How Many Pieces Are in Chess? Roles of Each Piece

How Many Pieces Are in Chess? Roles of Each Piece

Chess is a popular intellectual sport loved by many. To excel in this sport, you need to understand how many pieces there are in chess and how each piece moves. This knowledge will help you gain experience and win chess games. Shopdepre shares useful information about chess as follows.

How many pieces are in chess?

This is a question that many people are curious about. Chess and Chinese chess are often confused because they have similar pieces. However, in essence, Chinese chess originates from China and has pieces with Chinese characters that distinguish them by color – green and red and divided by a river. Chess, on the other hand, has only 2 pieces in black and white with figurative shapes.

How Many Pieces Are in Chess? Roles of Each Piece

When starting a chess game, each player begins with 16 chess pieces and takes turns moving their pieces after the opponent has made their move. A chessboard will include the following pieces:

8 pawns
2 knights
2 bishops
2 rooks
1 queen
1 king
So how many pieces are there in chess? In total, there are 32 pieces on the chessboard, allowing players to maneuver vertically and horizontally on the board.

Roles of each chess piece on the chessboard

Now that you know how many pieces there are in chess, let’s discuss the roles of each piece on the chessboard. Each chess piece has its own duties, and using them correctly can lead to victory in a game.

How Many Pieces Are in Chess? Roles of Each Piece


Pawns are the most numerous pieces on the chessboard but are not considered very important. They have limited roles and can only move forward and capture diagonally, not backward. They can also promote to a queen when they reach the opponent’s back rank. Pawns cannot capture pieces directly in front of them.


Rooks have the ability to move vertically or horizontally in any number of squares. However, they cannot jump over other pieces, whether they belong to their own side or the opponent.

How Many Pieces Are in Chess? Roles of Each Piece


The knight is one of the most unique and versatile pieces in chess. Its movement is in an L-shape, two squares in one direction followed by one square perpendicular to that. Knights are the only pieces that can jump over other pieces on the board.


Bishops move diagonally on the board. They can move as many squares as they want diagonally, but they cannot move in a straight line or jump over other pieces.


The queen is the most powerful and versatile piece in chess. It can move horizontally, vertically, or diagonally in any number of squares. The queen combines the abilities of the rook and bishop.


The king is the most critical piece in chess and determines the outcome of the game. It can move one square in any direction: horizontally, vertically, or diagonally. The primary objective in chess is to protect your own king while putting the opponent’s king in checkmate.

How Many Pieces Are in Chess? Roles of Each Piece

How many squares are on a chessboard?

According to international standards, a chessboard is a square shape with an overall size of 41 x 41 cm, divided into 64 equal-sized squares. Each square is designated for the movement of specific chess pieces on the board.

To start a game, you need to set up the pieces in their correct positions for play. The front row consists of pawns. The second row from the sides contains rooks, followed by knights, bishops, and finally the queen and king. Afterward, both sides begin the game.

Now that you know how many pieces are in chess and the roles of each piece on the chessboard, understanding their movements and strategies will boost your confidence in playing chess and winning the game.

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