Fairy chess piece

A fairy chess piece, variant chess piece, unorthodox chess piece, or heterodox chess piece is a chess piece not used in conventional chess but incorporated into certain chess variants and some chess problems. Fairy pieces vary in the way they move. Because of the distributed and uncoordinated nature of unorthodox chess development, the same piece can have different names, and different pieces the same name in various contexts. Almost all are usually symbolised as inverted or rotated icons of the standard pieces in diagrams, and the meanings of these "wildcards" must be defined in each context separately. Pieces invented for use in chess variants rather than problems sometimes instead have special icons designed for them, but with some exceptions (the princess, empress, and occasionally amazon), many of these are not used beyond the individual games they were invented for.[1]


Today's chess exists because of variations someone made to the rules of an earlier version of the game. For example, the queen we use today was once able to move only a single square in a diagonal direction, and the piece was referred to as a ferz. Today, this piece still starts next to the king, but has gained new movement and become today's queen. Thus, the ferz is now considered a non-standard chess piece. Chess enthusiasts still often like to try variations of the rules and in the way pieces move. Pieces which move differently from today's standard rules are called "variant" or "fairy" chess pieces.[2]

The names of fairy pieces are not standardised, and most do not have standard symbols associated with them. Most are typically represented in diagrams by rotated versions of the icons for normal pieces. The following text uses common names for the pieces described whenever possible, but these names sometimes differ between circles associated with chess problems and circles associated with chess variants.


Many of the simplest fairy chess pieces do not appear in the orthodox game, but they usually fall into one of three classes. There are also compound pieces that combine the movement powers of two or more different pieces.

Simple pieces


3 Threeleaper
2 Dabbaba
1 Wazir
0 Zero
(Piece names in this table are not universally recognized for all games).

An (m,n)-leaper is a piece that moves by a fixed type of vector between its starting and destination squares. One of the coordinates of the vector 'start square – arrival square' must have an absolute value m and the other one an absolute value n. A leaper captures by occupying the square on which an enemy piece sits. For instance, the knight is the (1,2)-leaper.[3] Note that an (m,n)-leaper is exactly the same thing as an (n,m)-leaper, so that the knight can also be considered the (2,1)-leaper. The table to the right shows common (but by no means standard) names for the leapers with 0 ≤ m, n ≤ 3, together with the letter used to represent them in Betza notation, a common notation for describing fairy pieces.

Although moves to adjacent squares are not strictly "leaps" by the normal use of the word, they are included for generality. Leapers that move only to adjacent squares are sometimes called step movers in the context of shogi variants.[4]

The leaper's move cannot be blocked; it "leaps" over any intervening pieces. Leapers are not able to create pins, but are effective forking pieces. The check of a leaper cannot be parried by interposing.

In shatranj, a Persian forerunner to chess, the predecessors of the bishop and queen were leapers: the alfil is a (2,2)-leaper (moving two squares diagonally in any direction), and the ferz a (1,1)-leaper (moving one square diagonally in any direction).[5] The wazir is a (1,0)-leaper (an "orthogonal" one-square leaper). The dabbaba is a (2,0)-leaper. The 'level-3' leapers are the threeleaper (0,3), camel (1,3), zebra (2,3), and tripper (3,3). The giraffe is a level-4 leaper (1,4).

Ferz (notation F).
Alfil (notation A), can jump.
Wazir (notation W).
Dabbaba (notation D), can jump.


A rider, or ranging piece, is a piece that moves an unlimited distance in one direction, provided there are no pieces in the way. Each basic rider corresponds to a basic leaper, and can be thought of as repeating that leaper's move in one direction until an obstacle is reached. If the obstacle is a friendly piece, it blocks further movement; if the obstacle is an enemy piece, it may be captured, but it cannot be jumped over.

There are three riders in orthodox chess: the rook is a (1,0)-rider; the bishop is a (1,1)-rider; and the queen combines both patterns. Sliders are a special case of riders which can only move between geometrically contiguous cells. All of the riders in orthodox chess are examples of sliders.

Nightrider (represented by an inverted knight) makes any number of knight moves in the same direction.
The nightrider on a1 is blocked from reaching c5 by its pawn on b3. It may travel to c2 independent of the pieces on a2, b2, and b1. It may capture the enemy pawn on e3, but may not continue on to g4.

Riders can create both pins and skewers. One popular fairy chess rider is the nightrider, which can make an unlimited number of knight moves in any direction (like other riders, it cannot change direction partway through its move). The names of riders are often obtained by taking the name of its base leaper and adding the suffix "rider". For example, the zebrarider is a (2,3)-rider. A nightrider can be blocked only on a square one of its component knight moves falls on: if a nightrider starts on a1, it can be blocked on b3 or c2, but not on a2, b2, or b1. It can only travel from a1 to c5 if the intervening square b3 is unoccupied.

Some generalised riders do not follow a straight path. The gryphon from the historical game of Grande Acedrex is such a "bent rider": it takes its first step like a ferz and continues outward from that destination like a rook. The unicorn, from the same game, takes its first step like a knight and continues outward from that destination like a bishop. The rose from Chess on a Really Big Board traces out an octagonal path of knight moves: from e1, it can go to g2, h4, g6, e7, c6, b4, c2, and back to e1.

A limited ranging piece moves like a rider, but only up to a specific number of steps. An example is the short rook from Chess with different armies: it moves like a rook, but only up to a distance of 4 squares. From a1, it can travel in one move to b1, c1, d1, or e1, but not f1. A rider's corresponding leaper can be thought of as a limited ranging piece with a range of 1: a wazir is a rook restricted to moving only one square at a time. The violent ox and flying dragon from dai shogi (an ancient form of Japanese chess) are a range-2 rook and a range-2 bishop respectively. There are other possible generalisations as well; the picket from Tamerlane chess moves like a bishop, but at least two squares (thus it cannot stop on the square next to it, but it can be blocked there.)


A hopper is a piece that moves by jumping over another piece (called a hurdle). The hurdle can be any piece of any color. Unless it can jump over a piece, a hopper cannot move. Note that hoppers generally capture by taking the piece on the destination square, not by taking the hurdle (as is the case in checkers). The exceptions are locusts which are pieces that capture by hopping over its victim. They are sometimes considered a type of hopper. There are no hoppers in Western chess. In xiangqi (Chinese chess), the cannon captures as a hopper (when not capturing, it is a (1,0)-rider which cannot jump, the same as a rook); in janggi (Korean chess), the cannon is a hopper when moving or capturing. The grasshopper moves along the same lines as a queen, hopping over another piece and landing on the square immediately beyond it.

Compound pieces

Compound pieces combine the powers of two or more pieces. The queen may be considered the compound of a rook and a bishop. The king of standard chess combines the ferz and wazir (ignoring restrictions on check and checkmate). The alibaba combines the dabbaba and alfil, while the squirrel can move to any square 2 units away (combining the knight and alibaba). The phoenix combines the wazir and alfil, while the kirin combines the ferz and dabbaba: both appear in chu shogi, an old Japanese chess variant that is still sometimes played today.

An amphibian is a combined leaper with a larger range than any of its components, such as the frog, a (1,1)-(0,3)-leaper. Although the (1,1)-leaper is confined to one half of the board, and the (0,3)-leaper to one ninth, their combination can reach any square on the board.[6]

When one of the combined pieces is a knight, the compound may be called a knighted piece. The princess, empress, and amazon are three popular compound pieces, combining the powers of minor orthodox chess pieces. They are the knighted bishop, knighted rook, and knighted queen respectively. When one of the combined pieces is a king, the compound may be called a crowned piece. The crowned knight combines the knight with the king's moves. The dragon king of shogi is a crowned rook (rook + king), while the dragon horse is a crowned bishop (bishop + king). The knighted compounds show that a compound piece may not fall into any of the three basic categories from above: a princess slides for its bishop moves (and can be blocked by obstacles in those directions), but leaps for its knight moves (and cannot be blocked in those directions). (The names princess and empress are common in the problemist tradition: in chess variants involving these pieces they are often called by other names, such as archbishop and chancellor in Capablanca chess, or cardinal and marshal in Grand chess, respectively.)

Marine pieces are compound pieces consisting of a rider (for ordinary moves) and a locust (for captures) in the same directions. Marine pieces have names alluding to the sea and its myths, e.g., nereide (marine bishop), mermaid (marine queen), or poseidon (marine king).

In addition to combining the powers of pieces, pieces can also be modified by restricting them in certain ways: for example, their power might only be used for moving, only for capturing, only forwards, only backwards, only sideways, only on their first move, only on a specific square, only against a specific piece, and so on. The horse in xiangqi (Chinese chess) is a knight that cannot leap: it can be blocked on the square orthogonally adjacent to it. The gold general from shogi (Japanese chess) is the combination of a wazir and a forward-only ferz; the silver general from shogi is the combination of a ferz and a forward-only wazir. The pawn has the power of a wazir, but only forward and for movement; the power of a ferz, but only forward and for capturing; the power of a rook with a limited range of 2 squares, but only forward and on its first move; the power of promotion to a more powerful piece, but only on its last rank; and the power to capture an enemy pawn en passant, but only immediately after it has moved two squares past it on an adjacent file. A piece that moves and captures differently, like the pawn, is called divergent.[7]

There are some powerful notation systems, described below, that can more succinctly represent arbitrary combinations of the basic restrictions of basic pieces.


