Grasshopper (chess)

The grasshopper is a fairy chess piece that moves along ranks, files, and diagonals (as a queen) but only by hopping over another piece at any distance to the square immediately closest. If there is no piece to hop over, it cannot move. If the square beyond a piece is occupied by a piece of the opposite color, the grasshopper can capture that piece. The grasshopper may jump over pieces of either color; the piece being jumped over is unaffected.

The grasshopper was introduced by T. R. Dawson in 1913 in problems published in the Cheltenham Examiner newspaper. It is one of the most popular fairy pieces used in chess problems.[1]


Movement

abcdefgh
8
8
77
66
55
44
33
22
11
abcdefgh
The grasshopper (represented by an inverted queen) must hop over other pieces in order to move or capture. Here, it can move to any of the squares marked with a cross, or it can capture the pawn on a7.

In this article the grasshopper is shown as an inverted queen with notation G. In this diagram the white grasshopper on d4 can move to the squares marked with crosses (b2, d1, d7, and h8), as well as capture the black pawn on a7. It cannot move to g4, because there are two pieces to hop over.

Example problem

abcdefgh
8
8
77
66
55
44
33
22
11
abcdefgh
White mates in 8 (with grasshoppers Ga8, f7, h2, and h1)

Solution:

1. Gh3 Gh4 2. Gh5 Gh6 3. Gh7 Gh8 4.Ge7 Gd7 5. Gc7 Gb7 6. Ga7+ Ga6 7. Ga5+ Ga4 8. Ga3#

Other related pieces in the problemist tradition are the eagle, hamster, moose, and sparrow, which move and capture like the grasshopper but are deflected (to either side) 90°, 180°, 45°, and 135° respectively upon passing the hurdle. The compound of all four and the grasshopper itself is the marguerite.[2]

See also

References

  1. Dickins (1971), p. 8: "This, the commonest and most familiar of the Fairy Pieces, was invented by T. R. Dawson at the end of 1912, the first G Problem being published in the Cheltenham Examiner, 3rd July 1913. [...] Some thousands of problems using Grasshoppers have been published."
  2. http://juliasfairies.com/problems/jf-2015-i/no-689/

Bibliography

  • Dickins, Anthony (1971) [corrected repub. of 1969 2nd ed., The Q Press, Richmond, Surrey, England]. A Guide to Fairy Chess. New York: Dover Publications Inc. pp. 8, 65. ISBN 0-486-22687-5.
  • Pritchard, D. B. (1994). The Encyclopedia of Chess Variants. Games & Puzzles Publications. pp. 130, 227. ISBN 0-9524142-0-1.
  • Pritchard, D. B. (2007). Beasley, John (ed.). The Classified Encyclopedia of Chess Variants. John Beasley. p. 144. ISBN 978-0-9555168-0-1.
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