Zebra (chess)

The zebra is a fairy chess piece that moves like a stretched knight. It jumps three squares horizontally and two square vertically, or three squares vertically and two square horizontally, regardless of intervening pieces; thus, it is a (2,3)-leaper. A lame zebra (moving one step orthogonally and then two steps diagonally outwards, that can be blocked by intervening pieces) appears as the elephant in janggi (Korean chess).

Movement

abcdefg
77
66
55
44
33
22
11
abcdefg
The zebra may move to any of eight squares (black dots).
abcdefgh
8
8
77
66
55
44
33
22
11
abcdefgh
Distance from the f5-square, counted in zebra moves.

Value

The zebra by itself is worth just below two pawns (appreciably less than a knight), due to its restricted freedom of movement on an 8×8 board. Its larger move is the main reason why it is weaker than a camel on an 8×8 board, even though the camel is colorbound and the zebra is not. A zebra and a bishop and a king can force checkmate on a bare king; while a zebra, a knight and a king cannot; and a zebra, a camel, and a king cannot. The rook versus zebra endgame is a win for the rook. (All endgame statistics mentioned are for the 8×8 board.)

As a component of other pieces, it has about the same value as a knight (both pieces can move to eight squares), but its long move carries the danger of causing unstoppable attacks in the opening and winning large amounts of material. Ralph Betza opined that the zebra's move was too large to be functional on an 8×8 board, and that only on a 10×10 board or larger would it be worth its ideal value of about a knight.

See also

References

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