Starting a Chess Game
Who starts? The White or light pieces always go first. They have the first move. It is a slight advantage to go first.
Who gets White or Black? In a tournament, the organiser usually assigns players against each other to White or Black. Usually when it's written down, the first name is playing White, the second name is playing Black. In casual play, people usually choose a color, or alternate colors with each new game.
How does the game end? What is checkmate? The main way to end a game is where a King is in checkmate. This means that an enemy piece is attacking the King, and there is no legal move to escape (i.e. no King move out of check, no capture of the attacking piece, and no blocking move). The game ends without actually capturing the King, but you can capture the King if you really feel like it!
How do you set up the board?
The starting position of the chess board looks like this:
Pieces on the edges. Pawns are the front row: All of the 8 pieces go along the edge. The 8 Pawns go in the row in front.
Pieces go where? The Rooks go in each corner, the two Knights go next (one next to each Rook), and then the Bishops each go next to the Knight (one Bishop next to each Knight). The two central squares on the edge are for the King and Queen. For the White player, the White Queen is on the left of the White King, when the White player is looking at the board from their side. For the Black player from their side, the Black Queen will be on the right of the Black King (not the left).
Lining up with the Enemy: The White and Black pieces must line up. The White King and Black King should be on the same file (same column). The White Queen and Black Queen should also be on the same file. And the same for all the pieces.
Which color squares? The coloring of the squares doesn't actually matter that much to beginners, because the game can still be played fully. But there's still a proper, official way to do the square colors. The White player's corner (Rook) square on the right-hand-side should be a White or "light" color square. The memory guide rule is "right is light" or "right is White". With the correct orientation of that corner, the White Queen should also be on a White square, and the Black Queen on a black square. Note that it is the Queens, not the Kings, that are on the matching square colors. The Kings are on opposite-color squares.