As you sit at the chessboard, with a light square at your lower right and a dark square at your lower left, there are eight horizontal rows of eight squares bordering at the sides stretching from your left to your right. They begin nearest you and wind up nearest your opponent. These rows cover every square on the chessboard, and they are called ranks.
Each rank has a name based on how far away it is from you, assuming you are playing the White pieces and your opponent is playing the Black pieces. The rank nearest you is called the first rank. The next rank out is called the second rank, the next the third rank, and so on until you get to the rank nearest your opponent, which is called the eighth rank. If you are playing the Black pieces, the rank nearest you is the eighth rank and the rank nearest your opponent is the first rank.
Each rank contains four light squares and four dark squares, which naturally alternate. Each light square borders on a dark square, and each dark square borders on a light square.
It's not enough to place the board with a light square in the right-hand corner. You also have to set up the White pieces on the first rank and the Black pieces on the eighth rank. Otherwise it will become very difficult to keep score of a game; something you will learn to do shortly.
All ranks are not equal. Notice that the first and eighth ranks each border only one rank, while all the other ranks border two ranks. The edge of the board can be a severe restriction in chess, and the first and eighth ranks represent part of that edge.
White sets up his pieces on the first rank and his pawns on the second rank, while Black sets up her pieces on the eighth rank and her pawns on the seventh rank. (The chess pieces consist of the kings, queens, bishops, knights, and rooks. They are all taller and stronger than the little pawns.)