Chess piece: Wikis


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Original Staunton chess pieces, left to right: pawn, rook, knight, bishop, queen, and king.
Staunton chess pieces on chess board with chess clock.
Chess pieces
Chess kdt45.svg King Chess klt45.svg
Chess qdt45.svg Queen Chess qlt45.svg
Chess rdt45.svg Rook Chess rlt45.svg
Chess bdt45.svg Bishop Chess blt45.svg
Chess ndt45.svg Knight Chess nlt45.svg
Chess pdt45.svg Pawn Chess plt45.svg

Chess pieces vary in both value and abilities. A standard chess match consists of each player having the following equipment:

Additional queens, rooks, bishops or knights may be produced by the promotion of pawns (so in theory a player may have up to nine queens, ten rooks, ten bishops, or ten knights).

One side is referred to as "White" and the other as "Black" (see White and Black in chess). To distinguish between the two, the black pieces are darker than the white pieces. The Staunton chess set is the standard style for tournament or casual play. Besides these standard pieces, there exist many chess variants or certain kinds of chess problems that call for non-standard fairy pieces.

The word piece has three meanings, depending on the context. First, it may mean any of the physical pieces of the set, including any of the pawns. Second, it may be used to exclude pawns, referring only to a queen, rook, bishop, or knight, and perhaps also the king. (In this case, the general term for piece or pawn is man.) Third, it may refer only to a minor piece (a bishop or knight). The context should make the intended meaning clear (Burgess 2000:478), (Hooper & Whyld 1992).


Movement of the pieces

Start of chess board.
a8 black rook b8 black knight c8 black bishop d8 black queen e8 black king f8 black bishop g8 black knight h8 black rook
a7 black pawn b7 black pawn c7 black pawn d7 black pawn e7 black pawn f7 black pawn g7 black pawn h7 black pawn
a2 white pawn b2 white pawn c2 white pawn d2 white pawn e2 white pawn f2 white pawn g2 white pawn h2 white pawn
a1 white rook b1 white knight c1 white bishop d1 white queen e1 white king f1 white bishop g1 white knight h1 white rook
End of chess board.
Starting position

Each piece moves in a different way.

  • The rook moves any number of vacant squares along rows or columns (forward, backward, left or right). It also is involved (with the king) in the special move called castling.
  • The bishop moves any number of vacant squares diagonally. Consequently a bishop stays on squares of the same color throughout a game.
  • The queen moves any number of vacant squares in any direction along a row, column, or diagonal.
  • The king moves only one vacant square in any direction. It can also castle in conjunction with a rook.
  • The knight moves to a vacant square in an "L"-shape (two spaces forward, backward, left, or right and one space perpendicular to it). The knight can jump over other pieces when moving.
  • The pawn can only move forward one space, or optionally two spaces when on its starting square, in a straight line away from the player. When there is an enemy piece one square diagonally ahead from the pawn (either left or right), then the pawn may capture that piece. A pawn can perform a special type of capture of an enemy pawn called en passant. If the pawn reaches a back rank of the opposite player, it undergoes promotion to the player's choice of a rook, bishop, queen or knight (Just & Burg 2003:13–16).

Pieces capture opposing pieces by replacing them on their square, except for an en passant capture. Pieces other than the pawn capture in the same way they move. A captured piece is removed from the board. Only one piece may occupy a given square. Except for castling and the movement of the knight, a piece may not move over another piece (Just & Burg 2003:13–16).

Chess sets

A St. George style set
Staunton pieces in rosewood

The variation of designs available is broad, from small cosmetic changes to highly abstract representations to themed designs such as those that emulate the drawings from the works of Lewis Carroll or modern treatments such as Star Trek or The Simpsons. Themed designs are usually intended for display rather than for actual play (Hooper & Whyld 1992:76). Some works of art are designs of chess sets, such as the modernist chess set by chess enthusiast and dadaist Man Ray, which is on display in the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.[1]

Chess pieces used for play are usually figurines that are taller than they are wide. For example, a set of pieces designed for a chessboard with 2¼ inch (57 mm) squares typically have a king around 3¾ inches (95 mm) tall. They are available in a variety of designs, with the most well-known Staunton design, which is named after Howard Staunton (a 19th century English chess player), and was designed by Nathaniel Cook. The first Staunton style sets were made in 1849 by Jaques of London (also known as John Jaques of London and Jaques and Son of London) (Just & Burg 2003:225).

