I don't think there's a rule about this, but maybe it's a matter of etiquette. Nearly every player I've encountered puts the pieces they capture next to the board, but I've met some who like to store the pieces as soon as they capture them (maybe they are "neat freaks"? :-).

I found this a bit unsettling, but maybe it's just me? I must admit that I semi-consciously use the captured pieces for counting in the early parts of the game, when most of the pieces are still on the board. I also suppose that it could be inconvenient to have to ask the other player to dig out your dead queen in case of a promotion (that situation didn't arise in my experience, however).

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    Where do they store them? I know people that keep them in their hands or have them between them and the board rather than at the side, but neither seems really captured by store, whence the question.
    – quid
    Commented Nov 8, 2017 at 0:32
  • The counting argument not only applies to the opponent, but to spectators as well. When you walk down a row of boards and look at each game for only ~10 seconds, it's very convenient to quickly assess that game by comparing the captured pieces (of course, material isn't everything, but usually it can give you a pretty good picture of what is going on).
    – Annatar
    Commented Nov 8, 2017 at 7:12
  • I'd like to comment about the "counting". If you feel you need to count material, you should keep your attention on the board, not outside of it. So always count material present in the game at a given moment, even if only a few pieces/pawn have been captured. This will help you keep a better "mental hold" of the position. In fact one should get to a point where counting is unnecessary: the need of counting to check who, if any, has a material advantage is only a bad symptom that one has lost contact with what happened in the game. Commented Nov 9, 2017 at 9:43

1 Answer 1


There is certainly no explicit rule about this, and players often fiddle with captured pieces (e.g. Boris Gelfand can often be seen twirling a pawn by its head).

However, pieces should remain accessible to your opponent in case of a promotion, particularly in blitz; at some events (usually the higher level), players are given an extra queen, but not all tournament organizers have that many extra queens!

Having said so, it looks like your question is in the context of a friendly game, presumably where the box/pouch is just next to the board. In that case, if you need to see the captured pieces as a counting aid, just ask!

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