How to decide who goes first in chess?
Chess is a game of strategy and skill that has been played for centuries. But how do you decide who goes first in chess? Is there a rule or a method to determine who gets the advantage of making the first move? In this blog post, we will explore the different ways to decide who goes first in chess, and why it matters.
The rule of white
The most common and standard way to decide who goes first in chess is by using the rule of white. According to this rule, the player with the white pieces always makes the first move, and then the players alternate turns. This rule is based on the convention that white represents light, and black represents darkness. The idea is that light always precedes darkness, and therefore white should go first.
The rule of white is also the official rule of FIDE, the international chess governing body. It is used in most chess tournaments and competitions, as well as in most chess books and magazines. The rule of white is simple and easy to follow, and it ensures that both players have equal chances to win.
However, the rule of white is not always fair or convenient. Sometimes, players may prefer to play with a different color, or they may want to switch colors after each game. Also, some players may argue that white has an unfair advantage over black, because white can choose the opening and set the tone of the game. Therefore, some alternative ways to decide who goes first in chess have been proposed and used.
The random methods
One way to decide who goes first in chess is by using a random method. This means that the color of the pieces is assigned randomly to each player, without any preference or bias. There are several ways to do this, such as:
- Flipping a coin: The players agree on which side of the coin represents which color, and then one player flips the coin. The player who gets their chosen color goes first.
- Rolling a die: The players agree on which number of the die represents which color, and then one player rolls the die. The player who gets their chosen number goes first.
- Drawing straws: The players use two straws of different lengths, one longer than the other. One player holds the straws in their fist, hiding their ends. The other player picks one straw. The player who gets the longer straw goes first.
- Hiding a pawn: One player takes a pawn of each color and hides them in their hands. The other player guesses which hand has which color. If they guess correctly, they go first. If they guess wrong, they go second.
The random methods are fair and unbiased, and they give both players an equal chance to go first. They also add an element of surprise and excitement to the game. However, they also have some drawbacks. They can be time-consuming and impractical, especially if there is no coin, die, or straw available. They can also be influenced by luck or cheating, if one player tries to manipulate the outcome.
The choice methods
Another way to decide who goes first in chess is by using a choice method. This means that one player gets to choose their color, and the other player gets the opposite color. There are two ways to do this:
- Giving preference: One player gets the preference to choose their color, based on some criteria or agreement. For example, the higher-rated player, the younger player, or the winner of a previous game may get the preference.
- Using a random method: One player uses a random method (such as flipping a coin) to determine who gets to choose their color.
The choice methods are flexible and convenient, and they allow both players to have some control over their color. They also respect the personal preferences and styles of each player. However, they also have some disadvantages. They can create an imbalance or an advantage for one player, depending on their choice. They can also cause conflicts or arguments if there is no clear or agreed-upon criterion for giving preference.
Conclusion on How to decide who goes first in chess
There are different ways to decide who goes first in chess, each with its own pros and cons. The rule of white is the most common and standard way, but it may not be the most fair or convenient way. The random methods are fair and unbiased, but they may be time-consuming or impractical. The choice methods are flexible and convenient, but they may create an imbalance or an advantage.
Ultimately, the best way to decide who goes first in chess depends on the situation, the players, and their preferences. The most important thing is to have fun and enjoy the game!
Benjamin Miller is the founder and editor of The Extra Game. He plays chess, scrabble and Monopoly at a masters level. He is a board game enthusiast, publisher, designer, and reviewer with over 10 years of experience in the industry. He loves to share his passion, knowledge, and recommendations for board games with the world.