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The Chess Board: Files, Ranks and Diagonals

Wolverhampton Chess Club

The Chess Board is the battlefield on which we 'fight' our chess game.

The Board comprises of alternate black and white squares. There are eight rows and eight coloumns of squares making sixty-four squares in all.

It is important that you have the Chess Board in the correct position. Before you start putting any pieces on the board, make sure that there is a white square in the bottom right hand corner of the board.

All chess players use special words to refer to different parts of the board. You have to learn how to refer to the board in the correct terminology so that you will understand articles in chess books and magazines.

The horizontals rows of squares are called RANKS

On the chessboard there are 8 ranks

The vertical rows of squares are called FILES

On the chessboard there are 8 files.

The slanting rows of squares are called DIAGONALS. There are four sets of diagonals on the chessboard - two sets of white and two sets of black.