March 12, 2021
7 mins read

Symbology in chess and how to play it

kick chess piece standing
Photo by George Becker on

Chess is an ancient board game in which two armies fight each other to achieve triumph, victory. There is a symbology in chess that we will talk about in this article and I will make a brief presentation of how you play.

Unlike real life in which no two armies ever leave with the same forces, in Chess you have the same army, the same pieces, as your rival and it is through your choices, that they will also depend on those taken by the opponent, throughout the game you decant or not the game in your favor.

There are two armies, symbolized in two colors, usually a player bears a light color, pieces white or similar, and another side bears a dark color, pieces of black or similar color. The opponent who drives the white pieces moves first and from that moment each side makes one move at a time.

There are 3 possible results in a chess game:

  • You win and you get a point.
  • The other player wins and you get 0.
  • There is a draw and half a point is distributed for each player.

From my point of view it would be a very good idea to include chess as a compulsory subject in the curriculum of schools. There are several countries around the world that include it among the subjects taught. It is a game that allows the development of many skills that we all have.

My experience teaching Chess

A few years ago I taught chess lessons to children. One detail that didn’t go unnoticed by me is that most kids when they start playing only looked at one part of the board. The 64-box chessboard is huge for them.

Even if you tell them they have to see ALL the board, many times they only looked at a direct attack or only think about playing a piece because their teacher has told them that at the beginning of the game they have to develop all the pieces and get angry soon. They focus on a play and no matter if they have a threat of killing or losing a piece, they play the play they don’t have to think about.

It’s interesting to see symbology in chess. I’m going to raise two types of symbology: use the armies of the Middle Ages and use the characters of the Marvel universe. This way you can get an idea if you’re from a generation already in years or if you’re from a generation born a few years ago.

The enemy

In Chess you play against another player who has a single goal, defeat you. In the Middle Ages you had to fight another army for possession of a land, for defending a castle, or a place. The enemy was the king of the other side. If we make an analogy with the Marvel universe, the player you’re playing against would be Thanos. A supervillain who wants to take you down.

How pieces move and symbology in chess

The movement of the pieces in Chess is explained on the first day. The first day in football they show you the ball, tell you what the dimensions of the field are, what are the rules, what are the positions etc..

In this image you can see the possible start plays of a chess game. Pawns move one or two squares, and horses can also move from their exit box because they jump.


How a pawn moves

The pawn is the soul of chess. If we consider a game of chess as a medieval battle the pawn would be the equivalent of infantry. Therefore, their symbology in chess would be the soldiers who fight hand-to-hand. If I were a character in the Marvel saga, I’d  be Drax. They are the soldiers who make their way on the battlefield fighting against the rival pieces. Likewise Drax fights enemies with clean tortazo. Handing out right-handed and sinister blows.

battle black blur board game
Photo by Pixabay on

The pawn always moves forward and captures an enemy piece diagonally into the enemy field. You can’t jump on the pieces on the same side. He can’t turn around either, he can’t move backwards. From your starting position, the second row, you can advance 1 or 2 squares. If a pawn is able to reach the 8 row it is crowned, that is, it can change shape and can take the form of a horse, a bishop, a tower or a lady. He can never become king, because there is only one king.


How a bishop moves

The bishop would be the equivalent of archers. They attack long distances with arrows or other sharp objects. Their symbology in chess would therefore be forces that do not attack melee but cause damage from where they are. If I were a Marvel character, I’d  be Hawkeye. Their power lies in that they cut the rival territory like knives.

metal chess pieces on board in room
Photo by Alex Green on

The way to move a bishop is diagonally and over long distances. Capture a piece of the opponent taking his place. You can’t skip the pieces on the same side. You can move in all allowed directions.


How a horse moves

A horse would be equivalent to cavalry. In the Marvel universe equivalent to the Rocket Raccoon. The cavalry in the Middle Ages were an elite troop of horse-riding riders. They surprise rival forces because of their rapid movements. Similarly Rocket jumps on enemies attacking them with deadly weapons.

two white and black chess knights facing each other on chess board
Photo by Syed Hasan Mehdi on

The way horses move is one of the most complicated to understand. They basically move in the shape of an L, that is, two rows and a column or two columns and a row. It can be seen in the figure below. They capture a rival piece taking their place.

caballo knight

The horse in box a1 can only be moved to either b3 or c2. However, the horse located in e5 can move to 8 different squares forming an octagon.

