The Most Popular Chess Piece: A Ranking of the Beloved Game's Iconic Pieces

Choose the piece you think is the most popular!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on Apr 11, 2024 06:55
Step into the world of kings, queens, knights, and pawns as you join our enthralling quest to determine the most popular chess piece! At StrawPoll, we have created an interactive ranking where you, our fellow chess enthusiasts, can cast your vote for your favorite piece and even suggest a missing contender. Will the majestic queen reign supreme, or will a stealthy knight steal the spotlight? Dive into this fascinating poll, flex your strategic muscles, and let your voice be heard in this epic battle of wits and charm. Don't miss your chance to be a part of the ultimate chess showdown – make your move now and help us crown the true champion of the chessboard!

What Is the Most Popular Chess Piece?

  1. 1
    The most important piece on the board, the king's protection is the ultimate goal of the game. Without the king, the game cannot be won.
    The King is a powerful and essential piece in the game of chess. It represents the monarch, the one being protected and sought after by both players. It is considered the most important piece as the objective of the game is to checkmate the opponent's King.
    • Movement: The King can move one square in any direction: horizontally, vertically, or diagonally.
    • Castling: The King can participate in the castling move, allowing it to move two squares towards a rook, provided the King has not moved before and neither the King nor the chosen rook have been captured.
    • Protection: The King cannot be captured. If it is under direct attack (in check), the player must move the King or block the attack in the next move to avoid checkmate and continue the game.
    • Checkmate: If the King is in a position to be captured with no legal moves available to escape capture, it results in checkmate, ending the game with the opposing player's victory.
    • Stalemate: If the King is not in check but has no legal moves available, it is a stalemate, resulting in a draw.
  2. 2
    The most powerful piece on the board, the queen can move in any direction and any number of squares. It is the key piece in most opening strategies.
    The Queen is a powerful piece in the game of Chess. It is known for its versatility and ability to move in any direction, making it one of the most valuable pieces on the board.
    • Movement: The Queen can move horizontally, vertically, and diagonally across the board.
    • Value: The Queen is considered the most powerful piece in Chess, valued at 9 points.
    • Starting position: The White Queen starts the game on square d1, while the Black Queen starts on square d8.
    • Symbol: The Queen piece is represented by the letter 'Q' in algebraic notation.
    • Capture: The Queen can capture any opposing piece that is within its range of movement.
    The Queen in other rankings
  3. 3
    The only piece that can jump over other pieces, the knight is often used to attack the opponent's pieces from unexpected angles. It is also essential in creating forks and other tactical maneuvers.
    The Knight is a chess piece with a distinct horse-like shape. It is commonly represented as a horse head with a mane and neck. The Knight is one of the six different types of chess pieces used in the game.
    • Movement: The Knight moves in an L-shape, moving two squares in any direction horizontally or vertically, and then one square perpendicular to that.
    • Capturing: The Knight captures opponents' pieces by moving to the square occupied by the opposing player's piece.
    • Value: In most systems, the Knight is considered to have a value of 3 points.
    • Starting Position: In the standard setup, each player begins with two Knights, positioned next to the King and Queen.
    • Knight Fork: The Knight is particularly useful for executing moves called Knight forks, where the Knight simultaneously attacks two or more opponent pieces.
  4. 4
    The bishop can move diagonally and is often used to control key squares on the board. It is also a key piece in many opening strategies.
    The Bishop is a chess piece that belongs to the set of each player, usually distinguished by its pointed top and crisscross design. It moves diagonally on the chessboard, and its role is to control and attack both the opponent's pieces and squares.
    • Movement: The Bishop moves any number of vacant squares diagonally.
    • Starting position: At the beginning of the game, each player has two Bishops, one on a light-colored square and another on a dark-colored square.
    • Capture: The Bishop captures an opponent's piece by landing on the square occupied by that piece, removing it from the board.
    • Color restrictions: Bishops can only move and capture pieces on squares of the same color as their starting position.
    • Value: The Bishop is usually valued at three points in the chess scoring system.
  5. 5
    The rook is a powerful piece that moves horizontally and vertically. It is often used to control open files and to attack the opponent's pieces.
    The Rook is a powerful chess piece that is also known as the castle. It is represented by a stout, rectangular-shaped piece with a flat top.
    • Movement: The Rook can move any number of squares horizontally or vertically.
    • Capture: It captures an opponent's piece by landing on the same square.
    • Value: The Rook is generally assigned a value of 5 points in most chess scoring systems.
    • Starting Position: Two Rooks start the game on the corners of the chessboard.
    • Total Quantity: Each player begins with two Rooks, totaling four Rooks on the board.
  6. 6
    The Pawn
    Keithready · Public domain
    Pawns are the most numerous pieces on the board and are often used to control the center of the board. They are also used to create pawn chains and to block the opponent's pieces.
    The Pawn is one of the most basic and crucial chess pieces. It represents foot soldiers and plays a significant role in the game. Pawns have limited mobility and require careful strategic positioning to become powerful assets on the chessboard.
    • Promotion: When reaching the opponent's back rank, a pawn can be promoted to any other chess piece, except a king
    • Movement: Pawns initially move one square forward, but capture diagonally
    • Double Move: On their first move, pawns can choose to move two squares forward
    • En Passant: A special capturing move that can only be performed immediately after an opponent's pawn moves two squares forward from its starting position
    • Capturing: Pawns capture by moving diagonally one square forward
  7. 7
    This knight is often used in the Queen's Gambit opening, one of the most popular openings in chess. It is also used in many other opening strategies.
  8. 8
    The Sicilian Defense
    Hfjhjoiijklij4 · CC BY-SA 4.0
    This is a popular opening strategy that involves moving the pawn in front of the king's knight two squares forward. It is often used to counter the opponent's opening moves.
    The Sicilian Defense is a chess opening that starts with the moves 1.e4 c5. It is the most popular and aggressive response to the King's Pawn Opening. The opening aims to create a complex and asymmetrical position, allowing Black to fight for control of the center and potentially counterattack on the dark squares.
    • Complexity: The Sicilian Defense leads to highly intricate and tactical positions, often involving pawn breaks and piece sacrifices.
    • Variability: There are numerous variations within the Sicilian Defense, including the Najdorf, Dragon, Scheveningen, and Taimanov, each with its own unique characteristics.
    • Aggressive: Black's aim is to launch a strong counterattack against White's central position, putting pressure on their pawn structure.
    • Flexible: The Sicilian Defense offers a wide range of setups, allowing Black to adapt to various pawn structures and piece placements.
    • Popular: The Sicilian Defense is played at all levels of chess and is a favorite choice among top players due to its strategic complexity.
    The Sicilian Defense in other rankings
  9. 9
    This is another popular opening strategy that involves moving the pawn in front of the king's bishop two squares forward. It is often used to control the center of the board.
    The French Defense is a chess opening that begins with the moves 1.e4 e6. It is a semi-closed opening where Black aims to build a solid and defensive pawn structure, specifically targeting the e4 pawn. By playing d5 on the second move, Black challenges the central control of White's e4 pawn and seeks to establish a solid presence in the center.
    • Type: Semi-closed Opening
    • Popular Variations: Winawer Variation, Tarrasch Variation, Classical Variation
    • Strategic Themes: Solid pawn structure, Counter-attack on White's e4 pawn, Dark-square control
    • Famous Players: Viktor Korchnoi, Anatoly Karpov, Viswanathan Anand
    • Difficulty Level: Moderate
    The French Defense in other rankings
  10. 10
    This is an aggressive opening strategy that involves sacrificing a pawn to gain early control of the center of the board. It is a risky move, but can be very effective if executed properly.
    The King's Gambit is a chess opening that begins with the moves 1.e4 e5 2.f4, where White sacrifices a pawn to develop the pieces quickly and launch an aggressive attack against Black's positions.
    • Opening Moves: 1.e4 e5 2.f4
    • Pawn Sacrifice: White sacrifices a pawn on move 2.f4
    • Aggressive Attack: White aims to quickly develop their pieces and attack Black's positions
    • Popular Variations: Falkbeer Countergambit, Kieseritzky Gambit, Bishop's Gambit, etc.
    • Strategic Goals: Creating imbalances and open lines, controlling the center, and targeting Black's kingside

