Setting up a chess board becomes a ritual for many people, like the tea ceremony in China. You have to put all the pieces just right and in the correct order, which will please the perfectionist in you and give you a splendid result.
First of all, you have to turn the board in the right direction. The right-bottom square from you should be white. With the horizontal axes having letters on it, and the vertical one – numbers. Once you have the board positioned correctly, you can start with the pieces. Most chess sets have standard Staunton pieces, so they are quite easy to distinguish. Take all the pawns and set them on second ranks (meaning the second rows). It will instantly clear out the clutter in your chess box and make the other pieces much more visible.
Take the rooks and place them on each corner square. They look like castles protecting their side of the board, so the place is easy enough to remember. Next, place the knights next to each rook. Imagine you are placing cavalry near the castle walls, so they are ready to attack on command. The bishops go next. Now, naturally, they have to stand next to the kings and queens, as they are the royal trusted advisers. Set them next to the knights.
Now, it is important to set the king and queen on the right square, and it matters greatly which square each one occupies, so try to remember this one. The queen goes on her own colour. She’s the most important one on the board, so she would never let herself stand on a colour other than her own. Once you picture it in your mind, you will never forget it. Set the white queen on the light square, and the black queen on the dark square. Next, set the kings and the game is ready to start!
If you are teaching a child how to set a chess board, always make up a story of the king’s army getting ready to go into battle, and as their imagination will paint a bright picture, they will never forget the right places of the pieces!