All of the above pieces move once per turn and capture by replacement (i.e., moving to their victim's square and replacing it). The lion in chu shogi, as do the pieces in Marseillais chess, can move twice per turn: such pieces are common in the old Japanese variants of chess, termed shogi variants, where they are called lion moves after the simplest example. The lion is a king with the power to move twice per turn: thus it can capture a piece and then move on, possibly capturing another, or returning to its original square. When a double-moving piece captures and then returns to its original square, it acts like a shooting piece (as in Rifle Chess), which does not capture by replacement (it stays in place when making a capture). Such a shooting capture is termed igui 居喰い "stationary feeding" in the old Japanese variants where it is common. Baroque chess has many examples of pieces that do not capture by replacement, such as the withdrawer, a piece which captures an adjacent piece by moving directly away from it.


Red/black elephants
Red/black cannons
Xiangqi game piece disks
(the knight)
(the rook)
Shogi game pieces

Some classes of pieces come from a certain game, and will have common characteristics. Examples are the pieces from xiangqi, a Chinese game similar to chess. The most common are the leo, pao and vao (derived from the Chinese cannon) and the mao (derived from the horse). Those derived from the cannon are distinguished by moving as a hopper when capturing, but otherwise moving as a rider.

Pieces from xiangqi are usually circular disks, labeled or engraved with a Chinese character identifying the piece. Pieces from shogi (Japanese chess) are usually wedge-shaped chips, with kanji characters identifying the piece.

Special attributes

Fairy pieces vary in the way they move, but some may also have other special characteristics or powers. The joker (in one of its definitions) mimics the last move made by the opponent. So for example, if white moves a bishop, black can follow by moving the joker as a bishop.

A royal piece is one which must not be allowed to be captured. If a royal piece is threatened with capture and cannot avoid capture the next move, then the game is lost (a generalization of checkmate). In orthodox chess, the kings are royal. In fairy chess any other piece may instead be royal, and there may be more than one, or none at all (in which case the winning condition must be some other goal, such as capturing all of the opponent's pieces or promoting a pawn). With multiple royal pieces the game can be won by capturing one of them (absolute royalty), or capturing all of them (extinction royalty). The rules can also impose a limit to the number of royals that are allowed to be left in check. In Spartan chess black has two kings, and they cannot both be left in check even though they both cannot be captured in one turn. In Rex Multiplex, a fairy chess condition, pawns can promote to king: a move that checks multiple kings at once is illegal unless all the checks can be resolved on the next move; checkmate happens when a move checkmates all kings of the opposite colour. (A player cannot expose any of his kings to check or checkmate, even if it is to resolve checks or checkmates on other attacked kings.)[8]

Pieces, when moving, can also create effects (temporary or permanent) on themselves or on other pieces. In knight relay chess, a knight grants any friendly piece it protects the ability to move like a knight. This ability is temporary and expires when the piece is no longer protected by a knight. In Andernach chess, a piece that moves or captures changes its colour; in volage, a genre of fairy chess problems, a piece changes colour the first time it moves from a light square to a dark square (vice versa), and then its colour is fixed. In Madrasi chess, two pieces of the same kind but different colour attacking each other temporarily paralyse each other: neither can move until the mutual attack is broken by an outside piece. The basilisk from Ralph Betza's Nemoroth inflicts a permanent form of this paralysis (but paralysed pieces can be pushed by the go away, another piece in the game, so they are only prevented from moving of their own accord); the ghast from the same game restricts friendly pieces within two squares of it to moves that take them geometrically further from it, and compels enemy pieces to do so (similar to the compulsion of resolving check in orthodox chess). The immobiliser from Baroque chess immobilises any piece next to it; the fire demon from tenjiku shogi and poison flame from ko shogi capture any enemy pieces that end the turn next to them. The teaching king and Buddhist spirit from maka dai dai shogi are "contagious"; any piece that captures a teaching king or a Buddhist spirit becomes one. (This can be considered as a kind of forced promotion.)

Pieces can promote to other pieces, as the pawn automatically does in orthodox chess on the last rank: the pawn has a choice of what it can promote to. In xiangqi, pawns promote as soon as they cross the river in the middle of the board, but this promotion is fixed and only gives them the power to move sideways as well as forward. In shogi, the pawn is not the only piece that can promote; promotion can occur if a move takes place partly or wholly in the last three ranks from the player's viewpoint, and is optional unless the piece could not move further, but a piece's promotion is fixed. In dai dai shogi, promotion (again fixed depending on the piece) happens when a piece that can promote makes a capture, and cannot be refused.

Pieces can also have restrictions on where they can go. In xiangqi, the general and advisors cannot leave their palaces (a 3×3 section of the board for each player). The topology of the board can also be changed, and some pieces can respect it while others ignore it. In Tamerlane chess, only a king, prince, or adventitious king can enter the opponent's citadel, and only the adventitious king can enter its own citadel. In cylindrical chess, the left and right edges are joined to each other so a rook can continue to the right from h1 and end up on a1. It would be possible to have both cylindrical pieces and normal pieces on the same board.

Such special characteristics of pieces are normally not included in the notations describing the movement of fairy pieces, and are usually explained separately.


Parlett's movement notation

In his book The Oxford History of Board Games[9] David Parlett used a notation to describe fairy piece movements. The move is specified in the form m={expression}, where m stands for "move", and the expression is composed from the following elements:

  • Distance (numbers, n)
    • 1 – a distance of one (i.e. to adjacent square)
    • 2 – a distance of two
    • n – any distance in the given direction
  • Direction (punctuation, X)
    • * – orthogonally or diagonally (all eight possible directions)
    • + – orthogonally (four possible directions)
    • > – orthogonally forwards
    • < – orthogonally backwards
    • <> – orthogonally forwards and backwards
    • = – orthogonally sideways (used here instead of Parlett's divide symbol.)
    • >= – orthogonally forwards or sideways
    • <= – orthogonally backwards or sideways
    • X – diagonally (four possible directions)
    • X> – diagonally forwards
    • X< – diagonally backwards
  • Grouping
    • / – two orthogonal moves separated by a slash denote a hippogonal move (i.e. jumps like a knight)
    • & – repeated movement in the same direction, such as for hippogonal riders (i.e. the nightrider)
    • . – then, (i.e. an aanca is 1X.n+; one step diagonally and then any distance orthogonally outwards)

Additions to Parlett's

The following can be added to Parlett's to make it more complete:

  • Conditions under which the move may occur (lowercase alphanumeric, except n)
    • (default) – May occur at any point in the game
    • i – May only be made on the initial move (e.g. pawn's 2 moves forward)
    • c – May only be made on a capture (e.g. pawn's diagonal capture)
    • o – May not be used for a capture (e.g. pawn's forward move)
  • Move type
    • (default) – Captures by landing on the piece; blocked by intermediate pieces
    • ~ – Leaper (leaps)
    • ^ – Locust (captures by leaping; implies leaper)
  • Grouping (punctuation)
    • / – two orthogonal moves separated by a slash denote a hippogonal move (i.e. jumping like knights); this is in Parlett's, but is repeated here for completeness
    • , (comma) – separates move options; only one of the comma-delimited options may be chosen per move
    • () – grouping operator; see nightrider
    • - – range operator

The format (not including grouping) is: <conditions> <move type> <distance> <direction> <other>

On this basis, the traditional chess moves (excluding castling and en passant capture) are:

  • King: 1*
  • Queen: n*
  • Bishop: nX
  • Rook: n+
  • Pawn: o1>, c1X>, oi2>
  • Knight: ~1/2

Ralph Betza's "funny notation"

Betza's notation for the fundamental leapers

Ralph Betza created a classification scheme for fairy chess pieces (including standard chess pieces) in terms of the moves of basic pieces with modifiers.[10]

Capital letters stand for basic leap movements, ranging from single-square orthogonal moves to 3×3 diagonal leaps: Wazir, Ferz, Dabbaba, KNight, Alfil, THreeleaper, Camel, Zebra, and G (3,3)-leaper. C and Z are equivalent to obsolete letters L (Long Knight) and J (Jump) which are no longer commonly used. Longer leaps are specified here by a vector, such as (1,4) for the giraffe.

A leap is converted into a rider by doubling its letter. For example, WW describes a rook, FF describes a bishop, and NN describes a nightrider. The second letter can instead be a number, which is a limitation on how many times the leap motion can be repeated; for example, W4 describes a rook limited to 4 spaces of movement.

Combining multiple movement letters into a string means the piece can use any of the available options. For example, WF describes a king, capable of moving one space orthogonally or diagonally.

Standard chess pieces except pawns (which are particularly complex) and knights (which are a basic leap movement) have their own letters available; K = WF, Q = WWFF, B = FF, R = WW.

All mentioned capitals refer to a maximally symmetric set of moves that can be used for both moving and capturing. Lowercase letters in front of the capital letters modify the component, usually restricting the moves to a subset. They can be distinguished in directional, modal and other modifiers. Basic directional modifiers are: forward, backward, right, left. On non-orthogonal moves these indicate pairs of moves, and a second modifier of the perpendicular type is needed to fully specify a single direction. Otherwise, when multiple directions are mentioned, it means that moves in all these directions are possible. sideways and vertical are shorthands for lr and fb, respectively. Modal modifiers are move only, capture only. Other modifiers are jumping (basic distant leap must jump, cannot move without a hurdle), non-jumping like the Chinese elephant, grasshopper (rider that must land immediately after first piece it encounters, instead of on or before it), pao (rider that can only land behind the first piece it encounters, instead of on or before it), o cylindrical (moving off one side of the board wraps to the other), z crooked (moving in a zigzag line like the boyscout), q circular movement (like the rose), and then (for pieces that start moving in one direction and then continue in another, like the gryphon).

