Mastering A Beginner’s Guide to Setting Up the Board

Looking to enhance your chess skills and connect with a global community of players? is the ultimate platform for all chess enthusiasts, offering various game types and resources to help you improve your gameplay.

In this article, we will walk you through the steps of setting up a board on, explore the different game types available, discuss the benefits of playing on the platform, and provide tips on how to sharpen your chess skills effectively.

Let’s dive in and discover everything has to offer!

What is is a website and an application that provides online chess-playing features along with training and learning content from renowned players and coaches. has both free and premium accounts. Free accounts come with basic features and limited access. In contrast, premium accounts offer training content, full access, removing ads, and competition eligibility. is popular with over 60 million users in over 230 countries.

How to Set Up a Board on

You set up a board on by playing a game on the website. If you have a free membership, you may set up games outside of analysis boards, but they will be automatically rated, and there will be popup ads as you play. With a premium membership, you can create custom games and not worry about pop-up ads.

A membership is free with limited features. A premium membership gives you access to all features and costs $7.99 per month, billed annually at $95.88 per year. With your active account, the board will be very easy to adjust to your hosting requirements. Additionally, third-party services such as League Manager offer solutions for larger chess communities. Some community managers opt to keep their own statistics though they also benefit by using'”s vast network of players.

Creating an Account

Users initiate the process to set up a board in by creating an account. You can create an account directly on the desktop home page, or from a mobile device. The Join Now screen prompts users to input their email and password, then press the Join Free button. On this screen, an alternative method is to use the Sign Up with Google button.

Choosing a Game Type

When at the analysis board page, the player chooses the game type they wish to use. The types are between a formal bullet, blitz, rapid, or correspondence timed game. A move must then be made by clicking and dragging one of the pieces or pawns in addition to pressing the submit move button. For making multiple moves with one click, see the entire item Setting Up the Board above.

Playing Mode options:

  • Live Chess: Pre-set time controls in classic style.
  • Mobile: One-touch finger moves. Only classical games and 960 chess available.
  • Online: Keyboard and mouse moves. Classic games, 3-check, and crazyhouse modes available.
  • Analysis: Experience ad-free, move-by-move learning. Use the chess variant to learn chess from a different perspective.
  • New Game then Choose Time Control: Create a new game and choose from over 20 modes with the desired parameters including custom mode.

Play with Friends can be accessed here. The player must choose the standard or shirk clock option and can optionally make analyses the automated color switch (color choice for each player in this case), zero start time handicap, time control, and minimum time parameters. They then create the game.

Understanding the Board Setup

The board setup refers to the pieces’ starting arrangement on the 8×8 chessboard. Ahead of 2021, the board was set up with White pieces on the left and back rank, which is called the White Black board orientation. The White White board orientation was introduced in 2021 and is the default setting in most cases. In this arrangement, the board looks the same physically as before, but White’s back rank is on the right rather on the left.

Placing the Pieces will prompt you to place the pieces on the board, indicating the number of inaccurate pieces and illegal moves you have made thus far in the set-up process. Some players choose not to use the editor and move the pieces according to their online analyzer display in the game preview pane while placing the pieces in the real life.

Placing the pieces will be complete when the number of inaccurate pieces and illegal moves is zero, after which a Tow Play button will appear and the new game can begin.

Setting up the Clock

The Clock Adjustment section shows various options for adjusting’s integrated chess clock. Some users prefer adding increments (1e) so that an amount of time is added to a player’s clock every move. Before beginning the game, the Clock Adjustment time control must be used, and increments timed by the second. Afterward, one can rely on Self and Player modes, but one cannot modify increments by specific seconds.

To set up the clock and have numerous other settings available, a user should start in the game board and go to Preferences, Time Control Options, and set up per-game settings to use configurations such as Turn zero time on or Pre-move speed.

What are the Different Game Types on

There are five broad classifications of game types on They are:

  1. Public Matches:
    Public matches are when a match is set up with randomly selected opponents. It doesn’t matter how a user has set up their board, if they are looking for a game select the type of game they want to play, and selects whoever is waiting at their level and with their time control preferences.

