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The Chess Variant Pages

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Camel. An elongated Knight making a (3, 1) leap.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
H. G. Muller wrote on 2008-10-02 UTC
The Camel is actually a very awkward piece on an 8x8 board. It has such a poor manoeuvrability that it is almost always lost in the end-game without compensation, as there are almost no squares where all its moves stay within the board. The few squares where it has a reasonable number of moves it can only navigate between by first passing over squares where it has almot no moves. So as the board gets empty and there are no more pieces that can defend the Camel to keep it alive, it is first attacked on a good square to chase it avay to a very poor square, and then attacked there whle it cannot get away at all.

The only reason that it is worth something in the opening and ealy middle-gam, on a board dense with pieces, it can relatively easily fork something (from a safe distance, something that might still locked in by its own Pawns) and be exchaned for it.

More interesting pieces comparible in strength to a Knight are for one the FD (Betza notation), which is color-bound like the Camel, but much more useful. (Stragely enough this very playable piece is not described anywhere on these pages. Its ability to make Dababba-like jumps adds a new aspect to Chess, which requirer you to re-think Pawns structure.) The other are the 'Woody Rook' (Betza WD) and Commoner, because they are weak pieces having mating potential.

Pieces weaker than Knight (with 4 move targets, like Ferz and Wazir) usually make a game only slow and boring. Shatranj is a horrible game, which drags on forever and ends in draw 2 out of 3 times.