Chess Board & Pieces Sizes: Essential Info in a Guide.

Standard Chess Board pieces and Sizes

Standard Chess Board Dimensions

The standard size of a chess board is 8×8 squares, with each square measuring 2.25 inches. This 8×8 grid results in 64 alternating-colored squares, 32 light squares, and 32 dark. The size of each individual square is identical, and the board should measure the same on all 4 sides. This size is ideal for most players and is suitable for casual play as well as tournament play.


To start a game, the chessboard must be arranged in a specific manner with white pieces on one half and black pieces on the other half.


Each square is identified using a letter and a number, with the vertical squares designated by letters (a-h) and the horizontal ones by numbers (1-8).

The white pieces are placed on squares a1 to h1 and a2 to h2, while the black pieces are placed on squares a7 to h7 and a8 to h8. These are called the coordinates of the chessboard.

In India, chess pieces are mostly mentioned as coins but the more professional way of calling it would be chess pieces.

The USCF (United States Chess Federation) requires the square size to be between 2 to 2.5 inches, with a standard of 2.25 inches for tournament play.

Chess Board

For over-the-board (OTB) tournament play, there are various specifications to consider. The United States Chess Federation (USCF) mandates that square size should be between 2 inches to 2.5 inches, with a king’s height of 3.375 inches to 4.5 inches. The standard USCF tournament set features 2.25-inch squares and a king’s height of 3.75 inches. It’s important to note that standards for boards and sets may vary from country to country.

For instance, FIDE regulations state that competitive chess should be played with a square size of 5 to 6 cm and that world championships should be played on a 2-inch square board. FIDE also specifies that chess pieces should be made of plastic, wood, or any material that imitates them. The pieces should also be of uniform height, with a 10% difference allowed. The height requirements are as follows: King – 9.5 cm, Queen – 8.5 cm, Bishop – 7 cm, Knight – 6 cm, Rook – 5.5 cm, Pawn – 5 cm. In FIDE competitions, the pieces must be of the Staunton style and distinct from each other in shape.

The black pieces should be dark shades of black or brown, while the white pieces should be white or cream, or other light colors. The king’s base diameter should be 40-50% of its height. The base diameter of the pieces should be 75-80% of the square size to ensure that the pieces are easily visible and rest comfortably on the squares.

Why it is important to have a good standard-size chessboard?

  • Having a professional chessboard can offer a considerable edge, especially if you’re taking part in tournaments in the US. In most US tournaments, players are required to bring their own chess set, as the organizers do not provide one. The first player to arrive at the tournament is generally responsible for setting up the chessboard. By bringing your own chessboard and arriving early, you can use a familiar set of pieces, which can positively impact your gameplay. Familiarity with the chessboard and pieces can help ensure a smooth flow of the game, leading to better play overall.
  • By maintaining the correct ratio between the square size and piece size, players can guarantee sufficient space between the pieces, avoiding overcrowding.
  • Practicing at home with a standard chess set can provide a realistic simulation of tournament play
  • Owning a standard chess board would reflect you as a professional. Also, provide an optimal learning and playing experience.

Where to purchase a standard chess set?

If you’re in the US, the official website of the US Chess Federation offers a range of sets for approximately $20. You can find them at

If you’re in India, ChessBase India is a great option for purchasing a standard chess set. Prices for a set are around INR 1000 and can be found at!/ChessBase-India-Premium-Chess-Set/p/376637361/category=115044019.

After acquiring a standard chess set, the next crucial step towards becoming a skilled chess player is to find a suitable chess coach. For guidance on finding the right chess coach for you, take a look at our blog titled “How to Find a Chess Coach.”

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