Chess moves, meaning, the name with pictures of each chess pieces

each chess piece

Each chess piece has its name and different moves, and if you are starting to learn about chess and want to know specific rules about these chess pieces, this article will help you.

When I was learning how to play chess, I wanted to know more about each chess piece because I know some special moves and meanings of the move will help me play chess well.

I want to share what I have learned for so many years and added some useful information that I know you will enjoy!

First, let’s talk about the names of each chess piece.

What are the pieces in chess called?

There should exactly be 16 pieces for each chess player, but chess sets have an extra 1 piece each – which will total to 34 chess pieces. That extra chess piece is the Queen because of the possibility of pawn promotions.

I bought mine here, and the chess set includes two extra Queens.

So, what are the 16 pieces in chess called? They are the King, Queen, Bishop, Knight, Rook, and Pawn. You can check out the table below, and I will include an image for each chess piece as well.

chess pieces

Above are the actual images of each chess piece with their names included.

Now that you know what the chess pieces’ names are, you can start setting up the chessboard.

You can check this article on how to set up your chessboard correctly. You can refer back to this article once you finished reading setting up a chessboard.

Related article: Board set up for chess: Helpful how-to guide

How does each chess piece move?

The next thing you should learn is how the chess pieces move – there are basic moves and special moves that you need to be familiar with when you are just starting to play chess.

I will be going to show you the complete basic moves first and also the special move!

Here are the basic moves of each chess pieces:

The King moves one square at a time. 

Note: Although the King moves one square at a time, the King is the most important chess piece on the board.

See the move of the King below:


The Queen moves like a Bishop and Rook. 

Note: Most of the time the Queen is the main piece to checkmate the King.

See the move of the Queen below:


The Bishop moves diagonally.

Note: The Bishop is very useful for direct and long range attacks!

See the move of the Bishop below:

Bishop moves

The Knight moves in an L-shape pattern.

Note: It is the only chess piece that can jump over any other chess piece.

See the move of the Knight below:

Knight moves

The Rook moves vertically or horizontally

Note: The Rook is very powerful especially in the end game but develops a little bit later during the opening game.

See the move of the Rook below:

Rook moves

The Pawn moves one square at a time but has some really cool special moves.

Note: The Pawn can be very powerful especially if they get the chance to reach the end of the opposite board.

See the move of the Pawn below:

Related article: A Helpful Guide To Pawn Promotion

Now that you are familiar with the basic moves of each chess piece. It’s time to check each chess piece if they do have some special moves in chess.

The King does have a special move called castling.

Note: Castling should be done early in the game to avoid having your King stuck in the starting position and be vulnerable for attacks.

See the special move of King below:

Castling chess
The first step is to move your King and placed it on g1 square
Castling chess
The second step is move the Rook around the King and on the f1 square
Castling chess
This is the Kingside castling should look like

The Queen does not have any special moves, but the Queen can be used for pinning, forks, skewers, and x-ray tactics.

Queen moves
Pinning the Black Knight
Queen moves
Fork attack of the White Queen
Skewer the Black King and Black Queen
Queen moves
Xray tactics together with the White Bishop to capture the Black Queen and Black Bishop

The Bishop does not have any special moves, but the Bishop can be useful for pinning, forks, skewers, and x-ray tactics.

Pinning the Knight
Fork attack of the White Bishop
Skewer attack of the White Bishop
Xray attack of the White Bishop on the Black Rook

The Knight doesn’t have any special moves, although it’s the only chess piece that can jump over other chess pieces. The Knight is very useful for attacking pieces using forks.

Knight moves
White Knight fork attack of the Black Queen and Black King

The Rook does not have any special moves, but the Rook is useful for skewers, pinning, forks, and x-ray tactics.

Rook moves
Rook Pinning the Black Bishop
Rook moves
Rook Skewer attack on the Black King
Rook moves
Fork attack of Rook
Rook moves
Xray attack of the Rook

The Pawn has at least 3 special moves in chess;

Here are the special moves of the Pawn:

First, the Pawn can move two squares from its initial position and one square after.

The second special move is that it can capture pieces using a special move called en passant.

Related article: What is the point of en passant in the game of chess?

When you are using an online chess app just like this you will be asked to choose which piece you want to promote your pawn.

Pawn’s third special move is promotion – pawns can turn into any chess pieces of its same color except for King if it reaches the board’s last opposite rank.

Now that you know the basic moves and special moves of each chess piece – I would like to share some of each piece’s meaning.

What does each chess piece mean?

There are some interesting stories and facts about what each chess piece means. In this section, we are going to learn about them.

You might want to learn about this so you can teach them to your friends… 😉

When I was studying chess during my younger years, I already have an idea of what the game of chess and each chess piece means…

I always thought of the chessboard as the battleground, and the white and black pieces represent a Kingdom.

Now here is where all the pieces come together.

Pawns, Rooks, Knights, Bishops, Queens and Kings board setup

Let me share my thoughts and ideas about the meaning of each chess piece.

What is the meaning of the Pawn in chess?

Chess players have eight pawns each, and it is a fact that a kingdom needs laborers or workers, but in this case, the pawns can also represent the frontline soldiers.

I consider them the bravest, and each of the pawns has a chance to become a high-rank official, just like in the real world. If they do their job well, they can get promoted and can win the game of chess.

What is the meaning of the Rook in chess?

For me, the Rook looks like the tower of the castle; if you look at a real-life castle, there are towers where archers can be positioned and attack.

The archers from the tower can make long-range and attack in their front, back, and side, just like the Rook’s move in a chess game.

I always like the Rooks because they are really powerful, for me, and you can still win the game if you have two Rooks against a Queen and King.

What is the meaning of Knight in chess?

The Knight also referred to as a horse, is considered a professional soldier. It is called a Knight, just like a soldier in medieval times where a Knight is an elite soldier bound to protect the King.

I like to imagine the Knight in chess as a guy riding a horse. Knight is important in the game of chess as it is the only chess piece that can jump over any chess piece.

What is the meaning of Bishop in chess?

The Bishop in chess, according to experts, represents the church or religious entity. The meaning of Bishop is referred to as a senior member of the Christian clergy if we search the dictionary.

I imagine Bishop in chess as a person holding a staff that is considered holy.

What is the meaning of Queen and King in chess?

Well, in chess, the King is the most important piece on the board, and in real life, that is true at the same time; it is very powerful as a ruler of a particular Kingdom. However, in chess, the King’s moves are considered weak.

Compared to the Queen in chess, which has the power of the Rook and Bishop. Queens in real life are rulers as well, and considered to be powerful too!

Wrapping Up

There you go, you’ve just learned the chess moves, names even saw the pictures of each chess piece, including its meaning.

I made this article for beginners in mind, but this can be very useful as a reference for special moves and interesting meanings of the chess pieces you are playing.

If you are playing chess online, you must also be familiar with each chess piece’s image or symbol. You don’t want to commit any blunder just because you thought the King is a Queen… lol! 

If you want to learn more about some chess guides, you can check out this page

I hope you learned something new; if you want to share this with your friends or family who want to learn chess, I would very much appreciate it! Enjoy learning chess!

Gary Flores

Hi there! I'm a dad with kids who loves to learn how to play chess by learning online - also, this is my way of refreshing my knowledge about this game of tactics & strategy. I created to inspire people who are also learning, re-learning or teaching their kids the game of chess.

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