Talk:Chess piece

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I want to know what is the size of every piece in chess, to be used in tournaments, on chessboards of 5cmx5cm, each square? Thank you

I think the paragraph regarding the recommended size of the squares and pieces is helpful, but it puts too much emphasis on one specific size. From my experience, the game will be comfortable as long as the proportions are ok, regardless of the size (within reasonable limits). I've enjoyed using many games with 3.5 cm² squares and a 7 cm king, and this paragraph seems to suggest that this is too small.


That is certainly too small. Those recomendations about the range of the size come from the USCF and FIDE and are in fact rules. One one occaision I even enforced the rule in a tournament. I don't play with kings less than 3.75 inches (9.5 cm) and squares less than 5.4 cm. Bubba73 16:28, August 21, 2005 (UTC)
Hey, thanks for the info, I didn't know that :) But not all readers of this page are tournament players, and a somewhat smaller or larger size is just fine to play at home, providing that the proportions are good. The information about the recommended size is useful, and I'm not saying it should be removed, but that more emphasis should be put on the importance of proportions. Maybe it could just be rephrased, or a sidenote might be added. Anyway, size doesn't matter ;) --Max.
You're right, proportions are important. I put the stuff about the size in there because at the top of this page someone asked about sizes for tournament play. That should be mentioned in the article. Bubba73 20:19, August 21, 2005 (UTC)

Should it be mentioned under rook, bishop, queen, and pawn that they can't jump over pieces, except for castling? It seems to me that it would be good to mention it there, instead of just under "knight". --Bubba73 05:23, 29 May 2005 (UTC)

what is this?[edit]

The article says "Chess set colors are usually black & white, brown & cream, black & red, or green & white." Is this talking about the board? I've never seen black & red pieces. There are white & red pieces, and cheap black and red cardboard boards. I've never seen green & white pieces either, but there are plenty of greeen and white boards. Bubba73 (talk), 06:14, 2 January 2006 (UTC)

Garry Kasparov endorsed (and allegedly influenced the design of) several signature chess sets sold by the U. S. Chess Federation circa 1993. His sets had the rooks somewhat heavier than the minor pieces. Some of his sets featured boards with red and "white" (natural wood) squares, and red and black pieces. The justification was that the display boards at matches and tournaments use red for the "white" pieces in the interest of visibility. They looked rather nice, but I suspect that a rated tournament wouldn't approve of anything other than white and black (or light and dark brown variations) thereof. WHPratt (talk) 16:09, 28 January 2010 (UTC)
I believe that "green and buff" are the default board colors for USCF use. You wouldn't want pure white because of the glare, and pure black might make a black pawn invisible to the glance. Medium green provides contrast with almost any dark or light color. WHPratt (talk) 15:17, 9 February 2010 (UTC)
Thanks. Some sets are red and white. I can understand red and black in a demo board so it can be seen from a long distance, but not for a set right in front of you. USCF rule 40D says that pieces should be "...naturally light and dark...". Red is too dark. Bubba73 (You talkin' to me?), 16:15, 28 January 2010 (UTC)
PS - sets should have the rooks heavier than the minor pieces. So many sets today have wimpy rooks not much larger than a pawn. Bubba73 (You talkin' to me?), 19:07, 28 January 2010 (UTC)
Has anyone tried to design a set wherein the pieces are proportionate (in terms of mass shown as volume) to their classical “values”? By that I mean that the rook’s volume would be close to 5/9 of the queen’s, the bishop and knight both about 3/9 (i.e., 1/3) of the queen’s, and the pawn about 1/9. Obviously, we’d let the king tower above all for traditional reasons. To preserve the esthetic slope, the bishop would have to be taller and leaner than the knight, while the rook would be necessarily short and stocky. All of that would seem to be workable, but I think that the pawns would be a problem: at just 1/3 the bulk of a minor piece, they might be inconveniently small. WHPratt (talk) 17:02, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
I saw a picture of a set where the bishops and knights were the same height and the rooks were taller than them, so it must have been using that idea. I don't think the pawns were proportionally that small nor the queen that large. But it sure was an ugly set - I'd never have one. Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 17:05, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
I saw another (or maybe the same) red-and-black set advertised in Chess Life some five years later as an official "Anatoly Karpov" set! I guess that by now Kasaprov had become enamoured of democracy, and good old Anatoly has to uphold the "red" banner. ;) WHPratt (talk) 13:56, 29 January 2010 (UTC)
One of the setup rules is that "a queen goes on her own color." Of course, if you have red and black chessmen on a white and red board, the red queen doesn't start on a red square. The physically red pieces are conceptually "white," and the physically red squares are conceptually "black."

