ç Variant Chess Index

# A Guide to Variant Chess: All the King's Men

© George Jelliss 2002 (revised May 2002).

This part of the Guide to Variant Chess is devoted to chess pieces. The definitions given are intentionally brief and describe the most basic form of the piece. The inventor's name and details of first publication, where known, are given between square brackets [...]. Names of individual pieces have Initial Capitals; families of games are in all CAPITALS; other terms are in all lower case. Some terms in other languages are included where they differ greatly from the English; these are printed in italic, and direct you to the English term. Some alternative English terms, not recommended, are shown within "quote marks"; these direct you to the preferred name (usually more systematic). [An earlier version of this guide included some of my own compositions as ilustrations; these have now been transferred to a separate page archiving my composiions, which will appear some time soon. Similarly some T.R.Dawson problems used as illustrations now appear on the TRD pages.] Other webpages referred to are: Variant Chess Games (VCG), Chess Problem Terms (CPT), Knight's Tour Notes (KTN).

Quick scroll: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z »
« A »

Alfieri [Italian] = bishop

Alfil [Spanish] = bishop

Alfil {2,2} leaper; a piece in most of the earliest forms of chess; replaced in chess in Europe by the bishop around 1500.

Alfilrider {2,2} rider

Alibaba {0,2} + {2,2} leaper

Amazon Combined queen + knight. ›knighted pieces

AMPHIBIAN Combined piece with greater teritorial range than its components. The simplest cases are {0,3} combined with {1,1}, {0,2}, {2,2} or {1,3}. See Frog.

"Anchor ring piece" Toral piece

Antelope {3,4} leaper

Anti-King A king that is in check only when NOT attacked.

J.E.H.Creed The Problemist 1979
Anti-kings. Helpmate in 1½ (b) d1-a5
Solution: (a) 1.Ba6 Qd4 2.Nb5‡ (b) 1.Bg8 Qe5 2.Nf7‡

Antipodean piece A piece which when captured reappears at the antipode of the capture cell, that is a {4,4} leap away, provided that cell is vacant on arrival. [G.P.Jelliss Chessics 1976]

Arrow piece Any piece that when checking also guards the two cells in the king's field to left and right of the check line; thus arrow rook, arrow bishop, arrow queen, arrow knight, arrow pawn, etc.èVCG: Arrow chess
The arrow bishop, called the ‘bishops arrow’, was the first to appear: W. Hagemann Fairy Chess Review 1937. Black: Ka5, Qh8; White: K d7, Pc3, B(Arrow)d4. Helpmate in 2. (b) c3 to c6. Solution; (a) 1.Qe8† Kc7 2.Qa4 ABb6‡ (b) 1.Qa8 Kc7 2.Qa6 ABc3‡
Followed closely by the arrow rook, caled the ‘rook's arrow’: J. Young Fairy Chess Review 1937 White: Kb4, R(arrow)h1, Pc2, Pd3; Black: Ke3, Nd2. Helpmate in 2. Solution: 1.Nc4 d×c4 2.Kd4 ARh4‡

Asp Piece that makes grasshopper move then moves like a queen at 45° to the line of hop.
J. van Atten Probleemblad 1984, Helpmate in 4. B:Kh8, W:Kb1,Aa1,Ab2.
Solution: 1.Kg7 Aa1-c3-a3 2.Kf6 Ab2-g7-g2 3.Kg7 Kb2 4.Kh8 Aa3-c1-c6 mate. (Ag2 controls g8 over b2 and g7,h7 over c6; Ac6 checks, and also controls h7, over g2). èbifurcating pieces

Auto-hopper Any hopper restricted to hops over pieces of the same colour. èoppo-hopper CPT: auto-

« B »

Banshee bishop + nightrider.

Bauer [German] = pawn.

Berolina pawn Pawn (invented in Berlin) which travels one step diagonally forward (or two steps from the initial pawn rank, subject to e.p. capture) and capture by one step directly forward.
Berolina plus Berolina pawn which can also capture by a single step sideways along the rank on which it stands.

BIFURCATING PIECE Piece that has a path that forks, so that it has a choice of two routes. èasp, eagle, moose, sparrow

Bishop {1,1} rider.
Bishopper Bishop-hopper. Diagonal hopper; i.e. grasshopper restricted to diagonal moves.
Bishlion Diagonal line-hopper; i.e. lion restricted to diagonal moves.

Bison {1,3} + {2,3} leaper.

Bug-eyed monster Piece able to make any move which is not that of the orthodox pieces. [M.Crumlish]

« C »

Caissa's Playthings All the different kinds of chessmen. The title of a 1913 series of articles in Cheltenham Examiner by T. R. Dawson which dealt with fers, alfil, wazir, dabbaba, camel, giraffe, Q+N, R+N, B+N, dragon (N+P), grasshopper, and neutrals.

