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Chess Pieces

Updated on March 26, 2013

In the game of chess there are thirty-two pieces in total, each player gets sixteen pieces to start the game.  In those sixteen pieces that each player starts out with it consists of eight pawns, two roots, two knight, two bishops, a queen, and a king.  Each of these six different pieces plays a role in the game, they all move differently from each other.  Here will explain how each of these pieces move.  Before explaining how each piece moves and how it attacks, the board must first be set up properly.  The board starts on the row that is closets to each player; the square that is the furthest corner will be where the rooks stand, next to them is the knights and then the bishops.  The queen and king will go in between them, the queen will stand on the square that is the same color as itself and the kind will stand on the color that is opposite of itself.  So if the queen is black it will be standing on a black square between the two bishops and the king will be standing on a white square.  The second row up from each player is where the eight pawns stand.   Now that the board is set up properly, the game is ready to begin.  Remember the while chess pieces traditionally goes first. 

  • The pawns are basically your front line; they are the weakest in the game of chess. They are basically a shield and protection for the pieces behind that that are much stronger. Pawn pieces are only allowed to move forward one square at a time except the initial move. From their starting position they are actually allowed to move either one or two squares at a time but after that they can only advance one square at a time in a forward fashion. If a pawn wants to capture an enemy they can only capture them in a forward diagonal move and the enemy has to one move away.

  • The rook is a piece that can only move in a straight line at any number amount of squares that is not occupied by another piece on the board, it cannot jump over pieces. The straight line can either be along a row or a column; the straight line cannot be diagonal. The rook can also move backwards as well as forward, it will capture its enemy in the same fashion as the way it moves.


  • The knight is the only piece that moves not in a straight line of any way. It moves in a ‘L’ shape. It moves two squares either left, right, forward, or backwards and one square left or right of that movement or vice versa moving the one square first then the two after. Just think of either an ‘L’ shape when moving the knight or a two by three rectangle box and it has to be on the other corner of that box. The other special feature of the knight is that it is the only piece in the game that is capable of jumping over another active piece on the board. When jumping over a piece on the board, it cannot attack it, it can only attack a piece that is on the place that it lands. 

  • The bishop moves in a straight diagonal line.  It can move in any direction it chooses as long as it is a straight diagonal line.  The bishop can move as many square as it pleases as long as there isn’t another piece in the way because it cannot jump over pieces as well.  It also attacks the same way that it moves, in a diagonal move.  Because the bishop moves in a straight diagonal line, this special piece will never change the color of the square it started out with.  

  • The queen piece is the move powerful piece in the game of chess, it can move straight or diagonal, in any direction it chooses as long as it is a straight line.  Like the bishop and rook the queen also cannot jump over pieces.  It can move as many spaces as it wants as long as it is not occupied by another piece because it cannot jump over the piece.  It also attacks other pieces the way it moves.  

  • The king is the most precisions piece on the board, all the other pieces on the board is there to protect the king. Without the king the game is over; when the king is in checkmate, the game is over. The king can only move one square at a time, but the good thing about it is that it can move in any direction that it wants. The king also cannot move into a square that can put the king into the check position.

Besides from learning all the basic rules of chess and the moves of each piece in the game, there are some special rules that each player should know to play the game effectively which include the following three called, En Passant, Promotion, and Castling. En Passant is when a pawn from its initial position moves two squares, and there is an opposing pawn that could have attacked the pawn that just moved two squares if it had only moved one. The opposing pawn can attack that pawn as if it had only moved one square instead of two, this is called En Passant. This can happen to both white and black pieces, and both sides are capable of the attack if it is possible to use En Passant. The next special move is called Promotion, this also only involves pawns. If the pawn is able to moved to the other end of the board, the end that is opposite from where it started the game then it is entitled to a promotion. The player of the pawn that has just reached the opposite maybe chooses to promote the pawn to any of the possible pieces that is played in the game of chess. The promotion of the pawn is not limited to the pieces that have been already captured, it can be any piece. The last special move is called Castling, this move involves either of the rooks and the king. Castling is when the king moves two spaces towards either of the rook and the rook moves onto the other side of the king. This move can be done either from the king’s side or the queen’s side. There are some rules to which castling can be done and cannot be done they include; either the rook (that is going to be part of this move) or the king has been moved earlier in the game, there are no pieces in between the king and the rook that is going to be used in this move, the king cannot be in check or move to a spot that it can be checked.

Besides knowing how each chess piece moves, the basic rules, and few special rules.  Just remember to not let go of your piece as you move until you are finished your move and do not get checkmated.  Good luck! =]

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