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Ranking factors for popular piece

  1. Mobility
    The ability of the piece to move across the board and its range of movement options.
  2. Value
    The relative strength or importance of the piece in relation to other pieces. This is typically quantified by assigning a point value, which suggests its overall power.
  3. Versatility
    How useful the piece is in various situations and strategies, its ability to adapt to different board positions, and its capacity to perform different roles.
  4. Ability to coordinate with other pieces
    How well the piece can work together with other pieces to achieve tactics, create threats, and control key squares.
  5. Control over key squares and central control
    The capacity of the piece to dominate central squares and important positions on the board to restrict the opponent's options.
  6. Ability to influence the board
    How much of an impact the piece has on the overall game and whether it can dictate an opponent's moves or strategy.
  7. Ease of development
    How quickly and efficiently the piece can be moved into a useful position during the opening phase of the game.
  8. Defensive capabilities
    The piece's ability to protect itself and other pieces from attacks, as well as its overall survivability.
  9. Attacking potential
    The piece's ability to create and execute threats against the opponent's pieces or king.
  10. Popularity and preference among players
    Personal preferences and popularity of the piece among chess players, as well as its cultural significance in chess history and lore.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most popular Chess piece. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or piece is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 195 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each piece once every 24 hours. The rank of each piece is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

More information on most popular chess piece

Chess is a strategic board game that has been enjoyed by people of all ages and backgrounds for centuries. It's a game of skill, patience, and tactics, where players compete to outsmart and capture their opponent's king. The game is played on a square board with 64 alternating light and dark squares, and each player starts with 16 pieces: one king, one queen, two rooks, two knights, two bishops, and eight pawns. While all chess pieces are important, some are undeniably more popular than others. The king, for instance, is the most valuable piece in the game, as its capture results in the end of the game. The queen, on the other hand, is the most powerful piece and can move in any direction on the board. Rooks are known for their ability to control open files and support each other, while knights and bishops are used for strategic maneuvers and attacking the opponent's pieces. Finally, pawns are the least powerful pieces, but they can be used to control the board and create opportunities for more powerful pieces. So, what is the most popular chess piece? That's a tough question to answer, as it largely depends on the player's style and strategy. However, many players consider the queen to be the most popular piece, due to its versatility and power on the board. Others may argue that the knight is the most popular, as it can jump over other pieces and surprise opponents with unexpected moves. Ultimately, the popularity of each chess piece is subjective and can vary depending on the

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