Check out Chess with Different Armies, our featured variant for July, 2024.

The Piececlopedia is intended as a scholarly reference concerning the history and naming conventions of pieces used in Chess variants. But it is not a set of standards concerning what you must call pieces in newly invented games.

Piececlopedia: Pincer Pawn

Historical notes

The pincer pawn was invented by Robert Abbott for his game Ultima . The rules for Ultima were first published in 1962.


The pincer pawn moves as a chess rook, but does not capture this way, and can never move to an occupied square. When a pincer pawn ends its move on a square orthogonally adjacent to an enemy piece, and on the square immediately opposite that piece from the piece is a piece the same color as the pawn, then the enemy piece is captured. A pincer pawn can capture up to three pieces in one move.

Movement diagram

In the diagram below, the pincer pawn on d5 (represented by the symbol for the pawn, since the game Ultima uses a chess pawn to represent the pincer pawn) can move to any of the squares marked with a black circle. If the pincer pawn moves to d3, it captures the black rook (since it is sandwiched between the pawn and the white bishop). If the pincer pawn moves to f5, it captures all three black pawns. Note that moving the white knight to b5 does not result in a capture of the black knight on c5 - a capture only occurs when the pawn moves.


Pincer pawns are generally more powerful than their chess counterparts; they are not confined to a fraction of the board, and can often capture defended pieces without fear of retribution. The pincer pawn's weakness is that it can not capture without the aid of another piece. The pincer pawn can never capture a piece in the corner of the board.

This is an item in the Piececlopedia: an overview of different (fairy) chess pieces.
Written by Benjamin C Good.
WWW page created: September 14, 1998.