Usually, it's pretty easy to identify one color as "light" and the other as "dark" – unless they manage to have the same grayscale value (e.g., a moderately light blue and a moderately dark red).

However, there's a rather common chess set that has glass chessmen, one side of "frosted" glass and the other "clear." The frosted pieces would probably be described as "white" in almost any context, except perhaps this one. Were it up to me, I'd be more comfortable in considering the clear pieces to be the "white' side. Somehow, transparency is lighter than opacity, and no color is lighter than some color, even when said color results from diffraction rather than pigmentation.

While I'm sure that most experienced chess players would have no trouble with the colors, for any other audience it's probably best to avoid the complications. WHPratt (talk) 16:32, 28 July 2010 (UTC)

I saw an older (18th-19th century) set on display in a country house in England years ago that had dark green and dark red pieces, made of stone (marble/granite?). It really left me wondering which side was supposed to go first, something presumably left up to the whim of the owner. Heather (talk) 06:50, 27 September 2011 (UTC)
See the Talk Page on "Immortal Game." It appears that as late as the 1880s, one could play the Black pieces and still move first. Apparently, the actual colors were just a convention that later would become a rule. Whichever color got the first move assumed the "White" role. WHPratt (talk) 14:11, 27 September 2011 (UTC)
That's right. Also in those days many sets were red and white. Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 14:18, 27 September 2011 (UTC)

Use of term 'piece'[edit]

In standard chess parlance, the pawns are not refered to as pieces. Thus each player has 8 pieces and 8 pawns, not 16 pieces.

It depends on the context. Sometimes a piece means any of the pieces, sometimes it means a non-pawn. Sometimes it means a minor piece, etc.
For instance, the FIDE rulebook, section 2.2 includes the pawns as pieces. Bubba73 (talk), 02:30, 13 May 2006 (UTC)
It's convenient for those who speak the language. To a regular chessplayer, I'd say "He resigned because he was going to lose a piece." But to a common audience, I'd have to say that he traded a knight but only got a pawn back and so had to quit."
Incidentally, the recommended common term for piece or pawn used to be "man" (i.e, you start with 16 men, eight of which are pieces and eight of which are pawns) but today that usage would be deprecated as gender specific. WHPratt (talk) 15:07, 9 February 2010 (UTC)
I call them all pieces, including the pawns. If I want to exclude pawns, I say "non-pawn piece". H Padleckas (talk) 04:30, 15 June 2010 (UTC)
There are three standard uses, as described. Sometimes a piece means a minor piece. Sometimes it would include rooks and queens. It could include the king. Bubba73 (You talkin' to me?), 05:47, 15 June 2010 (UTC)

Are there not six pieces? King, Queen, jack, Knight, Bish and prawn but in differing amounts. The main picture suggests this. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:35, 12 September 2011 (UTC)

There are three ways the word "piece" is used.
  1. The physical pieces (of which there are six types)
  2. not including pawns (and sometimes not including kings)
  3. short for a minor piece - a knight or bishop.
See Glossary of chess#Piece Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 01:02, 13 September 2011 (UTC)

I have a problem with #2 here ...

"1. It may mean any of the physical pieces of the set, including the pawns. This is also referred to as "chessman" ..." "2.In play, the term is usually used to exclude pawns, referring only to a queen, rook, bishop, knight, or king. In this case, the general term for pawn is "man" or "chessman". ..."

In my experience, the general term for pawn is "pawn" ... and that's rather trivial. #1 tells us that the pawn qualifies as a "man" or a "chessman," even when he isn't a "piece." That should be enough. The current text implies that the term is somehow reserved for pawns. WHPratt (talk) 17:02, 24 January 2013 (UTC)

Or else, the text for #2 should read "In this case, the general term for piece or pawn is 'man' or 'chessman'. ..."

