the beginning, the Chessboard should be set up in a particular order, where one half has the white pieces, and the other half has the black pieces.
Each square is identified with a letter and a number. The vertical squares are lettered from a-h, and the horizontal ones are numbered 1-8. And based on this, the squares are identified.
The White pieces are to be placed from a1-h1 and a2-h2. And the Black pieces are to be placed from a7-h7 and a8-h8.
Chess Board Dimensions
Different governing bodies have different standards set for the board and square sizes:
According to the USCF (United States Chess Federation), the square size should be between 2-2.5 inches. In tournaments, the USCF maintains 2.25 inches squares.
According to FIDE, competitive Chess should be played with a square size of 5-6 cm, and World Championship to be played with a 2 inches square board.
According to the FIDE, Chess pieces should be made of plastic, wood, or any other material imitating them. The height of the pieces should be kept as follows, with 10% differences allowed:
King: 9.5 cm
Queen: 8.5 cm
Bishop: 7 cm
Knight: 6 cm
Rook: 5.5 cm
Pawn: 5 cm
In FIDE competitions, Staunton style pieces have to be used and shaped in a way that they are distinguishable from each other.
The Black pieces should be dark shades of Black or Brown. And the White pieces should be White or Cream or other light colours.
Basic Chess Guidelines
The King’s base diameter should be maintained between 40-50% of its height.
The base diameter of pieces should be 75-80% of the square. This ensures the pieces are clearly visible and rests comfortably on the squares.
Why Do We Need The Right Guidelines And Measurements To Play?
- These measurements and heights may not look like a big deal for us, but they can directly or indirectly affect the outcome of the game. Grandmasters and other top-level players want their game pieces in just the right dimensions.
- By maintaining the right ratio between the sizes of the square and the pieces, one can ensure enough spacing between the pieces, and they are cramped.
- Bullet and Blitz games see a lot of fast movement of pieces and a lot of knocking down of pieces. The weights of the pieces have to be ideal to ensure the Blitz and Bullet games are played smoothly.
- An overcrowded board can lead to pieces not fitting in squares. This is why the diameter of the pieces should always be lesser than the size of the squares.
- Top-level games are always broadcasted for commentators and other viewers, and the Staunton pieces are made with details that can help viewers differentiate between the pieces.
Everyone has their own preferences for their favourite type of pieces. There are chess boards and pieces that are best for playing, and then there are some that are only for collectors and showpieces. So go ahead, and find your favourite Chess sets!