The game of Chess is made up of two sets of 16 pieces, including one king, one queen, two bishops, two knights, two rooks, and eight pawns. All of the 16 pieces have specific positions on the chess board. The chess pieces themselves come in a variety of different styles and designs and the names of each piece did not traditionally start out as the names we use today. Chess pieces come in a variety of different materials and of course vary in prices.
The game of chess itself is well known throughout the world and most people who see a chess board have an idea what it is and in many cases they will be able to tell you the names of some of the chess pieces. Usually easily established chess pieces by most are The King, Queen and Pawn. However there are many who are not always sure on the names of the Bishop, Knight and Rook. Many will also not be aware of the special rules and moves of each individual chess piece. What is more unusual is that avid chess players often have no idea why those pieces are named the way they have.
All the chess pieces were all based on elements of war. Those elements being infantry, cavalry, elephants and chariots all represented by the pieces such as with the Pawns, Knights, Bishops, and Rooks. Originally The King was referred to as the General and it was not until the game made its way to Europe that the pieces were redesigned with a more court like design rather than that of a military one and The General changed his name to The King.
A theory regarding the story behind the design of some of the current chess pieces are as follows: Pawns - First line of defense and represented the peasants from a court. Considered expendable as the game was built around protection of the court. It is said that during the phase of medieval chess the pawns were generally named relating to peasants occupations. This did not alter the use of the pawn only provided a more interesting story to go along with the game itself.
Rooks - Symbolic of the chariot. It is said that Persian war chariots were often armored with fortified stone work hence the look of a mobile building. Eventually these were redesigned to the look of a turret and the modern Rook.
Knights - Knights are usually designed as horses and that was their history in the game.
Bishops - Bishops are generally given a tall hat much like a Bishop's hence the name Bishop.
The King & The Queen - Most often depicted with a royal crowns.
Chess players will buy chess pieces as collection items with a versatile use as well as for actual play of the game. However you will often find in modern and even retro interior decoration themes that a chess board and chess pieces are used as designer objects rather than for the practical use. Many find beauty in the look of the board and pieces and even though they are missing the most important aspect of play itself there is no reason that everyone should not get benefit, in whatever form, from the board and chess pieces themselves. Whatever your reason for having your own chess set, there are so many different variations in material and design that there are almost limitless choices for your board and chess pieces today.