|This article relies largely or entirely upon a single source. (January 2012)|
A chessboard is the type of checkerboard used in the board game chess, and consists of 64 squares (eight rows and eight columns) arranged in two alternating colors (light and dark). Wooden boards may use naturally light and dark brown woods, while plastic and vinyl boards often use brown or green for the dark squares and shades such as buff or cream for the light squares. Materials vary widely; while wooden boards are generally used in high-level games, vinyl, plastic, and cardboard are common for low-level and informal play. Decorative glass and marble boards are available but not usually accepted for sanctioned games.
The board is structurally similar to that used in English draughts (American checkers). Some low-cost sets (especially those sold in toy stores) may use red and black squares and include pieces for both games; though suitable for informal play, such boards are often not accepted for sanctioned play, depending on the local authority's rules on equipment standards.
The board is always placed so that the rightmost square on the row nearest each player is a "white" square. The size of the board is usually chosen to be appropriate for the chess pieces used. According to USCF equipment standards, the diameter of the king's base should be around 78% of the width of each square, with a square size of up to 0.125" larger being acceptable. For example, a king having a 1.75" diameter base calls for a square size of 2.25" to 2.375". According to FIDE equipment standards, the size of a square should be twice the diameter of a pawn's base.
In 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 the numbers 1 to 8, with 1 being closest to the white player, thus providing a standard notation called algebraic chess notation.
In older English commentary, the files are labeled by the piece originally occupying its first rank (e.g. queen, king's rook, queen's bishop), and ranks by the numbers 1 to 8 from each player's point of view, depending on the move being described. This is called descriptive chess notation and is no longer commonly used.
- Just, Tim; Burg, Daniel B. (2003). United States Chess Federation's Official Rules of Chess (Fifth ed.). Random House Puzzles & Games. p. 227. ISBN 0-8129-3559-4. Retrieved 5 December 2014.
- "FIDE Handbook". Retrieved 5 December 2014.
- Just, Tim; Burg, Daniel S. (2003), U.S. Chess Federation's Official Rules of Chess (5th ed.), McKay, ISBN 0-8129-3559-4
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