Camel {1,3} leaper. This was a piece in èTimur's game c.1400

Camelopard camelrider + fiveleaper.

R.J.Darvall Fairy Chess Review 1949
Mate in 2
Solution: 1.c6 (threat c×b7 mate) Rb2/Bb2/Rg7/Bg7/CPd1/Nf7 2.CP-c3/a2/h8/g5/b5/f7‡

Camelrider {1,3} rider.

"Cannon" = pao.

CAPTURING PIECE = saurian.

"Castle" = rook.

Cavabal [French] = Elban knight.

Cavalier [French] = knight.

Centaur king + knight.

"Chancellor" = knighted rook (R+N) [B.R.Foster St Louis Globe Democrat 12/ii/1887] èEmpress.

CHINESE PIECES Strictly pieces used in Chinese chess (mao, pao) but also extended to include similar pieces (leo, vao, moa).

CIRCEAN PIECE Piece which when captured is replaced on its home square if vacant; but if the home square is occupied the capture is normal. In problems, since the home square cannot usually be determined from the position given, the piece is returned to the home square of the same colour as the capture square; a circe pawn is returned to the pawn square in the file of capture [P.Monreal and J.P.Boyer Problème 1968].

Clockwork mouse Rotating directed wazir. [G.P.Jelliss Chessics 1980]

Combination piece One formed by combining separate pieces; usually written A + B.

Commuter {4,4} leaper.

CONTRA-HOPPER Hopper starting hop from cell next to hurdle and landing any distance beyond it; e.g. contra-grasshopper [M. Crumlish].

Courier [German kurrier] = Bishop èVCG: Courier chess

Crowned pieces Pieces combined with King. Crowned bishop (K+B = W+B) occurs as promoted bishop in Shogi. Crowned rook (K+R = F+R) was a piece in the Duke of Rutland's Game, also promoted rook in Shogi. èCentaur (K+N), Scorpion(K+G)

Cylinder piece Piece that moves as if the board is cylindrical (though other pieces need not).

« D »

Dabbaba {0,2}-mover. [This was a piece in èVCG: Timur's game c.1400.]
Dabbabarider {0.2} rider.

Dame [French or German] = queen.

DARTER Blockable leaper, e.g. alfil-darter cannot move over an occupied cell èElban knight, mao, moa

DIRECTED PIECES Any that can move in certain directions but not in the reverse of those directions; èclockwork mouse, hunter, pawn

DOUBLE-PATTERN LEAPER One capable of leaps with two different coordinates. èfiveleaper, king, rootfiftyleaper

DOUBLE PIECES Make two moves of their specified kind in one go, capturing only on the second move, switchbacks normally allowed. Double knight has been used quite a lot, but under varying rules.

W.B.Trumper feenschach 1968
Double grasshopper. Helpmate in 3 (two ways)
Solution: 1.Re7† e6 2.Bg8 Kd6 3.Rf7 e7‡
1.Bg8 e×f6 2.Bh7 K×e6 3.Ne7 f7‡

Dragon knight + pawn.

Duchess bishop + dabbabarider.

Duck fers + dabbabarider.

Duke fers + dabbaba.

Dummy {0,0} leaper = null leaper èzero

« E »

Eagle Piece like a grasshopper but lands on the cells to left or right of the hurdle. [French aigle, German adler] èBifurcating pieces [G.P.Jelliss Chessics 1980]

Eccentric knight Knight that moves only to or from edge and central cells (the centre being de45). If the 'or' is exclusive (i.e. not both to and from) the knight is confined to half the squares of the board, but if it is inclusive the edge-edge moves such as b1-a2 enable it to cover the whole board. [G.P.Jelliss Chessics 1979]

Egret Short-range eagle, effectively making fers and dabbaba moves.

Elephant Fers able to make forward wazir step. [Rudrata 900ad]

Empress rook + knight [French, impératrice; German, kaiserin]. Also known under many other names èVCG: Bird's, Capablanca's, Carrera's games, Chancellor chess. The following problem won first prize in Foster's "chancellor" tourney.

J.Keeble St Louis Globe-Democrat 1887-8
Mate in 2
Solution: 1.R+Ne4 with 8 mates by R+N

Equigrasshopper Equihopper restricted to queen lines.

Equihopper Piece that hops in any direction over one piece that bisects its move.

George Leathem Fairy Chess Review August 1938
Mate in 2 (a) diagram (b) rotate 90° left
Solution: (a) 1.Kh5 d5(allowing Ea2-g8) 2.Eh2‡ (set Ef2‡) double check mates 1...e4 2.Ef4‡ (b) 1.Kc7 d4(allowing Eg1-a7) 2.Ee6‡ (set Eg6‡) double check mates 1...c3 2.Eg8‡ (not Ee4 selfcheck).

