Here are three useful mnemonic phrases for orientating a chessboard correctly so that the queens and other pieces can be set up properly:

(1.) " White is right! "
(2.) " Queen on her own... "
(3. )" 1-2-3, R'n'B !!

(1.) The board must always be set with a white square in each player's nearest right-hand corner before (2.) each player then places a queen on the central rear-rank square of the queen's own colour (ie. White queen on a white square and Black queen on the opposite black square), so that the queens face each other directly on White's left and Black's right side of the board.

Queen - King
R-N-B     Q-K     B-N-R
Chess Board Chess Board
Queen - King
R-N-B     Q-K     B-N-R

(3.) The remaining rear-rank pieces are relatively simple (rooks in each corner, knights next to rooks, and bishops always third file in) but if you find the bishop and knight positions confusing to set up, just remember the "rhythm and blues" acronym R'n'B. In algebraic notation a knight is represented by N (rather than Kt, because K represents king), so place the pieces from the left corner as "1-2-3, R-N-B" with the reverse on the right side.

Incidentally in end-play, to force checkmate against a lone king a player requires at least (a) king and queen, or (b) king and rook, or (c) king and two bishops or (d) king, bishop and knight.

Mate cannot be forced against a lone king with just (a) king alone, or (b) king plus bishop or knight, or (c) king and two knights (although obviously poor moves may still enable mate).

Ultimately knights are weaker than bishops in end-play. To help remember this, just recall that:

"With a king, 2 days and 2 knights,
you still won't force checkmate in fights!


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