How Many Pieces Are There In A Chess Set?

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When you get your first chess set or when you are about to buy one then some questions may come to your mind. And one of them can be, how many pieces are there in a chess set?

In a standard chess set, there are 32 chess pieces, 16 on each side. So at the beginning of the game, each player has 16 chess pieces on the chessboard. All the chess pieces move and capture opponent chess pieces according to the standard rules of chess.

I already have a detailed article on the basic chess rules every beginner should know. So you can check that out. Now let’s dive in deeper and discuss more the number of chess pieces in chess and other related topics.

What Are 16 Chess Pieces In Chess Called?

The 16 chess pieces which are sometimes called chessmen include 8 pawns, 2 bishops, 2 knights, 2 rooks, 1 queen, and 1 king. Pawn, bishop, knight, rook, queen, and king are the standard names of the chess pieces.

The color of the chess pieces is of two types, dark-colored (black) and light-colored (white). Here’s what the correct chess board setup looks like:


As you can see in the above image, there are 16 black and 16 white pieces.

Number of Chess Pieces:Player With Black Pieces:Number of Chess Pieces: Player With White Pieces:
1Black King1White King
1Black Queen1White Queen
2Black Bishops2 White Bishops
2Black Knights2 White Knights
2Black Rooks2 White Rooks
8Black Pawns8 White Pawns
16Total Black Pieces16 Total White Pieces

Now after knowing about the chess pieces names, you may think why they have such specific names, right?

So for that, I highly recommend you to read my article on Why Are Chess Pieces Named What They Are?.

Do Chess Sets Come With Extra Pieces?

In general, chess sets come with 32 chess pieces only because that is sufficient to play the standard game of chess. However, there are some situations like pawn promotion where having extra pieces can be helpful. So some chess sets may come with extra chess pieces.

For example, if you are looking for a chess set that comes with extra queens the will like to check out this one: A&A 15″ Wooden Chess & Checkers Set / 2 Extra Queen / Classic 2 in 1 Board Games.

Why Do Chess Sets Come With Extra Queens?

Chess sets come with an extra queen so that the player can promote its pawn to a queen when the original queen still remains on the board. Generally, there are 32 pieces in a standard chess set. However, some chess sets may have 34 chess pieces where there is an extra queen for each color.

Pawn promotion actually happens when a pawn reaches the last square on the other side from its original square. As per the standard rules of chess, a pawn can only be promoted to a queen, knight, rook, or bishop.

Now, just think that you still have your original queen on the chessboard. And then one of your pawns reaches the last rank on the other side and gets the chance to promote itself.

And let’s assume that the position of the chessboard is such that you would like to promote your pawn to a queen. But then, you already have the original queen on the chessboard which is still present and actively participating in the game.

Then in such a situation, having an extra queen can be helpful for you, isn’t it?

By the way, if you are interested to get a full understanding of pawn promotion, then I would highly recommend you to check out my complete article where I explain what happens when a pawn reaches the other side and the pawn promotion.

Why Did My Chess Sets Come With Extra Kings?

The standard chess sets generally come with only 32 chess pieces in which there are two kings, one for either side. However, if there are extra kings then it may be given to facilitate you to play any chess variant that requires extra kings.

Chess variant is basically a game that is related to, derived from, or is inspired by chess. So in case, you decide to play a chess variant that requires extra kings then at that time having extra kings can be helpful.

Now if you are looking for a chess set that comes with extra kings, then you will check out this one: ASNEY Upgraded Magnetic Chess Set, 15″ Tournament Staunton Wooden Chess Board Game Set Includes Extra Kings, Queens & Carry Bag.

How Many Chess Pieces Do You Need?

Chess is a two-player game where each player has 16 chess pieces. You need all the chess pieces to play the game, to attack, defend, and finally, checkmate your opponent’s king to win the game.

You can’t neglect any chess piece while playing a game. Each chess piece has its own value on the board.

A player’s main thinking while playing a chess game is to attack his or her opponent, defend, and reach the ultimate goal of checkmating the opponent’s king by which he or she can win the game.

Checkmate is a condition in which the player’s king is totally trapped and the player can’t save it from the attack of the opponent chess pieces.

Whenever a checkmate occurs the game ends immediately. The side that delivers checkmate wins the game while the side that gets checkmated loses the game.

You can read more about what is checkmate and important checkmate rules here.

What Is Each Chess Piece Worth?

In chess, there is a chess piece relative value system according to which each chess piece is assigned a particular point value.

As per that:

  • A pawn is worth 1 point
  • A bishop is worth 3 points
  • A knight is worth 3 points
  • A rook is worth 5 points
  • A queen is worth 9 points

As you can see the pawn is the least powerful chess piece. The rook is the second most powerful piece in chess.

Whereas, the queen is the most powerful chess piece on the board, right?

Where’s the king? I know you may ask that.

And the answer is that the king can’t be captured in chess. The chess piece relative value system assigns the point value to the chess pieces based on their relative strength in potential exchanges.

But the king can’t be captured in chess neither it can’t be exchanged and so we don’t assign it a point value

Also, note that this point system is only for giving a general idea about the strength of the chess pieces.

You should not make your moves blindly relying on this system as the position of the chess pieces on the board also needed to to be considered by the player.

Check out my complete article on Chess Pieces Value.


So this was all about how many chess pieces are there in a chess set and their introduction.

Now if you ever get confused about where does the queen goes in chess then check out my complete article about it here.

And, if you are interested to learn how to play chess then I highly recommend you to read my Complete Beginner’s Guide On How To Play Chess. In that, I explain all the chess basics step by step.

So that’s it! I hope you liked reading this article. Please do share this article if you found it helpful as it encourages me a lot. Thanks, and best of luck for your next game.

Related Questions:

Are There 32 Pieces In Chess?

Yes, there are 32 pieces in chess out of which 16 are dark-colored chess pieces and the other 16 are light-colored chess pieces. Out of the 16 pieces that each player has, 8 are pawns, 2 bishops, 2 knights, 2 rooks, 1 king, and 1 queen.

How Many Types Of Chess Pieces Are There?

In chess, there are six different chess pieces that include king, queen, bishop, knight, rook, and pawn. Each player has 16 pieces in chess and out of that 16 pieces, there are 8 pawns, 2 rooks, 2 bishops, 2 knights, 1 king, and 1 queen.

How Many Chess Pieces There Should Be?

A standard chess set should have a total of 32 chess pieces out of which 16 should be light-colored pieces and the rest 16 should be dark-colored pieces. If your chess set comes with extra queens then it is will be useful at the time of pawn promotion.