Please turn on javascript in your browser to play chess.
Only Chess Forum

Only Chess Forum

  1. Standard member vivify
    rain
    09 Nov '12 22:09 / 1 edit
    the names of the pieces are self-explanatory (king, queen, etc). But why is the rook named what it is? Is "rook" a term for someone that lives in a king's castle? I always assumed a rook was a term for a prince, since it has a crown on it's head like King and Queen, and is a major piece like they are.

    The top four Google search results for rook"

    Rook, Wikipedia (chess)
    Rook, Wikipedia (card game)
    Rook, Wikipedia (bird)
    Rook Brand Clothing

    No explanation of where the name "rook" comes from, in relation to chess.

    And honestly, I guess I don't know where "pawn" comes from either. Is it an old-world term for "page", which is a young underling?
  2. 09 Nov '12 22:14
    Originally posted by vivify
    the names of the pieces are self-explanatory (king, queen, etc). But why is the rook named what it is? Is "rook" a term for someone that lives in a king's castle? I always assumed a rook was a term for a prince, since it has a crown on it's head like King and Queen, and is a major piece like they are.

    The top four Google search results for rook"

    Rook ...[text shortened]... comes from either. Is it an old-world term for "page", which is a young underling?
    Just guessing here, but I seem to recall that it may be an Indian term "ruhk" or "rukh" meaning chariot. I remember reading that somewhere but can't swear to it.
  3. 09 Nov '12 22:19
    Originally posted by Bebop5
    Just guessing here, but I seem to recall that it may be an Indian term "ruhk" or "rukh" meaning chariot. I remember reading that somewhere but can't swear to it.
    Just looked up "rukh"; actually a Persian term, meaning a mythological large bird that can carry great weights like elephants and such....
  4. Standard member wolfgang59
    Infidel
    09 Nov '12 22:38
    Originally posted by vivify
    why is the rook named what it is?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rook_(chess)

    ♖ ♜ borrowed from Persian رخ rokh, Sanskrit रथ rath, "chariot"

    I always thought the rook was an elephant in the Indian game, the "castle" being the little fortified seat on top. Obviously I was wrong.

    CHARIOT
  5. Standard member wolfgang59
    Infidel
    09 Nov '12 22:40
    Originally posted by vivify
    And honestly, I guess I don't know where "pawn" comes from either. Is it an old-world term for "page", which is a young underling?
    The word pawn actually is derived from the Old French word "paon" which comes from the Medieval Latin term for foot soldier, and is etymologically cognate to peon.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pawn_(chess)#Etymology
  6. Standard member wolfgang59
    Infidel
    09 Nov '12 22:46
    Similar etymology as for pioneers, which is what
    the pawns are at the beginning of the game!
  7. Standard member vivify
    rain
    09 Nov '12 23:52
    Thanks, Wolfgang, that was a big help. Now if we can just find the etymology of "rook", that would be awesome.
  8. 10 Nov '12 00:00 / 2 edits
    Originally posted by Bebop5
    Just guessing here, but I seem to recall that it may be an Indian term "ruhk" or "rukh" meaning chariot. I remember reading that somewhere but can't swear to it.
    yes this is the origin of the term, the same word in Urdu, from the Persian, Ruhk,
    chariot. The queen was originally vizier, a high-ranking political adviser, again from
    the Persian. Carrobie means cherub, from Persian, just sayin.
  9. 10 Nov '12 00:05
    Originally posted by wolfgang59
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rook_(chess)

    ♖ ♜ borrowed from Persian رخ rokh, Sanskrit रथ rath, [b]"chariot"


    I always thought the rook was an elephant in the Indian game, the "castle" being the little fortified seat on top. Obviously I was wrong.

    CHARIOT[/b]
    i understand what you mean. I have a chess set bought from Tunis in which the rooks are elephants.
  10. Standard member vivify
    rain
    10 Nov '12 00:25
    Oh, so "elephants" or "chariots" is indeed the original meaning, then. So why then, is a rook represented with a crown, rather than wheels for the chariot, or with an elepphant head?

    This reminds me; I used to play a game called "Battle Chess" for Nintendo, where you see an actual battle between two pieces, when one is captured. The rooks were represented by large rock-like monsters. It was really a moving, cylindrical part of a castle, with the "crown" being those posts archers shoot behind, like in this image:

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/5/50/Bodiam-castle-10My8-1197.jpg/300px-Bodiam-castle-10My8-1197.jpg

    In light of this explanation, it makes a tad more sense, since I once thought a rook was a prince, represesnted with a crown.
  11. Standard member wolfgang59
    Infidel
    10 Nov '12 01:00
    Originally posted by vivify
    Thanks, Wolfgang, that was a big help. Now if we can just find the etymology of "rook", that would be awesome.
    from Sanskrit and Persian as above

    (unfortunately RHP doesnt cater for the character set)
  12. Subscriber Marinkatomb
    wotagr8game
    10 Nov '12 03:29
    Originally posted by vivify
    Oh, so "elephants" or "chariots" is indeed the original meaning, then. So why then, is a rook represented with a crown, rather than wheels for the chariot, or with an elepphant head?

    The standardisation of the pieces only came into effect in Staunton's era, he was consulted on what design the pieces should take in tournament play and hence we have the 'Staunton piece set'. The fact that these pieces don't necessarily represent or reflect their etymological origins may well have something to do with this.
  13. Standard member Wulebgr
    Angler
    10 Nov '12 03:30
    Originally posted by Bebop5
    Just guessing here, but I seem to recall that it may be an Indian term "ruhk" or "rukh" meaning chariot. I remember reading that somewhere but can't swear to it.
    That's correct. The latter: rukh.

    You might have read it in H.J.R. Murray, A History of Chess (1913), as it is there.
  14. Standard member Wulebgr
    Angler
    10 Nov '12 03:33
    Originally posted by Marinkatomb
    The standardisation of the pieces only came into effect in Staunton's era, he was consulted on what design the pieces should take in tournament play and hence we have the 'Staunton piece set'. The fact that these pieces don't necessarily represent or reflect their etymological origins may well have something to do with this.
    Found this in Encyclopedia Britannica, but it correlates with things that I have read in credible secondary sources.

    "The standard for modern sets was established about 1835 with a simple design by an Englishman, Nathaniel Cook. After it was patented in 1849, the design was endorsed by Howard Staunton, then the world’s best player; because of Staunton’s extensive promotion, it subsequently became known as the Staunton pattern."
  15. Subscriber Marinkatomb
    wotagr8game
    10 Nov '12 03:43
    Originally posted by Wulebgr
    Found this in Encyclopedia Britannica, but it correlates with things that I have read in credible secondary sources.

    "The standard for modern sets was established about 1835 with a simple design by an Englishman, Nathaniel Cook. After it was patented in 1849, the design was endorsed by Howard Staunton, then the world’s best player; because of Staunton’s extensive promotion, it subsequently became known as the Staunton pattern."
    Is that so, i was under the impression Staunton was involved in the design, you learn something new every day. 🙂

    The names given to the pieces varies from country to country, if you really want to get a feel for the true meaning of the names, researching the foreign names might also give a clue. This is a table of names by language that may assist..

    http://www.eudesign.com/chessops/basics/cpr-lang.htm