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Concise Guide to Chess Variants. Missing description[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Jörg Knappen wrote on Tue, Jan 31, 2012 08:35 AM UTC:
Sigh, I always get confused by grasshopper/locust, because the two terms are too close semantically, and I rarely do something with one of these two pieces. Charles' description of the two is perfectly right. Locusts take by overhopping, while grasshoppers are restricted korean cannon-style pieces. Sea pieces are locusts with additional non-capturing moves.

Charles Gilman wrote on Tue, Jan 31, 2012 07:14 AM UTC:
When you said that a Locust was a Saurian Grasshopper I suspected that this was not strictly true and checked the defintions of the three terms. The Grasshopper moves to an empty or enemy-occupied cell as normal, except that the previous cell must be occupied by a piece of an army, which does not get captured. A Saurian Grasshopper is the same except that the destination must also be occupied, but by an enemy that does get captured. The previous cell's occupant still does not get captured. A Locust's destination cannot be occupied, and it is the cell before the destination that must be occupied by an enemy that gets captured. In summary, the Locust and Saurian Grasshopper are different pieces.

Jörg Knappen wrote on Sun, Jan 29, 2012 09:28 AM UTC:
I don't think all the Saurians were named by one person at one time. don't have sources to early problems for the saurians, but I suspect the Hippopotamus even predates the term saurian. Note that also the locust (an old problemist piece) is technically a sauiran (a saurian grasshopper).

Charles Gilman wrote on Sat, Jan 28, 2012 08:54 AM UTC:
cK - Atlantosaurus
cQ - Dinosaurus
cB - Brontosaurus
cN - Hippopotamus
cR - Mammoth'
and the man choosing those names must have been a Doesnthaveathesaurus! Those are really terrible choices - just two genuine specific dinosaurs, one generic, and two names with nothing 'saurian' about them. A modern-day child could name five kinds of dinosaur. At one point I was tempted to use dinosaur names for Bent hex-prism pieces but shied away as Dino-Czars already used such names - including Brontosaurus. Regarding names without dinosaur connections, Man and Beast 09 has a piece namer Hippopotamus and Man and Beast 11 a suffix -mammoth as an offshoot of -mastodon.

Jörg Knappen wrote on Thu, Jan 26, 2012 08:29 AM UTC:
Some more piece names. Most of them can be found in the Schwalbe list or on Jerome Grimbert's site

cK - Atlantosaurus 
cQ - Dinosaurus
cB - Brontosaurus
cN - Hippopotamus 
cR - Mammoth

Combinations with a pawn:
p+B - Griff
p+N - Dragon (german: Drache)
p+R - Ship (french: Bateau)
p+L - Lama (L is Camel in Betza notation ...)
p+D - german: Hornochse (literal translation Horned Ox, meanig Blockhead) Maybe we could call it Hornox in english?

Sea pieces:
sea-K - Poseidon
sea-Q - Sirene, Mermaid
sea-B - Nereide
sea-N - french: Hippocampe (sea horse). In fact, a sea-Moo.
sea-N - french: cavalier marine (sea knight) truly hippogonal piece, almost useless on 8x8
sea-R - Triton

Some other pieces:
The Camelrider has a special french name: Mehari
The Taxi is a pawn with an additional backward move, it can go up to 3 steps forward from the first rank.

Jörg Knappen wrote on Mon, Jan 16, 2012 05:06 PM UTC:
I love the name Dullahan very much. It has inspired a new experimental army for CwdA, named the Fearful Fairies, to be pulished here soon.