"Equileaper" = Non-stop equihopper, i.e. equihopper that cannot be blocked.

« F »

FAIRY PIECE Any unorthodox piece.

FEMALES In chess, as in life, the female of the species is deadlier than the male; as King is to Queen, so is Duke to Duchess, Emperor to Empress, Prince to Princess, Centaur to Amazon, Wizard to Witch; i.e. they are long-range versions of the male counterpart.

Ferfil {1,1} + {2,2} leaper.

Fers {1,1} mover. A piece with this move occurred next to the king in all the earliest forms of chess. In chess in Europe it was replaced around 1500 by the queen.

Fiveleaper Leaper making moves of length 5 units = {0,5} + {3,4} leaper.

Five-rider Pawn Pawn that promotes only to the five riders on the 8 by 8 board: Rook, Bishop, Nightrider, Camelrider, Zebrarider. [T.R.Dawson]

Fixed-distance leaper See Root-N-Leaper.

FLIGHTY PIECE Piece that changes colour every time it moves to a different coloured cell.

J.E.H.Creed The Problemist 1977
Helpstalemate in 2
Solution: 1.Nc8(w) Rf6(b) 2.Nd6(w) Rf3-f5 (no change). Black rook moves now self-check.

Fly Reflecting grasshopper.

P.H.Johnson Chessics 1979
Serieshelpmate in 6
Solution: Black plays 1.Fa7-b8-d6 2.Fd8 3.Kb6 4.Kc5 5.Fb6 6.Fd4 for White b4‡ (Fg5 controls d5 direct, b4 via c1-a3, b6 via d8).

FORE-HOPPER Hopper starting hop from a cell any distance from the hurdle and landing on a cell next to the hurdle; this is the ‘default’ rule for hoppers, e.g. grasshopper, moose, eagle, sparrow, hamster are all fore-hoppers.

Fou [French] = bishop.

Fourleaper {0,4} leaper.

Fox = Fers. èGoose.

FREE LEAPER Leaper able to reach any cell from any other in a series of leaps. On the 8 by 8 board there are only 5 single-pattern free leapers: {0,1} = wazir, {1,2} = knight, {2,3} = zebra, {1,4} = giraffe, {3,4} = antelope.

Free-leaper Pawn Pawn that promotes only to single-pattern free leapers.

Frog {1,1} + {0,3} leaper. The smallest èAmphibian.

Fusilier Pawn-like piece that moves like wazir, captures like fers. [F. Marinelli 1770] èSniper

« G »

GENERALS Pieces that have the moves of the chess king, but not necessarily in all the eight directions (and without its royal properties). Many pieces of this type occur in Shogi (The Generals' Game) and its variants. Since the king has 8 moves and we can include or omit each one the number of Generals possible is 2^8 = 256. With the condition that the moves be symmetrical about the forward direction however the number reduces to 2^5 = 32 (including king and dummy). If we number the directions from 1 forward to 5 backward we can codify all these pieces.
 white black 2 1 2 4 5 4 3 3 3 3 4 5 4 2 1 2

The following are the 32 cases, with names, some new suggestions: (1) = soldier (fu); (2) = goose (as in the game Fox and Geese); (3) = drunk; (4) = sailor; (5) = backslider; (12) = copper general (dou-sho); (13) = drunken soldier; (14) = wazir/fers hunter, marine; (15) = adjutant (tsiu-yin); (23) = sidewinder; (24) = fers; (25) = fers/wazir hunter; (34) = drunken sailor; (35) = drunken backslider; (45) = backward pawn, deserter; (123) = pikeman, drunken pawn; (124) = elephant, silver general (gin-sho); (125) = yale; (134) = drunken marine; (135) = wazir, drunken adjutant; (145) = guerilla or gorilla; (234) = diabolo, drunken fers; (235) = yen, drunken yale; (245) = inverted silver, backward elephant; (345) = drunken deserter; (1234) = drunken elephant; (siu-zo); (1235) = golden general (kin-sho); (1245) = crane, horrible panther (mau-hau); (1345) = drunken gorilla; (2345) = blind tiger (mau-ko); (12345) = king, jewelled general (o-sho).

Giraffe {1,4} leaper. èZurafa

Gnu {1,2} + {1,3} leaper.

Goose [Plural Geese]. Directed non-capturing fers; as in the game of Fox and Geese where four geese have to hem in a fox (fers).

Geese to play and win
Solution: 1.c3-d4 e5-d6 2.d2-c3 or 1...e5-f6 2.f4-g5 f6-e5 3.e3-f4 and so on.