In addition, Betza has also suggested adding brackets to his notation: q[WF]q[FW] would be a circular king, which can move from e4 to f5 (first the ferz move) then g5, h4, h3, g2, f2, e3, and back to e4, effectively passing a turn, and could also start from e4 to f4 (first the wazir move) then g5, g6, f7, e7, d6, d5, and back to e4.

Example: The standard chess pawn can be described as mfWcfF (ignoring the initial double move).

There is no standard order of the components and modifiers. In fact, Betza often plays with the order to create somehow pronounceable piece names and artistic word play.

Addition to Betza's notation ('XBetza'[11])

Betza does not use the small letter i. It is used here for initial in the description of the different types of pawns. The letter a is used here to describe again, indicating the piece can make the move on which it is prefixed multiple times, possibly with new modifiers mentioned behind the a, which then apply to the second 'leg' of the move. Directional specifications for such a continuation step should be interpreted relative to the first step (e.g. aW is a two-step orthogonal move that can change direction; afW is a two-step orthogonal move that must continue the same direction).

To handle some frequently encountered special moves, e can be used next to m and c to indicate en-passant capture, i.e. capture of the piece that just made a move with i & n modifier, by moving to the square where the n implies it could have been blocked. (This makes the full description of the FIDE pawn fmWfceFifmnD.) An O with a range specifier is used to indicate castling with the furthest piece in that direction in the initial setup, the range indicating the number of squares the king moves (orthodox castling: ismO2). XBetza overloads some modifiers, by giving them an alternative meaning where the original meaning makes no sense. E.g. i in a continuation leg ('iso') indicates the length must be the same as the previous riding leg, useful for indicating rifle captures (caibR).

Non-final legs of a multi-leg move also have the option to end on an occupied square without disturbing its contents. To indicate this the modifier p is used, and thus has a slightly different meaning than on final legs; the traditional meaning can then be seen as shorthand for paf. To make the a notation more versatile, it can also be used when the moves of the two legs are not exactly congruent: g is an alternative to indicates a non-final leg to an occupied square, but in contrast to p it specifies a 'range toggle', converting a mentioned rider move into the corresponding leaper move (e.g. RW) for the next leg, and vice versa (making the traditional g shorthand for gaf). A similar range toggle on reaching an empty square can be indicated by y, to indicate a slider spontaneously turns a corner after starting with a leap. Continuation directions will always be encoded in the 8-fold (K) system, even when the initial leg only had 4-fold symmetry. Mention of an intermediate direction on a 4-fold-symmetrical move would then swap orthogonal moves to the corresponding diagonal moves, (e.g. WF) and vice versa. (So mafsW is the xiangqi horse, move to an empty W-square, and continue one F-step at 45 degree, and FyafsF is the gryphon.)


The following table shows some game pieces of unorthodox chess, from fairy chess problems and chess variants (including historical and regional ones), and the six orthodox chess pieces. The columns "Parlett" and "Betza" contain the notation describing how each piece moves. The notation systems are explained in the last sections of this article.


