What happens if the chessboard is kept with black square on right hand side instead of white square? I think that the notations will change.

In the new positon, the White king will be positioned on a white square and the Black king will be positioned on a black square. The White queen will be positioned on a black square and the Black queen will be positioned on a white square.

Why this is considered a wrong placing of the chess board? Addtionally, does White or Black have an advantage, and will strategies and tactics change?

  • 2
    This plays out like any other chess game, provided black goes first. Everything you've done to the game equates to swapping the colors. Let black go first and it's the same game as always. Otherwise it's a different game. Commented Sep 2, 2020 at 1:59
  • Game play won't change for computers at all. But for human, it might have psychological effects. A french player might trade the light bishop off carelessly.
    – jf328
    Commented Sep 2, 2020 at 8:31
  • What do you mean "what happens?" Nothing happens. This isn't allowed by the rules of chess, so it would never happen. Bit of a strange question...
    – user91988
    Commented Sep 2, 2020 at 18:23
  • 1
    @candied_orange Why would black going first result in it playing like other chess games? Commented Sep 2, 2020 at 20:42
  • 1
    @Acccumulation because the queen goes on her own color. Make her go on the other color AND play the other colors turn and you get the same game as always. Just with the colors swapped. Commented Sep 2, 2020 at 22:34

3 Answers 3


It's wrong because the rules say so:

2.1 The chessboard is composed of an 8 x 8 grid of 64 equal squares alternately light (the ‘white’ squares) and dark (the ‘black’ squares).

The chessboard is placed between the players in such a way that the near corner square to the right of the player is white.

Of course, those rules are based on what has been common practice for a very long time. Apparently, an incorrectly placed board happens often enough to warrant a rule for what to do when that happens:

7.2.2 If during a game it is found that the chessboard has been placed contrary to Article 2.1, the game shall continue but the position reached must be transferred to a correctly placed chessboard.

Since the pieces have the same position relative to each other, it doesn't affect strategy and tactics. Notation won't change; the column of the starting positions of the queens is still column 'd'. If you have a board with numbers/letters, it's even easier to spot the problem.

  • 11
    If White still makes the first move, there's no difference at all. That's why rule 7.2.2 says "hey, you put the board wrong, but you can still continue with the game, since it doesn't influence the gameplay".
    – Glorfindel
    Commented Aug 31, 2020 at 18:21
  • 1
    Thank you. To summarise, this chessboard location is not going to change the tactics or strategies of both the players neither the notations. Commented Aug 31, 2020 at 18:36
  • 9
    @PrashantAkerkar Correct. The colour of the tiles is completely irrelevant to the game. If you decide to paint the white tiles red and the black ones green, the movements of the pieces don't change. You could even make all tiles the same colour, assuming you have marked the borders of each tile so you can still find the tiles. The colours are an aid, but for informal games you can play on anything vaguely resembling a chess board. It just won't be a regulatory board. As long as it has 8x8 tiles, you can play (informal) chess on it.
    – Mast
    Commented Sep 1, 2020 at 5:47
  • 4
    @Mast I'm now thinking of a way to combine a 9x9 go game with chess on the same board. Years ago, me and some friends already developed a variation on Bughouse where one board started playing chess and the other one draughts, so you could drop draughtsmen your teammate captured on the chessboard and vice versa.
    – Glorfindel
    Commented Sep 1, 2020 at 5:53
  • 5
    @Glorfindel : Randall's done it (go+chess): xkcd.com/1287 Commented Sep 1, 2020 at 17:32

I don't think there's anything in the game that's strictly tied to the colors of the squares. You can still number the ranks and files from the bottom-left corner and e.g. Bishops would start on opposite colors than usual, but the diagonal moves still work the same.

Though, if you set the board up using the mnemonic that the queens are placed on squares matching their color, i.e. white queen on a white square, black queen on a black square, then the setup would be different and the game along with it. But not by much, what you'd end up is this:

enter image description here

That's just the regular starting position flipped. Since all moves are also symmetrical with regard to left and right, it still technically makes no difference other than that now you'd have to number the squares starting from the lower right to match the notation of a regular chess game. (Counting from lower right, the kings here are at e1 and e8 as in a normal game.)

(Castling is the one move which works differently to the left than to the right, but it's defined by the sides where the king/queen start at, and anyway basically reduces down to "king takes two steps and the rook jumps to the square the king passed" which is direction-independent.)

  • 2
    I don't think it's true to say "it makes no difference". It's theoretically the same game, but flipped. But in practice, both players will have their play strongly affected by where they expect pieces to be, patterns learnt etc. Like, by habit protecting F2 more than C2, even though in this variant, that's the wrong way around. Commented Sep 1, 2020 at 23:24
  • 5
    @SteveBennett I think it's unlikely that players with enough experience to have those habits could possibly make the mistake of putting their kings on the wrong side, no matter what the mnemonic says. Commented Sep 2, 2020 at 0:22
  • 1
    Yeah, me too. Or more likely, as has happened with me OTB, the K and Q are flipped, you realise after a few moves, and flip them back. No one ever continues with "oh I guess my K is on D1 now" :) Commented Sep 2, 2020 at 3:05
  • 1
    @SteveBennett, yes, you're right; edited to say "technically no difference". But I also don't think it's very likely to happen except with beginners.
    – ilkkachu
    Commented Sep 2, 2020 at 8:07
  • We had one where only one side's king was placed incorrectly.
    – Joshua
    Commented Sep 2, 2020 at 18:20

It makes no difference at all in any way, even if the kings and queens are reversed left to right, or if Black goes first. It's just convention, the thought process, how to play, etc. It's identical other than the callout above about psychologically. Which bishop means more in the French is the example cited, but that's just because that player has that "rule" memorized The reasoning is no different, however.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.