Chess is a game that has been played for thousands of years with the same basic set of rules. The board consists of 64 squares and each player has 16 pieces. The pieces come in two colors, black and white. Each piece has a different move set and a different purpose.
Let's take a look at the different chess pieces and what they bring to the game:
Pawns are the weakest chess piece, but also the most numerous. On its first move, a pawn can move either one or two squares forward. After that, it can only move one square at a time, and only forward – never backward or sideways.
Pawns can only attack diagonally across the board to capture an opponent’s piece. When a pawn reaches the opposing side it is ‘promoted’ into another chess piece – typically a queen – giving it much more versatility on the board. This is called ‘Queening’ or ‘Promotion’, and is an important part of any strategy as it gives additional strength and resources to your side of the game.
Rooks are a type of chess piece that move in a straight line along the ranks and files of a chessboard. Rooks can move any number of squares in any direction. At the beginning of the game, each player has two rooks, one on either side e2-e4 and h2-h4.
A named variation of rooks is called Castling which, when set up correctly, allows the same rook to take two moves at once: one to get out of the way and one to occupy it’s desired square. This special move can be performed only once per game per each side and only when neither king nor rook have yet been moved.
Capturing is another important function of rooks – they can capture any piece in their path or even diagonal by putting it ‘in check’ or pressuring it out of its current position. This is an important tactical skill for maneuvering your pieces around the board quickly as well as setting up combination attacks with other pieces that can lead to mate traps or significant gains in material strength.
Knights, represented by horse-like figures, move in an “L” shaped pattern – two squares in a direction either horizontally or vertically, then one square in the perpendicular direction. They can jump over other pieces when they move forward but are unable to capture pieces that share their colors.
When challenging opponents of higher skill level, Knights should be used strategically as they are able to defend openings on the board and can be developed to support more mobile bishops and rooks. Games usually require sacrificing a knight at some point in order to achieve the desired objective for attaining checkmate.
Notable chess piece combinations utilizing Knights include:
- Fianchetto Attack (white pawns push close to its Queen with two minor pieces)
- The Fool’s Mate or Scholar’s mate (utilizing two knights flanking both sides of the King)
- The Cambridge Spring Attack (black knight positions itself so white cannot build its kingside castle effectively)
Bishops are a major piece in the game of chess. They are worth three points each and move diagonally any number of squares along a straight line on the board. A bishop can be used to control multiple squares at once, and it is considered a strong piece due to its “long reach“. The value of a bishop increases when it is used with other pieces in checkmate, and each side starts out with two bishops in the beginning of the game. They can be differentiated by color; one white and one black.
The destination square must always be empty or occupied by an opponent's piece, in which case it is taken (captured). Bishops move differently from knights – they cannot jump over other pieces – and this characteristic often leads them into advantageous positions early on in the game. Bishops are also important defensive pieces, which can help protect their king from attack. In certain positions, having control of all four diagonals with two bishops can also be central to winning material or checkmating an opponent.
Despite this, however, it is often said that bishops are most effective working together as a pair!
The Queen is the most powerful and important piece on a chessboard. She is able to move in any direction, including diagonally, along a full 8 squares. The queen has the power of both the Rook and Bishop piece combined, allowing her to capture many pieces very quickly in a match.
When considering strategy with the Queen, always keep in mind that given her enormous potential for attack, she also has an equally large vulnerability to attack. When moving her about the board or planning out your strategy for an entire game it is important to take into account how and where you can protect her along with your other pieces.
On average, each side starts each game out with one Queen; though if either of them are taken/captured during normal gameplay then it is possible for both players to be left without Queens on the board. This can drastically change how each player strategizes their moves as now many of their opportunities for massive attacks (as what comes with using a Queen) are suddenly gone.
The King is the most important chess piece and the one with the greatest number of special movements. The King can move one square in any direction – forward, backward, left, or right – but it cannot move itself into check. This means that a King may not move onto a square that would cause it to be attacked by one of the opponent’s pieces.
In addition, a special move called Castling is unique to the King and Rook pieces. Castling allows both pieces to move towards one another, switching places in order to protect the King more effectively and set up strategic openings for attack. A successful Castle requires that all spaces between pieces be clear and that the King and Rook have not yet moved. This allows the player to achieve optimal balance between defense and offense, and counter-attack opportunities arise during game-play.
History of Chess Pieces
The game of chess has been around for centuries and its pieces have a long and rich history. The black and white pieces we are familiar with today have evolved significantly over the years, with a variety of shapes and sizes.
In this article, we will explore the history of the chess pieces from their humble beginnings to the finely crafted pieces we know today.
Origin of the Chess Pieces
The history of chess pieces dates back to the 6th century. The earliest known set of chess pieces consist of elaborately carved pieces made of ivory, representing 16 different figures, which could represent warriors or royalty. These were used by both Indian and Chinese cultures at that time.
