The True Reasons Behind Chess Pieces Names –

Beginners, Intermediate
Chess pieces names
Chess pieces names from left to right: King, Queen, Rook, Bishop, Knight, and Pawn.
Chess pieces names from left to right: King, Queen, Rook, Bishop, Knight, and Pawn.

Chess Pieces Names

The game of chess has been in existence since the sixth century. However, the pieces used in the game took nearly a thousand years to reach their modern form. There are six chess pieces; the rules governing these pieces are simple, but the relationships between them may seem complex.

A standard chess set contains 32 pieces, 16 on each side. These pieces are occasionally called “chessmen” or “material.” Chess rules control how each piece is positioned, how each piece moves across how many squares, and whether any unusual moves are authorized.


Chess pieces names
Chess pieces names: Pawn

The pawn is the most numerous and weakest piece. It originated in the oldest version of chess, chaturanga. This piece moved directly forward in chaturanga and captures diagonally.
It is the lowest-value piece on the chessboard with the value of a point. A pawn may advance one or two squares on the opening move. They can only move one place on each successive turn.

Aside from the pawn’s ability to capture diagonally in chaturanga, the modern pawn can also capture with a special move called en passant. If a pawn advances to the opposite side of the board, it can be promoted into any other piece (except the king). Each player starts the game with eight pawns.
Pawn is derived from the Old French word paon, meaning foot soldier. Most other languages derive the word pawn from the Medieval Latin word peon, its Latin ancestor, or some other word for the foot soldier.
In some languages, the pawn is named after a term for “peasant” or “farmer.”


Chess pieces names
Chess pieces names: Knight

The knight is a chess piece represented by a horse’s head and neck. It was first introduced in the Indian game of chaturanga around the 6th century, and it has not changed.
It is one of the minor officers on the chessboard. A knight is worth three points or the equivalent of three pawns.

The movement of the knight is unique compared to other chess pieces. The knight’s ability to jump over other pieces makes it especially beneficial in games when the center of the board is occupied by pawns that prevent other pieces from moving.
The knight must always move in the shape of an L, with two spaces in one direction followed by one perpendicular space, or vice versa. The game begins with each player having two knights.


Chess pieces names: Bishop
Chess pieces names: Bishop

The bishop is the piece with a slit cut in the head. In medieval chess, the bishop’s predecessor, shatranj (originally chaturanga), was the al-fil, which could leap two squares along any diagonal and jump over an intervening piece. The modern bishop first appeared in Courier chess shortly after 1200.

The bishop, like the knight, is a minor piece worth three pawns or points. The bishop may move any number of diagonal spaces in any direction. A bishop will always remain on the same color of square it began the game.

ALSO READ: How To Set Up A Chessboard Easily: Placing The 6 Pieces


Chess pieces names: Rook
Chess pieces names: Rook

Formerly, the rook (from the Persian rukh, meaning chariot) was called the tower, marquess, rector, and comes (count or earl). The rook is sometimes called the castle. The rook is considered to be informal, incorrect, or even old-fashioned.
In medieval shatranj, the rook symbolized a chariot. In modern times it is mostly known as an elephant to Hindi-speaking players.

The rook is a major piece worth five pawns. A rook moves any number of squares across the chess board vertically or horizontally. Like other non-knight pieces, the rook advances through empty spaces and captures an opponent piece by occupying its location. The combination of a bishop, a knight, and a pair of bishops or knights is somewhat greater in value than a rook. And the combined value of two rooks is regarded as greater than a queen.


istockphoto 916516826 170667a
Chess pieces names: Queen

Originally, the queen was the counselor, prime minister, or vizier. Its only move at first was one square diagonally. However, its abilities were enhanced around 1300, allowing it to jump two squares diagonally (onto a same-colored square) for its first move.

The modern queen is the most valuable piece in chess and plays an important role in many chess strategies. The queen is worth nine points in material terms, equivalent to three minor pieces, nearly as valuable as both rooks, and more valuable than all of your pawns combined. In addition, the queen can move in any direction across the chessboard. The rule of chess assigns the queen the ability that combines the move of the rook and bishop, making it an extremely dangerous and strategic piece.

The queen is the piece with a crown on its head (don’t mistake it for the king).



chess king
Chess pieces names: King

The king’s predecessor is the piece of the same name in shatranj. Like the modern king, it is the most important piece in the game and can move to any neighboring square. However, in shatranj, baring the king is a win unless the opponent can do the same immediately afterward; stalemating the king is a win, and castling does not exist.

The king is the most important piece. Chess strategies involve finding ways to protect the king while threatening an opponent’s king. The king can move in any direction, but only one square at a time. The king appears to be a versatile piece, but there is one crucial exception: the king can never move into a square being assaulted by an opponent’s piece (the king can never place itself in check).

It implies that a king cannot be adjacent to another king. While each player must guard their king, it may become a strong offensive piece in the endgame. Checkmate is the final stage of a chess game, which signifies the defensive king has been defeated. You can identify the king with the cross on its head.

Chess Pieces Names
Chess pieces names

Chess pieces names vary between ethnicity, but the most general names are King, Queen, Rook, Bishop, Knight, and Pawn.

ALSO READ: How To Carve Chess Pieces: The Making Of 16 Great Soldiers

Was this helpful? Share it with a friend :)
Follow ChessForSharks on social media

join the conversation

Leave the first comment

Work With Us

We help chess brands create engaging and converting content
We help innovative Chess brands and influencers create content that sparks engagement and drives revenue
Content WritingContent PromotionContent StrategyContent Optimization

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Call to action

You may also like...

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.

Get notified once the ebook is live

* indicates required