Charles Gilman wrote on Thu, Jan 12, 2012 07:29 AM UTC:
I have decided to go ahead with the switch this weekend as far as square-cell pieces are concerned. The names new to Man and Beast will be as follows, with non-coprime components usually Leaping unless marked $, in which case they are usually Stepping.
	Frock=Cross+Trechick - replacing Tadpole
	Gardener=Point+$Dabchick+$Trechick - new
	Guardian=Wazir+$Dabbaba+$Trebuchet - piece new to MAB
	Lining=Gardener+Restless - new
	Liondog=Guardian+Wrestler - piece new to MAB
	Newt=Elephant+Trebuchet - replacing Rosette
	Nuke=Tusk+Trechick - replacing Rosebud
	Restless=Cross+$Tusk+$Trisk - new
	Toad=Dabbaba+Trebuchet - replacing Treader
	Toke=Dabchick+Trechick - replacing Trekker
	Vestment=Mitre+Trechick - replacing Maypole
	Wrestler=Ferz+$Elephant+$Tripper - piece new to MAB
A few brand new 3d and/or hex ones will get in as well, namely
I am postponing adjusting cubic Amphibian pieces to consider the fact that different pieces are Amphibian in different geometries. The Toad and Newt are Amphibian in all geometries that have them (2d hex has no Frog or Newt), but the Frog has an unbound component in hex-prism. The Vicbaba is Amphibian in 2d hex but Viceroy+Trebuchet, which is Amphibian on a cubic board, is bound to a third of a hex board. Any thoughts on dealing with other geometries, or should I just not bother with Amphibian-themed names beyond the square-cell board?

Christine Bagley-Jones wrote on Mon, Jan 9, 2012 10:52 AM UTC:
yeah i was suprised i couldn't find the gazelle listed, maybe the website that used to list it has disappeared.

Charles Gilman wrote on Mon, Jan 9, 2012 07:25 AM UTC:
Where I found Gazelle is indeed puzzling. Neither Gazelle nor Okapi is in the Oxford Companion to Chess (a book) or on the site All the King's Men. I was beginning to wonder whether I had invented Gazelle myself and forgotten doing so, but this comment confirms that as early as 2003 I was under the impression that it was an established name. When I first used the Gazelle in Great Herd there do not appear to have been any question as to where Gazelle had come from, or suggestions of an alternative. Certainly I do recall any reference to Okapi on the Chess Variant Pages, which is why I used it for a Crooked radial mover with echoes of the Girafrider (the okapi is a relative of the giraffe - cf Rhino in terms of the Nightrider). Returning briefly to amphibian pieces, I should have added that I plan to retain Baron for Ferz+Viceroy as it is a purely coprime piece.

Christine Bagley-Jones wrote on Sun, Jan 8, 2012 01:58 PM UTC:
oh yeah, i like dullahan

another idea could be Abaddon 

grim reaper

Jeremy Lennert wrote on Sun, Jan 8, 2012 01:07 PM UTC:
Dullahan (another of the aos si that predicts deaths)

Christine Bagley-Jones wrote on Sun, Jan 8, 2012 12:06 PM UTC:
Grim Reaper

Jörg Knappen wrote on Sun, Jan 8, 2012 11:31 AM UTC:
This is kind of a fun question: What would be a good male version of a Banshee?

Jörg Knappen wrote on Sun, Jan 8, 2012 11:26 AM UTC:
I am aware of the name Okapi for about a decade when I found it in several problem databases on fairy chess problems. However, a search here

(enter PIECE='Okapi' in the query form)

reveals some problems going back to 1970, Most Okapi problems are authored by Erich Bartels, but other prblemists joined the crew. If you have ever seen an okapi (I did, the Franfurt/Main zoo is a proud owner of the rare species), it is a particulary well choosen name for a horse-zebra vompound.

Digging through references on Gazelle, I found it only as a synonym for Camel (the (1,3).-leaper) in Turkish great chess V

This is confirmed by George Duke here:

and George know more chess variant literature than I can ever dream of.

The Ferz-Knight compound has the synonym priest - again a very unspecific name. It occurs in Töws' Generic chess piece creation system and Derzhanski's list.

I once aggressively tracked names for compound leapers and noted them on paper, it looks like a good idea to put them on the CVP pages some time.

