A chess board looks exactly like a checkerboard. It has 64 squares, lined up in rows of eight.

Put the chessboard between you and your opponent (let's pretend his name is Moe) so that the white square at the bottom is to your right. You can remember this by using the catchy phrase "Right is white."

Each player has 6 different types of chess pieces: there are 8 pawns, 2 rooks, 2 knights, 2 bishops, 1 queen, and 1 king. The pawns are the smallest pieces, and you will recognize them because there are eight of them. The rooks look like tiny little castles with jagged edges along the top. The knights look like little horse heads. The bishops are the things with little balls on the top (they look like Sesame Street's Grover looking up). The king is the tallest piece and has a cross on top. The last piece is the queen, which is the 2nd tallest piece and has a little crown around the top.

One player will be the white pieces, and one will be the black pieces. The way to decide is for you to put a pawn in each hand (black in one, white in the other), switch 'em around behind your back, and then have Moe pick a hand. Whichever color pawn Moe picks, that's the color he'll be for the game. Whoever is white always makes the first move of the game.

Now it's time to set up the board:

1. Put your rooks on the two outside corners of the first row.

2. Next to each rook, put a knight.

3. Next to each knight, put a bishop.

4. The queen goes on the first row on the same color box as the color of your pieces. So if you are the black pieces, put the queen on the remaining black, in the first row, and put the king on the remaining white square. If you are the white pieces, put the queen on the remaining white square and the king on black.

5. Line up all your pawns on the second row.

Here's a shortcut: the pieces get taller as you move inwards, and the queen goes on her own color.

SoYouWanna know more? Check out our full-length article SYW learn how to play chess?