I think you're right, that's a good catch. I worked on #3 a bit but I didn't notice that issue with definition 2. I removed the redundant mention of pawns in definition 2. Quale (talk) 02:23, 29 January 2013 (UTC)

Formal definition of a Staunton set[edit]

I wish there was a Staunton set article with as many hard guidelines as possible. From what I gather

  • the pawn must be shortest of all and have a roughly spherical top for ease of handling
  • the rook is the shortest full piece (disregarding the pawn) and must recall a castle tower
  • the knight must be taller than the rook and shorter than the bishop and resemble a horse's head
  • the bishop must be taller than the knight yet shorter than the queen; also, its top must resemble (slightly at least) a clerical mitre and be noticeably different from that of a pawn either because of a slash or due to a top marking of different colloring than that of the piece's body
  • the queen must be taller than the bishop yet shorter than the king; also, it must be adorned with some sort of symetrical crenellation of a circular overall shape
  • the king must be tallest of all and topped by something resembling a cross (I heard there are alternatives such as a fleur-de-lis

I would love to see a serious and clear compilation of the rules that define a Staunton set. Can anyone point me to one? Thanks! Luis Dantas 07:57, 11 May 2007 (UTC)

We should have a Staunton chess set article. For now the best we have is Nathaniel Cook and Jaques of London. I don't think there's an official definition of the design, but the characteristics you note are accurate. An important part of the design is the ratio of the height to the bases of the pieces. There is some information available in The Oxford Companion to Chess and other sources. I'll put a note up on the Chess WikiProject requesting this article. Quale 09:22, 25 May 2007 (UTC)
There is some information under "chess sets" in this article. As far as what defines a Staunton set, the first one is pictured at the top of the article. It is hard to define what a Staunton set is, but you know it if you see one. Bubba73 (talk), 01:28, 29 May 2007 (UTC)
Another aspect of a Staunton set is that they are not very ornate. But that is hard to define. Also, the cut in the bishop is usually a lot smaller than the one pictured, and some sets have no cut at all. Also, sometimes the king has a ball instead of a cross. Bubba73 (talk), 01:34, 29 May 2007 (UTC)

How to I edit a section ?[edit]

I want to add Hindi names for the chess pieces, but somehow I cant find the right way to reach the page to edit the table.

can someone help me with that ?

raghav.. Raghav 09:30, 1 October 2007 (UTC)

You are looking for this page. Let me know if you need any help or if you have any further problems. MatthewYeager 17:23, 1 October 2007 (UTC)


There are in-text citations for several things, plus two (I think) general references. It wouldn't hurt to have more, though. Bubba73 (talk), 01:10, 27 April 2008 (UTC)

Piece names: meanings in English[edit]

Why are not the meanings of the names in various languages given? The meanings also vary widely and the table will be more interesting with the meanings in English. Gantuya eng (talk) 07:27, 15 December 2008 (UTC)

Man Ray's chess set[edit] We were learning about this chess set in design class, which is why I added it to this article. It is not merely art as Bubba73 said. It is one of the most famous chess sets ever made. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:20, 17 December 2008 (UTC)

It is a piece of art only. It is not a chess set that anyone plays with. It would not be accepted in any tournament. It has not influenced any later chess sets. Bubba73 (talk), 17:45, 17 December 2008 (UTC)
I think you're both right. I am not an artist or designer, but I've seen the Man Ray chess set before, so it must be pretty famous. And yes, it's not meant for actual play; anyone who showed up at a tournament game to find that his opponent had set up one of these things would scream bloody murder, and the tournament director would tell the guy that he can't use a set with weird pieces like that. But the set very likely is notable (from an art perspective, not a practical chess perspective). Maybe you should start an article called chess sets or design of chess sets or something like that. There are thousands of different chess sets (including more lowbrow designs - Civil War, Simpsons, etc.), and people collect them (I don't, but I do have four books on chess pieces), so I think it's a notable subject. Or you could just do an article Man Ray chess set. Krakatoa (talk) 20:38, 17 December 2008 (UTC)
OK, I added it back in a better place. It was in a paragraph talking about actual sets, and it gave a date which made it seem to be of historical significance along with the 1849 Staunton design. Bubba73 (talk), 23:30, 17 December 2008 (UTC)
From the picture I'm not even sure if it is a complete set. Bubba73 (talk), 16:19, 20 December 2008 (UTC)
It appears to be a king, queen, rook, knight, bishop, and pawn (not necessarily in that order) for each color. Krakatoa (talk) 17:44, 20 December 2008 (UTC)
I mean a full set of 16 pieces for each side. Bubba73 (talk), 18:19, 20 December 2008 (UTC)
The picture does not appear to be a full set in that sense, no. Krakatoa (talk) 19:40, 20 December 2008 (UTC)

inline citations[edit]

