Names Of Chess Pieces and their moves

Chess is one of the most popular games in the world. At the initial phase, beginners feel difficult to understand the names of chess pieces and their moves. Chess is played with a set of rules and the aim is to win by checkmating the opponent. To better understand the game, it’s very much important to understand the pieces. Let’s understand the names of chess pieces.

Names of chess pieces are King, Queen, Rook, Bishop, Knight and Pawn. There is a total of 32 pieces on the board, 16 pieces each for both white and black. The Rook, Bishop and Knight come in pairs and there are 8 pawns on the board for each side. There is only one King and one Queen for each side, with white to play first.

Understanding Chess Pieces

Value of Chess Pieces

value of chess pieces
Understand chess pieces


King is the most important piece on the chessboard. A player can win the game by checkmating the opponent’s king. The king can only move one square, in any direction. If the king comes under the radar of enemy piece movement, it is called ‘check’. The king cannot remain or move into check.

The king can move to any of the squares marked as green circles. King is represented as K, in chess notations.


Queen is the 2nd most powerful piece on the chessboard. Queen can move vertically, horizontally and diagonally in chess. Basically, you can tell queen as the combination of rook and bishop. You will understand rook and bishop down the article.

Queen can cover any of the squares drawn as circles. Since the queen is able to control, thus making it the strongest piece(after King) on a chess game.


Rooks are the 3rd strongest piece on chess. Rooks can move both horizontally and vertically. There are 2 rooks for the white and the black.

Check out the movement of the rook. The rook can move on to any of the squares marked in circles.


Bishops can only move diagonally in chess. There are two bishops in each army, light and dark-squared bishops. The light square bishop cannot move to black square and vice versa.

The dark square bishop can move to the squares marked as green and the light-squared bishop can move on to the squared marked in red.


Knight is the only piece who can jump over other chess pieces. The knight movestwo steps forward and one step sideways in any direction. There are 2 knights on the chessboard for both sides.

Check out the squares where the knight can move.

Note: Knight on the light square can only jump to dark square and dark square knight can only jump to light squares on next available move.


A pawn moves one square forward on each move. However, on its first move, every pawn has an additional possibility of moving two squares forward.

Ancient Names of chess pieces

Chess was invented in India around the 8th century, which was known as ChaturangaOpens in a new tab.. It was then taken to the courts of Persia and there it was named ShatranjOpens in a new tab.. The names of chess pieces in chaturanga are different from modern chess pieces names.

The below table shows the names of chess pieces in the chaturanga ( source Wikipedia )


To sum up, each chess pieces have its own role and moves. Proper understanding of chess pieces and their moves helps beginners to be better at chess.

Hope the articles help you to understand the names of chess pieces and their roles.

Also Read:

Harikrishnan A

I am an International Fide Rated player with 10+ years of experience. Played many International Chess Tournaments and Commonwealth games.

Recent Posts