    Public matches can be rated with members gaining or losing FIDE-like ratings determined by the ELO method developed by Dr. Arpad Elo. These ratings and data are added to the user’s profile. Public matches that are not rated do not impact the user’s statistics on

  2. Computer Matches:
    Computer Matches are when a user wants to play against one of’s bots. The chess board is set up as one side (south, black) for the user only and playing against one of’s 170,000 active computers. Users can pause the game to analyze a bot’s move and can also set the level of play strength and turn on personalized training if they wish.

    In addition, the computer will offer hints if the registered user has received a Silver membership or higher and turned on Coach Mode.

  3. Friends Matches:
    Friends Matches are private games where users set up and manage the game entirely. The user designates invited opponents, the depth of the game, set up and modify game settings, and can even toggle which opponent sees move help features such as possible legal squares.
  4. Tournaments:
    Private and Public tournaments are hosted on hosts upwards of a thousand different tournaments, both blitz fast tournaments and tournaments that can take weeks to complete.
  5. Simultaneous Matches:
    These can be public or private and users play multiple games against different opponents at the same time.

Live Chess

Once you have selected the Live Chess option, you need to perform these actions to set up the board:

  1. Select the Play tab at the top of the

  2. Select the Live Chess option from the drop-down menu.

  3. Select your desired game time control format from the quick play options or from the advanced menu.

  4. You will now be taken to the Live Chess menu from where you can configure the game settings with your opponent before starting the game including whether the game is rated, time control options, presence of a clock and who gets to start with the white or red pieces first.

  5. Click the Play button to begin the game.

Online Chess

Online chess refers to playing chess on a real-time online platform such as against another opponent, an AI computer program, or joining a club where you can play with many other online users at the same time. Online chess helps players gain practice, improve their skills, and find opponents to compete with.

When you need – or prefer – to interact with opponents online to improve your game, quickly find opponents that match varying skill levels, and prefer low barriers to entry due to the requirement of few physical chess board elements, you should consider online chess.

Computer Chess

The `Computer Chess` option is used to play against high-quality chess-`AI` programs. These various `stockfish` options have chess engines programmed to play at different skill levels from beginner to grandmaster. This option provides the best way to test how well you understand the game and your strategic skill, without being affected by how strong of an opponent you are playing against.

To set up the board for `Computer Chess`, simply go to the `Chess` section of the `` website, click on `play vs bot`, choose your preferred bot, or let the platform match you with one. will then randomly set up the board with the white player opening on the bottom left. White will have the first move, but you can choose to switch with a `flip board` button. Your game can be at any pace you choose. For training you should give ever-increasing time limits, but actual games can have as short a time limit as you like.

The `Three-Check` chess variant can be played with `Computer Chess`. This variant ends as soon as a player gives three `checks` to the opponent’s king, regardless of how the checks are delivered, so players have to be aware of all the moves possible for their opponent’s piece, as protecting against three different attack vectors can prove difficult.

Correspondence Chess

In correspondence chess, moves are emailed or messaged and each player may take days or months to reply depending on the time controls set in the match. Correspondence chess allows players to participate in multiple matches simultaneously and to use books or engines to analyze moves. offers correspondence chess along with analytical features. Players engaging in correspondence chess will set up the board for a new game on in the same manner as rapid and blitz chess.

What are the Benefits of Playing on

The benefits of playing on include the ability to challenge friends, choose from three different board themes, play against both humans and computers, and receive performance feedback.

You cannot play against friends on LiChess, there is only one design theme, and the ability to compare to various AI difficulty levels in the tournament game is less versatile. The two platforms are about the same in terms of free and paid services. is larger and reaches more people with their content and tools.

Access to a Global Community of Players

One of the primary benefits of using for setting up boards and playing online chess in general comes from its community features. provides users with access to the largest online chess community in the world. Players of all skill levels, from intermediate to grandmaster, can find others who are similar in skill level. The community boasts more than 70 million members across the planet who regularly participate in games, events, classes, and much more.

