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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?

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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.

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    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
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    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

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