- The pawn (called เบี้ย bia, a cowry shell, formerly used for money) moves and captures like a pawn in international chess, but cannot move two steps on the first move and, therefore, cannot be captured en passant. A pawn that reaches the sixth rank is always promoted to a queen (met).
- The queen (called เม็ด met, seed), the weakest piece, moves one step in any diagonal direction, like the fers in shatranj, or a cat sword in dai shogi.
- The bishop (called โคน khon or thon, nobleman or mask) moves one step in any diagonal direction or one step forward, like the silver general in shogi.
- The knight (called ม้า ma, horse) moves like a knight in Western chess: two steps in one direction and then one step perpendicular to that movement. It jumps over any pieces in the way.
- The rook (called เรือ rua, boat) moves like a rook in Western chess: any number of steps horizontally or vertically.
- The king (called ขุน khun, meaning either a feudal lord or a title-holder of the lowest ranks in the ancient Thai nobility) moves like a king in international chess - one step in any direction. The game ends when the king is checkmated.
||Overturned Cowry Shell
In starting position, pawns are placed on the third and sixth ranks. Queens are placed at the right side of kings. Pawns promote (เบี้ยหงาย bia ngai, flipped cowry shell) and move like queens when they reach the sixth rank. There is no castling rule like that of international chess.
When neither side has any pawns, the game must be completed within a certain number of moves or it is declared a draw. When a piece is captured the count starts again from scratch only if it is the last piece of one side in the game.
- When neither side has any pawns left, mate must be achieved in 64 moves. The disadvantaged player does the counting, and may at any time choose to stop counting. If the disadvantaged side checkmates the advantage side and did not stop counting, the game is declared a draw.
When the last piece (that is not the king) of the disadvantaged side is captured, the count may be started, or restarted from the aforementioned counting, by the weaker side, and the stronger side now has a maximum number of moves based on the pieces left:
- If there are two rooks left: 8 moves
- If there is one rook left: 16 moves
- If there are no rooks left, but there are two bishops: 22 moves
- If there are no rooks left, but there is one bishop: 44 moves
- If there are no rooks or bishops left, but there are two knights: 32 moves
- If there are no rooks or bishops left, but there is one knight: 64 moves
- If there are no rooks, bishops, or knights, but queens: 64 moves
The weaker side pronounces aloud the counting of his fleeing moves, starting from the number of pieces left on the board, including both kings. The stronger side has to checkmate his opponent's king before the maximum number is pronounced, otherwise the game is drawn. During this process, the count may restart if the counting side would like to stop and start counting again.
For example, if White has two rooks and a knight against a lone black king, he has three moves to checkmate his opponent (the given value of 8 minus the total number of pieces, 5). If Black captures a white rook, the count does not automatically restart, unless Black is willing to do so, at his own disadvantage. However, many players do not understand this and restart the counting while fleeing the king.