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How to Play Chess960

Chess960, also known as Fischer Random Chess, is a game variant of chess created by world chess champion Bobby Fischer. Unlike standard chess, the initial chess board setup for Chess960 is generated at random.


  • Step 1: Learn Chess960 terms Learn Chess960 terms. "Array" is the initial arrangement of pieces on a board. A "starting piece" is a chess piece that's part of the initial array.
  • TIP: The "960" in Chess960 refers to the 960 possible starting moves in a game.
  • Step 2: Study a numbered chess board diagram Study a numbered chess board diagram in order to notate chess piece positions. A board is 64 squares arranged in eight rows and eight columns.
  • TIP: Rows are numbered from one to eight. Columns are lettered from left to right, A through H.
  • Step 3: Place the pawns in traditional board positions Place the pawns in their traditional board positions, rows two and eight respectively.
  • Step 4: Use online Chess960 randomizers Use online position generators to set up each player's back row. For example, a randomizer might display the black Knight in the traditional black Queen position.
  • TIP: A Chess960 board array can be manually randomized by rolling a six-sided die.
  • Step 5: Know the exceptions to Chess960's setup rules Know the exceptions to Chess960's random back row setup rules. The King is always placed between the Rooks. Bishops are on opposite colored squares.
  • Step 6: Learn how to "castle" in Chess960 Learn that players can only "castle" once per game, allowing you to move your King to safety by jumping over the Rook, or move the King and Rook together.
  • FACT: In 1972 Bobby Fischer became world champion over Boris Spassky. After a 20-year retirement, he beat Spassky again in 1992.

You Will Need

  • Chess set
  • Numbered chess board diagram
  • Internet access
  • Six-sided die (optional)

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