Wooden chess pieces are normally made of the light wood boxwood or sometimes maple. Black wooden pieces are either made of a dark wood such as rosewood, ebony, red sandalwood, or walnut; or they are made of boxwood and stained or painted black, brown, or red. Plastic white pieces are made of white or off-white plastic and black pieces are made of black or red plastic. Sometimes other materials are used, such as bone, ivory, or a composite material (Just & Burg 2003:224,226).

For actual play, pieces of the Staunton chess set design are the standard. The height of the king should be between 85 mm and 105 mm (3.35 to 4.13 inches). USCF rules call for a king height between 3⅜ and 4½ inches tall (86 to 114 mm). A height of approximately 95 to 102 mm (3¾ to 4 inches) is preferred by most players. The diameter of the king should be 40 to 50 percent of its height. The size of the other pieces should be in proportion to the king. The pieces should be well balanced. The size of the squares of the chessboard should be approximately 1.25–1.3 times the diameter of the base of the king, or 50 to 65 mm (2 to 2½ inches). Squares of size of approximately 57 mm (2¼ inches) normally are well-suited for pieces with the kings in the preferred size range. These criteria are from the United States Chess Federation's Official Rules of Chess, which is based on the Fédération Internationale des Échecs rules (Just & Burg 2003:224–27).

Some small magnetic sets, designed to be compact and/or for travel, have pieces more like those used in Shogi and Xiangqi — each piece being a similar flat token, with a symbol drawn on it to show which piece it is.

On computers, chess pieces are often 2-D symbols on a 2-D board, although some programs have fancier 3-D graphics engines with more traditional designs of chess pieces.

Unicode contains symbols for chess pieces in both white and black.

Grandmaster Larry Evans offers this advice on buying a set (Evans 1974:18):

"Make sure the one you buy is easy on the eye, felt-based, and heavy (weighted). The men should be constructed so they don't come apart. ... The regulation board used by the U. S. Chess Federation is green and buff — never red and black. However there are several good inlaid [wood] boards on the market. ... Avoid cheap equipment. Chess offers a lifetime of enjoyment for just a few dollars well spent at the outset."

Relative value

The value assigned to a piece attempts to represent the strength this piece potentially has in a game. With game circumstances constantly changing, so do the values assigned to the pieces. To maximize the value of your pieces you must take advantage of their special abilities. For example, a bishop positioned to control a long, open diagonal appears more valuable than a knight stuck in a corner. Similar ideas apply to placing rooks on open files and knights on active, central squares (Hooper & Whyld 1992:438).

