Lightly sand the entire table with a coarse-grit sanding block. Then sand the entire surface with fine-grit sandpaper.
Wipe away the dust with a clean and dry cloth.
Lightly draw an 18 by 18 inch square on the tabletop where you would like the chessboard to be. Use a pencil and a ruler with a level to ensure that the lines are perfectly even.
Lightly draw a 1-inch border around the inside of the 18-inch square with a pencil.
Place your level ruler so that the zero mark is on one of the lines and the ruler is level. Mark every two inches.
Lightly draw a level line down every mark.
Turn the board so that the inside lines are vertical and repeat steps five and six.
Use painter’s tape to mark off the chessboard top. This will allow you to paint everything but the chessboard.
Paint two thin coats of latex paint onto the entire surface, except for the chessboard top, with a paintbrush. Allow it to dry completely in between coats.
Peel off the tape.
Working one row at a time, mark off every other square with painter’s tape. Use the pencil lines as guides for placing the tape.
Paint every other square the same color ensuring that the top left and the bottom right are painted with the lighter color. Allow the paint to dry completely before pulling it off and working on the next row.
Tape off and paint the border with the darker color. Let the paint dry completely before pulling the painter’s tape off.