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Camel. An elongated Knight making a (3, 1) leap.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Hasan Elias wrote on 2018-04-20 UTC

I have played the Camel in a 8x8 board and it is the most forky piece. Worth more than 2 pawns, its value reduces in the endgame only because it needs another piece to checkmate.

Rodrigo Zanotelli wrote on 2014-09-03 UTC
Arm said: "This is only a technicality really, but there's another way to think about the camel movement to put it in perspective. To use an analogy:

A camel is to a bishop as a knight is to a rook. That is, a knight moves in an orthogonal L-shape while a camel moves in a diagonal L-shape. While it works exactly the same way to say the camel does a (3,1) leap, it makes the camel fit better into the chess schema to think of it as a diagonal analogue of a knight.

Whatev, though."

If I am right, another way to think about camel is to think he moves to the closest square from the one he is, excluding the one he is in and the ones that rook, bishop and knight can move to.

Anyway, following those idea, If you wanted to make a variant with leapers only (and assuming you consider bishop a leaper). You could do this
Rook = Fide Bishop moves
Bishop = rider version of Fide Knight
Knight = Camel
King = A mix of fide knight and ferz
Queen = Fide bishop and rider version of fide knight
Pawn = Ferz moves thad advance as move only and knight moves that advance as capture moves.

If you dont consider Bishop a rider you can do
Rook = rider version of fide Knight
Bishop = rider version of camel
Knight = moves as a (3,2) and a (1,4) leaper 
Queen = Rider version of camel + rider version of fide knight
king = camel + fide knight
Pawn = Fide knight moves that advance but only as move, and moves of camel that advance but only as capture.

Anonymous wrote on 2008-10-04 UTC
Maybe the Camel only becomes a little effective on the 10x10board?
On that board I recall we have for example Omega chess which uses the
Camel move joined with the Ferz which make it a more effective piece.

But maybe, on that board, the Camel by itself can prove valuable for
instance in the opening by forking, even if that means loose the piece on
an very early stage of the game?

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.

Anonymous wrote on 2008-10-01 UTC
I really am not an expert.. But from all those fairy pieces out there, the
Camel is probably one of the best to 'include' on a real functional
variant; that anyone more or less skilled could know and not think of
difficult to use in actual play..(?)

We also have the minimalists wizir, ferz or weak alfil, dababa.. Which
make for some very nice compounds; but this '2 pawn value' ancient chess
piece has something that makes for chess variant inventors include it very
often on their creations. No one seems to 'like' these guy, but he keeps
appearing! :-)

Charles Gilman wrote on 2005-06-19 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
I have made extensive use of the Camel in exactly the way that ARM
describes. In Bacheloe Kamil, a cross between Bachelor Chess anmd
Wildebeest Chess, th non-array compound of Knight and Camel has the same
special properties as that of Rook and Bishop. In Ecumenical Chess, a
cross between Wildebeest Chess and the Carrera-Bird-Capablanca family, I
have the two pairs of simple piece and every compound of two, including
two of the Bishop+Camel compound (called a Caliph) bound to opposite
square colours. I describe that piece as 'weak for a compound piece but
strong for a colourbound one'.

I have just submitted a new variant, Carnival of the Animals, in which
dice mutate the FIDE Knights into other leapers with coordinates of up to

ARM wrote on 2005-02-18 UTCGood ★★★★
This is only a technicality really, but there's another way to think
the camel movement to put it in perspective. To use an analogy:

A camel is to a bishop as a knight is to a rook. That is, a knight moves
in an orthogonal L-shape while a camel moves in a diagonal L-shape. While
it works exactly the same way to say the camel does a (3,1) leap, it
the camel fit better into the chess schema to think of it as a diagonal
analogue of a knight.

Whatev, though.

David Paulowich wrote on 2004-09-23 UTC
The camel continues to fascinate game designers! Daniel Brown calls it the Jester in his 80 square variant J-Chess. The initial setup is: <p>P | P | P | P | P | P | P | P | P | P <p>R | N | B | J | Q | K | J | B | N | R

George Duke wrote on 2004-09-11 UTC
(Camel + Wazir) looks like best (and simplest) compound to make Camel worthwhile chess piece, bestowing colour-changing potential without whimsically turning it into long-range piece. And (Zebra + Ferz) would balance with that in particular game, since Zebra already changes square colour each (2,3)move anyway.

David Paulowich wrote on 2004-09-01 UTC
In his 12x12 variant GANYMEDE CHESS, Mark E Hedden calls the camel+bishop piece a 'Flying Dragon'. He considers it to be 'worth a bit less then a rook' and the griffon to be 'worth almost as much as a queen'. That surprised me, until I remembered that rooks and queens promote to stronger pieces in his game, which increases their value.

George Duke wrote on 2004-08-28 UTC
Piece value estimates here and under Legler's Ch do not operate independent of other features of each game: kind of Pawns(Berolina, Xiangqi, Cannon), board size, goal(generally checkmate). For ex., Camel and N both lose half-points as number of squares increase, relative to long-range units. Also simply the more compound riders, the less value each one has, compared to Pawns and leapers. Marshall and Cardinal probably fall off 0.5 from 8.0 and 7.0 standards for each 5% their types' numbers (including Queen) increase over 20% in a piece mix. Short of extensive playtesting, how to estimate PVs? Just by knowledge of many game-rules sets, visualizing positions, making tentative sets of values and sliding estimates mutually appropriate. Unicorn (B+NN) not always 9 pts, but typically 9, with a range maybe 5 for small boards to 12 where Shogi-type pieces predominate. Likewise Cardinal may be fully 8 pts. standard pawns and no Queen on 10x10.