NameParlettBetzaFound inNotes
Aanca1X.n+t[FR]Grant Acedrex (Alfonso X, 1283)See "Gryphon". Spanish Gryphon or Elephant Bird or Eagle
Advisor1XFXiangqi (Chinese chess)Chinese Queen. Ferz that can't leave the palace (3×3 zone at the center of South and North sides). Originally 士 shì (Black Advisor) and 仕 shì (Red Advisor) in Chinese. Also known as Counsellor, Mandarin, Guard, Officer and, ambiguously, Minister.
Alfil~ 2XA = (2,2)Chaturanga (Indian chess), Shatranj (Persian chess)Elephant in Shatranj. A (2,2)-leaper. Originally Fil in Persian. Also called Gaja, Hasty, and Pil (Shatranj). Alternate notation: ~ 2/2
Alfilridern(~ 2X) (in same direction)AAFairy Chess ProblemsA rider which moves any number of (2,2) cells (i.e., alfil moves) in the same direction in a straight line.
Alibaba~ 2*ADFairy Chess ProblemsCombines the powers of alfil and dabbaba
Amazonn*, ~ 1/2QNKnightmare Chess, Musketeerchess, WaterlooCombines the powers of queen and knight. Also called Dragon (Musketeerchess), Queen (Waterloo), and Superqueen.
Andernach grasshopperAndernach chessA Grasshopper that changes the colour of the hurdle it leaps over.
Antelope~ 3/4(3,4)Fairy Chess ProblemsJumps three squares diagonally followed by one square orthogonally outwards.
Anti-King1* (captures friendly, not enemy pieces)K (captures friendly, not enemy pieces)This piece is in check when not attacked. If a player's anti-king is in check and unable to move to a square attacked by the opponent, the player is checkmated. A king may not attack the opponent's anti-king. The anti-king may not check its own king.
ArchbishopnX, ~ 1/2BNAmsterdam Medieval Chess, Capablanca Chess, Janus Chess, Quintessential Chess[12]Combines the powers of bishop and knight. Also called Princess, Cardinal, or Janus (Janus Chess).
Archbishop (Fox-Dawson)nX (bounce one edge)B (bounce one edge)Fairy Chess ProblemsReflecting Bishop limited to a single bounce.
Archchancellorn+, ~ 1/2, 1XRNFTeutonic Knight's Chess (J. Knappen, 2009)[13]Crowned Chancellor: Combination of empress and ferz. Originally Erzkanzler in German.
Arrow Pawn (Persson)o2+, c1XmR2cFArrow Pawn Chess (R. Persson variant, 1938)Moves orthogonally one or two squares and captures diagonally one square.
AssassinStealth chess
B4nD1-4X, 2+B4nDChess with different armies (R. Betza, 1979)
Barc~ 2/1> (wide), ~ 1/2< (narrow)fsNbbNWide/Narrow-Hunter: moves forward as a wide knight, and backward as a narrow knight
Basilisk (Dragonchess)o1*>, c1*>mfFfbWcfKDragonchess (3D, 1985)Bound to lower board. 3D movement: Can freeze any opposing piece on the cell directly above it automatically until the basilisk moves away or is captured.
BedenX, ~ 2+BDChess with different armies (R. Betza, 1979)Combination of bishop and dabbaba.
Berolina Pawno1X>, c1>, io2X>mfFcfWimfF2Berolina chessMoves one square diagonally forward (except on its first move, when it may move two), but captures by moving one square straight forward. Compare with pawn.
Berolina Plus Pawno1X>, c1>=, io2X>mfFcsfWimfF2Berolina Plus chessBerolina pawn which can also capture one step orthogonally to the side.
BionpBFairy Chess ProblemsLion confined to bishop lines. Also known as Bishlion and Bishop-lion-hopper.
BishightnX>, ~ 1/2<fBbNChess with different armies (R. Betza, 1979)Bishop/Knight-hunter: moves forward as a bishop, and backward as a knight.
BishopnXB = FFGrande Acedrex (Alfonso X, 1283), Orthodox chessMoves any number of free squares diagonally. Also called Cocatriz (grande acedrex, Spanish: Cockatrice), or Ferz-rider.
Bishopper^nXgBFairy Chess ProblemsGrasshopper confined to bishop lines. Also known as Bishop-hopper.
Bison~ 1/3, ~ 2/3LJFairy Chess ProblemsCombination of camel and zebra.
Blind Dog1<=, 1X>sbWfFWa shogi and Taikyoku shogi variantsCombination of flying cock and backslider. Also known as Yen.
Blind Monkey1=, 1XFsWDai dai shogi and other large Shōgi variantsCombination of drunk and ferz. Also known as Drunken Ferz and Diabolo.
Blind Tiger1X, 1<=FsbWChu shogi and other large Shōgi variantsCombination of ferz and drunken backslider, or drunk and old monkey. Moves one square in any direction except orthogonally forward.
Boat~ 2XA = (2,2)Chaturaji (4 player Indian chess, 11th century)See "Alfil". (And in India, Russia and southeast Asia the rook is sometimes called "boat".)
BoyscoutzBFairy Chess ProblemsMoves like a bishop, but takes 90 degree turns after each step. Invented by J. de A. Almay in the first half of the 20th century. Also called Crooked Bishop (Ralph Betza).
CaliphnX, ~ 1/3BLEcumenical Chess (Charles Gilman, 2003)Combination of bishop and camel.
Camel~ 1/3C = L = (1,3)Tamerlane Chess (1336–1405), Wildebeest Chess, Chess with PawnsOld historic piece. Jumps 2 squares orthogonally followed by one square diagonally outwards. Also called Jamal (Persian Camel).
CannonmRcpRXiangqi, Shako (1990), Metamachy (2012)See "Pao" (Chinese Cannon). Compare with "Korean Cannon", Originally 砲 pào (Black Catapult) and 炮 pào (Red Cannon)
Canvassern+, ~ 1/3RLEcumenical Chess (Charles Gilman, 2003)Combination of rook and camel.
Capricorn2000 A.D. (chess variant)Captures by charging (moving to a vacant square orthogonally or diagonally adjacent to) an enemy piece.
Cavalier1X.n+, n+.1Xt[RF]t[FR]Mideast Chess (California, 1971)More than an aanca / gryphon: either one square diagonal followed by an orthogonal slide outwards or an orthogonal slide followed by one square diagonal outwards.
Centaur~ 1/2, 1*NKFairy Chess ProblemsCombination of knight and mann. Also known as Crowned Knight.
Centurion~ 0/2, ~ 1/2, ~ 2/2NADArchchess (Francesco Piacenza, 1683), Quintessential Chess (J. Knappen, 2002)[12]See "Squirrel"
Champion1+, ~ 2*WADOmega ChessCombines the powers of the wazir and the alibaba.
Chancellorn+, ~ 1/2RNChancellor Chess (Ben Foster, 1887), Capablanca Chess (1920), Chess on an Infinite Plane[14] (2017), Etchessera (2017)[15]Combines the powers of the rook and knight. Also called Empress, Marshall, or Marshal.
Charging Knight(~ 1/2)>, 1*<fhNsbKChess with different armies (R. Betza, 1979)Moves forward as a knight, or backwards as a king. Also known as forfnibakking (from Betza notation fhNrlbK)
Charging Rookn>=, 1*<fsRsbKChess with different armies (R. Betza, 1979)Moves as a rook forwards and sideways, or as a king backwards. Also known as furlrurlbakking (from Betza notation frlRrlbK)
Chariotn+R = WWChaturanga (Indian chess), Xiangqi (Chinese chess)Moves as rook. In Xiangqi originally 車 jū (Black Chariot) and 俥 jū (Red Chariot).
Checkercn(^2X>), o1X>Checkers (Draughts)Moves forward one diagonal square without capturing, or captures by jumping diagonally over an opponent's piece. Promotes to checker king after it reaches the far rank. Also called Draughts Man.
Checker Kingcn(^2X), o1XCheckers (Draughts)Promoted checker that can move diagonally backward. Also called Draughts King.
Chinese PawnXiangqi (Chinese chess)See "Soldier", or "Drunken Soldier" (after crossing the river, center line of the board). Originally (Black Private) and Bīng (Red Soldier) in Chinese.
ClericDragonchess (3D, 1985)See "King". 3D movement: Can move or capture to the square directly above or below it.
Cloud Eaglen<>, 1*, 3X>fbRKfB3Wa shogi and other large Shōgi variantsCombination of flying stag and a forward bishop limited to 3 squares
Coloneln>, n=, 2/1>, 1*KfsRfhNChess with different armies (R. Betza, 1979)Combination of charging knight and charging rook: moves forward as knight or rook, sideways as rook, or backwards as king.
Commoner1*WFChess with different armies (R. Betza, 1979)See "Guard" or "Mann"
Congo Pawn1*>, o1< (past the river), o2< (past the river)fWfF (fWfFmbR2 past the river)CongoIron general that can also move (but not capture) one or two steps straight backward without jumping when past the river. It promotes to congo superpawn (on last rank).
Congo Superpawn1*>=, o1<, o2<, o1X<, o2X<sfWfFmbQ2CongoCongo pawn that can move and capture one step straight sideways, and move (but not capture) one or two steps straight or diagonally backward without jumping.
CoordinatorUltimaCaptures any opposing piece that is on either of the two squares found at a) the intersection of its own file and the king's rank, and b) the intersection of the king's file and its own rank.
Copper General1*>, 1<fFfbWChu shogi, Taikyoku shogi, Wa shogi, and other large Shōgi variantsCombination of iron general and backslider: moves one square in any direction forward or one square straight backward. Also known as Climbing Monkey, Flying Goose, or Yale.
CounsellorXiangqi (Chinese chess)See "Advisor" ("Ferz"). Also spelled Councellor.
CourierCourier Chess (12th century)See "Bishop"
Crab~ 1/2> (narrow), ~ 2/1< (wide)ffNbsNChess with different armies (R. Betza, 1979)Narrow/Wide Knight-Hunter: Moves forward as a narrow knight, and backward as a wide knight.
Crocodile1*, n>; n=; n< (see notes)Congo (1982)It's a mann (anywhere), a file-restricted rook towards the river (outside the river), or a rank-restricted rook (inside the river)
Crown PrincessnX, ~ 1/2, 1+BNWTeutonic Knight's Chess (J. Knappen, 2009)[13]Combination of princess and wazir. Originally Kronprinzessin in German.
Dabbaba~ 2+D = (0,2)Chaturanga (Indian chess) (al-Adli, c. 840), Tamerlane Chess (1336–1405)Old historic piece, also known as War machine. The Arabic word dabbāba formerly meant a type of medieval siege engine, and nowadays means "army tank". Alternate notation: ~ 0/2
Dabbabaridern(~ 2+) (in same direction)DDFairy Chess ProblemsA rider which moves any number of (0,2) squares (i.e., dabbaba moves) in the same direction.
DebtorvDsNKnavish Chess (Charles Gilman, 2011)[16]A six-directional piece, moving sidewards as a knight and forwards and backwards as a dabbaba. Also see Knave.
Dog1>, 1X<fWbFTaikyoku shogi, Tenjiku shogi, Wa shogi and other large Shōgi variantsMoves one square directly forward (as wazir), or diagonally backward (as a ferz). Also called Strutting Crow (Taikyoku shogi and Wa shogi), Swooping Owl, or Wazir/Ferz-Hunter.
Donkey1=, ~ 2<>sWfbDMaka dai dai shogi and other large Shōgi variantsJumps 1 square sideways, or 2 squares forwards and backwards.
Dragono1>, c1X>, io2>, ~ 1/2NmfWcfFimfW2Fairy Chess ProblemsCombination of knight and pawn.
Dragon (Dragonchess)Dragonchess (3D, 1985)See "Dragon Horse" (bound to upper board). 3D movement: Can capture remotely (without leaving level) one cell below it or like a wazir pattern.
Dragon HorsenX, 1+BWShōgi, Quintessential Chess (J. Knappen, 2002)[12]Combination of bishop and wazir. Also known as Crowned Bishop.
Dragon Kingn+, 1XRFThe Duke of Rutland's Chess (J. Manners, 1747),[17] ShōgiCombination of rook and ferz. Also called Crowned Rook.
Drunk Elephant1X, 1>=FsfWSho shogi, Tori shogi, Wa shogi, and other large Shōgi variantsMoves one square in any adjacent direction except orthogonally backward. Called Falcon in Tori Shogi, or Roaming Boar in Wa shogi.
Drunken Soldier1>=sfWJanggi (Korean chess), Xiangqi (Chinese chess)Moves 1 square forward or sideways. Same as Korean Pawn in Janggi.
DummyA piece with no moves at all. It may gain temporarily moving ability by relay, or pushed or pulled by other specific pieces.
Dwarfo1>= c1X>msfW cfFDragonchess (3D, 1985)Pawn that can move without capture one cell laterally (no initial double step), 3D movement: Can capture to the cell directly above it.
EaglenX>, n<, 1*, 2X<fBbRWbB2Tori shogi and other large Shōgi variantsCombination of bishop/rook-hunter (falcon), king (or japanese falcon, or wazir), and a backward bishop restricted to 2 squares
Edgehogn* (edges)Q (edges)Edgehog Chess I (John Driver, 1966) & III (P. Aronson, 2001)[18]A queen that can move only to or from the edge of the board.
Edgehog (Limited)n* (see notes)Q (see notes)Edgehog Chess II (John Driver, 1966) & III (P. Aronson, 2001)[18]Moves as a queen, but if on an edge, must move to non-edge, and if on non-edge must move to edge.
ElementalDragonchess (3D, 1985)Moves like non-leaping king+dabbaba, captures like non-leaping wazir+dabbaba; on lower board. 3D movement: Can move or capture on any non-leaping wazir pattern above or below.
Elephant (Chinese)2XnADai shogi, Shōgi, XiangqiChinese Alfil. A (2,2)-leaper but cannot jump over an intervening piece. In xianqi the elephant is restricted to its half of the board. Originally 象 xiàng (Black Elephant) and 相 xiàng (Red Minister).
Elephant (Indian)1X, 1>FfWChaturanga (Indian chess) (Biruni, c. 1030)See "Khon".
Elephant (Korean) 2/3nJJanggi (Korean chess)Non-leaping zebra.
Elephant (Modern)1X, ~ 2XFAShako (1990), Metamachy (2012)Combination of ferz and alfil (Persian Elephant). Also called Falafel (R. Betza), Ferfil (G.P. Jelliss), or Ferz Alfil.
Elephant (Wilpert)QNNWolf Chess (1943)[19]Originally Elefant(en) in German.
Empressn+, ~ 1/2RNCarrera's Chess (Carrera, 1617), Tutti-Frutti Chess (Betza & Cohen), Wolf Chess (1943)[19]Combines the powers of the rook and knight. Also called Champion (Carrera's Chess), Chancellor, Concubine (The Duke of Rutland's Chess, J. Manners, 1747),[17] Marshall, Marshal, or Wolf (Wolf Chess).
Evil Wolf1>=, 1X>sfKDai shogi and other large Shōgi variants, Jetan (Burroughs' Martian chess)

Moves as a king but without any backwards movement. Also known as Jetan Pawn (Jetan), Pikeman, or Drunken Pawn.

