Chess Piece Tattoo Meaning with ideas & Designs

Chess is as old as tattooing. The game has 32 pieces, a King, queen, two bishops, two knights, two rooks, and eight pawns for each player.

It is one of the most popular board games played the world over. Each of these pieces has different roles and strengths. These chess pieces have inspired great tattoo designs.

If you are a fan of these designs but are wondering which one to get, don’t worry. In this article, we highlight each chess piece tattoo meaning.

Chess Piece Tattoo Meaning

Chess piece tattoo designs are inspired by the board, the pieces, or both. However, the most popular tattoo designs are chess pieces. Each piece has its significance in the game and has been adopted into tattoo designs.

The King Tattoo Piece Tattoo Meaning

The king is by far the most critical piece on a chessboard. The whole game is centered around attacking and capturing your opponents’ king before they get yours. The king is a show of power and authority. The same applies to the tat design.

The king might be important but not so powerful. It can’t move far, but it doesn’t have to. It has soldiers to do that. As a tat design, it symbolizes being the one who runs things. It is a show of being a manager.

The Queen Tattoo Piece Tattoo Meaning

The queen is the most powerful piece on a chessboard. It is a formidable attacker and is tasked with leading attacks. The queen can move almost anywhere on the chessboard. It’s tasked with weakening the opponent’s defense as fast and as much as possible.

However, its early loss spells danger to other pieces. A loss is usually imminent. The queen tattoo symbolizes the power women have. It also represents the significance of women in our lives.

The Bishop Tattoo Piece Tattoo Meaning

The bishop is usually placed next to the queen and king. It is the next important and powerful piece on a chessboard. It moves diagonally as far as it can reach and represents following a path to the end. It also shows knowing how to follow instructions.

The Knight Tattoo Piece Tattoo Meaning

Knight is an unusual piece. It is the only piece that can go over other pieces, which doesn’t follow only one direction. It is agile and a ferocious soldier that attacks from the shadows.

The knight tattoo can represent agility. It symbolizes your ability to adapt to situations and make the most of them. It also means being skillful. The knight moves in an L path and is vital at setting traps and pinning back pieces.

The Rook Tattoo Piece Tattoo Meaning

The rook sits at the corners of the chessboard. They are seen more as defensive pieces rather than attacking ones. They move horizontally and vertically as far as they can get. They cover routes and protect the other essential pieces on the board. They symbolize protectors.

The rook also looks like a castle. It is seen as a watchtower that looks across the chessboard before getting involved. It represents solidity and dependability.

Pawn Tattoo Piece Tattoo Meaning

Pawn is the least powerful piece yet is the majority on the board. There are eight pawn pieces available for each player. They move horizontally apart from when consuming an enemy and can only do so diagonally.

The pawn tattoo represents the power of a group. When arranged together, pawns are a devastating force and can hamper your opponent’s progress. Pawns are usually the first pieces to move. The tattoo symbolizes taking the first step in something.

When playing chess, a pawn is a piece one is more willing to lose than any other. The tat design can thus mean being willing to sacrifice oneself for the greater good.

Why is the Chess Piece Tattoo Popular?

Chess is a popular board game played by children and adults alike. The tattoo design is a favorite for lovers of the game. Chess piece tattoo designs look fantastic and have different variations to fit different personalities. For others, the meaning of the pieces is enough to get the tat. You get the chess piece design that best represents you.

Chess has been in existence for centuries, just like a tattoo. The designs have grown in leaps and bounds, and some look outstanding and realistic. There are very creative and unique designs that attract people to get this tattoo.

Who is the Chess Piece Tattoo For?

Chess lovers who want to get designs to show their love of the game can get a chess piece. You can choose your favorite piece or ink the tat that best represents you or your playing style.

The king piece tattoo is a design for strong, authoritative people. If you are a manager, you could get this tat to show your personality.

The queen piece tattoo is popular with the ladies. It is for the firm, powerful woman who can get this design to represent her belief in woman power. You can get the queen tattoo to celebrate your woman as a man. The significance of women by a man’s side is amplified by the importance of the queen to the king in chess.

Bishop has religious links, especially Christianity. You can get this tattoo to show your religious beliefs. Pawn is a piece for those looking to take the first step in something. It shows your willingness to start.

Best Placement for the Chess Piece Tattoo

The placement for a chess piece tattoo depends on the piece you are inking. However, there are generally places that go well with most. The forearm is a great location to get any piece tattoo. It is spacious enough to get most pieces. Its location is also suitable to cover it up if need be.

If you want to get 3D designs of any chess piece, the bicep is a great place to ink it. King and knight’s 3D design especially look at home on the biceps.

For larger designs like whole board tats, you can get them on your upper back. The space is enough to get the entire board with the pieces you want.


Most people looking to get a chess piece tattoo to know about the game. However, this article informs those who don’t know anything about chess. The meaning of each piece should make it easy for you to know which piece to ink yourself. However, meaning is secondary: get a tattoo you love that you think will look good on you. Meaning can be whatever you make it to be.

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About the author

I’m S.R Bhuiyan, a proud Tattoo artist. I will share the body art journey with you here in PrettyJust. I have 10+ years of experience in the field of tattoo, piercing, nail art, and skincare. Check out my bio which has my tattoo studio/cat/travel pics!

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