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Man and Beast 02: Shield Bearers

Pieces in MAB 01: Constitutional Characters move in radial directions, and all moves can be capturing or not. This article primarily considers divergent pieces, ones that capture differently to how they move without capturing. Specifically it deals with pieces moving like a different MAB 01 piece when capturing than when not. Movement diagrams can be extrapolated from the previous page, being restrictions of the moves of the full compound pieces.

The acknowledgments, overview, and glossary to the series can be found here. Established pieces have a link to their Piececlopedia page. The images used in this series, and indeed in most of my pages, can be found here.


Standard forms of Chess have changed over history and geography, but have always had a front rank of promotable pieces restricted to moving one step forward. In Northeast Asia this is a simple forward-only (FO) form of the Wazir. The Occidental (from India westward) and Tropical version is divergent, with the same noncapturing move to an empty square but the capturing move, displacing an enemy piece, of a FO Ferz. As with all standard games moving to a square occupied by an ally is not allowed. This is the familiar PAWN.

The piece reversing the Pawn's capturing/non-capturing restriction (with dramatic results) is widely known as the Berolina Pawn, though not widely enough to prevent me independently devising it as a YEOMAN (plural YEOMEN), the social class above the Pawns' peasant class, before I first read of it! Completing the foursome is a FO Ferz, always moving along standard diagonals (SD). A third dimension brings with its nonstandard diagonal (ND, colloquially called triagonal) a third elemental piece and 4 new divergent ones, plus their compounds with both each other and the 2d ones. Hexagonal-cell boards technically have a nonstandard diagonal but no standard one. Clearly calling each piece a something "Pawn" would get cumbersome. The previous article deals with the non-divergent ones. The two have established images. In this page's movement diagrams the number 1 indicates noncapturing moves and the number 2 captures. Here are the movement diagrams of the Pawn, first face-to-face and then corer, and then those of the Yeoman, likewise:

Divergent pieces, described here by noncapturing/capturing move, I group by non-capturing move. As O/SD is the PAWN, O/ND I name BROKER after a character in Lewis Carroll's Hunting of the Snark, making the compound of the two a PAWNBROKER. In this terminology the Pawn analogue in McCooey's Hex Chess is a Broker and the commonest in 3d variants a Pawnbroker. Sticking with my preferred YEOMAN for SD/O, SD/ND is a WARDER, making their compound a YEOMANWARDER (an officer of the Tower of London). For pieces with the ND non-capturing move I follow the Saltire's Scottish theme: LOWLANDER for ND/O, which always captures on the level, and HIGHLANDER for ND/SD, which can capture on a slope. For more complex but still divergent compounds I build on Pawnbroker and Yeomanwarder by listing them in order of non-capturing and then capturing move - Point, Pawn, Broker, Yeoman, Cross, Warder, Low, High, Saltire - and sticking the names together as they come up. Thus POINTPAWN, YEOMANCROSS, BROKERSALTIRE. Note that Pawn+Yeoman, Broker+Lowlander, and Warder+Highlander are the MAB 01 Princeling, Count, and Heir. Here are the movement diagrams for the Broker, first in the Wellisch orientation and tehn inthe G/McC one:

Exact numbers of directions vary as they do in the first article in the series. Thus a Pawn has 1 noncapturing and 2 noncapturing move on face-to-face square boards, and vice versa on corner ones. Cubic boards raise face-to-face capturing directions to 4 and corner-column ones to 5. Since however the latter orientation also doubles noncapturing directions that one is nearer the FIDE ratio and so more suited to Pawns, as used in Raumschach. Brokers, Warders, Low-/High-landers, and their compounds require a board with a forward nonstandard diagonal - so not a hex-prism board whose ranks are hex boards. Hex-level boards preserve the FIDE ratio for Pawns, but hex-ranked ones diverge from it further. In the xyrixa geometry, as featured in Mark Thompson's Tetrahedral Chess, only the face-to-face square-level orientation preserves the FIDE ratio - and indeed the exact numbers of directions. Yeomen reverse the ratio of noncapturing to capturing moves, so that it is they that corner-orientated square boards give the advantages that face-to-face ones give Pawns. A big enough 4-player variant such as my BacCanCat can use both to full effect. Of the six hex-ranked hex-prism boards can have only Pawns and Yeomen. On Pentagonal boards Pawns, and on Pentagonal-prism boards Brokers and Warders, can reach cells by a noncapturing move from which they have no capturing one, and Yeomen and Low- and High-landers vice versa. On Glinski-orientation hex and hex-prism boards AVERSE BROKERS have some cells from which they have only a capturing move, and AVERSE LOWLANDERS some from which they have only a noncapturing one. Likewise AVERSE WARDERS and AVERSE HIGHLANDERS on the hex-prism ones. AVERSE PAWNS and AVERSE YEOMEN do not suit Glinski-level boards for the same reasons as MAB 01's Averse Princelings.

