How Did Chess Pieces Get Their Names?

How Did Chess Pieces Get Their Names?

Chess has had a long and rich history, having roots in both India, China, and Persia, as well as from Europe, where the modern incarnation of the game was born. To fully understand the pieces of the game, however, it is advisable for one to trace its history in all of these places. As the game evolved, so did the pieces used in the game, turning Chess into the wealth of possibilities which it exists as today.

In China, the game known as Xiangqi developed early on, although its first known actual literary reference was in the 9th Century. The King piece in this game is known as a General and the object of this game is to subdue the opponent’s General. The corresponding piece of the traditional Queen is known as an Advisor or a Guard, depending, and their sole purpose is to protect the General. They are stuck in a small space with this piece, unable to move beyond to battle. Other pieces involved with this game are Elephants, Horses, Chariots, and Soldiers, all of which figure greatly into other Chess-like games.

In India, and perhaps the birthplace of the game of Chess itself, Chaturanga is the name of the game. Pieces here were based on the most common elements of war in India. Elephants, Infantry, Calvary, and Chariots all played a role in this game, and each piece corresponds closely with one of the modern European Chess pieces. Elephants are what grew into the modern form of Bishops while Chariots became the Rooks. Infantry were the foot soldiers which were represented by pieces much like Pawns and the Calvary, riding in on horses for battle, came to be symbolized as such with Knights.

When the game took its next step toward Europe and moved on to Persia, coming to be known as Shatranj, the pieces grew even closer to their eventual European counterparts. The Queen piece, still called a Counselor in this time frame, was known by the Persian word “Vazir.” As language grew and spread across countries, the word “Vezer” came to be known as “Queen” in Hungarian, tracing its roots back to this original piece. The Knight, still pictured as a horse, was known as “Faras,” the Arabic word for “horse.” Most interesting, however, was the use of the Chariot. The Persian word for “chariot” is “Rokh.” This word is directly what became the Rook in modern European Chess.

After, through Spain, the game spread into Europe, it quickly gained popularity after the pieces were given a makeover into a more court-centered frame of reference. The General piece was converted into a King and the protector of that piece was made into the Queen. The calvary pieces were known as a Knights and Elephants became Bishops, conveying the power that the Church held during this era. The Rooks came to be depicted more as Castles than chariots, but held their roots as mobile fortresses. The Infantry became known as Pawns but still held their image as foot soldiers, making this into a game about the struggles of the court, rather than warriors.

Victor Epand is an expert consultant for board games, chess boards, and dungeons and dragons miniatures. You will find all these things and more if you visit board games pieces, chess boards, and dungeons and dragons miniatures.

Jacksonville Church Opposes Anti-Gay Amendment: Posts Names of Petition Signers on Website

JACKSONVILLE, FL (PRWEB) June 12, 2006 –

On June 12, 2006, Christ Church of Peace, a non-denominational Christian congregation, will launch “Know Thy Neighbor Florida,” an outreach ministry directed at fair-minded Floridians who believe in full equality for all people. Through this ministry the church will include as part of its website the names of those who signed the petition in favor of the anti-family, anti-equality Florida Marriage Protection Amendment.

Of the 611,009 signatures necessary to place the amendment on the November 2006 ballot, only 455,363 were gathered by the February 1, 2006, deadline. However, the group sponsoring the petition initiative,, continues in its efforts to obtain the additional signatures needed to place the issue before voters in 2008. If the amendment were to pass, it would amend Florida’s State Constitution to define marriage as a “legal union of one man and one woman as husband and wife,” and that, “no other legal union that is treated as marriage or the substantial equivalent thereof shall be valid or recognized.”

Millions of tax-paying gay and lesbian Floridians would forever be denied equal access to civil marriage, gay marriage, and all other forms of legal recognition such as domestic partnerships and civil unions could be at risk.

The goal of Know Thy Neighbor Florida is two-fold. Visitors to the Jacksonville church’s website can view the list of petition signers and if they see the name of a family member, friend, co-worker or neighbor, they then have an opportunity to initiate an open and meaningful conversation with that person about how this discriminatory amendment would affect their life and, in many cases, the lives of their children. There are also concerns about the possibility of fraud in the collection of signatures. “When was launched in Massachusetts last year, it resulted in numerous reports of alleged fraud. While we are not saying that is the case here in Florida, we do believe the only real way to check for possible fraud is to give all Floridians easy and meaningful access to view this public information,” said Christ Church of Peace founding member, John Schumpert.

“I was excited from the first moment that the idea was presented to me for our church to sponsor Know Thy Neighbor Florida,” said the Rev. Gary DeBusk, pastor of Christ Church of Peace. “A portion of our church’s vision statement reads, ‘We will be…a tool for social change.’ And what better way is there to advocate for change than to support equal rights for all people. As the February 1st deadline for signed petitions was approaching, Christ Church of Peace received daily e-mails, faxes and phone calls urging us to gather signatures at worship services and church functions. Now, of course, those who contacted us did not know that Christ Church of Peace is primarily made up of the very people that they are discriminating against. All that they knew was that we were on a list of churches. And unfortunately, a large percentage of their base is from churches. I find it sad that churches, in the name of God and Jesus the Christ, will promote discrimination and marginalization of people, and through peer pressure garner the signatures of their congregants. But, of course, it was also many of these same churches that opposed black civil rights. They were wrong then and they are wrong now! The proposed state constitutional amendment is discriminatory; it limits rights and marginalizes an entire segment of the population; which is completely contrary in a country that self-identifies as the leader of the free world. How free is it when some of its tax-paying citizens are relegated as second class?”

About Christ Church of Peace

Christ Church of Peace is a worshiping and ministering community of believers with a Christian foundation and welcomes people of all races, nationalities, genders, sexual orientations and disabilities. We do not exclude anyone from our church: gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or straight. Says DeBusk, “I am proud to be the pastor of a Christian church that will not be intimidated, is willing to stand up for equality, and will not allow God, through exclusionary theology, to be used as a tool for discrimination and marginalization. Know Thy Neighbor Florida is the tool that Christ Church of Peace is using to make a difference. It is the tool that we are using to promote equal and civil rights.” Please visit Know Thy Neighbor Florida and, if you see the name of a family member, friend, neighbor or co-worker on the list of petition supporters, make sure that person is not a victim of fraud and let them know why marriage equality is important to you.

For further information, contact John Schumpert at 904-388-1229 or visit the site at


Cuban Catholic Church reveals names of 6 more prisoners Castro’s gov’t has promised to free

Cuban Catholic Church reveals names of 6 more prisoners Castro’s gov’t has promised to free
Cuba’s Roman Catholic Church on Friday revealed the names of six more political prisoners to be released into exile in Spain under a sweeping agreement with President Raul Castro’s government.
Read more on Fox News

St. Florian’s Roman Catholic Church of United celebrates 100 years
The celebration begins Sunday during the church’s annual summer festival, which will act as a kickoff for the monumental year although the anniversary was observed on June 10.
Read more on Daily Courier

Faithful flock to Santa Fe church
Hundreds of the faithful flocked to Santa Fe Sunday afternoon for a very special Catholic mass at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi. The Archdiocese of Santa Fe celebrated the establishment of the Roman Catholic Church 400 years ago in the city.
Read more on KRQE & KASA FOX 2 Albuquerque