Piece names

Language King Queen Rook Bishop Knight Pawn Chess Check Checkmate
figurine ♔ ♚ ♕ ♛ ♖ ♜ ♗ ♝ ♘ ♞ ♙ ♟ ... + #
Afrikaans K Koning D Dame T Toring L Loper R Ruiter (P) Pion Skaak Skaak Skaakmat
Arabic م مَلِك و وزير ر رخ/طابية ف فيل ح حصان ب بيدق/عسكري شطرنج كِش مَلِك كِش مات
Bānglā R Rājā M Montri N Noukā G Gôjo Gh ghodā (B) Bore Dābā Kisti Māt
Belarusian К кароль Вз візыр Лд ладзьдзя А афіцэр В вершнік (Л) латнік Шахматы Шах Мат
Bulgarian Ц цар Д дама Т топ О офицер К кон (П) пешка Шахмат/Шах Шах (Шах и) мат
Catalan R rei D dama/reina T torre A alfil C cavall (P) peó Escacs Escac/ Xec Escac i mat
Chinese K Q R B N 國際象棋 將軍 將死
Croatian K kralj D dama/kraljica T top/kula L lovac/laufer S skakač/konj (P) pješak Šah Šah Šah mat
Czech K král D dáma V věž S střelec J jezdec (P) pěšec Šachy Šach Mat
Danish K konge D dronning T tårn L løber S springer (B) bonde Skak Skak Skakmat
Dutch K koning D dame / koningin T toren L loper P paard (P) pion Schaken Schaak Mat / Schaakmat
English K king Q queen R rook B bishop N/Kt knight (P) pawn Chess Check Checkmate
Esperanto R reĝo D damo T turo K kuriero Ĉ ĉevalo (P) peono Ŝako Ŝak Ŝakmato
Estonian K kuningas L lipp V vanker O oda R ratsu (E) ettur Male Tuli Matt
Finnish K kuningas D daami/ kuningatar T torni L lähetti R ratsu (S) sotilas Shakki Shakki Matti/ Shakkimatti
French R roi D dame T tour F fou C cavalier (P) pion Échecs Échec Échec et mat
German K König D Dame T Turm L Läufer S Springer (B) Bauer Schach Schach Schachmatt
Greek Ρ βασιλιάς Β βασίλισσα Π πύργος Α αξιωματικός Ι ίππος (Σ) πιόνι Σκάκι Σαχ Mάτ
Hebrew מ מלך מה מלכה צ צריח ר רץ פ פרש רגלי שחמט שח מט
Hindi R raja V vajeer H hathi O oont G ghoda (P) pyada Shatranj Shah Maat
Hungarian K király V vezér B bástya F futó H huszár (P) gyalog/ paraszt Sakk Sakk Matt
Icelandic K kóngur D drottning H hrókur B biskup R riddari (P) peð Skák Skák Skák og mát
Indonesian R raja M menteri B benteng G gajah K kuda (P) pion Catur Skak Skak mati
Irish R B banríon C caiseal E easpag D ridire (F) fichillín/ ceithearnach Ficheall Sáinn Marbhsháinn
Italian R re D donna T torre A alfiere C cavallo (P) pedone Scacchi Scacco Scacco matto
Japanese K キング (kingu) Q クイーン (kuīn) R ルーク (rūku) B ビショップ (bishoppu) N ナイト (naito) (P) ポーン (pōn) チェス (chesu) 王手/
チェック (chekku)
チェックメイト (chekkumeito)
Korean K Q R B 비숍 N 나이트 (P) 체스 체크 체크메이트
Latin K rex G regina T turris E episcopus Q eques (P) pedes Scacci Scaccus Mattus
Latvian K karalis D dāma T tornis L laidnis Z zirgs (B) bandinieks Šahs Šahs Šahs un mats
Lithuanian K karalius V valdovė B bokštas R rikis Ž žirgas (P) pėstininkas Šachmatai Šach Matas
Luxembourgish K kinnek D damm T tuerm L leefer P päerd (B) bauer Schach Schach Schachmatt
Mongolian Н ноён (lord) Б бэрс (ferz) т тэрэг (chariot) Т тэмээ (camel) М морь (rider) (Х) хүү (paige) Шатар шаг, дуг, цод мад
Norwegian K konge D dronning T tårn L løper S springer (B) bonde Sjakk Sjakk Sjakkmatt
Persian ش شاه و وزیر ق/ر قلعه/رخ ف فیل ا اسب س سرباز شطرنج کیش کیش‌مات
Polish K król H hetman W wieża G goniec S skoczek (P) pion szachy szach mat (szach-mat / szach i mat)
Portuguese R rei D dama/rainha T torre B bispo C cavalo (P) peão Xadrez Xeque Xeque-mate
Romanian R rege D regină T turn N nebun C cal (P) pion Şah Şah Mat
Russian Кр король Ф ферзь Л ладья С слон К конь (П) пешка Шахматы Шах Мат
Serbian К краљ / kralj Д дама / dama Т топ / top Л ловац / lovac С скакач / skakač (П) пешак / pešak Шах / Šah Шах / Šah Мат / Mat
Sicilian R re D riggina T turru A alferu S scecchu (P) pidinu Scacchi
Slovak K kráľ D dáma V veža S strelec J jazdec (P) pešiak Šach Šach Mat/Šachmat
Slovene K kralj D dama T trdnjava L lovec S skakač (P) kmet Šah Šah Mat/Šahmat
Spanish R rey D dama/reina T torre A alfil C caballo (P) peón Ajedrez Jaque Jaque mate
Swedish K kung D dam T torn L löpare S springare (B) bonde Schack Schack Schack matt!
Tamil K Raja Q Rani R yanai B Mandhiri N/Kt Kudhirai (P) Sepoi Sadhurangam Check Checkmate
Telugu రాజు
Turkish Ş/K şah/kral V vezir K kale F fil A at (P) asker/piyon Satranç Şah Mat
Ukrainian король Ф ферзь T тура C слон K кінь (П) пішак Шахи Шах Мат
Vietnamese V Vua H Hậu X Xe T Tượng M _ Tốt Cờ vua Chiếu Chiếu bí
Welsh T teyrn/brenin B brenhines C castell E esgob M marchog (G) gwerinwr Gwyddbwyll Siach Siachmat
Reference: website