The original game rules used in this era involved two players competing on a four by eight grid representing a battlefield, while two armies faced off against each other with sixteen human figures made up of eight pawns, two rooks, two knights, two bishops, one queen and one king per side. As the game evolved through the ages the identities of these individuals changed over time along with their positions on the board. Eventually both the black and white sets became standardized in terms of material used to make them and also their shapes and sizes as well as their representations for each piece.
At first these pieces were heavily decorated carvings made from bone or ivory but soon crudely carved wooden sets became popular among less affluent players. It wasn’t until around 1850 when a breakthrough was made in terms of material used to make chess sets when John Jaques & Son began producing them from beautifully carved boxwood much like what we see today in modern sets. The stands and boards also changed from flat surfaces to those that depicted abstract art or scenes from classic battles or historical events while still mainly preserving their core form and function set out by original innovators centuries ago.
Evolution of Chess Pieces
The game of chess has been played for centuries, and over time it has changed and developed. Many of these changes have come in the form of the evolution of the chess pieces themselves. After looking at the many forms and styles that have come throughout history, you can gain an appreciation for how essential they are to this classic game.
From its inception in 600AD, Indian Chaturanga used a variously sized board with 8×8 squares arranged in a checkered pattern. The pieces were made from ivory or clay and featured four different types: infantry (soldiers), cavalry (horses), elephants, and an enlarged rook-like chariot (symbolizing royal authority).
Chess became relatively popular throughout Europe during the 12th century. To directly compete with many other similar games being promoted by merchants, bishops began to copy Indian chess pieces to their own liking using stone or wood materials. These pieces reflected contemporary power structure – a majestic king enthroned on a throne, crowned queen standing next to him on one side accompanied by his court officers on the other: bishops wearing tall miters and knights mounted on horses.
By mid-15th century, modern chess pieces (Staunton design) had finally taken form featuring minor improvements implemented during ensuing centuries such as two additional pieces – queen replacing maharaja (a higher ranked than king chariot/elephant) and more realistically shaped bishops along with distinctive rooks rather than castle towers typical for medieval times along with knights resembling horses found in fields around Europe that time.
These ‘classic’ Staunton style pieces still define contemporary look of our current chess sets however modern manufacturers vie for customization creating vast arrays of interesting themes and characters with 3D printing capabilities now readily available allowing anyone to create almost any desired creative set that could fit any occasion or setting as well as smaller travel sets ready replace ‘old fashioned’ wooden classic versions!
Different Types of Chess Pieces
Chess is a game of strategy, which requires players to use skill, logic, and intuition to outsmart their opponents. To play the game, players use a combination of black and white chess pieces, each with its own purpose. The details of the different types of chess pieces, including how they move, their value, and how they can be used to win, are crucial for any avid chess player.
Let's look closer at the different types of chess pieces:
Black and White Chess Pieces
Chess is an ancient game of skill and strategy that still remains popular today, played by millions of people in homes and clubs around the world. In chess, two players, one with white pieces and one with black pieces, aim to checkmate the other's king. While the rules of chess remain fairly constant, the pieces used in the game can vary depending on the type of chess being played and who's playing it.
Black and White Chess Pieces
Modern chess makes use of two distinct sets of pieces: black pieces typically called “dark” or “black” pieces; and white pieces typically called “light” or “white” pieces. Each set consists of a total number of 16 chesspieces: one King (or monarch), one Queen (or regent), two Rooks (or castling towers), two Bishops (from castle diagonals), two Knights (from knight moves) and eight Pawns (from forward movements). Together these are referred to as major components or material due to their importance in victory – otherwise known as checkmate.
These basic major components have hundreds if not thousands variations depending on region, craftsmanship or process used in their manufacture such as injection moulded plastic, wood turnings or even carved marble figurines arranged on a board full decorated with mosaics. Indeed some boards substitute human figures for each piece like warriors riding horses mixed with elephants or birds strutting through forests complete with trees!
Antique Chess Pieces
Antique chess pieces are generally more decorative than their more modern counterparts and are usually carved from exotic materials such as walrus ivory, boxwood or a combination of ebony and natural woods. It is this handcrafted detail that makes antique chess pieces stand out from the crowd.
The pawns are usually the smaller pieces among antique sets, with finely detailed heads but few distinguishing features otherwise. The knights often feature robustly crafted horse heads, with intricate detailing on the mane. Each one usually has a highly individualized shape to reflect its quality and significance in antique chess sets.
The rooks can be either slender in form or feature formidable-looking towers, while the bishops feature elaborate headdresses that differ greatly between separate sets of bishops – reversible bishops used to be common amongst many antique chess sets. The queens often have delicate facial features or signs of emotion, while the king is typically topped with an ornate crown or coronet. Some of the most exquisite antique sets include elaborately worked-out details such as courtiers and servants gracing the presence around their monarchs.
Unique Chess Pieces
Chess sets come in all shapes, sizes, and styles. The chess pieces used in international play come in two distinct colors: black and white. However, there are a variety of unique and inte