I'm trying to describe chess to a person, and one of my sentences was:

"Two rows, one with pawns and another with [non-pawns]"

What would the collection of King, Queen, Bishops, Knights and Towers be called?


As you probably know, sometimes the word "pieces" itself is used for that (you can say for example: white has two pieces and three pawns left). But that isn't very practical to use.

The only solution I can think of is using light pieces, heavy pieces and a king.

Not a one word, but at least it can be used in your sentence.

  • 3
    More commonly, major and minor pieces, rather than heavy and light. – Herb Wolfe May 8 '17 at 18:50
  • Yes you're right. Heavy and light came to my mind first... – kmartin May 8 '17 at 18:52
  • The chessmen which are not pawns are called pieces. Why is that impractical? – bof May 8 '17 at 21:28
  • 1
    What I would like to know is, is there a gender-neutral term that covers both pieces and pawns? – bof May 8 '17 at 21:29
  • @bof It is impractical simply because the word "pieces" has more meanings and someone may be confused by it. To your second comment - probably there isn't such a term... :-( – kmartin May 8 '17 at 21:39

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.