There are six different types of pieces in chess and they are the king, queen, bishop, knight, rook, and pawn. To better utilize the chess pieces in a game it is important to make yourself familiar with each one of them. So, what do chess pieces look like?
In chess, the king has a cross shape crown on its top. The queen also has a crown but it is different from the king’s crown. The bishop has a rounded top with a slit cut into it, the knight looks like a horse, the rook looks like a castle tower, and the pawn has a rounded top.
Chess is a two-player game that is played on a standard chessboard of 8 by 8 having 64 squares.
In a standard chess set, there is a total of 32 chess pieces, out of which each player gets 16 chess pieces.
Out of the 16 chess pieces, there are 8 pawns, 2 bishops, 2 knights, 2 rooks, 1 queen, and 1 king. Now let’s see how each chess pieces look and more information about them.
Let’s dive in and understand each one of these chess pieces in a bit more detail.
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What Does The King Look Like In Chess?
- The King is a chess piece that has a cross shape crown on its top.
- Each player has one king in chess.
- It is the most important piece in chess.
When a player’s king is a checkmated, the player loses the game. In fact, the main aim of a player in a chess game is to finally checkmate the opponent king and win the game.
However, despite being such an important piece the king is not the most powerful piece.
It has limited mobility on the chessboard. It can only move one square at a time in any direction. You can read about why is the king so weak in chess here.
And to learn about how the king moves in chess check out my article about it here.
What Does The Queen Look Like In Chess?
- The queen is a chess piece also has a crown on its top but it is different from that of the king’s crown.
- Just like the king, each player has only one queen in chess.
- It is the most powerful piece in chess. (You can see why is the queen so powerful in chess here)
The queen has the maximum mobility on a chessboard. It can move horizontally, vertically, as well as diagonally up to any number of empty squares. It can move in all directions. You can read more about how the queen moves in chess here.
Although a player has only queen at the start of the game. But note that you can also have more than one queen in chess by the process known as pawn promotion.
In pawn promotion, when a pawn reaches the other side to the end of the chessboard (last square) then the player can replace that pawn with either a queen, knight, rook, or a bishop.
In chess, a queen is really an important piece and in terms of chess piece value, it is assigned 9 points.
What Does The Rook Look Like In Chess?
- The rook is a chess piece that looks like a castle tower.
- In chess, each player has two rooks that are placed on the corner squares of chessboard.
- It is the second most powerful piece in chess.
The rook can move horizontally or vertically up to any number of squares on a chessboard.
You can read my complete guide on how the rook moves in chess here.
A rook is also involved with the king in a move called castling.
Castling is a move in chess in which both the king and rook move simultaneously in a single move. There are two types of castling, kingside and queenside castling and you can read about both these types here.
What Does The Bishop Look Like In Chess?
- A bishop is a chess piece that has rounded top with a slit cut into it. You can read this article to know about why do chess bishop have a cut.
- In chess, each player has two bishops.
- On a chessboard, the two bishops are placed on either side of the king and the queen.
A bishop can move only diagonally both forwards and backward but up to any number of vacant squares.
What Does The Knight Look Like In Chess?
- A knight is a chess piece that looks like a horse.
- Each player in chess has two knights.
- The knights are placed between the bishop and rook on a chessboard.
A knight is a unique chess piece especially because it moves in an L shape pattern on a chessboard and also because it is the only chess piece that can jump over the other chess piece.
Check out my article on how the knight moves in chess here.
What Does The Pawn Look Like In Chess?
- A pawn is a chess piece that has a rounded top.
- Each player has 8 pawns at the start of a chess game.
- The pawns are placed on the second row of the chessboard on each side.
A pawn is the only chess piece that can’t move backward.
On its first move, a pawn can move two steps forward in a single move. After that, in the entire game, a pawn moves only one step forward.
A pawn also has two other moves associated with it. One is en passant and another is pawn promotion.
How Do You Identify Chess Pieces?
Now, if you have got the general standard chess set then it would be quite easier for you to identify the pieces in them especially if you know how each one of them looks like.
But let’s say that you have got a bit creative kind of chess set in which the chess pieces are of different designs than what we talked about regarding the standard chess pieces. Then in that case it might be a little confusing for you to identify the chess pieces.
So if you come across any of such situations then here are some of my chess piece identification tips.
Tips To Identify Chess Pieces:
- Check the symbols in the manual or the chessboard
- Find chess pieces with same design that are 8 in number and consider them as pawns
- Make groups of chess pieces that look same and are 2 in number
- Then identify these two same design pieces as either rooks, knights, or bishops
- The remaining pieces are the king and the queen.
If you follow the above-mentioned tips then I think that you will be able to identify the chess pieces.
Now there’s also another way through which you can identify chess pieces and that is through their heights.
As per FIDE (International Chess Federation), the recommended height of the chess pieces are:
So as you can notice, the king is the tallest chess piece while the pawn is the smallest chess piece. Rest, all the chess pieces height fall in between these two chess pieces.
Note that the heights of the chess pieces may vary depending on how the chess pieces were designed. However, in general, you can follow this chess pieces height list for chess pieces identification.
In short, a king can be identified by a cross shape crown, a queen also with a crown but different from that of the king. The rook can be identified by its castle tower-like appearance, the bishop has a rounded top with a slit cut into it, the knight like a horse, and a pawn with a rounded top.
So now you exactly know about how the chess pieces look like. And I hope now you won’t have any issues while identifying any of the chess pieces in your chess set. Right? That’s it, Thanks!
This article is approved as per the Editorial Policy Of ChessDelta.com.
Hi! I’m Pritam Ganguly and I’m a huge chess enthusiast! I created this site to make chess easy to understand for newcomers, and also to help players of all levels of ability to improve their chess-playing skills. Read more about me here.