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“Chessboard” | Everything You Should Know About Chessboard

The chessboard is a board that is used to play chess. These boards can be made either from, wooden, plastic, or maybe printed on canvas but many other materials are used to make chess boards. Chess boards are designed to place the pawns/pieces on it.


The entire chessboard is square-shaped while light coloured and dark coloured squares are painted on it. Most people around the world have touched or even seen a chessboard. But there are many more things to know about the chessboard. The rest of this context consists of many such un-familiar topics.

History of The Chessboard

Information about board-based games has been reported since the beginning of human civilization. Chess is one of the leading indoor games played all around the globe and it is based on a board. The official version of chess has appeared in North India but many interesting stories are reported in Sri Lankan history as well. Anyhow, chess is oriented in the Asian region, and secondary it took a European functionality.

At the young stage of the chess era, the small squares which were marked inside the board were single-colored and it included 8 columns and rows. Once the game entered the Persian region the number of columns and rows were increased up to eleven and ten respectively.

Old Chessboard

In the 10th century, chess was accommodated by Europe and it was the place where chess was developed as what we see today; with bi-color squares and 8X8 dimensions. After 1990, the chessboard appeared as dark and light-colored squares. Often these squares are black and white; but it is able to see brown and white squares, blue and cream color squares, and green and cream-colored squares. 

The reason to use the above dimensions of 8X8 is, the Persian version was pretty hard to play with 10 X 10 squares and the players were fed-up after a game. Less number of squares will be not enough for a considerable game. Finally, the board ended with 8 squares per side. 

On other hand, in the early stages, cylindrical chessboards were innovated by Pedro Damiano in the 15th century with light-colored squares at the right end.  Moreover, there were three-dimensioned boards and the third dimension was existed as a common board, Raumschach variant was a game with five boards of 25 squares on each board. 

Board Notation

Since chess is recognized as an international game, there must be exact rules, regulations, and identifications which are applicable to the entire world. The standard method of identifying each square by its coordinates is known as algebraic chess notation.

In a standard chessboard, there are 8 columns and 8 rows. These are known as files and ranks respectively. The files are named by letters in the alphabet; from “a” to “h” while the ranks are identified by numbers from “1” to “8”. From the vision of the opening player (Or the white player), the closest rank for him is 1. Every 64 squares of the chessboard have a unique identification according to these notations.  For example, the very first square of the board is identified as “a1” and this pattern continues throughout every square.  

Chessboard Notation

But the notation of the earlier stage was different from algebraic notation.  They used a descriptive notation; the files are identified as per the initial piece which lays on each file. But this method is no longer used. In 1981, FIDE stopped using descriptive notations. If you were lucky enough to play with a grandmaster who dominated before 1981, probably you would hear these words.

But when it comes to real games and stating the details of the games a more sophisticated identification was required. Therefore, both the above methods were combined together. In a chess game, there are 16 pieces (per player) including King, Queen, Bishop, Knight, Rook, and Pawns, and these pieces are identified from an abbreviation as below.

Using these abbreviations made the notations clearer, for example, if a knight is moving to f3 square, it is written as “Nf3”. 

When it comes to capturing a piece, it also can be specifically mentioned with an “x” mark. The notation is stated as “abbreviation” x “where the enemy piece was”. For example, if the white queen captures an enemy piece in e1 square, it is written as “Qxe1”.

Checkmate and check are other important topic that should be specially discussed in terms of notation. Here “+” implies a check and “++”/ “#” implies a checkmate. If the white queen in b5 checks the king of the opponent, it is written as “Qb5+”. if the queen has done this action by capturing a piece, it is mentioned as “Qxb5+”.

A castling in kingside is mentioned as “0-0” while queenside castling is mentioned as “0-0-0”. 

Pawn promotion is stated with the “=” symbol. After the equal symbol, it is stated the abbreviation of the promoted piece. For example, if the white-pawn of file b is promoted to a queen it is stated as “b8=Q”.

What will happen if both the pieces are vacant to move for the same square? This becomes an ambiguity, so the notation must remove these and comfort the reader by the proper notation. In these kinds of situations, the notations become as “(Abbreviation of the piece) (The current file of the piece) (The landing square of the piece)”. For example, if a rook of the white player is in a1 and the other in f1 and if both the rooks are able to move for d1 square; If the rook in a1 wants to move to d1, it is stated as “Rad1”.

The final notation is about the result of the game. If the white player has won it is mentioned as “1-0” and wise versa. If it’s a draw, it is stated as “1/2-1/2”. 

Chessboard Types

Unique Chessboard

Here are the most popular chessboard types.

Wooden Chessboards

The traditional chess boards are made of light-weighted wood; normally these are appearing in brown colour. Wooden chess sets are used to appear more stunning with their carving and polished shapes. Walnut, boxwood, rosewood, ebony, and sandalwood were frequently used wood for these purposes.

Some of those ancient wooden chess boards have still existed. There are handmade chess sets with amazing crafts around the board and those are highly expensive since these classical wooden chess boards give a royal form. The best size of the board for a player is about 21 inches and for kids and freshers,’ a board of 16 inches would be suitable.

Staunton Chessboards

These chess sets are used in formal chess tournaments and this can be considered as the most valuable asset of a professional player. These sets are specially made in order to identify the pieces specifically and to the easiness to differentiate from each. These pieces look more impressive while a regular size king is about 3-4.5 inches tall.

There are handmade Staunton chess pieces and these have made of luxury materials such as burl, porcelain, and genuine ebony. It is fabulous! there are Staunton chess sets that are made out of 40,000 years old fossilized wooly mammoth ivory. The cost of these sets depends on the size of the king. The more king being tall the set becomes expensive.

Luxury Chessboards

Since chess is a game that has a glorious history, there is a glorious art in making chess sets. Most of the time luxury chess sets are presented as memorable gifts. These sets are made out of marble and these pieces are highly durable. when the light touch this pieces, it creates bright twinkles on the tops of the pieces which makes the set more decorative.

Plastic Chessboards

In domestic applications, plastic chess sets are used. These chess sets are cheap and anyone around the world can afford to buy a plastic chess set. Unlike high expensive and valuable chess sets, these are easy to handle. There are many sizes of plastic chess boards and most of these are foldable.

Since small chessboards have consisted of small pieces most plastic chess sets come with a small magnet at the bottom of the piece. Many people think that using a plastic chess board is but repulsive and disrespectful. However, the dignity of the sport must be in the heart, so using a plastic chessboard would not affect the honor of the game and is better alternative to learn chess.  

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