Gorgon Paralysing queen, but having no effect on K when in K's field [invented by V.R.Parton under the name 'demi-gorgon']

E.W.Beal The Problemist 1972
Mate in 2
Solution: Set 1...K×e6/Kf4 2.G×e4/Gh4.
Play 1.Gg1 (threat 2.Gc5‡)
1...e3†/Qd7/Be3 2.G×h2/Gg5/Gg3
1...Kf4/Kd5,6/K×e6 2.G×h2/G×d1/Gg8‡
Try 1.Ga5? (e3†/Ne3† 2.Gc7/Gc3) Ba3!
Try 1.Gb4? (K×e6/Kf4 2.G×e4/Gd6) Qd7!
Changed mates over four phases.

Grasshopper Moves queenwise over one piece to the first cell beyond, capturing any enemy piece on that cell. [Dutch sprinkhaan, French sauterelle, Spanish saltamonte] [T. R. Dawson Cheltenham Examiner 3 July 1913.] èT.R.Dawson pages, Grasshopper chess

Grasshopper-locust Moves like a grasshopper but only to vacant cells, if its hurdle is an adverse man, the hurdle is captured. èLocust

Grass-snake Grasshopper + hamster. [G.P.Jelliss The Problemist 1987].

Greater grasshopper Piece like grasshopper but able to act in any direction not just along queen lines, i.e. a universal fore-hopper. On the 8 by 8 board it is grasshopper + nightriderhopper + camelhopper + zebrahopper. [G.P.Jelliss New Ideas Tourney Bournemouth 1989].

Gryphon Lion modified to make a right-angled turn above the hurdle; like eagle but not resticted as to length of move beyond hurdle.

« H »

Hamster Jibber, able to make null move when next to a hurdle.

C. M. B. Tylor Chessics 1980
Hamster. Mate in 4
Solution: 1.Kh6 H0 2.Ne4 H0 3.Nd6 H0 4.Nf7‡
(H0 denotes null move by a hamster)

HOPPER Any piece moving in hops, i.e. a move across a cell occupied by another piece, not possible without the presence of the hurdle.
Hops can be classified as follows: a step-hop does not pass over any vacant cells on the way to or from the hurdle; a fore-hop may pass over vacant cells before the hurdle but lands on the first cell beyond; a contra-hop may pass over vacant cells beyond the hurdle but not before; a line-hop may pass over vacant cells before and beyond the hurdle; we therefore have: èstep-hoppers, fore-hoppers, contra-hoppers and line-hoppers.
Hurdles can be of any colour (a piece hopping only over allies would be an auto-hopper, one hopping only over enemies would be an oppo-hopper).
Hoppers add an important extra dimension to chess: they make it possible to show ‘antiforms’ of rider effects (such as antipin and antibattery).

HUNTER An X/Y-hunter moves forward like piece X and backward like piece Y.

HYBRID A piece capable of two different types of move, say rides and leaps, or leaps and hops.

« I »

Imitator Piece, neither white nor black, that imitates length and direction of every move, and prevents any move that it cannot imitate, due to lack of room, or due to blockage (if move is a ride) or due to lack of a hurdle (if move is a hop).

« J »

Jabber Jibber able to capture on the cell before the hurdle.

Jibber Piece moving like a grasshopper but to the cell in front of the hurdle, no null moves. [C.D.Locock Fairy Chess Review 1937] èjabber, hamster, jubjub.

Joker Piece that has no move of its own but takes the powers of the last piece moved (by the opponent).

Jubjub Jabber, able to make null move when next to a hurdle.

« K »

Kamikaze piece Disappears when making a capture, along with its captive. [P.Monreal Problème 1965]

Kangaroo Hops along queen lines over two men to the next cell beyond. [J. de A. Almay Fairy Chess Review 1940]

Kei or Keima [Japanese] Knight restricted to moves two ranks forward = the knight in Shogi.

King Piece moving to all adjacent cells = {0,1} + {1,1} leaper, also usually assumed to be royal.

Knight {1,2} mover.

Knight-hopper Piece making a {2,4} move provided the intermediate cell is occupied; it is the most mobile of the leaper-hoppers. "Knight-rider" = Nightrider.

KNIGHTED PIECES Pieces with added power of knight. Names given to the pieces vary widely depending on the particular game. èVCG: Bird's, Capablanca's, Carrera's games, Chancellor chess. In fairy chess problems the usual names are K+N = centaur, Q+N = amazon, R+N = empress, B+N = princess, P+N = dragon.

Kraken Piece able to move to any other cell, or to stay where it is. [G.P.Jelliss Chessics 24, 1985] = universal leaper + zero = universal sleeper.

« L »

Lazy King Moves only when forced to do so, i.e. when all the other men are immobilised or when there is no other escape from check. This device is handy for ensuring soundness in those long helpmates that are cooked because the kings can move to more convenient cells to be checkmated or can come out to do things which their subjects would do in a longer and more interesting way. They can also reduce the number of pieces needed, for example in selfmates.

LEAPER Any piece that moves only in leaps, that is gets from one cell to another without requiring other cells than the departure and arrival cells to be vacant or occupied. ~hopper, ~rider.

