Concept: Set of 16 Super-Robotic Chess Pieces

These are project studies for the World Chess Organisation, who asked us to design some robotic Chess Pieces. The pieces are currently in production.

A chess piece, or chessman, is any of the 32 movable objects deployed on a chessboard used to play the game of chess. In a standard game of chess, each of the two players begins a game with the following 16 pieces:

  • 1 king
  • 1 queen
  • 2 rooks
  • 2 bishops
  • 2 knights
  • 8 pawns

In playing chess, the players take turns moving one of their own chess pieces. The rules of chess prescribe the types of move a player can make with each type of chess piece.

The pieces that belong to each player are distinguished by color. The lighter colored pieces, and the player that plays them, are referred to as white. The darker colored pieces and their player are referred to as black.

Moves of the pieces

The Rook

The rook moves any number of vacant squares forwards, backwards, left, or right in a straight line. It also takes part, along with the king, in a special move called castling.

The Bishop

The bishop moves any number of vacant squares diagonally in a straight line. Consequently, a bishop stays on squares of the same color throughout a game. The two bishops each player starts with move on squares of opposite colors.

The Queen

The queen moves any number of vacant squares in any direction: forwards, backwards, left, right, or diagonally, in a straight line.

The King

The king moves exactly one vacant square in any direction: forwards, backwards, left, right, or diagonally. It can also castle in conjunction with a rook.

The Knight

The knight moves on an extended diagonal from one corner of any 2×3 rectangle of squares to the furthest opposite corner. Consequently, the knight alternates its square color each time it moves. The knight is the only piece that jumps over any intervening piece(s) when moving (castling being the only special instance in which pieces jump over one another).

The Pawn

The pawn moves forward exactly one space, or optionally, two spaces when on its starting square, toward the opponent’s side of the board. When there is an enemy piece one square diagonally ahead of the pawn, either left or right, then the pawn may capture that piece. A pawn can perform a special type of capture of an enemy pawn called en passant. If the pawn reaches a square on the back rank of the opponent, it promotes to the player’s choice of a queen, rook, bishop, or knight (Just & Burg 2003:13–16).

Pieces other than pawns capture in the same way that they move. A capturing piece replaces the opponent piece on its square, except for an en passant capture. Captured pieces are immediately removed from the game. A square may hold only one piece at any given time. Except for castling and the knight’s move, no piece may jump over another piece.