See also



External links


Simple English

[[File:|right|240px|thumb|Original Staunton chess pieces, left to right: pawn, rook, knight, bishop, queen, and king.]] In the board game chess, each player starts with 16 Chess pieces. The moves of the pieces are defined by tradition, and by the international chess federation, FIDE.[1]

The bottom-right square of the board for each player must be white. Remember, "White is right".


Chess pieces
File:Staunton chess
Staunton chess pieces on chess board with chess clock.

Pawn - A pawn can only move ahead, to the far end of the board. A pawn is placed in each square on the second row away from each player at the beginning of a game, right in front of all of their other pieces, so each player begins with eight pawns. Most times, a pawn can only move to one square, the square in front of it. But a pawn that has not moved yet in the game can move ahead two squares, or just one.

If an enemy piece is straight in front of a pawn, the pawn cannot capture that piece. Pawns have a special way to capture. A pawn can capture an enemy piece which is on the diagonal square to the left or right of the square in front of it. This is the only time a pawn can move to a square that is not straight in front of it.

If a pawn reaches the end of the board, it is removed and replaced by any other piece the player chooses, except a king or pawn.

If a pawn moves two squares on its first move, it may be taken (on the opponent's next move only) by an enemy pawn as if it had moved only one. This is called "en passant" (French for "in passing"). A pawn is worth 1 point.

Bishop - A bishop can move any number of squares diagonally, meaning, if you pretend the bishop is in the middle of a big X, it can move to any square along the lines of the X. Because of this, a bishop will be on the same color of squares for the whole game. At the start, a bishop is placed on the third from the left and third from the right of the row of pieces closest to each player. A bishop is worth 3 points.

Knight - The knight is special because it is the only piece than can jump over other pieces. When a knight moves, first it goes two squares in one of the four ways a rook can move. Then the knight ends its move by going one square to the side. The knight is said to move in the shape of an L. See the picture (picture is coming). It "jumps over" the pieces on its way to its new square, and does not capture them, but the knight will capture an enemy piece if it lands on one. Knights are placed at the second and seventh squares on the rows closest to each player, between the rooks and the bishops. A knight is worth 3 points.

Rook - A rook can move any number of squares: left or right on the ranks, and up & down on the files. Rooks start at the far left and far right squares in the row closest to each player, next to the knights. A rook is worth 5 points.

Queen - The queen combines the moves of a bishop and a rook. The queen is placed next to the king on a square of its own colour. Thus the two queens exactly face each other at the start. The queen is worth 9 points.

King - The king starts next to the queen. The king can move to one of the eight squares around it. It is limited as an active piece, but always is vulnerable to attack. No numerical value can be put on it.

A king may perform a special move known as "castling". This is when a king moves two spaces towards a rook, and the rook moves to the square on the other side of the king. This may not be done if:

  1. there are any pieces (friend or enemy) between the king and castling rook
  2. either the king or rook have moved during the game
  3. the king, or any square the king moves through, is threatened by an enemy piece. The king must not castle into check.


  1. Reuben, Stewart 2005. The chess organiser's handbook. 3rd ed, incorporating the FIDE Laws of Chess. Harding Simpole, Devon.


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