In your chess set there are six different types of piece.

In this lesson you'll learn their names and where they go at the start of the game.

This is the chessboard.

Do you remember how many squares there are on it?

Of course I do - the answer is 64
I really have no idea

And you also remember that you set it up with...

White on the Right
Black on the Right

If you happen to have a chess set there it will help you to learn how to set up the pieces.

At the start of the game we place the White pieces on the ranks numbered 1 and 2, and the Black pieces on the ranks numbered 7 and 8.

First look for some big guys who look like castles.

But they're NOT REALLY called castles.

They're really called ROOKS, even though they look like castles.

ROOK comes from a Persian word for 'chariot'.

The ROOKS start in the corners, so place your White Rooks on a1 and h1, and your Black Rooks on a8 and h8, as in the diagram.

Next, look for the guys who look like horses.

Again there should be four of them, two White and two Black.

No, they're not called HORSES

These pieces are actually called KNIGHTS

The KNIGHTS start next to the ROOKS. The WHITE KNIGHTS start on the 1st RANK, on b1 and g1.

And the BLACK KNIGHTS go on the 8th RANK, on b8 and g8.

Next up we have some pointy headed pieces. Can you find four of these, two White and two Black ones?

They're called BISHOPS. They are shaped like a bishop's hat or MITRE.

Guess where they start?

That's right, next to the Knights.

Place your White Bishops on c1 and f1 and your Black Bishops on c8 and f8.

Now you should be able to find two really big guys on each side.

Look first for the big guy with the cross on top, like the one in the picture.

You'd be right to guess that he's the most important piece in the game.

In fact he's the KING - if you trap the enemy King you win the game.

And if your King gets trapped you lose the game.

You have to pay attention to the next bit!


And the BLACK KING starts on a WHITE SQUARE.

So place your WHITE KING on the e1 square and your BLACK KING on your e8 square.

Now find the other two big guys - the ones WITHOUT the cross on top.

You'd be right to think that they are also very important.

In fact they are the most POWERFUL pieces in the game.

What do you think they're called?

Yes you're right. These are the QUEENS.

You can probably work out where they start.

Don't you ever forget this:


So the WHITE QUEEN starts on d1 - a WHITE SQUARE.

And the BLACK QUEEN starts on d8 - a BLACK SQUARE.


Don't believe anyone who tells you they're called PRAWNS.

They're certainly NOT called PRAWNS!!

We call them PAWNS - and they start in front of the other pieces.

So the WHITE PAWNS start on the SECOND RANK - eight of them, going from a2 to h2.

And the BLACK PAWNS, surprise surprise, start on the RANK numbered 7 - eight of them as well, from a7 to h7.

And now the pieces are set up for the start of the game.

Which piece do you like best? When you've learnt all the names you'll be able to play games with each of the pieces.

When you are really good with all the pieces you'll be ready for a full game.

One other thing you need to know: in every game WHITE starts by playing the first move, and then the players take it in turns: White, Black, White, Black and so on.

That's the end of the lesson.

What do you want to do now?

Do a quiz on this lesson

Repeat the lesson

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