Chess piece

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chess rules :: chess piece
pawn | rook | bishop | queen | knight | king

What you need to know about chess pieces

As I said in the previous article, the game of chess is played between two opponents on a chess board made of 64 squares.

At the beginning there are 32 pieces on the board: 16 white pieces for one player and 16 black pieces for the other player. This group of 16 pieces consist of: 8 pawns, 2 rooks, 2 knights, 2 bishops one queen and one king.

Chessman Name Symbol
the king The king K
the queen The queen Q
the rook The rook R
the bishop The bishop B
the knight The knight N
the pawn The pawn P

Chess board setup

chess board setup. The position of all pieces at the begining of the game

Each player can only do one move at a time, and can only move his own piece from one square to another. He can't move his piece over a square occupied by one of his own pieces.

The chess pieces are not limited to only moving, they can also capture enemy pieces. When a player captures a piece he takes it outside the chess board and replaces it with his own piece.

Usually pieces captures the same way they move, that is, they capture the enemy pieces that are in their range of action. The only exception from this rule is the pawn which moves forward but makes its capture on the diagonal.

There are times when a move involves the movement of two pieces. This happens when capturing, castling or promoting a pawn. Castling and promotion are special moves that will be analyzed in the next articles.

The importance of each piece

Some pieces are more valuable than others. The value of a piece is given by its mobility and ability to capture others pieces (in a word by its range of action) and also by its place in the game (although the king is a weak piece in the term of its range of action it is the most important piece on the chess board because the game revolves around bring the other side's king in a checkmate position). Checkmate is that situation on the chess board when a king is in a position that would inevitable lead to its capture at the next move. A general hierarchy of the pieces strength is the following, starting form the strongest piece and ending with the weakens one: the queen, the rook, the knight, the bishop, (the knight and the bishop have the same strength), the king, the pawn. I should state out that the strength of the pieces varies a lot depending on their position and on the phase of the game( opening, middle game or end game). For example a piece that is on the edge of the board and is constrained in its movement by other pieces has a smaller value then a piece situated on the center of the board. I'll study the different situations on piece hierarchy

The hierarchy I've showed you above should give you a hint on how you should capture the pieces. For example it usually is a bad idea to capture pawn with a rook if that would lead to your rook being captured (you would simply exchange a rook with a pawn which is really not the smartest thing you can do). Of course there are exceptions to this rule; by sacrificing a valuable piece you can sometime gain an advantage that can help you win the game. You will learn about this kind of moves at tactic which I strongly recommend you to read, but only after going to the other articles.

The best way of knowing how to look at each piece on the chess board is by studying each one in particular. That is what we will do in the next articles.