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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). The colors are called "black" and "white" (or "light" and "dark"), although the actual colors are usually dark green and buff for boards used in competition, and often natural shades of light and dark woods for home boards. Materials vary widely; while wooden boards are generally used in high-level games, vinyl 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, and squares should be between 50mm and 65mm in size (2.0 to 2.5 inches).A square size approximately 1.25 to 1.3 times the size of the base of the king is preferred (the base of the king should be about 78% as wide as the size of the squares).
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 S. (2003), U.S. Chess Federation's Official Rules of Chess (5th ed.), McKay, ISBN 0-8129-3559-4
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