LEAPER-HOPPER If X is a leaper then an X-hopper starts an X-leap in front of the hurdle and lands an X-leap beyond; on the 8 by 8 board 9 single-pattern hoppers of this type are possible, ranging from the {0,1}- to the {3,3}-hopper, but they are all very weak: even when added together the resultant nonstop-equihopper can only get to a quarter of the cells on the board.

Leo Piece that travels as queen, captures as lion.

L-hopper Equihopper modified to make a right angled turn at the hurdle, to left or right.

LINE-HOPPER Hopper that moves along given lines to any distance provided one of the cells passed over is occupied. Rook-line-hopper = rion. Bishop-line-hopper = bion. These combine to form a queen-line-hopper = lion. A knight-line-hopper is indistinguishable on the 8 by 8 board from a nightrider-hopper. A generalised line-hopper is the tiger.

Lion Travels and captures by hops along queen lines over one man, from any distance before to any distance beyond; [J. de A. Almay Problemist Fairy Chess Supplement 1937]

LOCUST Any piece that captures by hopping over its victim. Draughtsmen and draughtskings are thus locusts. The original "locust" was a saurian grasshopper-locust, i.e. it had no travel move but moved only to capture by a grasshop over the victim.

Lynx rook + knight + zebra.

« M »

"Maharajah" Combined queen + knight, royal = royal Amazon.

MAJOR PIECE One able, with help of king, to give checkmate to a lone king. Thus queen and rook in orthodox chess.

MALES Short-range pieces with long-range counterparts. èfemales

Mao Knight restricted to making its move in two steps, the first orthogonal {0,1} the second diagonal {1,1}. Knight in Xiangqi. Some older texts transliterate as "Ma".

Mao-hopper Mao that can move only if the intermediate cell is occupied instead of vacant.

Mermaid = Sea-queen.

MINOR PIECE One not a major piece or pawn.

Moa Knight restricted to making its move in two steps, the first diagonal {1,1} the second orthogonal {0,1}. èmao

Moa-hopper Moa that can move only if the intermediate cell is occupied instead of vacant.

mobility The average number of cells that can be reached by a piece under favourable circumstances. The mobility of a composite piece is the sum of the mobilities of its components provided their powers do not overlap. Some mobilities on the 8 by 8 board are listed:
64 kraken; 63 universal leaper; 32.25 queen of the night (Q+NR); 28 amazon (Q+N); 23.5 raven (R+NR); 22.75 queen; 19.25 empress (R+N); 18.25 banshee (B+NR); 17.0625 R/B sniper or crowned rook (R+F); 16.1875 ski-queen.
14 rook or princess (B+N); 13.625 rose; 12.25 B/R sniper or crowned bishop (B+W); 11.8125 centaur (K+N) or scorpion (K+G); 10.5 ski-rook; 9.5 nightrider (NR); 8.75 bishop (B);
7.875 B/R or R/B hunter; 6.5625 king (K); 5.6875 ski-bishop; 5.25 grasshopper (G), knight (N) or alibaba (A+D); 4.375 camel;
4 fiveleaper; 3.75 zebra; 3.5 wazir (W), giraffe or eccentric knight; 3.0625 fers (F); 3 dabbaba (D) or lancer; 2.5 threeleaper or antelope; 2.25 alfil (A); 2 fourleaper; 1.5625 tripper; 1.5 {0,5}-leaper; 1 commuter or zero; 0 dummy.
In the case of nonlinear pieces like the rose a count of routes instead of cells would give a higher mobility value. The board may be divided into regions according to the number of moves available to a piece on cells in those regions, forming mobility patterns. [GPJ Chessics 1985] èKTN: Theory of Moves

Moo Mao + Moa.

Moo-hopper Mao-hopper + Moa-hopper.

Moose Piece like a grasshopper but turns 45° over the hurdle to land on one of two cells; the part of its move over the hurdle is a moo-hop [G.P.Jelliss Chessics 1976] èBifurcating pieces

« N »

NIGHT PIECES Pieces combined with nightrider. èknighted pieces

Nightrider Rider along straight lines of knight moves; {1,2} rider [T. R. Dawson Die Schwalbe 1925]

Nightriderhopper Piece that hops to first cell beyond first man in lines of knight moves. [T. R. Dawson and F. Douglas Chess Amateur 1928, gave the shortest closed tour by NRH over R]

NON-STOP PIECE Any type of piece whose moves cannot be blocked by intervening pieces; e.g. Non-stop equihopper, X-ray pieces. ~Darter.

Null Piece Piece that, combined with any other piece leaves it unaltered = Dummy = {0,0} leaper. Not the same as èZero.

