Java Program to Determine the Color of a Chess Square


In this article, we will walk through the steps of creating a Java program that can determine the color of any given chess square on the board.

Chess is a popular strategic board game that requires critical thinking and careful planning.

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Each chessboard consists of 64 squares, alternating between light and dark colors.

If you have ever wondered how to determine the color of a specific chess square, this Java program will provide you with a solution.

Understanding the Chessboard

Before we dive into the details of the Java program, let’s first understand the structure of a chessboard.

A standard chessboard is an 8×8 grid, consisting of 64 squares. The columns are labeled from ‘a’ to ‘h’, and the rows are numbered from 1 to 8.

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The squares on the chessboard alternate between two colors, usually light and dark.

The Java Program

To determine the color of a chess square using Java, we can utilize a simple mathematical approach.

We can observe that the light-colored squares have coordinates where the sum of the row number and column number is even, while the dark-colored squares have coordinates where the sum is odd.

public class ChessSquareColor {

    public static void main(String[] args) {
        String square = "e4"; // Replace with the desired square
        if (isLightSquare(square)) {
            System.out.println("The square " + square + " is light-colored.");
        } else {
            System.out.println("The square " + square + " is dark-colored.");
    public static boolean isLightSquare(String square) {
        char column = square.charAt(0);
        int row = Character.getNumericValue(square.charAt(1));
        int columnNumber = column - 'a' + 1;
        return (row + columnNumber) % 2 == 0;

Implementing the Java Program

Let’s break down the Java program step by step to understand how it determines the color of a chess square.

Step 1: User Input

The program starts by defining a variable square and assigning it a default value of “e4”. You can replace this value with the square you want to determine the color of.

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Step 2: Checking the Square Color

The program then calls the isLightSquare method to determine whether the square is light-colored or dark-colored.

The method takes the square as input and performs the necessary calculations.

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Step 3: Calculating Column Number

Inside the isLightSquare method, we extract the column letter and row number from the square using string manipulation.

The column letter is converted to a numeric value by subtracting the character ‘a’ and adding 1.

This gives us the column number, which will be used in the calculation.

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Step 4: Determining Color

Finally, we calculate the sum of the row number and column number. If the sum is even, the square is light-colored, and if the sum is odd, the square is dark-colored.

The result is returned as a boolean value.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: How do I run the Java program?

To run the Java program, you need to have the Java Development Kit (JDK) installed on your computer. Compile the program using the javac command, followed by the name of the Java file. Then, run the program using the java command, followed by the class name.

Q2: Can I determine the color of multiple chess squares?

Yes, you can modify the Java program to determine the color of multiple chess squares. Simply add a loop or iterate over a list of squares, and call the isLightSquare method for each square.

Q3: What happens if I input an invalid square?

If you input an invalid square, such as “z9” or “i7”, the program may throw an exception or produce unexpected results. It’s important to ensure that the input is within the valid range of the chessboard.

Q4: Can I use this program for other board sizes?

The current Java program is specifically designed for an 8×8 chessboard. If you want to use it for other board sizes, you will need to modify the calculations accordingly.

Q5: Are there alternative methods to determine the color of a chess square?

Yes, there are other methods to determine the color of a chess square. Some methods involve using bitwise operations or predefined lookup tables. However, the mathematical approach used in this program is simple and effective for a standard chessboard.

Q6: Can I incorporate this program into my own chess application?

Absolutely! This Java program can serve as a foundation for integrating chess square color determination into your own chess application or game.


In conclusion, the Java program provided in this article offers a straightforward solution to determine the color of any chess square on an 8×8 chessboard.

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By implementing a mathematical approach, we can easily calculate whether a square is light-colored or dark-colored.

Feel free to customize the program to suit your specific needs or integrate it into your own chess-related projects.

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Remember, understanding the color of a chess square is a fundamental aspect of chess programming and can contribute to a more immersive chess-playing experience.