Chess, a game that has captivated minds for centuries, is as much about strategy as it is about its iconic pieces. But have you ever wondered about the origins of chess pieces names? In this blog post, we’ll journey through time, tracing the fascinating history and evolution of chess pieces names, shedding light on the stories and cultures that shaped each piece’s identity.

chess pieces names

Origins of Chess Piece Names

Chess PieceDescription
king chess pieceThe name “King” originates from the Old English word “cyning,” reflecting the ruler’s importance. The King is the most vital piece in chess, with the entire game revolving around its safety. While it can move only one square in any direction, the King also has a special move called “castling,” where it works in tandem with a rook.
queen chess pieceThe term “Queen” replaced the earlier “Fers” (counselor) around the 15th century. The Queen is the most versatile piece on the board. It can move any number of squares in a straight line—horizontally, vertically, or diagonally—making it a formidable force in the game.
rook chess pieceRook” derives from the Persian word “rukh,” representing a chariot. It can move any number of squares horizontally or vertically, and it also plays a crucial role in the King’s castling move.
bishop chess pieceThe term “Bishop” evolved from “bisceop,” reflecting the piece’s role as a spiritual counselor. It moves diagonally across the board. Covering only half the squares but with long-range capability, it’s a piece that requires strategic foresight.
knight chess pieceThe term “Knight” comes from the Old English “cniht,” referring to a young nobleman or servant. Representing a mounted knight or cavalry, the Knight has a unique L-shaped move: two squares in one direction and then one square perpendicular, or vice versa. This ability to “jump” over other pieces makes the Knight both unpredictable and valuable.
pawn chess pieceThe word “Pawn” stems from the Latin “pando,” meaning “I spread out,” alluding to the pawn’s initial double-step move. The foot soldiers of the chess army, Pawns move forward but capture diagonally, and when they reach the opposite end of the board, they can be promoted, typically to a Queen.
Chess Pieces Names

Chess Pieces Names in other Languages

EnglishFrenchRussiaIndiaUkraineHungary
KingRoiKorolShatranjShakhySakk
QueenDameFerzRajaKorolKirály
RookTourLadiyaRaniFerzVezér
BishopFouSlonHaathiLadaBástya
KnightCavalierKonUpadhiKinFutó
PawnPionPeshkaGhodaPishakHuszár
Chess pieces in 6 languages

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