« O »

OPPO-HOPPER Hopper only over pieces of opposite colour èAuto-hopper

Opting Pawn One able to make the two-step move from any cell not just from its home rank; subject to en-passant capture by any opposing pawn that controls the cell passed through. [G.P.Jelliss Variant Chess]

Overhopper Hopper in straight lines over occupied cells only. [G.P.Jelliss Variant Chess 1993]

« P »

Pao Travels as rook, captures as rion (i.e. by acting via one intervening piece) = Leo restricted to rook lines = Cannon in Xiangqi.

PIECE A unit of force or material. The powers of a piece consist of those rules of the game that govern its play. Pieces of different powers are usually distinguished through being represented by differently shaped tokens (like the carved chessmen of a Staunton pattern set) or by uniformly shaped tokens bearing a name or symbol (as in Shogi, Chinese chess and some magnetic sets). The powers of a piece may be variable, according to time, spatial position, situation relative to other pieces, and other factors. A piece whose powers do not vary in these ways I call a èregular piece

"Piece" (with a capital P) = A regular piece. In orthodox chess any piece other than a pawn.

Princess Bishop + knight. Has numerous other names. For example composition èT. R. Dawson, Cheltenham Examiner 5/June/1913.

« Q »

Queen {0,1} + {1,1} rider = rook + bishop.

Queen of the Night queen + nightrider.

« R »

Raven Rook + nightrider.

REGULAR PIECE Piece whose move powers are fixed, homogeneous and isotropic, as defined below. The only irregular pieces in orthodox chess (ignoring castling) are the pawns.
(a) Fixed, i.e. independent of time »chameleon, joker.
(b) Homogeneous, i.e. independent of position on the board: the same set of move-patterns being available to it wherever it is on the board, except where there are no cells available because the edge of the board intervenes or because rides are blocked or hops are not provided with hurdles. ›querquisite
(c) Isotropic, i.e. non-directional, able to make a given move in any of its possible directions. ›hunters.

Rex [Latin] = King. Used in the phrases: Rex multiplex, Multirex, Rex inclusive, Rex exclusive. Or, more generally, a Royal piece.

RIDER Any piece able to move in one turn of play through a sequence of cells that form a path, the cells passed through being clear; the rider can stop at any cell in its path, but a capture, if any, can occur only on the last cell of the ride; the moves of riders are thus blockable by intervening pieces, making possible features such as pins, batteries and interferences, which are important in game tactics and problem themes; the paths can be straight or curved.
From any leaper X a corresponding X-rider can be formed, whose path is a series of cells at X-move distance.

RIDER-HOPPER From an X-rider an X-rider-hopper can be derived which moves to the first cell beyond the first obstacle in its path. On the 8 by 8 board we have the rookhopper, bishopper and nightriderhopper; the rookhopper and bishopper combine to form the "queenhopper", better known as the grasshopper. The generalised case I call a greater grasshopper.

Rion = Rooklion.

Rook Piece moving along ranks and files = {0,1}-rider.

Rookhopper Grasshopper restricted to ranks and files. [T.R.Dawson Fairy Chess Review 1931]

Rooklion Lion restricted to ranks and files = Rion.

ROOT-N-LEAPER Piece making any moves of length equal to the square root of N units. The unit being the distance between two adjacent cells, i.e. the length of a wazir move. The length of an {r,s} move is root(r^2 + s^2) by the theorem of Pythagoras.
The Fiveleaper = {0,5} + {3,4} and the Root-fifty-leaper = {1,7} + {5,5} leaper, are the only double-pattern fixed-distance leapers active on the chessboard.

ROTATING PIECES Directed pieces able to change the direction in which they point by turning on the spot; this rotation counts as a turn of play. Rotations can be shown by simply stating the new direction faced after the turn (i.e N, S, E, W); èclockwork mouse

ROYAL PIECE or ROYALTY Piece that may not be left in or moved into check. This rule implies that a royal piece is never actually captured, since a move that places or leaves one's royalty in check is illegal. Most pieces have appeared in the royal purple at some time; examples follow.

Royal Bishop
T.R.Dawson Fairy Chess Review October 1949
b-, c-, d-files Helpmate in 2; g-file Helpmate in 3
Solutions; (b) 1.Bf8 Bf4 2.Rc5 Rf7‡
(c) 1.Bf8 Bd2 2.Ne7 Ne6‡
(d) 1.Ba2 Nb3 2.d5 Nc1‡
(g) 1.Nf6 Bd4 2.Bh8 P×N 3.Rg7 P×R‡
(with change of axis)

Royal Camel
T.R.Dawson Fairy Chess Review 1949
Helpmate 2 in each file
Solutions: (b) 1.Qa3 Nc7 2.Be5 Nd5‡
(c) 1.Rb7 Bd5 2.Rb5 Be6‡
(f) 1.Nd6 Cg3 2.Cc7 B×N‡
(g) 1.Ne5 Nf4 2.Cf8 Ne6‡