Christine Bagley-Jones wrote on Sun, Jan 8, 2012 09:34 AM UTC:
i like it, what else do people call it?
and i like capa's name for knight/bishop

Jeremy Lennert wrote on Sun, Jan 8, 2012 08:41 AM UTC:
I've never really liked the name 'Prince' for Knight+Ferz. It's supposedly a 'short-range Princess' by analogy to Queen and King, but by that analogy it seems like Princess should be Bishop + KnightRIDER and Prince should be royal.

Charles Gilman wrote on Sun, Jan 8, 2012 07:54 AM UTC:
Yes, I should have said Knight+Ferz, not Knight+Wazir. It just goes to show how obscure problematist names are to non-problematists. Another example that I saw when following the links through the new Querquisite entry: Templar in Templar Chess means Ferz+Dabbaba+Elephant, not Knight+Dabbaba.

Christine Bagley-Jones wrote on Sun, Jan 8, 2012 04:59 AM UTC:
Interesting, i know the Knight/Zebra compound as 'Gazelle' also, but doing a search i couldn't find anything, Jorg, where does the name 'Okapi' come from. Always interested in alternate names, but i do like the name 'gazelle' for this piece though.

Now Charles, you say 'One useful feature to add would be to distinguish usage in actual variants from problematist names largely ignored by varint designers.'
Well, i don't know, sounds a bit melodramatic to me, 'Quick, Joe Joyce has been hit by a pie in the face down by the old school road, curse those problematist's!!'.

I mean, piece names listed by problematists have many names accepted and used by game designers. And, even pieces that began their life as problem pieces like 'grasshopper' and 'nightrider' have been embraced by game designers (flamingo, locust?). 

Also, game designers don't just 'largely ignore' problematist names, i would say they largely ignore everyone, other game designers also. Game designers are like 'maverick's', they do as they please, nameing pieces as they wish.

Just look at the history of the rook/knight and bishop/knight compounds, and also the 'prince' piece you mention, 1 square all directions.
Possible first appearance in the 17th Century game 'Carrera's Chess', they were called 'Champion' and Centaur'. Then in 1874, 'Bird's Chess' they were called  'Guard' and 'Equerry'. Later, in 'Capablanca Chess' they appeared under the names 'Chancellor' and 'Archbishop'. Then a string of similar games followed ..

grotesque - guard equerry
gothic - chancellor archbishop
aberg's - chancellor archbishop
optimized - chancellor archbishop
embassy - marshall cardinal
ladorean - marshall cardinal
univers - marshal paladin
schoolbook - marshal archbishop
janus - 'janus' (archbishop) - no chancellor
new chancellor - chancellor - no archbishop
flanking archbishops - archbishop - no chancellor.

And then recently, Seirawan Chess amazingly calls these pieces 'Elephant' and 'Hawk' ... yep 'Elephant' name was used, could you throw a bigger spanner in the works, hardly, lol.

Now, a piece that moves 1 square in all directions, appears to me to first appeared in the 1000 year old game 'Shatranj Kamil', where it was called a 'War Machine' or 'Dabbaba'!!. Note in another variant of this game, the Dabbaba {0,2} appears under the name 'Camel'. And later, around the 12th century, in 'Courier Chess', this piece is called a 'Man'. Was it Jean-Louis Cazaux who first called this piece a 'Prince'?  Piececlopedia  lists under 'Man' and 'Commoner'. Joe Joyce calls it 'General'.

So it is clear to see, game designers not only ignore problematist names, but they ignore everyone, true mavericks, like mad scientists they put their games together and name the pieces as they see fit, ('fool's, i'll destroy them all'), and the chess variant community accepts this, game designers can do as they please, and most people don't mind.

Sure, certain names over time become accepted as the norm, but as we see, even big pieces (rook/knight and bishop/knight compounds) still go under multi-names. Sorry for long post. 