FAD1X, ~ 2*FADChess with different armies (R. Betza, 1979)Combines the powers of the ferz and the alibaba.
FalconnX>, n<fBbRFalcon-Hunter ChessMoves forward as a bishop, and backward as a rook. Also known as Bishop/Rook-Hunter, and Free tile in Maka dai dai shogi and Tai shogi.
Ferocious Leopard1X, 1<>FfbWChu shogi and other large Shōgi variantsMoves one square in any adjacent direction except orthogonally sideways. Also known as Crane (Tori shogi) and Horrible Panther.
Ferz1XF = (1,1)Archchess (Francesco Piacenza, 1683), Chaturanga, Martian chess, Shatranj, Tamerlane Chess (1336–1405)Moves one square diagonally in any direction. Usually spelled Fers by problemists, and Ferz in chess variants. Also called Cat Sword (Dai shogi), Decurion (Archchess), Martian Pawn (Martian Chess), Minister, and Persian Queen.
Fibnif~ 1/2 (narrow), 1XfbNFChess with different armies (R. Betza, 1979)Combination of narrow knight and ferz
Flamingo~ 1/6(1,6)Fairy Chess ProblemsMakes a long (1,6) jump.
Flying Cock1=, 1X>sWfFWa shogi and Taikyoku shogiMoves 1 square diagonally forward, or 1 square sideways. Also known as Sidewinder.
Flying Dragon2XB2Dai shogi and other large Shōgi variantsA bishop restricted to a distance of two squares.
Flying FalconnX, 1>BfWWa shogi and Taikyoku shogiBishop that can step one square forward.
Flying Horse1+, 2X>WnfADai dai shogi and other large Shōgi variantsCombination of wazir and wood general.
Flying OxnX, n<>fbRBChu shogi and other large Shōgi variantsCombination of bishop and reverse chariot
Flying Stagn<>, 1*fbRKChu shogi and other large Shōgi variantsCombination of reverse chariot and mann
Fool1+W = (0,1)Courier Chess (12th century)Moves one square orthogonally in any direction (see Wazir). Also called Schleich, Jester, Joker, Spy, Smuggler, or Sneak.
Forequeenn*>=, ~ 1/2<, 1*<fsQbhNbKChess with different armies (R. Betza, 1979)Moves as queen forward or sideways, or as king or knight backwards.
Forfer1X, 1-4+FR4Chess with different armies (R. Betza, 1979)Combination of ferz and short rook; or dragon king (ferz+rook) limited up to 4 squares.
Free BearnX, n= ~ 2X>sRBfADai dai shogi and other large Shōgi variantsCombination of free boar and forward-restricted alfil.
Free BoarnX, n=sRBChu shogi and other large Shōgi variantsCombination of bishop and rook restricted to sideways directions.
FriendFairy Chess ProblemsMoves like any friendly piece that is guarding it. Compare with orphan.
General1+, "flying general": cn> (against enemy general)kW, "flying general": cfR (against enemy general)Xiangqi (Chinese chess)Chinese King. Royal Wazir that can't leave the palace (3×3 zone at the center of South and North sides), except for executing the flying general move: a capturing forward rook against the enemy general that is used to force checkmate. Originally 將 jiàng (Black General) and 帥 shuài (Red General) in Chinese. Also called Governor in Xiangqi.
Giraffe (modern)~ 1/4(1,4)Grant Acedrex (Alfonso X, 1283) according to H.J.R. Murray (1913)Wrong historical interpretation but popular fairy piece.
Giraffe (Spanish, Zaraffa)~ 2/3Z = J = (2,3)Grant Acedrex (Alfonso X, 1283)Old historic piece. Jumps one square orthogonally followed by two squares diagonally outwards. Also called Zebra as fairy piece.
Giraffe (Tamerlane, Zurafa)~ 1/4.n+(outwards)Tamerlane Chess (1336–1405)Old historic piece. Starts with a (1,4) leap (like the modern Giraffe) and may continue moving outwards as a rook.
Giraffe (Congo)~ 2*, o1*ADmKCongo (1982)Alibaba that moves but does not capture as a king. Compare with Pasha
Gnu~ 1/2, ~ 1/3NLWildebeest Chess (R.W. Schmittberger, 1987)Combination of knight and camel. Called Wildebeest in Wildebeest Chess.
Go-Between1<>fbWDai shogi and other large Shōgi variantsCombination of soldier and backslider: moves one square forward or backward. Also known as Adjutant.
Golden BirdfbRlrW2F3Taikyoku shogi and other large Shōgi variantsIn taikyoku shogi it slides and jumps the first 3 squares along the forward diagonals.
Gold General1+, 1X>WfFShōgi, Taikyoku shogi, Wa shogiMoves one square orthogonally, or one square diagonally forward. Also called Golden Bird, Gold General, or Violent Wolf (Taikyoku shogi and Wa shogi).
Goose~ 2X>, ~ 2<fAbDTori shogiAlfil/Dabbaba-Hunter (moves forward as alfil, backward as dabbaba).
Grasshopper^n*gQFairy Chess ProblemsA hopper which moves along the same lines as queen and lands on the square immediately beyond the hurdle. One of the most popular fairy pieces. Also known as Queen-hopper.
Griffin (Dragonchess)Dragonchess (3D, 1985)See "Zebra" (on upper board). 3D movement: Can move or capture one jump triagonally (ferz pattern) below or above.
Gryphon1X.n+t[FR]Grande Acedrex (Alfonso X, 1283), MetamachyOriginally Aanca in ancient Spanish. Moves one square diagonally followed by moving any number of spaces like a rook outwards (moving away from where it started). Also known as Elephant Bird or Eagle (Metamachy).
Guard1*WF (=K)Amsterdam Medieval Chess, Chess on an Infinite Plane,[20] Pacific Chess, Waterloo ChessMoves as king but is not royal. Also called Mann, Commoner, Prince, or Spy (Waterloo Chess).
Guard (Etchessera) Etchessera[15] When the King moves, the Guard follows the King by moving to its last occupied square. The Guard otherwise cannot move.
Half-Duck1X, ~ 2+, ~ 3+HFDChess with different armies (R. Betza, 1979)Combination of kirin and threeleaper.
Hawk~ 2/2, ~ 3/3, ~ 0/2, ~ 0/3(2,2)(3,3)(0,2)(0,3) = AGDHChess on an Infinite Plane,[20] Musketeer Chess[21][22][23]Jumps two or three squares in any orthogonal or diagonal direction.
Heavenly HorseffbbNWa shogiOccurs in Taikyoku shogi with a different move.
Hero (Dragonchess)Dragonchess (3D, 1985)See "Modern Elephant" (on middle board). 3D movement: Can move or capture one cell triagonally (ferz pattern) below or above.
Hia2* (hia power)Q2 (hia power)Hiashatar (Mongolian decimal chess)Mongolian Bodyguard. Moves like a queen but only one or two squares. Special power: any sliding piece must stop if it moves within a king's move from the hia.
Hiashatar Pawno1>, c1X>, io3>mfWcfFimfW3(Mongolian decimal chess)Mongolian Pawn. Orthodox pawn with a triple step on first move.
Hobbito1+, c1XmWcFHobbit Chess (2002), Centennial Chess (1999)Used as a pawn, but moves one square orthogonally in all four directions, and captures diagonally in all four directions; originally called a fusilier, invented by F. Marinelli in 1770; also called a quadrapawn or a steward
Horned FalconnX, n<=, 1>, ~ 2+>BsbRfWfD or BrlbRdhfWfDChu shogi and other large Shōgi variantsMoves as a bishop, as a rook (except forward), or as a lion up to 2 squares orthogonally forward.
HorseXiangqi (Chinese chess)See "Mao". Originally 馬 mǎ (Black Horse) and 傌 mà (Red Horse) in Chinese.
Howling Dogn>, 1<fRbWDai dai shogi and other large Shōgi variantsCombination of lance and backslider.
Huntern>, nX<fRbBFalcon-Hunter ChessMoves forward as rook, and backward as bishop. Also known as Rook/Bishop-Hunter, and Multi General in Tenjiku shogi and Taikyoku shogi.
Huygens[24]~ (prime number)+(0,2), (0,3), (0,5), (0,7), (0,prime number)...Chess on an Infinite Plane[24]Jumps in a rook's direction any prime number of squares (causing pursuing jumpers to make an inefficient maneuver when chasing it).
ImitatorUltimaColorless piece; cannot capture; moves only in dependence of other pieces – its move being simultaneous to every piece's move, parallel and of same length and direction. If a line piece's move is imitated, the imitator's path must not be blocked. Neither can the imitator be moved outside the board. If complete imitation is not possible, the respective move is illegal.
Immobilizeron* (Immo1*)mQ (Immo-K)UltimaMoves as queen; any enemy piece that is adjacent to the immobilizer is frozen and cannot move until the immobilizer moves away or is captured. If two immobilizers are next to each other, they are both frozen until the end of the game or one is captured. Also known as Freezer.
Iron General1*>fKDai shogi, Tenjiku shogi, other Shōgi variants.Moves one square in any direction forward. Also called Forward King.
Joker (Waterloo)1*, ~ 2*, ~ 1/2(0,1)(0,2)(1,1)(1,2)(2,2) = WDFNAWaterloo Chess, Amsterdam Medieval Chess
Kangaroo~ 1/2, ~ 2XNACombination of knight and alfil
Khohn1X, 1>FfWChaturanga (Biruni, c. 1030), Makruk (Thai chess), Shōgi, Sittuyin (Burmese chess), Taikyoku shogi, Wa shogiCombination of ferz and soldier: moves one square in any direction diagonally or one square straight forward. Also called Burmese Elephant "sin" in sittuyin, Indian Elephant in chaturanga, silver general in shogi, and Violent Stag in taikyoku shogi and wa shogi.
