Correct Starting Position Of A King On A Chess Board

Choosing the starting position of the king on a chess board can be a bit confusing. Setting up the board to begin a new game? The positioning will be different based on the color you’re playing with.

The correct starting position of the king is e1 for white and e8 for black. Chess rules dictate that these initial positions are always the same. The white king is placed to the right of the queen, while the black king is placed to the left of the queen.

Another way to remember the position, is to look at the color of the spaces. The white king will always go on a black square (e1) while the black king always starts on a white square (e8):


King Starting Position Chess Board


Also read: Correct Position Of The Queen In Chess


How To Set Up A King In Chess

View the king and queen as the ‘royal pair’. Placing the two pieces on the board starts with the queen, because ladies go first. The white queen always goes on a white square, while the black queen always goes on a black square.

After placing the queen, the starting position of the king naturally follows. Simply place it next to the queen. The white king goes on a black square to the right of the queen, while the black king goes on a white square to the left of the queen:


ColorChess PieceSquare ColorNotation


Now, if beginners in the world of chess see notations like ‘e1’ and ‘e8’, it doesn’t help them. These so-called algebraic notations are a somewhat advanced concept in chess, but it’s good for a beginner to understand the basics.

These positions are what’s being written down by professional players. It helps chess players analyze and understand their game later on. But it also helps you communicate to your opponent where a piece is on the board. So you can tell your opponent where to place the king at the start of the game, for example.

But what do these weird letters and numbers even mean? Let me give you a brief explanation of chess notations. This way, you’ll understand exactly why the king is initially placed on positions that we call ‘e1’ and ‘e8’.


Understanding Chess Notations

If the aforementioned chess notations confuse you a bit, don’t worry. It’s basically a way to explain to others where a piece is located on the board. Every board space in chess has its own name, and that name is basically a big grid:

Chess Notations
Source: Wikimedia Commons


As can be seen in the image above, the black king always starts on position e8. Follow the horizontal row to line e, and then follow the vertical column to the right number 8.

We place the black king (K) on its initial board space (e8). That gives us Ke8 as the correct notation for the black king. That’s why we say that Ke8 is the correct start position for the black king.

Similarly, the white king (K) would start on its own designated board space (e1). The white king always starts as Ke1. Explaining a board position with a notation is really that simple.

Let me know in the discussion below if the notations or initial positioning of the king are confusing at all. I’ll gladly answer your question. Talk to you there!

3 thoughts on “Correct Starting Position Of A King On A Chess Board”

  1. Uh… the picture at the top of your article about the correct starting position for the kings has the kings in the wrong starting position.


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