David Paulowich wrote on 2004-08-27 UTC
Try P=1, N=3, B=3, R=5, N+B=7, N+R=8.50, Q=9 <p>Also NN (nightrider) = 4.75, while NN+B (unicorn) = 8.75 <p>I invented Unicorn Great Chess to show off the power of a unicorn on a 10x10 board, but the Queen still looks a little bit stronger on the usual 64 squares. If we were to accept Sam's high value for the N+B, then the Unicorn (worth at least 1.50 pawns more) would get pushed higher than the Queen. I know his value is popular, but I am not convinced that it is correct. As for the colorbound camel+bishop piece, one pawn more than a nightrider seems generous. Not every compound piece deserves the same 'one pawn value' bonus as the queen and unicorn.

Anonymous wrote on 2004-08-26 UTC
The camel+bishop is at least one pawn better than a rook, probably something like a pawn and a quarter, although it lacks the can-mate ability and so the advantage declines in the endgame.

Sam Trenholme wrote on 2004-08-26 UTC
The camel + bishop might make an interesting piece. A knight + bishop is about a pawn less valuable than a queen; a camel + bishop is probably about as valuable as a rook. <p> - Sam

George Duke wrote on 2004-08-25 UTC
Turkish Great Chess V(13x13) being played now at Courier employs Camel not Zebra. There Camel seems, having played 50 moves, sort of 'odd piece out'. They're there but not much use; the game would be better with another long-range piece or N-C, N-Z compounds. Likewise Knappen's Quinquereme,centered on the neat Quintessence, throws in C and Z almost as afterthought. Wildebeest is worth revisiting, but Camel always seems like a residual element that designer falls back on, reason being really rather defective for actual play.(Comments' colour features, mating weaknesses)Exception may be Overby's Beastmaster with all leapers in a deliberate intellectualization.

George Duke wrote on 2004-08-25 UTC
The point of more trips of six moves(or 5,7,10,whatever) is just that
longer leapers have less mobility, given a board size. On 10x10 Gilman's
Albatross(9,2)can move only from back rank to promotion square, back and
forth ranks 1 and 10, until getting to file a or j, whence it so goes
right and left too, never away from an edge. My implication is that
working backwards from such as Albatross, even Camel and Zebra, while more
valuable than those of greater leap length, are ineffective chess pieces.
What game really uses a Camel effectively or Zebra to advantage? All these simple
oblique leapers serve for intellectual exercises, but compounds entirely
different story.

david_64 wrote on 2004-08-25 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
Dave McCooey's analysis gives the following maximum forced mates by King and two pieces against a lone King: two Nightriders = 22 moves, Nightrider and Knight = 27 moves, two Knights = 1 move. The third mate is a 'joke' which only happens in those rare endgames with K,N,N against K,P. The ability of the Nightrider to triangulate seems to be the key here. <p>My suggested Camel-Dabbabah compound can easily triangulate: just make two Camel-leaps followed by a Dababbah-leap back to its starting square. I would hope that two of these pieces, on opposite color squares, can actually force mate. Joining two ancient pieces like this is a common practice. Jean-Louis Cazaux and Peter Aronson use the Ferz-Elephant compound in several variants. Ralph Betza uses the Wazir-Dababbah compound (Woody-Rook) in Chess With Different Armies.

Anonymous wrote on 2004-08-25 UTC
The camel is definitely worth less than a knight because of its
colourboundness. It is also colourswitching which is a little harder
to see: It can't triangulate.

What comes out as a surprise, the camel is stronger than other simple
leapers, including non-colourbound ones as the zebra. This is suggested
by the endgame analysis of endgames with fairy pieces to be found on this
server. Jeliss gives the following explanation for this fact: The knight
and the camel are singular in the simple leapers because they have more
trips consisting of six moves than other simple leapers.

--J%org Knappen

David Paulowich wrote on 2004-08-22 UTC
Definitely one of the weaker pieces. Dave McCooey writes (in his Endgame statistics with fantasy pieces) 'Two Camels, even on different colors, cannot checkmate a lone King. A Camel and a Zebra cannot checkmate a lone King. A Camel and a Wazir can checkmate a lone King, which is surprising. It can take as long as 77 moves (154 halfmoves) to force mate.' <p>Perhaps inventors would find the Camel-Dabbabah combination to be a more useful piece. Still limited to one color, but jumping two squares orthogonally gives the piece 'close-range' power.

George Duke wrote on 2004-08-22 UTCGood ★★★★
What is piece value of Camel(1,3)? Usually the same or less than value of Knight. Even in the Turkish Great Chesses being played now on Game Courier, one prefers Knight or even two Pawns to Camel--and those pawns promote only to Wazir. So besides being awkward as Zebra(2,3), Camel has the lowest worth; any less and it is like a Pawnlike unit. Further, one could go so far as to say that any eight-square oblique leaper has less value than the standby Knight. Antelope, Flamingo, any of Charles Gilman's neologisms Rector, Parson, Curate, Deacon each and all slightly less value than the versatile Knight. Likely we shall never hear of Camel or Flamingo or Curate in the 99%+ of chess world not immersed in CVs.

Charles Gilman wrote on 2004-03-04 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
Well done makign that correction. You may be interested to know that my variants Bachelor Kamil and Ecumenical Chess also use this piece.

Charles Gilman wrote on 2003-06-22 UTCGood ★★★★
One small point: you have misspelled the name used in Napoleonic Chess. It is Light Cavalry, suitably enough for a colourbound version of the standard cavalry represented by the Knight. Calvary was a crucifixion site in Roman Palestine.

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