Playing in the community offers numerous social, competitive, and training benefits. You can play games with people from nearly any country, enter into daily chess tournaments with players at your own skill level, or lookup opponents in local clubs. enables you to bring your chess with you wherever you go via an application available for Android, iOS, and web browsers. On-the-go training is another popular use of the platform. Boards can be shared with coaches through their browser, so they can analyze positions, make comments, and draw arrows.

The community offers blogs, forums, and chat rooms where you have discussion boards to chat about various aspects of the game. There is a chess encyclopedia with short summaries of tactical and strategic ideas, as well as more in-depth lessons. The community offers a daily game where users receive a move a day, encouraging users to study the position and learn more about where to move next. They also offer puzzles with similar questions. In all, the community creates an engaging environment that goes far beyond the basics of playing online.

Ability to Play Anytime, Anywhere

The ability to play anytime, anywhere has both pros and cons for setting up the board in Pros include how easy it is to play a game at any time from any location. Cons include gameplay issues that happen outside of real-world time and location constraints such as negative behavior, cheating, or rage quitting by one of the players. These issues are not policed well online as they may be during in-person games. An expanded explanation on this point can be found in the Cons of Setting Up Board in section below.

Variety of Game Types and Options provides a wide range of game types and options you can include in setting up boards. This includes time controls ranging from 1 minute per game (called bullet) up to hours per game. Play alone against the computer or with teams. Play in tournaments and live events or via correspondence. There are more than half a dozen options to vary game rules, for example regarding castling, check sequence, en passant. All varieties of chess can be played including 4 player, 3 player, and many different variants such as Fischer Random (chess 960), three checks, bughouse, and many more.

Training and Learning Resources has teamed up with some of the top trainers in the world to make training resources available no matter what your skill level. You can start with a game called Learn to Play Chess with Dr. Wolf, a game created by Grandmaster Simon Williams that is available on iOS and Android. Dr. Wolf teaches you all the ins and outs of the game to create a solid foundation in chess basics. Plus he throws in some humor which always helps when learning. Get a complete drawing course from Nobel Prize-winning MIT Professor Carl Wieman for less than what a community college course costs.’s training and learning resources include:

  1. Chess Mentor: A computer tutor that maps out personalized training and improvement plans
  2. Chess Basics Series: A free Basic Board video tutorial series for beginners
  3. Podcasts: Covers everything from results of major tournaments to basic stratagems for beginner players
  4. Articles: An expansive and specialized article repository addressing all aspects of chess from updates on major tournaments to strategy and tactical games for beginners
  5. Video Library: Offers videos on tournaments, strategy, training, endings, openings, and important moves. You can even get real-time video broadcasting from major tournaments

Simply go to and click on Learn from the top menu to access all of the resources noted above.

How to Improve Your Chess Skills on

You can improve your chess skills on by utilizing a Gold Plus membership, which comes with a suite of learning tools such as Daily Lessons, the Video Library, Encyclopedia, Study Plan, Weekly Drills, Vision Trainer, Chess TV (a coaching show), Puzzles, and Assess Your Strength (a tool to show your skills in various areas).

People learn in a variety of ways, with some needing much more visual material to understand and visualize concepts better, and the facing reality with receiving feedback on his or her performance in a certain skill. There are tools in’s Gold Plus Membership, like Cyber-chess, Chess Mentor, and library of lessons with video elements and interaction, all to improved understanding for visual learners.

The Vision Trainer shows tactical themes, an important part in chess. This can be used to test your tactical skills and with the Gols Plus extra we could now measure ourselves against others, showing what they are better at and what are our weaknesses.

Analyzing Your Games

Game analysis is available in all versions, completely integrated into the interface. Depending on your plan, you can have more boards or saved games – a necessary requirement for using analysis software.

The board includes game details for every move, the interactive board, and the form to submit your moves. You can advance the analysis by using stockfish or komodo and other engines to analyze specific positions more in-depth.

