Historically, what, if any, are the genders of the pieces and pawns? Is the king male and the queen female, etc? What about promoted pieces?


4 Answers 4


Chess originated in India and in the Indian armies of those times, it was common to have elephants, camels, horses and the like. Even now in rural India, the rook is the "elephant", the bishop is the "camel" and the knight is the "horse". The king is still the king, the queen is the "wazir" or vizier, and pawns are foot soldiers. In fact there was a recent Indian movie called Wazir, themed on chess and the Wazir was portrayed by a male character.

Traditionally, the armies fought mostly with men, however, even Indian history has had female warrior queens (for example Rani of Jhansi). The Wazir, however, is not a queen, but a powerful minister in the kingdom, maybe even the king's prime minister or right-hand-man (person?). Traditionally, this would be a male. Similarly, the elephant riders, camel riders, horse riders and foot soldiers would traditionally be male with females being the exception to the norm. The king is obviously male.

  • Yes, technically perfect answer.
    – ABcDexter
    Apr 13, 2017 at 18:33

Think about this. When pawns reach the other side they become Queens. Are the females? Or was this the first look on transgender people?

  • 6
    Logically, the pawns, Knights, Bishops, Rooks, and Queen are all female, but the King is male. This is why pawns can't promote into Kings. Nov 17, 2017 at 18:00
  • @eyeballfrog i realised the 1st sentence a long time ago but not the 2nd sentence until now. WOW.
    – BCLC
    Feb 5, 2021 at 9:14

Depends on the language. E.g. Russian words for pawn and Rook are feminine. On the other hand, Russian words for (real life) infantry, cavalry, etc. are also feminine.


" Men are from Mars . Women are from Venus " . Quite an abstract Quote related to this Q . Isn't it ?

Ok why I say the above is because Chess originated as a game of war where there are two Kingdoms fighting against each other . In earlier days and even to this day a major portion you would see it is the men who always fights or takes part in Battle field compared to Women . True Women are somewhat competing with Men and showing good results but in medieval World this was almost prohibited .

So as Chess is as good as War so the Pieces/Pawns participating are all Males . In ancient Roman religion Mars was the god of war so men are categorised to fighting machines and that's the reason it implies the Gender is Male .

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