King1*K = WFOrthodox chess, Chaturanga, Shatranj, Shōgi, Tamerlane Chess, Tori shogiMoves one square in any direction. (Combination of wazir and ferz). Royal in orthodox chess. A non-royal piece which moves in this way is sometimes called a Commoner, Mann, or Guard.[25] Also called Raja (chaturanga), Shah (shatranj), Jeweled General (shōgi), or Phoenix (tori shōgi).
King (Dragonchess)Dragonchess (3D, 1985)See "King" (on middle board). 3D movement: Can move or capture to the cell directly above or below it.
Kirin1X, ~ 2+FDDai shogi and other Shōgi variants, Pacific Chess (Hawaii, 1971)Combination of ferz and dabbaba. Also called Ferz Dabbaba, or Fortress (Pacific Chess).
KnavesDffbbNKnavish Chess (Charles Gilman, 2011)[16]A six-directional piece, moving sidewards as a dabbaba and forwards and backwards as a knight. Also see Debtor.
Knight~ 1/2N = (1,2)Chaturanga, Orthodox chess, Shatranj, Tamerlane ChessJumps one square orthogonally followed by another square diagonally. Called Ashwa (horse) in Chaturanga, Faras (horse) in Shatranj, or Zebra in Congo.
Knight (Japanese)(~ 1/2)> (narrow)ffNShōgi (Japanese chess)Narrow Knight restricted to forward movements.
Knishop~ 1/2>, nX<fNbBChess with different armies (R. Betza, 1979)Knight/Bishop-hunter: moves forward as a knight, and backward as a bishop.
Korean CannonpRJanggi (Korean chess)Moves and captures along orthogonal lines by jumping exactly one piece. There can be any number of free squares before and after the hurdle. Also called Rook-line-hopper, Rook Lion, or Rion.
Lancen>fRShōgi, Taikyoku shogi, Wa shogiMoves any number of squares directly forward. Also called Forward Rook (checkers chess), and Oxcart (Taikyoku shogi, Wa shogi).
LeelooQuintessential Chess (J. Knappen, 2002)[12]Combines the powers of quintessence and rook
Left General1X, 1<>, 1= (only right)FfbrWDai dai shogi and other large Shōgi variantsAsymmetrical combination of ferocious leopard and right wazir.
Left Quailn>, nX< (right diagonal), 1XfRbrBblFTori shogi and other large Shōgi variantsCombination of lance, ferz and a backward bishop restricted to right side.
Leoon*, c^&mQcpQAkenhead's Chess (1947)Combines the powers of pao and vao. Moves like a queen when not capturing, but captures by leaping over an intervening piece and taking the piece on the leo's destination square (the captured piece can be any number of squares beyond the hurdle).
Leon~ 1/3, ~ 3+LHGrande Acedrex (Alfonso X, 1283)Spanish Lion. Combination of camel and threeleaper.
Liberated Horsen>, 2<fRbR2Wa shogiMoves forward as a rook or one or two squares orthogonally backward.
LionpQFairy Chess ProblemsA hopper which moves along the same lines as a queen and which can land on a square any distance beyond the hurdle. Also known as queen-line-hopper.
Lion1*, ~ 2*, ~ 1/2KDENMetamachyMoving and capturing anywhere one or two squares around, i.e. one or two squares in any direction or like a Knight.
Lion (Congo)1*, c(n*) (against enemy Congo lion)Congo (1982)King that may not leave its 3×3 castle except to capture another lion on the same vertical or diagonal line.
Lion (Japanese)1*, ~ 2*, ~ (1/2)KNADcaKmabKDai shogi and other large Shōgi variantsMove 2 steps or jumps per turn in any adjacent direction. It can capture up to two pieces per turn, capture an adjacent piece without moving (stationary feeding), or move and return (effectively passing a turn).
Lion Dog3*Q3Dai dai shogi and other large Shōgi variantsA queen that cannot move more than three squares. Can jump and locust-capture in Japanese rule interpretation.
MageDragonchess (3D, 1985)Queen (on middle board), Wazir (on upper or lower boards). 3D movement: Can move or capture one or two cells above or below it.
Maharajan*, ~ 1/2QNMaharajah and the SepoysA royal amazon, the only piece for white.
Mann1*WF = KCourier Chess (12th century)Moves as king but is not royal. German: Man or Commoner. Also called Commoner, Guard, or Man.[25]
Mao1/2nNXiangqi (Chinese chess), Akenhead's Chess (1947).Chinese Horse. Moves like a knight except that it does not leap. It steps one square orthogonally in any direction, then continues one square diagonally in the same general direction. The square stepped to orthogonally must be vacant.
Marshalln+, ~ 1/2RNThe Sultan's Game (L. Tressan, 1840)See "Empress". Also spelled Marshal, or called Chancellor.
Minister1XF = (1,1)Chaturanga, Shatranj, Tamerlane Chess (1336–1405)See "Ferz". Also known as Counsellor.
Moa1/2nNChineseAs the Mao, but the first step is diagonal and the second orthogonal, not the other way round.
Monkey (Congo)o1*, cn(^2*)Congo (1982)Checker King allowed to play orthogonally too.
Murray Lion~ 2*, c1*ADcKFairy Chess ProblemsCan move and capture as an alfil or dabbaba, and capture only as a king. This piece stems from a misinterpretation of the lion of chu shogi. It is named after the chess historian H. J. R. Murray who brought it up.
N2R42(~ 1/2), 1−4+N2R4Chess with different armies (R. Betza, 1979)
NaomNNcpNNChineseA Chinese nightrider. Moves as a nightrider when not capturing, captures by leaping over a piece and capturing the piece on its destination
Nightridern(1/2) (in same direction)NNWolf Chess (1943),[19] Edgehog Chess II (John Driver, 1966) & III (P. Aronson),[18] Cavalier Chess (Fergus Duniho, 1998)A rider which moves any number the knight's moves in the same direction. A piece in its path of the opposing color could be captured, but the nightrider could not move any further. Also played in fairy chess problems (T.R. Dawson).
Nightrider-hopperFairy Chess ProblemsMove to next square beyond any piece in lines of knight moves. Also known as Knight-line-hopper
Old Monkey1X, 1<FbWMaka dai dai shogi and other large Shōgi variantsCombination of fers and backslider. Also known as Inverted Silver and Backward Elephant.
OrphanFairy Chess ProblemsMoves like any enemy piece that is attacking it. Compare with Friend.
Paladin (Dragonchess)Dragonchess (3D, 1985)Centaur (on middle board) or King (on upper or lower boards). 3D movement: Makes knight-like jumps
PancakepNNKChess with different armies (R. Betza, 1979)Combination of man and cannon-style nightrider
PaomRcpRAkenhead's Chess (1947), Xiangqi (Chinese chess)Chinese Cannon. Moves like a rook when not capturing, but captures by leaping over an intervening piece and taking the piece on the Pao's destination square. Compare with Korean Cannon.
Pasha1*, ~ 2*KADPaulovits's Game (1890)Combination of king and alibaba. Also known as Mastodon.
Pawno1>, c1X>, io2>mfWcfFimfW2Chadarangam (Telugu chess), Orthodox chessMoves one square straight forward (except on its first move, when it may move two squares), but captures one square diagonally forward. Compare with Berolina pawn.
Pawn of "Piece(s)"Tamerlane Chess (1336–1405), Full Tamerlane Chess (al-Âmulî & Arabshâh, 14th–15th centuries)[26]A Pawn that promotes to "Piece". Examples: Pawn of Dabbabas, Pawn of Elephants, Pawn of Minister (Ferz), Pawn of Shah (King), Pawn of Vizir (Wazir), Pawn of Vanguards (Bishops), Pawn of Knights, Pawn of Rukhs (Rooks). A Pawn of Pawn promotes to Pawn of King.
Pheasant~ 2>, 1X<fDbFTori shogi and other large Shōgi variantsDabbaba/Ferz-Hunter (moves forward as dabbaba, and backward as ferz).
Phoenix1+, ~ 2XWAChess with different armies, Dai shogi, and other Shōgi variantsCombination of wazir and alfil. Also known as Waffle.
Prince1*WF = KTamerlane chessA non-royal king, promoted from a Pawn of King. Originally Shâhzâda in Persian. Also known as Adventice King (Shâh masnû‘a) when promoting from Pawn of Pawns.
PrincessnX, ~ 1/2BNThe Emperor's Game (L. Tressan, 1840), Grand Chess (1984), Tutti-Frutti Chess (Betza & Cohen), Wolf Chess (1943)[19]Combines the powers of bishop and knight. Also called Archbishop, Cardinal, Janus, Paladin, or Centaur (Carrera's Chess, Pietro Carrera, 1617). Called Adjutant in The Emperor's Game, and Fox in Wolf Chess (Originally Fuchs in German).
Quang Trung RookQuang Trung ChessMoves as rook but when capturing must move on square away from captured piece in the same direction.
Queenn*Q = RBOrthodox chessCombines the powers of the bishop and rook. In Pacific Chess (Hawaii, 1971) a piece with queen-like moves is called the Nobleman.
QuintessenceQuintessential Chess (J. Knappen, 2002)[12]A Nightrider who takes 90-degree turns in a zigzag manner on each step. First described in 2002 by Jörg Knappen.
Raiding Falconn<>, 1+, 1X>fbRWfFWa shogiCombination of vertical mover and stone general (reverse chariot and flying cock). Occurs in Taikyoku shogi with a different move.
Reflecting BishopnX (bounce edges)B (bounce edges)Billiards Chess (M. Jacques Berthoumeau, 1950s), Edgehog Chess II (John Driver, 1966) & III (P. Aronson)[18]Bishop allowed to "bounce" off any number of edges of the board, similar to a hockey puck or billiard ball. It bounces from the center of each edge square and continues on a diagonal.[27]