Participating in Tournaments and Challenges, one of the most comprehensive chess platforms, has five tabs located at the bottom of the window. Click the Home Screen tab on the left side of the home screen. Upcoming tournaments and challenges will be listed on the events timeline and you can join by clicking on them.

If you click on the Play tab, you can alternately enter tournaments on the arena play page and by clicking on one of the current games. To participate in a club challenge, search for the club in the search bars of the Clubs tab to navigate to it and then find the listed challenges.

The Chess Tournaments and Chess Challenges learning articles introduced at the beginning of this guide will provide you with a list of different tournaments and challenges to choose from.

Learning from Grandmasters and Experts provides ways to improve your game by watching videos from chess grandmasters, international masters, and instructors. First click the Explorer button in the main menu. There you will see all of the videos available on different topics. These include openings, tactics, endgames, strategy, practical chess, as well as general chess views to improve your understanding and appreciation of the game.

Advanced topics such as streaming, recidivism, and chess history are also included. Among the grandmasters, you can find videos by Judit Polgar, Hikaru Nakamura, Yasser Seirawan, and Viswanathan Anand, as well as many by other instructors who are passionate about the game such as Aleksandar Kovacevic.

Each video includes reviews on both the strengths and weaknesses of the player’s efforts in these matchups. The sidebar will also give additional details for side topics that the featured moves address. If you are a premium user, you can build a list of videos by following creators. To watch a video on demand, just click on the video you want to watch, press Play, and the video will begin.

Practicing with Different Opponents

Utilize the board to practice against players with a wide range of skill levels, so you can improve against opponents of all types of playing style. The basic board against members of the same skill level, while the expanded board is better for taking on opponents of higher skill to gain experience, and the simplified view is good against lower-skilled opposition.

This is how you practice with the different opponents. has a database full of players ranging from international grandmasters (often referred to as GMs in chess) to beginners. Choose your opponent based on your chess goals. For new players, you may want to practice against someone at the same chess experience level.

More experienced players should take on opponents at the skill level you are aiming to reach. Use the basic board panel to play against opponents at a similar level, as this creates a minimized homefield advantage, due to zero special features or distractions. This is when the board reflects true game strategy and outcomes with minimal influence.

Use the dynamic layout board to play against more advanced opponents. This displays top-of-the-line features like video, commentary, theory refuting tools, and analysis. You will be challenged and learn as you gain more experience versus difficult opponents. If you wish to play against an opponent of lesser skill, utilize the simplified view. This strips away extra features and gives them less to distract them. Your skill differential will give you an edge, so the limited features of the board are more beneficial in this scenario.

When you are comfortable enough, you can constantly change boards. This is also helpful simply for gaining experience, regardless of the immediate outcome.

Note for Basic Board Mode Users: The basic board lacks many of the features that has to offer, including many which are free. So if you are limiting yourself to this board for cost or simplicity, we would recommend at least using the chess analysis and review tools which are available for free to all users.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to Set Up Board in

What is the first step in setting up a chess board on
The first step is to log into your account and click on “Play” in the top menu.

How to Set Up Board in

Can I customize the board and pieces on
Yes, allows you to customize the board and pieces to your personal preferences. Click on the “Settings” button in the top right corner and select “Board & Pieces.”

How to Set Up Board in

How do I adjust the board size on
You can adjust the board size by clicking on the “Settings” button and selecting “Board Size.” You can choose from small, medium, or large.

How to Set Up Board in

Can I change the board color on
Yes, you can change the board color by clicking on the “Settings” button and selecting “Board Color.” You can choose from various colors and designs.

How to Set Up Board in

Is it possible to save my preferred board and pieces settings on
Yes, allows you to save your preferred board and pieces settings by clicking on the “Settings” button and selecting “Save as Default.”

How to Set Up Board in

Can I reset the board to the default settings on
Yes, you can reset the board to the default settings by clicking on the “Settings” button and selecting “Reset Board.” This will revert the board to the original layout.

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