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A wooden chessboard with Staunton pieces

A chessboard is the type of checkerboard used in the board game chess, consisting of 64 squares (eight rows and eight columns). The squares are 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 rarely accepted for games rated by national or international chess federations.

According to FIDE equipment standards, the side of a square should be twice the diameter of a pawn's base.[1]

Board notation[edit]

a b c d e f g h
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
a b c d e f g h
A chessboard diagram with algebraic notation, generally used for printing or computer displays.

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. Each square on the board has a name from a1 to h8.[2]

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.


Featured in math puzzles[edit]

Due to its simple geometry, the chessboard grid is often used in mathematical puzzles or problems unrelated to chess. Examples include the wheat and chessboard problem, the mutilated chessboard problem, and the angel problem.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "FIDE Handbook". Retrieved 5 December 2014. 
  2. ^ 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. 

External links[edit]