Chess is one of the world’s most popular and oldest board games, played by millions of people of all ages and skill levels worldwide. A critical aspect of the game is the placement of the pieces on the board, which must follow a specific set of rules and conventions to ensure a fair and balanced game.
One of the most important pieces on the board is the king, whose safety is of utmost importance. Therefore, it is essential to understand where the king goes when setting up a chess board correctly.
In this article, we will explore the positioning of the king on the board during setup, along with other important aspects of setting up a chess board correctly. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned chess player, this article will help you understand the nuances of setting up a chess board for a fair and exciting game.
Where Does The King Go In Chess?
When setting up a chess board, the king is placed on the board in the center of the first row or rank of squares closest to the player. More specifically, the white king is placed on the e1 square, and the black king is placed on the e8 square. The kings are always placed in the same position at the start of each game of chess.
The queen is placed next to the king, on the d1 square for white and d8 square for black, and the other pieces are arranged on the board in a specific order around the kings and queens.
The king goes to the e1 square for white or e8 square for black
An easy trick to remember where the king goes: The king is placed on the opposite colored square. Therefore, the white king is placed on the dark square and the black king is placed on the light square. Knowing this trick will prevent any confusion of where the king and queen goes.
Make Sure That The Board Is Set Properly
The first thing to ensure when setting up a chess board is to place the pieces on the correct squares. The chess board should be set up so that each player has a light-colored square in the bottom right-hand corner of the board.
“When setting up the board, make sure that the white square is in the bottom right-hand corner of the board nearest to each player.”
Once the board is oriented correctly, the pieces can be placed on the board in the correct starting positions, with the rooks on the corners, the knights next to the rooks, the bishops next to the knights, and the queen on her own color, and the king next to her.
The pawns should be placed in front of the other pieces on each player’s side of the board. Double-checking the setup of the board and pieces can help ensure that the game starts off correctly and fairly.
Why Does The King Go Next To The Queen?
In chess, the king sits next to the queen because the queen is considered to be the most powerful piece on the board, and therefore, it makes sense to place the king next to her for protection.
The queen can move freely in any direction, horizontally, vertically, or diagonally, and is capable of attacking multiple pieces at once. By placing the king next to the queen, the queen can provide protection and support to the king, as well as take advantage of any opportunities to attack the opponent’s pieces.
It’s also worth noting that the placement of the king and queen is based on tradition and the rules of the game, which have evolved over centuries.
While there is no strategic reason for the king to sit next to the queen, this placement has become a standard part of the game’s setup, and it has become a convention that is widely recognized and followed by chess players around the world.
Where Does The King Stay For The Rest Of The Game?
In general, during the opening and middlegame, it is advisable to castle the king to a safer location (rather than leaving it on its starting position), typically on the king side or queen side, depending on the position of the pieces and pawns. Castling allows the king to move to a more secure location behind a row of pawns and brings one of the rooks into play, thus connecting the rooks and improving their mobility.
During the endgame, the king can play a more active role since there are fewer pieces on the board. In many endgames, the king can become a powerful attacking piece, and it is important to activate the king and use it to support the pawns and pieces in order to create passed pawns or to stop the opponent’s passed pawns. However, it is still important to keep the king relatively safe, and it is usually best to avoid exposing the king to unnecessary risks.
It’s important to note that there is no set rule for where the king “should” stay during each phase of the game, as every position is unique and requires a flexible and dynamic approach. The location of the king will depend on the position of the pieces and pawns, the strategic goals of each player, and other factors that can change throughout the game.
Tips To Help You Remember the placement of the King
The starting position of the king in chess is always the same, regardless of the variant or ruleset being played. The king starts on the e1 square for White, and on the e8 square for Black, in the standard setup of chess.
One way to remember this is to practice setting up the pieces on a board, either physically or on a chess app or website, and to pay particular attention to the placement of the king. You can also try to visualize the starting position in your mind’s eye, and mentally “place” the king on its starting square as you think about the game.
Learning kingside castling and queenside castling will also help to cement in your mind the initial placement of the king at the start of the game. In kingside castling for white, the king move 2 squares closer to the rook in the right corner. Therefore, you will know that the white king should be placed in the right half of the chessboard (on the kingside)
An even better way to remember the king’s position is that the king is placed on an opposite colored square. In other words, the white king is placed on a dark square, whereas a black king is placed on a light square. This little trick will always help you decide where the king and queen should be placed on the central backrank squares namely, d1 and e1.
“When deciding where the king and queen goes, always remember that the king is placed on opposite color whereas the queen is placed on the same colored square as her own”