Initial double-step moves are more a feature of specific games than intrinsic to the piece. If Pawn ranks are close together, or close to their respective promotion ranks, it is logical to disallow double-step moves but still call them Pawns. My Nearlydouble family of variants pioneered a series of qualifying prefixes specifying double-step moves. Note that capturig within a double step-move has no restriction on what kind of piece can be captured, unlike En Passant. Note also that all pieces can make both capturing and noncapturing single-step moves in the relevant directions.
ANCIENT Pawn: no initial double-step move (as in early standard Chess);
EUROPEAN Pawn: both steps must be noncapturing (introduced in Europe's standard Chess);
WARHEAD Pawn: both steps must be capturing (more aggressive than the above - when it gets the opportunity);
AMBUSH Pawn: first step must be noncapturing, second capturing (starts peaceful, then attacks);
NONCHALANT Pawn: first step must be capturing, second noncapturing (starts aggressive, then acts as if nothing happened);
TRIDENT Pawn: both steps must be of the same kind (European+warhead);
PATIENT Pawn: first step must be noncapturing, second may be either (European+ambush);
PENITENT Pawn: second step must be noncapturing, first may be either (European+nonchalant);
IMPENITENT Pawn: second step must be capturing, first may be either (warhead+ambush);
IMPATIENT Pawn: first step must be capturing, second may be either (warhead+nonchalant);
HELMSMAN Pawn: one step must be of each kind in either order (ambush+nonchalant);
EUROFIGHTER Pawn: any initial double-step move (trident+helmsman=patient+impatient=penitent+impenitent).

Note that aggression can be at the expense of strength, for there are likely to be fewer opportunities to capture at each stage than to make a noncapturing move, even where (as in the case of the Pawn on the standard board) there are twice as many capturing as noncapturing directions. How the balance works out on a face-to-face cubic, with four times as many capturing directions, or even a hex-ranked hex-prism, with six times as many, is an intriguing thought.

A board with unusually many ranks may well allow either the same double-step move from more than one rank, or a Eurofighter first move and moves decreasing in power on subsequent ranks. The Yeoman, Broker, Warder et cetera can likewise be prefixed with the same words, as could the non-divergent one-step pieces if they have special initial moves with (or in the Eurofighter case without) restrictions on whether capturing or not. Thus a WARHEAD YEOMAN (a neater phrase than "Warhead Berolina Pawn") has an initial double-step in the same direction as the European Pawn, but capturing at both steps.


Promotability is the norm for FO pieces. Ideally it should be to something wholly or partly symmetric; the Xiang Qi promotee is feeble on its final rank, which is why my Anglis Qi and most of its academic-themed offshoots substitute full Wazirs. I say most because the promotee in Irwell and Aire is a Wazir-like piece that is itself divergent. Most usually termed a STEWARD, this piece moves one step along any orthogonal except when capturing, which it does one step along any standard diagonal - a Pawn expanded to sideways and backward as well as forward. One of the most famous stewards in history was Walter the Steward, who married a daughter of Robert the First of Scotland and whose son by her ultimately became Robert the Second, first king of the House of Stuart. The surname Stuart derives from steward. Ironically Steward itself was te maiden name of Oliver Cromwell's mother. In the current British monarchy, the title of High Steward of Scotland is a courtesy title of the heir to the throne. Perhaps the most famous ruling steward in fiction is Tolkien's DENETHOR, whose name I therefore apply to a Xiang Qi General capturing as a Ferz - that is, a Steward that must be kept out of Check. The Steward has an established image, and here is its movement diagram:

As pieces such as the Steward are relatively rare I term the same expansion of the Yeoman CONTRASTEWARD. The Contrasteward is available in Timothy Newton's Outback Chess by promoting a Bushman reaching the enemy camp. I do not anticipate such pieces often having initial special moves, so prefixably short names are not that necessary. Building on the theme of Steward in the serving sense I suggest WAITER and CONTRAWAITER for the expansions of the Broker and Lowlander, and BUTLER and CONTRABUTLER for those of the Warder and Highlander. Lewis Carroll's Pig Tale features "waiters, gorgeous in their gaiters". As these can move one step in two kinds of direction none are colourbound, although as the moves of the Waiter and Contrawaiter are subsets of the Duke's those pieces are colourswitching on cubic boards. Unlike their FO versions Waiters and Butlers have no requirement for forward nonstandard diagonals and so can exist on hex-prism boards however orientated. They can however change hex plane only without capturing, and their Contra- pieces only by capturing. Pentagonal and Pentagonal-prism boards do not affect pieces of this kind in the way that they do Forward-only ones as every cell is on some kind of SD and, in the latter case, some kind of ND. Likewise on hex boards AVERSE WAITERS always have orthogonals to move along without, and AVERSE CONTRAWAITERS ones to move along by, capturing.

For pieces such as the long-range version of the Pawn (a Wing capturing only as a Mitre) I suggest the suffix -rider as established for oblique linepieces - PAWNRIDER, BROKERIDER, YEOMARIDER, WARDERIDER, LOWRIDER, HIGHRIDER. These pieces too would normally be promotable - as their non-divergent counterparts are in Shogi, Mitregi, and Tunnelshogi. Shogi with Pawns and Pawnriders might make an interesting game. An alternative might be to have different "forward" directions for different members of a team moving the same army, divergent-piece versions of the Avon and Partnership Mitregi rule. For pieces such as the long-range version of the Steward (a Rook capturing only as a Bishop) I suggest theme-based names. As the Steward, Contrasteward, Waiter, and Contrawaiter can be considered Princes and Dukes with moves restricted to capturing or to not capturing, their long-range pieces can be considered similarly-restricted Queens and Duchesses, suggesting feminised forms of the short-range ones as STEWARDESS, CONTRASTEWARDESS - of which Divergent Chess, Loonybird, and Thinktank Chess have both - WAITRESS, and CONTRAWAITRESS. The names for the short-range pieces were of course chosen with this in mind! With the Butler and Contrabutler as with the unrestricted Baron I depart from the male-female pairing, so for their long-range forms I suggest VALET and CONTRAVALET. Again the hex-prism Waitress and Valet can change hex plane only without, and their Contra- pieces only by, capturing. Long-range versions of the Pointpawn, Pawnbroker, et cetera still use -rider but with just the first three letters of each component to emphasise that the suffix applies to both, for example POIPAWRIDER, PAWBRORIDER, YEOCRORIDER, YEOWARRIDER.

Pieces can also be divergent between long- and short-range moves, which I indicate with the suffixes -SNATCHER of the long-raneg move is capturing move and -PACIFIER if it is noncapturing. Among pieces capturing in the same direction as their noncapturing move a Wazir capturing as a Rook is a WAZIRSNATCHER and vice versa a WAZIRPACIFIER, a Ferz capturing as a Bishop a FERZSNATCHER and vice versa a FERZPACIFIER, a Viceroy capturing as Unicorn a VICERSNATCHER and vice versa a VICERPACIFIER, a Point capturing as a Wing a POINTSNATCHER and vice versa a POINTPACIFIER, a Cross capturing as a Mitre a CROSSSNATCHER and vice versa a CROSSPACIFIER, and a Saltire capturing as a Horn a SALTISNATCHER and vice versa a SALTIPACIFIER. Among pieces with differing directions a Point capturing as a Mitre is a PAWNSNATCHER and vice versa a YEOMAPACIFIER, a Wing capturing as a Cross a PAWNPACIFIER and vice versa a YEOMASNATCHER, a Wazir capturing as a Bishop a STEWASNATCHER and vice versa a CONTRASTEWAPACIFIER, and a Rook capturing as a Ferz a STEWAPACIFIER and vice versa a CONTRASTEWASNATCHER. Likewise beyond the square geometry a Point capturing as a Horn is a BROKESNATCHER and vice versa a LOWPACIFIER, a Rook captuing as a Viceroy a WAITEPACIFIER and vice versa a CONTRAWAITESNATCHER, a Ferz capturing as a Unicorn a BUTLESNATCHER and vice versa a CONTRABUTLEPACIFIER, a Mitre capturing as a Saltire a WARDEPACIFIER and vice versa a HIGHSNATCHER, et cetera. On hex boards AVERSE BROKESNATCHERS and AVERSE LOWPACIFIERS share the short-range pieces' extra restrictions.