I count five inline citations. Needs more? I'll work on it. Bubba73 (You talkin' to me?), 01:27, 16 March 2010 (UTC)

OK, now there are inline citations for everything except magnetic sets, computer displays, unicode characters, and the names of pieces in different languages. Changing back to B class. Bubba73 (You talkin' to me?), 01:56, 16 March 2010 (UTC)
Piece names. Every item on that table requires a citation. A suggestion would be a reference on the left language for each row. I'll be happy with B class once that is done. Regards, SunCreator (talk) 02:02, 16 March 2010 (UTC)
I don't think that is practical. There are 50 of them and I've been watching this article as the list got longer and longer. Usually one person with a knowledge of that language added each one. If that is keeping the article from B class then I suggest spinning the piece names in various languages off to another article (or even deleting it). I'd rather not lose the information, so I would choose making it another article (basically list class). Bubba73 (You talkin' to me?), 02:09, 16 March 2010 (UTC)
That's just moving the issue elsewhere. The {{Chess piece}} template is also used on Algebraic chess notation and Descriptive chess notation. I think much of the table can be sourced, this has the original list. Maybe use that source and contact editors who did more recent additions? Regards, SunCreator (talk) 19:50, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
There are 50 of them, it would be difficult to track all of that down. If that issue is keeping the article from being B class then I am in favor of moving the issue elsewhere so this can be B class. If it is OK to have it as it is in a B class article, then there is no urgency to do anything about it. The article is Top importance and is viewed about 600 times per day, so I think it should be in B class. Bubba73 (You talkin' to me?), 20:36, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
The reference I gave has more then 50 languages. I think because it's an important article as you point out, then it's more of a requirement to correctly verify the information. Regards, SunCreator (talk) 21:52, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
Ok, Let's hope they didn't get their information from Wikipedia. Bubba73 (You talkin' to me?), 22:55, 18 March 2010 (UTC)

inline citations (again)[edit]

Just about everything has inline citations. The only major thing that doesn't is the names of the pieces in other languages. Other than that, only the talk about computers, unicode symbols, and small magnetic sets don't have inline citations. Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 19:32, 22 June 2011 (UTC)

For me it's the table. The reference at the end I hadn't seen(table is several pages views) and I was expecting a reference in each cell or at least on the column/row heading. Checking again I can't see that the language 'Urdu' is covered for example. The reason that it's an 'again' I suspect is that it's become the norm to see a list of references at the end of an article. Regards, SunCreator (talk) 19:43, 22 June 2011 (UTC)

The section on piece names in other languages contains some chess terms other than piece names. Maybe it should be moved to Chess terms in other languages or something. Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 19:37, 22 June 2011 (UTC)

Chess sets, table sets[edit]

Under this section, I really don't believe linking to the types of wood/materials is necessary, so I have removed them. If I am wrong, please feel free to tell me so, and I will be happy to put them back. L1ght5h0w (talk) 13:54, 12 April 2012 (UTC)

I see your point. Things like plastic, bone, and ivory don't need to be linked. But something like boxwood probably does - if the user searches boxwood, it comes up with a disambiguation page. Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 14:05, 12 April 2012 (UTC)
Ah, I completely forgot about disambiguation. Sorry, I seem to be in my own little world this morning. Will edit to to include the certain links. L1ght5h0w (talk) 14:43, 12 April 2012 (UTC)

Evans quote[edit]

"The Grandmaster Larry Evans offered this advice on buying a set (Evans 1973:18):"

Isn't the quote by Evans a violation of WP:NOTMANUAL? Toccata quarta (talk) 17:18, 16 November 2013 (UTC)

I'm the one that put that in. It does seem as you say. The relative part of NOTMANUAL is "Describing to the reader how other people or things use or do something is encyclopedic; instructing the reader in the imperative mood about how to use or do something is not." It is instructing the reader what to do. However, it is a quotation and not in the text of the article. Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 17:37, 16 November 2013 (UTC)