Royal Dabbabas T. R. Dawson Fairy Chess Review 1949. Black: RDf6; White: Nf7 Bf8. Helpmate in 2. (b) f8 to f4, (c) further remove f7. Solutions: (a) 1.Df4 Bd6 2.Dh4 Bg3‡ (b) 1.Df8 Ne5 2.Dh8 Ng6‡ (c) 1.Df8 Bh6† 2.Dh8 Bg7‡

Royal Fers J. Hartong Problemist Fairy Chess Supplement August 1932. Black: RFa8 Pe4; White: Fc6 Pe3. Stalemate in 8. Solution: 1.Fd5 Fb7 2.F×e4 Fc6 3.Fd3! Fd5 4.e4† Fe6 5.Fc4 Ff7 6.Fd5 Fg6 7.Fe6 Fh5/h7 8.Ff5/f7 stalemate.

Royal Grasshopper T. R. Dawson Fairy Chess Review October 1949. Black: RGh5 Pe6 Pf2; White: RGa6 Pe2. Helpmate in 2 (b) e6 to g6 (c) further f2 to f6. Solution: (a) 1.e5 Gf1 2.Gd5 e4‡ (b) 1.Gf7 Gh6 2.Gf1 Gf6‡ (c) 1.g5 Gg6 2.Gd1 Gg4‡

Royal Joker R. J. Darvall Fairy Chess Review 1949. Black: RJe4 Bh7; White: RJc2 Rd3. Helpmate in 2½ (b) h7 to g6. Solution: (a) 1.Rb3 Je8† 2.Jb2 Jh8 3.Rb8‡ (b) 1.Rd1 Jh4† 2.Jc1 Jh6 Rh1‡

Royal Knight T. R. Dawson Hamburg Correspondent 15 June 1926. Black: RNf4, Nh8, Bf1, Pc3, f2, f7; White: RNa5, Ne7, g7, Rd2, h2, Pe5, f6. Mate in 2. Solution: 1.e6 (with six self-blocks). Note that this example includes both royal and normal knights.

Royal Nightrider T. R. Dawson and C. E. Kemp Fairy Chess Review 1949 and 1950. Helpmate in 2. (a) White: Qd2, RNRg5, Black: RNRh6; (b) all down one rank; (c) Q to b5, NRh to h5. Solution: (a) Set: 1...NRa2† 2.NRg8 2.Qg5‡ Play: 1.NRf5 NRf3 2.NRb7 Qd5‡ (b) 1.NRf4 NRf6 2.NRb2 Qd4‡ (c) Set: 1...NRc3 2.NRg7 Qe5‡ Play: 1.NRf6 NRa2 2.NRg8 Qg5‡

Royal Wazir
T.R.Dawson Die Schwalbe February 1932
Maximummer Mate in 4
Solution: 1. b8R 1...Rc1 2.Bd5 Rc8 3.Be4 Rc1 4.Re8‡
1...Rh6 2.B×b1 Ra6 3.Bf5 Rh6 4.Rb5‡
1...Rg8 2.Be6 Rg1 3.Rb3 Rg8 4.Re3‡
1...Rb3 2.Rg8 Rh3 3.Bd5 Rb3 4.Rg5‡

« S »

SAURIAN Any piece that moves only to capture, i.e. it has no noncapturing travel move. èlocust

Scorpion King + grasshopper. èVCG: Sting

SEA PIECES Travel like riders but capture like locusts (by hopping over the victim to the first square beyond); thus we have sea-rook = "triton", sea-bishop = "sea-bee" or "nereid", sea-queen = "mermaid" [G.Brogi Chess Amateur February 1929]

Sea-lion Moves like lion but when moving over enemy piece captures it, locust style.

SKI PIECE Any line rider modified by omitting the first cell in its ride, i.e. it begins with a little ski-jump. Hence ski-queen, ski-rook, ski-bishop [G.P.Jelliss The Problemist 1973] also ski-nightrider.

SKIP-PIECE Any line rider modified by omitting the first and every other odd cell in its path; thus a skip-rook is a dabbabarider, a skip-bishop is an alfilrider, and combining them gives a skip-queen which would be an "alibaba-rider".

SLEEPER Any piece combined with a zero, i.e. able to jump up and down on the spot [G.P.Jelliss Chessics 24, 1985]. The Red King in Alice's Adventures Through the Looking Glass is well known to have been a sleeper!; this could explain how the white forces (Alice included) were able to make so many more (non-zero) moves than the red in the Looking-Glass game. èkraken

SLIP-PIECE Any line rider modified by omitting the second and every other even cell in its path; a slip-rook is also known as a "panda", since it makes rook moves to cells of the opposite colour; we can also define slip-bishop and slip-queen.

