Chess pieces names, functions, equipments & more

chess pieces names

A good chess player knows that they must learn the game from its most basic level. And one of the most basic is learning the chess pieces names and its functions. It’s important to know about all pieces if you want to understand how they are played- it’ll make things much easier!

Chess pieces names and functions you are about to learn are the pawn, rook, knight, bishop, queen, king chess pieces. We are going to expand on each piece and share with you equipments that will help you even more.

1. The Pawn

There are so many things you can do with this chess piece, which I’m going to share with you a bit later. Although most of us will say that the pawn has the lowest value or points on the chess board which is only 1 point, well I think the value of the pawn doesn’t really matter when it comes to tactics and strategies.

What I’m trying to say is that you don’t need to focus on which chess piece has the lowest value which doesn’t really matter in my opinion especially if you can turn your pawn to another chess piece, right?

What is the function of the pawn?

Did you know that the pawn moves two spaces? Yes, it can move two squares but only at its initial starting position (see image below). All the eight pawns can move two squares from its starting position but after the initial move it can only move one square after.

Another function of the pawn in chess is that it can become another chess piece if it is able to reach the opposite end of the board, this is what I was saying about pawns value or points doesn’t really matter if you know these tactics and strategies.

Pawns can become another chess piece except for the King of course!

The pawn promotion is a special move in chess that only the pawn piece can do, besides that the pawn piece also have a special capture move called en passant. Yes, that is another important function of the pawn, you can learn more about en passant in this article.

If you are not familiar on how pawns capture chess pieces, just move your pawn diagonally one square forward (see image below). It’s important to know that pawns cannot move backward.

Pawn is also used to fianchetto your bishop, a tactic that popular Grandmaster Bobby Fischer  also loves to play against his opponents.

Recommended pawn chess equipments for beginners

Here are some list of pawn equipments that you should check out;

The Power of Pawns: Chess Structure Fundamentals for Post-beginners

Pawn Structure Chess

Pawn Power in Chess (Dover Chess)

Pawn Sacrifice [DVD]

2. The Rook

This chess piece weakness is that it comes late at the game, there is a special move that you need to perform to get the rook in the game as fast as possible. The rook is considered one of the major pieces on the board and has a value or points of 5.

Once I have the rooks engaged in the game, I most likely have them connected on the same file or rank. This actually makes them stronger and you can do a lot of damage with them connected together.

What is the function of the rook?

The rook does not move or capture diagonally, but it can move backwards on ranks and files horizontally or vertically (see image below). The rook works really well in endgames, that is why you can’t afford to lose a rook when you are about to reach the endgame.

chess pieces names

The only weakness of the rook is that it comes later in the game, except if you perform castling. This special move with the King helps you mobilized the rook faster and your rook will be more active in the game.

Rooks can easily trap or checkmate a King in endgame, you can cover a lot of squares with the use of rooks range. Even with just one rook instead of two you can easily win a game with your King against your opponent’s King.

Recommended rook chess equipments for beginners

Here are some list of rook equipments that you should check out;

Understanding Rook Endgames

One Rook Saves the Day: A World Champion’s Favorite Studies

Understanding Rook vs. Minor Piece Endgames (Understanding Chess Endgames)

3. The Knight

If you want a chess piece that moves totally different from the rest, then the knight is your go-to chess piece. The knight works really well in a closed game, because it can jump over other chess pieces even the friendly pieces.

The knight has a value of 3 points and it can be used as the first piece to move in the opening game, which we usually see pawns as the opening piece of the game. I’ll share some chess opening moves that uses the knight as the opening chess piece.

What is the function of the knight?

The knight can move forward and backward by following the L-shape move on the board. The knight jumps in an L-shape (see image below), and captures pieces on the last square it lands – not the pieces it jumps over.

Just like what I said, the knight can be used in the opening of a game, below are some chess openings you can check out.

1. Réti Opening  

2. Van Geet Opening also called Dunst Opening

3. Alekhine’s Defense

4. Nimzowitsch Defense

5. Queen’s Pawn Opening: Mikėnas Defense

6. Indian Game

You have to be familiar with the openings before you try this moves, there are some books that can help you with improving your game using knights.

