Chess Around the World
By templedf on Aug 29, 2005
Since being in Europe, I've noticed that we don't all call our chess pieces the same things. I find the differences fascinating. Below is a table of the names of the pieces translated into English. So far, I only know about German and Bulgarian names. If anyone from any other countries/cultures would like to contribute, please add a comment.
\* I suspect that the Germans use "lady" instead of "queen" because in German, "king" (König) and "queen" (Königin) both start with 'k'. "Lady" (Dame) doesn't, which makes game notation easier. The same thing applies to playing cards.
\*\* Thanks, Ahmet!
\*\*\* The spanish word, el alfil, does not appear to have a meaning outside of chess. As Ahmet suggested in his comment, it seems likely it's derived from the Arabic word for "elephant."
\*\*\*\* Thanks, Bruno!
(I just happened across this site, where there's a much more thorough list of chess piece names, but they don't translate them back into English!)