Chess Board Ranks and Files:
Part of the Beginner's Chess Guide (Section 1)

Chess Board
Ranks And Files


Jump to the Index


Ranks and Files are, more-or-less, another way of splitting the Chess Board up into Zones ...

Beginners Chess Guide - Chess Board Ranks And Files - Graphic Like the Chess Board Zones, which we've covered seperately, a Zonal system is useful, as it helps us to organize our potential Tactics and Strategical Plans.

A further benefit of having Zones is, when it comes to retrospective Analysis of games - whether they're our own, or Grandmaster-level matches, from which we might be able to pick up clues to their successes and, equally, their failures.

In books and DVD tutorials, for instance, you'll find the Chess authors - such as GM Yasser Seirawan - giving their examples and using terms like Rank, File, Half-Open File, and Open File, in the following contexts:

  • "Black's Queenside Rook captures White's Bishop on the 7th Rank ..."

  • Or, "White's Bishop captures Black's Pawn, on f7 ... The f-file is now Half-Open, following the capture of Black's f7 Pawn ..."

  • Or, "Black's King is stuck on the Kingside and cannot escape beyond the g-file, as it's Open and White's Rook is sitting, patrolling it, all the way from its position of safety, down on g2".

Chess Board Ranks and Files Index

These additional Chess board 'zones' are split up into:

  1. Ranks (page 2)
    In total, there are 8 Ranks, numbered 1 to 8. Each Rank is made up of a line, or row, of 8 squares, going from left-to-right across the board.

  2. Files (page 3)
    In total, there are 8 Files, lettered a to h. Each File is made up of a stack, or column, of 8 squares, going from top-to-bottom along the board.

  3. Half-Open Files (page 4)
    A File is Half-Open when ONE of the adverse Pawns goes missing from its game-starting File, due to capturing, or being captured itself. E.g. if White's c-Pawn gets captured, but Black's c-Pawn is still present on the c-File, then White has the Half-Open c-File.

    Files need to be opened in order to let your Rooks emerge from their back-rank positions and contribute more-effectively to your offensive and defensive objectives.

  4. Open Files (page 5)
    A File is Open when BOTH of the adverse Pawns goes missing from its game-starting File, due to capturing, or being captured itself. E.g. if both c-Pawns are no longer on the c-File, then the c-File is Open.



From this Chess Board Ranks and Files guide,
Return to the Beginners Chess Guide (Section 1)
Chess Search 2.0
2700chess.com for more details and full list 2700chess.com for more details and full list
Chess-Game-Strategies.com, Basic Chess Rules, Thumbnail
Chess-Game-Strategies.com, Beginner's Chess Guide, Thumbnail
Chess-Game-Strategies.com, Chess Openings Guide, Thumbnail
Chess-Game-Strategies.com, Chess Strategies Guide, Thumbnail
Chess-Game-Strategies.com, Chess Tactic Guide, Thumbnail
Chess-Game-Strategies.com, Chess Endgame Guide, Thumbnail