Recommended knight chess equipments for beginners

Here are some list of knight equipments that you should check out;

The Sicilian Four Knights: A Simple and Sound Defense to 1. e4

The Knight: The Cunning Cavalry (The Power of the Pieces)

The Four Knights

4. The Bishop

This is another chess piece that has a value of 3 points and considered a minor chess pieces. The bishop could be stronger only if it can move on two different colors on the board – I’ll tell you more about it in a little while.

The bishop is located in c1 and f1 squares for white, and c8 and f8 squares for black at the very beginning of the game. There are games that you would want to have a specific bishop to remain on the board during a certain game and there are times that it would be best to exchange a bishop.

You can also check this article about knight and bishop.

What is the function of the bishop?

The color of the square of the bishop on the board is basically the most important function of the bishop. The bishop can only move on the color of the square where it is positioned. The bishop can move diagonally on it specific square color only (see image below).

I consider that the biggest weakness of the bishop, unless you have both your bishops available in the game, you can attack any color of the squares you wish. There are so many tricks you can do with your bishop as well – you can check out this article about chess tricks!

Recommended bishop chess equipments for beginners

Here are some list of bishop equipments that you should check out;

The Bishop’s Opening (Chess is Fun book 8)

Italian 2. Bc4 Playbook: 200 Positions Bishops Opening for White (Chess Opening Playbook)

Winning with the Bishop’s Opening (Batsford Chess Library)

5. The Queen

The most frustrating part of the game of chess is losing the queen chess piece in the beginning of the game. The reason this happens is that you move your queen very early in the game.

If you know how to take advantage against an opponent who move their queen really early in the opening then you have a greater success in winning the game.

So, when you lose your queen early in the game you can get it back using your pawn, that is amazing, right? You can also check this article about having two or more queens in chess.

What is the function of the queen?

The queen can move on different squares diagonally, horizontally and vertically on different color of squares and can move backwards too (see image below)! Having the queen in endgames can easily checkmate the opponent’s king.

The function of the queen is basically to protect the king and attack simultaneously, when you know how to use your queen really well – you can be unstoppable!

There are books I recommend below which you should check out especially chess opening and combinations!

Recommended queen chess equipments for beginners

Here are some list of queen equipments that you should check out;

The Queen’s Gambit Declined: Move by Move

Queen’s Gambit Tactics: Chess Opening Combinations and Checkmates

Understanding Queen Endgames

Queen’s Gambit Playbook: 200 Opening Chess Positions for White

6. The King

The last chess piece that we are going to learn is the king, many says that this is the most important piece on the board – well, I say yes and no! Yes, the king is very important since the ultimate aim of the game is to checkmate the king!

I can’t say that the king is the only important piece on the board, actually I believe all the chess pieces are very important, including your tactics and chess strategy.

What is the function of the king?

The main function of the king is to avoid getting checkmate, that does not mean the king cannot attack a piece! The king can only move one square at a time, it can move diagonally, horizontally, vertically and it can move backwards as well (see image below).

The king captures by occupying the square of its opponent just like other chess pieces, but it cannot move on a square that it can be checked by its opponent.

Note: The king can never be captured!

Recommended king chess equipments for beginners

Here are some list of king equipments that you should check out;

The King’s Gambit

Starting Out: King’s Indian

The King’s Indian Attack – Move by Move

Which chess pieces are most valuable?

The most valuable chess pieces are the queen with 9 points and rooks with 5 points, the king and bishop both have a value of 3 points! The king does not have any value since the goal is to checkmate the king and can never be captured!

What are the equipment used in chess?

The main equipment in chess are the chess board which can be a silicone board, a wooden chess board, a plastic chess board or a magnetic chess board. The other equipment used in chess are the different chess pieces, and you can also have a chess clock if you want to play like the pros!

Other useful equipment used in chess is the chess score book or chess score sheets!

Wrapping Up

Remember there are 16 chess pieces on each side, and they consist of only 6 different types of chess pieces – king, queen, pawn, rook, knight and bishop!

A complete chess set will include 2 kings, 2 queens, 16 pawns, 4 rooks, 4 knights, and 4 bishops which will total 32 chess pieces.

Now that you know all the chess pieces, and you learn more information about the chess pieces — I suggest you start playing chess with your friends using your chess equipments, or you can also play online like me in this website.

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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