Question: How Did Chess Pieces Get Their Names?

In China, the game known as Xiangqi developed around the 9th Century.

The names of the pieces then were of a military nature.

There was a General, an Advisor or a Guard, Elephants, Horses, Chariots, and Soldiers.

The Persian word for “chariot” is “Rokh” and that changed to Rook in modern Chess.

How did chess get its name?

“Chess” is derived from the Persian word “shah” (king). It’s more obvious in the European word for chess “schach”. When the Arabs conquered Persia, chess was taken up by the Muslim world and subsequently spread to Southern Europe. In Europe, chess evolved into roughly its current form in the 15th century.

What do we call chess pieces?

Right beside it, the second tallest piece, is the Queen. Next to the King & Queen are the Bishops, followed not by the horses but by the Knights. And finally, the pieces on the corner are called Rooks. As for the small chess men in the front row, they’re the pawns…always ready to advance!

Why are they called rooks in chess?

IN the origins of the game itself, the game was called Chaturanga and it was not exactly the same as modern chess. The piece we call a rook was considered to be a chariot rather than a castle, probably because of the speed with which it moves. The Sanskrit word for chariot was “ratha”.

What chess piece was originally called the Elephant?

The piece was originally called an elephant, and two of its alternate names were hastīn and gāja, two Sanskrit words for elephant. It was probably one of the original chess pieces, appearing in chaturanga and shatranj.