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The Chess Variant Pages




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.

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H. G. Muller wrote on 2017-11-08 UTC

There is a difference between 'minor', in the strict sense of not having mating potential, and in the sense of 'not worth much more than N or B'. There exist enormously valuable pieces that have no mating potential, and less-than-N-valued pieces with mating potential (R2). To get a leaper on par with N or B it needs to have 8 targets; 12 is too much (about Rook-valued), 4 is too little, and for totally symmetric pieces there is nothing in between. One oblique step already causes 8 targets, the Knight is already taken, and the Camel and Zebra are nasty pieces on an 8-rank board with Pawns on 2nd rank, because of their distant forking power. That leaves pieces with two different steps on Queen rays. Perhaps FH (1 diagonal 3 orthogonal) would be an option. Although I am not sure that would be stronger than a Knight.

If you want to consider less 'pure' pieces, rather than breaking symmetry, you could consider divergence. E.g. move as Zebra, capture as King could be pretty strong. (But it might have mating potential; I did not check that.) Or slam extra non-capture Wazir moves on the Elephant-Ferz. (These would then break its color binding.) Or you could resort to 'lameness'. E.g. a piece that would jump as Dababba, and, when that is possible, can continue with one outward diagonal step. It would have 12 targets, but 8 of those would be blockable. The 8 targets of the Xiangqi Horse, which are similarly blockable, are only worth half as much as those of the FIDE Knight. Such a piece is easy to develop, not colliding with anything else, and would not be able to fork trapped back-rank pieces because of its lameness preventing it to reach beyond the Pawn line.


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