How the towers move

The turrets move in rows or columns, horizontally or vertically, and capture a rival piece taking their place. They can’t jump past the pieces on the same side. The equivalent in the Middle Ages would be the catapult. In the Marvel universe it would be Captain America.

gray scale photo of person holding chess piece
Photo by j.mt_photography on

The catapult  was an ancient military machine for throwing objects over long distances. The tower in Chess moves over long distances, as it can move in rows and columns. Capture a rival piece taking its place.


How the Queen Moves

The Queen is the most powerful pieces of Chess. If I were a Marvel character, I’d be Wonder Woman. His symbology in the Middle Ages would be  onagro, a very powerful weapon similar to the catapult but more deadly.

brown queen chess piece
Photo by Steve Johnson on

The way you move is in any direction, that is, in rows, columns, or diagonals from the box where you are to anyone within your reach, the only limit is the board. Capture a rival piece by taking its place and can’t jump over pieces on its own side, blocking its movement.

reina queen

How the king moves

The king is the most important piece. It would be the equivalent of a Marvel character to Thor. He’s the one who orders and commands. In the Middle Ages it would be the feudal lord, the king who decides what to do in battle.

king chess piece
Photo by Gladson Xavier on

The King moves in all directions but one by one, as can be seen in the image below:

rey king

It’s a piece we should never use in the early stages of battle. It’s always good to keep her safe so that no one attacks her, among other things, because if you get checkmate, you’ve lost the game. Checkmate is the surrender of your army. Your army loses game and battle. You can also leave a game if your army is in clear numerical inferiority of forces.

Special movements

There are several types of special movements that are taught during the first few days: en passant, castle and check.

  • En passant. En passant is a special move in which if a player moves a pawn from its initial position two squares but has a pawn in 6 enemy row, it can capture it.
  • Castle. Castle is a privilege the king has. To protect yourself more properly it is placed on the lady’s flank or on the king’s flank. The flanks can be seen in the figure below.
  • Check. By checking an army “contact” the King on the other side.
flancos en ajedrez

En passant

Passant or passant capture is a play in chess. It is a special pawn capture that can only occur immediately after a pawn makes a two-box move from its initial square, and could be captured by an enemy pawn if only one square had advanced.


Castle is the only chess movement in which two pieces move at once. The main pieces are the king and a tower, either that of the lady’s flank or that of the king’s flank.


Check is a touch of attention to the King. The enemy army is capable of attacking the King. If you check the player who receives that check has to act in any way either:

  1. Taking the King out of the box where he is and moving him to one that is not under the power of any rival force.
  2. Placing a piece of your army in the middle to hinder the range of that check.
  3. Capture the part that made the check.
jaque check

Time in Chess

Just as in the Middle Ages battles had a time when they were held and did not usually last many days, Chess is also governed by time. It is usually played with a watch in which when you are thinking about your time your watch runs and when the opponent is thinking your watch is stopped.

shallow focus of clear hourglass
Photo by Jordan Benton on

Similarly we could say that time in the Marvel universe would be the gem of time. This gem allows you to control the time although in Chess you can’t control it, a player can’t control the time but can play more or less fast to have more time than the opponent.

There are many modes of Chess that are based on time, the duration of games. Depending on the duration of a game we distinguish:

  • Bullet. Games lasting between 1 minute and 3 minutes per player.
  • Lightning. Games lasting between 3 minutes and 10 minutes.
  • Quick chess. More than 10 minutes and less than 30.
  • Classic chess. Games that last more than 30 minutes.


Chess is an art sport in which two armies with equal power face off on a 64-square-box battlefield. The team that drives the white or clear pieces has the right to move first and from that moment each side will make one move at a time. The game ends when one of the two armies withdraws, an army loses by time or when a king is in checkmate.

The symbology in Chess is very varied. In this article I have spoken of a possible interpretation of this symbology that has to do with the battles that existed in the Middle Ages. If you have any other chess-related symbology you want to share, you can leave a comment. I’ve also made an analogy with the Marvel universe.

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Avelino Dominguez

??‍? Biologist ??‍? Teacher ??‍? Technologist ? Statistician ? #SEO #SocialNetwork #Web #Data ♟Chess ? Galician

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