Revealer (Tamerlane)Full Tamerlane Chess (al-Âmulî & Arabshâh, 14th–15th centuries)[26]See "Tripper", or "Queen" (Forbes, 1860). Also known as Sentinel.
Reverse Chariotn<>fbRChu shogi and other large Shōgi variantsRook restricted to forward and backward directions.
Rhinoceros (Grant Acedrex)t[NfB]Grant Acedrex (Alfonso X, 1283) (Jean-Louis Cazaux)For Murray interpretation, see "Unicorn". Moves as a knight followed by moving any number of spaces diagonally forwards. Originally Unicornio in ancient Spanish.
RhubarbRB3Chess with different armies (R. Betza, 1979)
Right General1X, 1<>, 1= (only left)FfblWDai dai shogi and other large Shōgi variantsAsymmetrical combination of ferocious leopard and left wazir.
Right Quailn>, nX< (left diagonal), 1XfRblBbrFTori shogi and other large Shōgi variantsCombination of lance, ferz and a backward bishop restricted to left side.
Rookn+R = WWChaturanga, Orthodox chess, Shatranj, Taikyoku shogi, Tamerlane chess, Wa shogiMoves any number of free squares orthogonally. Also called Gliding Swallow in taikyoku shogi and wa shogi, Ratha (chariot) in chaturanga, Rukh in shatranj and tamerlane chess, Wazir-rider, or Castle (colloquial).
Rookhopper^n+gRFairy Chess ProblemsGrasshopper confined to rook lines. Also spelled Rook-hopper.
Root-25-leaper~ 5+, ~ 3/4(0,5)(3,4)Fairy Chess ProblemsLeaper making moves of length units (i.e. a (0,5)-leaper or a (3,4)-leaper). Also called Fiveleaper.[28]
Root-50-leaper~ 5X, ~ 1/7(5,5)(1,7)Fairy Chess ProblemsLeaper making moves of length units (i.e. a (5,5)-leaper or a (1,7)-leaper). Also spelled Root-fifty-leaper.
Rosen(1/2) (turn at each jump)qNChess on a Really Big BoardMoves as a nightrider except rather than moving in a straight line, it moves in a pseudo-circular shape (e.g. e1-g2-h4-g6-e7-c6-b4-c2-e1). A piece on any of these squares can be captured but prevents the rose from progressing any further. It may return to its starting point if its path is unblocked, effectively passing a turn.
RutabagaR2BChess with different armies (R. Betza, 1979)
Running Rabbitn>, 1XfRFbWTaikyoku shogi, Wa shogiCombination of Lance and Old Monkey.
Scorpion1*, ^n*KgQFairy Chess ProblemsCombination of king and grasshopper
Sergeant1*>, io2>fKimfW2Wolf Chess (A. von Wilpert, 1943)[19]Graz Pawn without the initial diagonal double-step from Berolina Pawn. Originally Vogt (Sergeant, Inspector) in German.
Shatranj Pawno1>, c1X>mfWcfFChaturanga (Indian chess), Makruk (Thai chess), Shatar (Mongolian chess), Shatranj (Persian chess)Baidaq (Persian Pawn). Orthodox pawn without double step on first move. It's the same pawn from Chaturaji (4 player Indian chess), Ouk Chatrang (Cambodian chess), and Senterej (Ethiopian chess). Also called Padah (pawn or soldier) in chaturanga, Sainik (Indian: Warrior), or Warrior.
Short Rook1-4+R4 = W4Chess with different armies (R. Betza, 1979)Rook limited up to 4 squares. Also spelled Short-Rook.
Side Movern=, 1+WsRChu shogi, Wa shogi, and other large Shōgi variantsCombination of a rook restricted to sideways and wazir (or Soldier). Called Swallow's Wings in Wa shogi.
Soaring Eaglen+, nX<, 1X>, ~ 2X>RbBfFfA or RbBdhfFfAChu shogi and other large Shōgi variantsMoves as a rook, backwards as a bishop, or as a lion (Japanese) up to 2 squares diagonally forward.
Soldier1>fWOut-Khmer (Hills' Cambodian chess), Shōgi, Tori shogi, Wa shogiMoves one square orthogonally forward. It's the same pawn from Xiangqi (Chinese chess), before crossing the river. Also called Japanese Pawn, Fish (Out-Khmer), Sparrow Pawn (Wa shogi), or Swallow (Tori shogi).
Spy1+ or
2>, 2=, (1/1)> or
W = (0,1) or
fsDfF or
WF (=K)
Courier Chess (12th century), Chess Empire (2002), Waterloo (2014), Amsterdam Medieval Chess (2017)In Courier Chess see "Fool". In Chess Empire the spy can move two spaces forwards or sideways, or can move like a knight one forward and then one horizontally or vice versa. In Waterloo and Amsterdam Medieval Chess the spy moves as a non-royal king (see "Guard").
Squirrel~ 0/2, ~ 1/2, ~ 2/2NADFairy Chess Problems (N. Kovacs, 1937), Mideast Chess (California, 1971), Pacific Chess (Hawaii, 1971)Jumps to any square a distance of 2. Also called Centurion, or Castle (Mideast chess, Pacific chess).
Stone General1X>fFDai shogi and other large Shōgi variants, Fox and GeeseMoves one square diagonally forward. Also called Goose in Fox and Geese. Compare with Berolina Pawn.
Superpawnon>, cnX>mfRcfBFairy Chess ProblemsMoves without capture any number of fields forward, captures diagonally forwards like a bishop. Promotes on the 8th rank. May be placed in the first rank. By Werner Speckmann (1967).[28]
SylphDragonchess (3D)See "Berolina Pawn" (on upper board). 3D movement: Can capture to the cell below it and return without capturing.
Teutonic Knight1+, ~ 1/2, ~ 1/3WNLTeutonic Knight's Chess (J. Knappen, 2009)[13]Combination of knight, wazir and camel. Originally Ordensritter in German.
ThiefDragonchess (3D, 1985)See "Bishop" (bound to middle board). No 3D movement.
Threeleaper~ 3+H = (0,3)Full Tamerlane Chess (al-Âmulî & Arabshâh, 14th–15th centuries)[26]Called Lion in Full Tamerlane Chess.
Threeridern(3+)HHFairy Chess Problems
Treacherous Fox1X, 1<>, ~ 2*<>FfbWAfbDWa shogiFerocious Leopard that can move forward or backward as alibaba. Occurs in Taikyoku shogi with a different move.
Tripper~ 3XG = (3,3)Jumps three squares diagonally, leaping over any intermediate piece.
Ubi-Ubin(1/2) (any direction)NN (any direction)Ubi-Ubi Chess (Versmissen, Borst & Bodlaender, 1998)A Nightrider without direction restrictions.
Unicorn (Raumschach)Raumschach (1907)A triagonal rider: moves through the vertices of the cubes (see diagram below). Unicorn is also sometimes used for a banshee.
Unicorn (DC)Dragonchess (3D, 1985)See "Knight" (bound to middle board). No 3D movement.
Unicorn (Grande Acedrex)BimNGrande Acedrex (Alfonso X, 1283) (H.J.R. Murray, 1913)For Cazaux interpretation, see "Rhinoceros". Bishop with a first movement of a knight that can't capture. Originally Unicornio in ancient Spanish.
VanguardnX (except 1X)B (except F)Tamerlane Chess (1336–1405)Bishop that can't move as a ferz (adjacent diagonal squares must be free and skipped). Originally known as Talî'a in Persian. Also known as Scout.
VaoonX, c^&mBcpBAkenhead's Chess (1947)Moves like a bishop when not capturing, but captures by leaping over an intervening piece and taking the piece on the vao's destination square (the captured piece can be any number of squares beyond the hurdle).
Vertical Movern<>, 1+WfbRChu shogi and other large Shōgi variantsCombination of reverse chariot and wazir (or drunk).
Violent Bear1=, 2X>sWnfB2Dai dai shogi and other large Shōgi variantsMoves 1 square sideways or 1 or 2 squares diagonally forward.
Violent Ox2+R2Dai shogi and other large Shōgi variantsA rook restricted to a distance of two squares.
Wallabyc(^2*), o1*, ^2* (over friendly pieces)KgQ2 (over friendly pieces), KcjQ2Edgehog Chess III (P. Aronson)[18]Combination of omni-directional checker and grasshopper restricted to 2 squares over friendly pieces.
WaranRNNFairy Chess ProblemsAlso spelled Varan. Also known as Raven.
Warrior (DC)Dragonchess (3D, 1985)See "Shatranj Pawn" (bound to middle board). No 3D movement.
Wazir1+W = (0,1)Tamerlane Chess (al-Âmulî & Arabshâh, 14th–15th centuries)[26]Moves one square orthogonally in any direction. Persian Vizir. Also known as Angry Boar (Dai shogi) or Crocodile (Tamerlane Chess, originally Luxm, "sea monster" in Persian).
Whalen<>, nX<fbRbBChu shogi and other large Shōgi variantsCombination of hunter and reverse chariot.
White Horsen<>, nX>fbRfBChu shogi and other large Shōgi variantsCombination of falcon and reverse chariot.
WithdrawerUltimaAlso known as Retreater
Wizard1X, ~ 1/3FLOmega ChessCombines the movement of fers and camel.
Wood General2X>fB2Dai dai shogi and other large Shōgi variantsFlying Dragon restricted to forward moves.
Woody Rook~ 1−2+ = 1+, ~ 2+WDChess with different armies (Betza, 1979)Combination of wazir and dabbaba. Also called Wazaba.
X, Y, Z
Zebra~ 2/3Z = J = (2,3)Full Tamerlane Chess (al-Âmulî & Arabshâh, 14th–15th centuries),[26] Grande Acedrex (Alfonso X, 1283)Old historic piece. Jumps one square orthogonally followed by two squares diagonally outwards. Also called Bull (Full Tamerlane Chess), or Zaraffa (Grande Acedrex).
Zebraridern(2/3) (in same direction)JJFairy Chess ProblemsA rider which moves any number of (3,2) cells (i.e., zebra moves) in the same direction in a straight line.
NameParlettBetzaFound inNotes
In Raumschach the Unicorn moves through the vertices of cubes (triagonally). The unicorn jumps to squares with black dots. The boards are stacked, with board E on top.