More widely used recently are Jose Carrillo's AJAX pieces. These add missing noncapturing Prince moves to the unqualified piece so that the AJAX WAZIR, AJAX GENERAL, and AJAX ROOK are a Prince, King, and Chatelaine with no SD capture, and the AJAX FERZ and AJAX BISHOP a Prince and Primate with no orthogonal one. As the mythical Ajax is a son of Telamon I look to Telamon's other sons for adding other noncapturing moves. Thus a TEUCER WAZIR, TEUCER GENERAL, and TEUCER ROOK are a Duke, Grandduke, and Vicereine with no ND capture, a TEUCER VICEROY and TEUCER UNICORN a Duke and Besieger with no orthogonal capture, a TRAMBELUS FERZ and TRAMBELUS BISHOP a Baron and Moderator with no ND capture, and a TRAMBELUS VICEROY and TRAMBELUS UNICORN a Baron and Heretic with no SD capture. Pieces completing all 26 (on cubic boards) directions I name after Telamon himself. The TELAMON WAZIR, TELAMON GENERAL, and TELAMON ROOK - not Trambelus as they already have the full Wazir move - are an Archduke, Emperor, and Baroness capturing on only the orthogonal. The TELAMON FERZ and TELAMON BISHOP - not Teucer as they already have the full Ferz move - are an Archduke and Pope capturing on only the SD. The TELAMON VICEROY and TELAMON UNICORN - not Ajax as they already have the full Viceroy move - an Archduke and Usurper capturing on only the ND. Telamon versions of the Prince/King/Chatelaine/Primate/Queen, Duke/Grandduke/Vicereine/Besieger/Duchess, and Baron/Moderator/Heretic/Governor are an Archduke/Emperor/Baroness/Pope/Diarch with no ND capture, Archduke/Emperor/Baroness/Usurper/Dowager with no SD capture, and Archduke/Pope/Usurper/Regent with no orthogonal move.

Where the added moves are capturing rather than noncapturing I reverse the hero's name so that a XAJA WAZIR, XAJA GENERAL, and XAJA ROOK are a Prince, King, and Chatelaine with no diagonal noncapturing move and a XAJA FERZ and XAJA BISHOP a Prince and Primate with no orthogonal one and so on. Likewise RECUET, SULEBMART, and NOMALET piece. Where the added move is long-range the -rider suffix is applied to the hero's name. The AJAXRIDER ROOK (used under the eponymous name Bolyar in Bolyar Chess), TRAMBRIDER UNICORN, and TELAMRIDER DUCHESS are a Queen, Governor, and Empress with no SD capture. The AJAXRIDER BISHOP, TEUCERIDER UNICORN, and TELAMRIDER GOVERNOR are a Queen, Duchess, and Empress with no orthogonal capture. The TEUCERIDER ROOK, TRAMBRIDER BISHOP, and TELAMRIDER QUEEN are a Duchess, Governor, and Empress with no ND capture. The TELAMRIDER ROOK/BISHOP/UNICORN are Empresses that capture on only the orthogonal, only the SD, and only the ND respectively. Likewise XAJARIDER, RECUERIDER, SULEMRIDER, and NOMALRIDER where the added long-range moves are capturing rather than noncapturing.

Whether the Ajax General and Ajax Ferz can or cannot cross Xiang Qi Fortress boundaries by noncapturing, or Xaja ones capturing, moves is variant-dependent, but neither can do so by the other kind.


MAB 04: Generalised Generals covers part-symmetric coprime pieces, and MAB 10: The Hybrid Diagonal Straight coprime pieces using a radial direction occurring only on hex-prism boards and pioneered in Honeycomb Chess. Both have sections on divergent pieces. More complex divergent pieces have their own article, MAB 16: Diverging Further.

I used Ajaxrider et cetera in preference to names of female characters from the same myths as these would be too complicated. I considered wives first and then mothers but multiple marriages and disputed names made this too complicated. In any case Trambriders would still need a male name.

It is possible that the history of Walter the Steward and the House of Stuart inspired the Ruling Stewards of Gondor in Lord of the Rings. As Tolkien is seen as a very English (as distinct from merely British) author, in the tradition of Chesterton, his Stewards of Gondor might even be seen as a parody, but this is probably reading too much into his Englishness.

This 'user submitted' page is a collaboration between the posting user and the Chess Variant Pages. Registered contributors to the Chess Variant Pages have the ability to post their own works, subject to review and editing by the Chess Variant Pages Editorial Staff.

By Charles Gilman.
Web page created: 2007-11-14. Web page last updated: 2014-12-24