Whether you’re getting into chess for the first time or need a refresher on what the chess pieces names are, this article will help catch you up to speed as quickly as possible. Chess follows a set rule of movement and victory conditions.
Each piece has a certain value, or importance, along with a set movement pattern. You’ll find that the King has a different value from the Queen, but most people play chess without understanding piece value and likely lose many games because of it.
Chess Pieces Names
For those wondering where the chess pieces’ names came from, here’s a brief history. The chess pieces’ names are close translations from the Indian language. For example, the King is a direct translation of Shah.
Whether it’s yours or your opponent’s, black and white chess pieces must follow the standard rules regardless of color. The following list arranges the chess pieces names from valuable to least valuable:
The King is the centerpiece of each game. The main purpose of each chess game is to capture the King and claim victory. Each side has one King, and your goal is to protect your King at all costs. Protecting your King takes great thinking, strategy, and a solid opener.
To understand chess openings, chess pieces names, and strategies, consider taking this course: Chess Openings: Chess Strategy for Beginners.
What Is the King’s Value?
The King is the one piece in chess that doesn’t have an exact point value. The King has no point value since you’ll lose the game if your opponent captures it. Regardless, you can see the King as the most valuable piece.
How Does the King Move?
The King has a few limitations along with any movements. The King can move in any space but only one at a time. While it can move one space in any direction, it can’t move into an area where your opponent can capture it. This rule limits the King’s movement more than most pieces.
Each piece has a certain value, or importance, along with a set movement pattern.
Next to the King, the Queen is the next most valuable piece. The Queen is a piece that adapts and moves in many ways. Most games revolve around keeping the Queen in check to ensure she can’t capture the opponent’s King or do too much damage on the board.
What Is the Queen’s Value?
There is only one Queen, and it has a nine-point rating value. The Queen has such a high value because of its overall board presence. The Queen has such strong movement that if you lose your Queen before the enemy does, you’re likely staring at a loss.
How Does the Queen Move?
The Queens movement is a combination of the Rook and the Bishops movement. The Queen can move limitlessly diagonally and horizontally in an X and Cross pattern. The Queen’s only limitation is the pieces that block her path.
The Rook is the next most valuable piece on the board, next to the Queen. The Rook has a history of making impressive back-rank plays and closing out long games. You’ll see Rooks start to make their moves around the mid to late game of chess.
What Is the Rook’s Value?
Each player receives two Rooks, and each Rook has a five-point value. The Rook’s value comes from its movement and support power. The Rook can support pieces from across the board and create dangerous positions for your opponent.
How Does the Rook Move?
The Rook can move horizontally and vertically across the entire board. Additionally, the Rook can perform a move known as castling to help the King move one extra space on either side of the board with a few restrictions.
The Bishop and Knight are in a strange position. Depending on whom you ask, the Bishop is more valuable than the Knight. For transparency, the Bishop is above the Knight because one has to come before, but both pieces have advantages and disadvantages.
What Is the Bishop’s Value?
Each player has two Bishops, and each Bishop has a three-point value. Bishops can make strong plays across the board and are most powerful when they’re at the center of the board.
How Does the Bishop Move?
The Bishop has complete diagonal movement across the board. You will always have one Bishop on a white tile and the other on a black tile. You’ll never have both of your Bishops on the same color tile.
The Knight is one of the most well-known pieces. When creating chess sets, the Knight and Queen have the most detail and attention put into creating them. The Knight and the Bishop may not move the same, but both can create excellent positions for chess players.
What Is the Knight’s Value?
Each player will have two Knights. The Knight, like the Bishop, has a three-point value. Knights should stay near the center of the board to support and defend pieces as effectively as possible. You’ll rarely see a Knight at the edges of the chessboard.
How Does the Knight Move?
The Knight has the most interesting movement out of all the chess pieces. The Knight is unique because it moves by jumping over pieces instead of sliding around the chessboard. The Knight moves in an L or Y shape pattern in all directions.
The Pawn is the most common piece you’ll see on the chessboard and becomes more valuable as the game continues.
What Is the Pawn’s Value?
Each player has eight Pawns, and each Pawn is worth one point. The Pawn is the one piece that can change its value throughout the game. If the Pawn reaches the very back rank of the enemy field, it can transform into any piece except for the King.
How Does the Pawn Move?
The Pawn can only move forward a single space and can only capture diagonally. Each player can move any other of their Pawns two spaces one time on that Pawn’s first move.
Main Takeaways: Chess Pieces Names, Moves, and Values
Each chess piece has a set value, but it’s up to the player to use those pieces to their full potential. Remember your movement and keep studying to improve.
Chess starts with a proper foundation of chess pieces’ names, moves, and values. Now that you know what the pieces do, you can continue expanding your chess knowledge. Remember, learning never stops in chess, so consider learning from one of Amphy’s many chess coaches.