SNIPER An X/Y-sniper moves like piece X and captures like piece Y; the snipers derived from orthodox pieces are: R/B = roobis, B/R = bishroo, R/N = rookni, N/R = kniroo, B/N = bishkni, N/B = knibis [these pieces and their names were suggested by Frank Maus, 20/September/1927, letter in BCPS Archive; the term "sniper" is due to Dickins]. èfusilier

SPACE PIECES Pieces capable of movement on a "three-dimensional" board, and whose moves (other than pawns) are the same in all planes (this condition distinguishes space pieces from layer pieces). Any 2D move can be made in 3D space in each of the three coordinate planes passing through the cell initially occupied by the moving piece; in this way each 2D piece defines a corresponding space piece; thus the space rook makes {0,0,n} moves in 6 possible directions (up, down, left right, forward, back); the space bishop makes {0,n,n} moves in 12 directions and the space knight makes {0,1,2} moves in 24 directions.
The simplest pieces with all three coordinates nonzero are the sprite which is a {1,1,1}-mover through the corners of the cubic cells, and the unicorn which is an {n,n,n}-rider; it takes four unicorns to patrol the whole space.
The 2D king can be defined either as a wazir + fers or as a piece that moves to any adjacent cell; in 3D these two definitions are not equivalent, we call the first type a space king and the other type, which additionally has the sprite move, a cubic king, since it moves to all the cells of the 3-by-3-by-3 cube in which it is centred; similarly we have a space queen (R+B) and a cubic queen (R+B+U).
The length of an {r,s,t} move is root(r^2 + s^2 + t^2), thus the sprite is a root-three mover; the next longer 3D movers are the root-six {1,1,2} mover = sexton, and the three-mover which besides the usual {0,0,3} move also has the {1,2,2} move.
Pawns in space chess can take various different forms. èVCG: Hamburg space chess, Stereochess/p>

Sparrow Like a grasshopper but turning 135° over the hurdle to land on one of two cells; its two possible moves make an arrow shape. èBifurcating pieces [G.P.Jelliss Chessics 1980]

Star-rider Camelrider + Knight and Antelope; makes {n,3n} + {1,2} + {3,4} moves.

« T »

Threeleaper {0,3} leaper. èSpace pieces, Amphibians

Threerider {0,3}-rider.

Tiger Moves like lion in any direction, not just along queen lines. [G.P.Jelliss Variant Chess 1990].

TORAL PIECE Moves as if the board is a torus, in which left and right edges are joined and also top and bottom edges = combined vertical and horizontal cylinder.

Tripper {3,3}-leaper.

« U »

UNIT A unit of force is a piece. èCPT: Unit

UNIVERSAL PIECE One able to act in any direction, i.e. along any straight line of cell-centres radiating from its cell. èequihopper, greater grasshopper, tiger

Universal leaper Able to move from any cell to any other. èkraken, wizard

Universal rider Able to move from any cell to any other, passing through any intermediate cells, and thus blockable if those cells are occupied. èwitch

« V »

Vao Leo restricted to bishop lines.

VARIANT PIECE Any piece derived from another by a slight modification of rules.

VAULTING KINGS When in check have extra powers. A wide variety of different extra powers have been experimented with.
Vaulting Camel-King. J. G. Ingram Fairy Chess Review 1939. Black: CKh5, Bg2; White: CKc4, Ra2. Helpmate in 2. Solution: 1.Bd5† CKf5 2.Bg8 Rh2‡ (CK cannot escape to g8, g2, d4, d6 by camel leaps).

« W »

Wazir {0,1} mover [the move of the general in Xiangqi (though confined to the ninecastle), and a piece in èTimur's game]

"Wazir-rider" = Rook.

Witch Universal rider confined to the rider-lines of the board on which it is placed; thus on the 8 by 8 board it is rook + bishop + nightrider + camelrider + zebrarider.

Wizard Universal leaper confined to leaps that do not pass over other cell-centres; in other words it can make any leap {r,s} where r and s have no common factor other than 1; that is {0,1} + {1,1} + {1,2} + {1,3} + {2,3} + {1,4} + {3,4} and so on.

« X »

« Y »

« Z »

Zebra {2,3} mover.

Zebrarider {2,3} rider.

Zero Piece able to jump up and down on the spot [A.Dickins, Guide to Fairy Chess, 1969 p.50]. This is not the same as a null leaper, since it is able to move.
The possession of a zero, or of any piece combined with a zero, confers on its player the right to ‘pass’, i.e. to make no changes to the position when it is his turn to play. This is a radical departure from the usual state of affairs, in which a player is obliged to make a change even if it is not to his advantage to do so (the situation called ›zugzwang).
Any piece combined with a zero I call a ›sleeper.

Zurafa Piece in Timur's game making a {1,4} (giraffe) leap followed by a rook-move.

Quick scroll: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z «