Relative value of pieces

While a large amount of information can be found concerning the relative value of variant chess pieces, there are few resources where it is in a concise format for more than just a few piece types. One challenge of producing such a summary is that piece values are dependent upon the size of boards they are played on, and the combination of other pieces on the board.

On an 8×8 board, the standard chess pieces (pawn, knight, bishop, rook, and queen) are usually given values of 1, 3, 3, 5, and 9 respectively. When the basic pieces wazir (W), ferz (F), and mann (WF = K), are played with a similar mix of pieces, they are typically valued at around 1, 1.5, and 3 points respectively. Three popular compound pieces, the archbishop (BN), chancellor (RN), and amazon (QN) have been estimated to have point values around 8, 8.5, and 12 respectively.

The value of other pieces is not well established.

Even when the same game format is assumed (board size and combination of other pieces), there is often little agreement on the specific value of many other pieces.

Compound pieces are sometimes approximated as the sum of their component pieces, or estimated to be slightly higher due to synergistic effects (such as it is for the archbishop and chancellor).

Musketeer Chess,[22] a modern chess variant, is one of the rare chess variants that disucssed and tried to give, relatively accurate values of 10 fairy pieces: Hawk, Elephant, Unicorn, Fortress, Dragon, Spider, Leopard, Cannon, Archbishop, Chancellor. Archbishop's and Chancellor's relative values are crucial, as they are widely used in many historical variants (Seirawan Chess, the Capablanca Chess variants).

The inventor, hasn't detailed the method that lead to these calculations. What we know is that it's based on computation, using a dedicated engine developed. Thousands of games were generated, which helped refine the values that served as a starting point (Musketeer Chess Pieces Relative Value[29]).

Apart from Musketeer Chess inventor or his team trials, other independent approaches gave Musketeer Chess a trial. A special mention to Sbiis Sabian in his article: Musketeer Chess Piece Value.[21]

His work was a 24 pages article. He reviewed many existing methods. He came-up with his own methodology, inspired from previous trials: Like many, he used the Reinfeld values (A pawn is worth 1, A knight is worth 3 etc.), and applied some basic mathematics (Ratio of number of remaining pieces, Scale using the Maximum number of controlled squares by a piece), Average mobility and Leap Square formula, a new concept named Betza Coefficients in honor of Ralph Betza. His work should inspire any chess variant enthousiast willing to understand relative values of fairy pieces.

The results shown by the previous methodology was unsatisfactory according to Sbiis Sabian. He then came up with a new a new approach. He created a program that generates random Chess positions, then calculated average mobility in thousands of positions approximating the relative piece value. Let's call his program RANDOM MOBILITY GENERATOR (or more precisely Random Average Mobility Generator).[21] His final results were very close to those given by the inventor.

Another more "artistic work" on Musketeer Chess Piece Evaluation refers to Granola Ebinola[30] work: Evaluation based on his personal PlayTest of the game. Granola Ebinola participated in the development of a Chess Variant Experience : Chess2, The Sequel.

The work of Reinfeld, Ralph Betza, Sbiis Sabian are probably footsteps toward basics for a more reliable and scientific method in evaluating Fairy Piece Values. it's a good starting point like the Reinfeld Values in Classic Chess.

Their work is probably reliable for Chess Variants played on an 8x8 Board. Even the Reinfeld values we know for the classic chess pieces evolved over time.

The biggest leap was the use of powerful engines. A remarkable approach by Grand Master Larry Kaufman in his article: Evaluation of material imbalances[31] perfecting relative piece values in many situations (Bishop pair etc.).

It's probably more difficult for other variants using other boards to have something as reliable as variants played on a Classic 8x8 board. This is simply because of the "lack of metrics" referring to Reinfeld Values.

All these trials show the unsatiable human brain in his search for new challenges, inventing new games, to explore new paths.

See also


  1. Unicode proposal for heterodox chess pieces. Quotes: "Most fairy pieces are conventionally represented by rotating the standard chess piece symbols." (p. 1); "Unlike the standard upright symbols, which always correspond to the orthodox pieces, there is no strict one-to-one correspondence between rotated symbols and particular piece types: the number of fairy pieces in use is uncountable, and the number of possible pieces is infinite. Instead, rotated symbols are assigned to pieces as needed, and the composer has wide latitude in choosing which ones they feel are appropriate, with only a few very common ones fixed by convention..." (p. 2); "The use of distinct symbols for these pieces is more common among players of the aforementioned variants than among problem enthusiasts" (p. 6).
  2. Velimirović, M.; Valtonen, K. (2012), Encyclopedia of Chess Problems, Šahovski informator, p. 168
  3. Poisson, "Catégories de pièces – Types of pieces", § "Bondisseur(m,n) – (m,n)Leaper"
  4. http://www.shogi.net/rjhare/chu-shogi/chu-intro.html
  5. Poisson, "Pièces féeriques – Fairy pieces", §§ "Alfil" & "Fers"
  6. J. P. Jelliss, Theory of Moves and Pieces, http://www.mayhematics.com/t/2a.htm#(3)
  7. https://www.chessvariants.com/piececlopedia.dir/pawn.html
  8. https://www.janko.at/Retros/Glossary/RexMultiplex.htm
  9. Parlett, 1999
  10. Overby, Glenn, II (2003). "Betza Notation". CVP.
  11. "XBetza". GNU XBoard.
  12. Knappen, Jörg (2002). "Quintessential Chess", CVP
  13. Knappen, Jörg (2009). "Teutonic Knight's Chess". CVP.
  14. Chess on an Infinite Plane game instructions at the Chess Variant Pages
  15. "Etchessera". www.etchessera.com. Retrieved 2017-07-20.
  16. Knavish Chess on chessvariants.org
  17. https://books.google.com/books?id=NlECAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA218&lpg=PA218&dq=duke+of+rutland's+chess&source=bl&ots=dy-sO3_JpJ&sig=_fRauUsz1UJW2KPAwgxe-sdWcp8&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjMw46P1cHVAhXJu48KHaXqCx4Q6AEINDAD#v=onepage&q=duke%20of%20rutland's%20chess&f=false
  18. Aronson, Peter (2001). "EdgehogChess". CVP.
  19. von Wilpert, Arno (1943). Wolf-Schach.
  20. Chess on an Infinite Plane game instructions
  21. Sabian, Sbiis. "muskeetervalues - Recreomathematica". sites.google.com. Retrieved 2019-11-04.
  22. "homepage". www.musketeerchess.net. Retrieved 2019-11-04.
  23. Inventor, The Game's; Haddad, Zied. "The Chess Variant Pages: Musketeer Chess". The Chess Variant Pages. Retrieved 2019-11-04.
  24. http://www.chessvariants.com Trappist-1.
  25. "A Critical Analysis of the Guard in Chess"
  26. Cazaux, Jean-Louis (2012). "Full Tamerlane Chess". History of Chess: chesspage of JL Cazaux.
  27. Aronson, Peter (2001). "The Piececlopedia: Reflecting Bishop". CVP.
  28. Speckmann, Werner (2000). "Märchenfiguren und ihre Grundtypen" [PDF] (in German). Werner Speckmann: elektronische Schachbücher.
  29. Haddad, Zied (2017-12-12). "Musketeer Chess, Relative Piece Value". Musketeer Chess Games, modern Chess Variants. Retrieved 2019-11-04.
  30. Ebinola, Granola. "Musketeer Chess Relative Piece Value - Chess Forums". Chess.com. Retrieved 2019-11-04.
  31. Kaufman, Larry. "The Evaluation of Material Imbalances (by IM Larry Kaufman)". Chess.com. Retrieved 2019-11-04.


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