Hey, i saw a site listing old shatranj pieces and it gives the knight/bishop compound the name 'Karkaddan', saying it is an old piece in a game called 'Shatrank al-Kabir'. Piece is at bottom of page, and the game link is in piece description. Any thoughts?

main page link for other info on games is here

Jörg Knappen wrote on Sat, Jan 7, 2012 10:27 PM UTC:
Hi Charles,

I skimmed through my sources again and could not locate a reference to 'gazelle' as a synonym for the okapi (Knight-Zebra-compound). Where did you get it from?

I share your feelings with respect to the name 'prince': it is quite unspecific and used for a whole bunch of pieces, most notably the commoner. The aim of my comment was to give a summary of this important source.  Note that Jelliss gives prince for Knight+Ferz (not Knight+Wazir) following the male/female logic from the King/Queen pair. And problemists call the Janus/Palladin piece princess.

The name hospital(l)er is  worth mentioning for the knight-alfil compound, kangaroo as a synonym ist certainly worth mentioning, too. Outback Chess was a contest winning variant, at least.

Going through my sources I found a synonym for the newt: it is called counsellor in Quang Trung Chess and this name propagated in Töws' piece creation system and in Ivan Derzhanski's list.

Charles Gilman wrote on Sat, Jan 7, 2012 07:52 AM UTC:
Knight+Zebra is definitely Gazelle in all the contexts that I've read before. A piece moving according to which FIDE piece's file it is on is listed in Piececlopedia as a Zelig.
	One useful feature to add would be to distinguish usage in actual variants from problematist names largely ignored hy varint designers. For example, Prince is one of the commoner names used for a capturable Wazir+Ferz compound. (Did you see what I did there?) I do not recall any variant in which it is used for Knight+Wazir. Likewise Outback Chess uses Kangaroo is used for Knight+Elephant - and to answer a question on another thread I qualify the compound of the Xiang Qi counterparts as a 'Chinese-style' Kangaroo in my vartiant Xiangaroo - but no variant uses it for a Queenwise hopper requiring two intrervening pieces.
	The mention of further amphibian names I find riveting. I could have done with this info many years earlier. Now that Toad and Newt have been brought to my attention it seems sensible that I use them. As far as I am aware no-one used Treader, and Toad even has the T and D in it! Rosette I have used but am prepared to replace throughout with Newt. This has four further consequences for Man and Beast:
1	If Toad exists alongside Frog it makes nonsense of Tadpole being specifically an FO Frog. Therefore I will rename that piece as part of a grouping.
2	The name Newt ignores its piece's link to the Rose, and so all the other prefixed and suffixed Roses will be dropped. So will extrapolated names such as Macette, Bezette, et cetera. This will clear out several apparently uninspiring names.
3	Cubic boards add other amphibian radial pieces with maximum coordinate 3: Ferz+Viceroy, Viceroy+Trebuchet, Viceroy+Tripper, Trebuchet+Eunuch, Ferz+Zombie. Any ideas for names for these? Which other amphibian names have been used and which not?
4	Compounds of a twice- and a thrice-coprime piece were moved from page 6 to page 11 of Man and Beast to be after the Rose, Macel, et cetera themselves. It would make sense to reverse this when I drop the Rosette theme altogether and put them back in page 6 to group all the amphibians together.

Christine Bagley-Jones wrote on Fri, Jan 6, 2012 10:58 AM UTC:
lol, you know i didn't like the names when i first saw, 'toad', yuck, and 'newt', what's a newt?!, Newt Gingrich?, haha .. but when i read your comment and finished laughing, i looked up what 'newt' meant, and, yes your right, they are good names, they go nice with 'frog' name, hehe.
i can live with 'toad' name :)

Jörg Knappen wrote on Fri, Jan 6, 2012 07:52 AM UTC:
This is a suggestion to David:

Add all contest winning games to the Game section.

This gives a nice overview of the activity of the CVP community over a decade.

Jörg Knappen wrote on Fri, Jan 6, 2012 07:39 AM UTC:
Sigh, link rot hits again. Fortunately, I have printed the Theory of Moves when it was available on the net.

Christine, you found another nice reference, and I immediately love the names toad and newt for the other simple amphibians!

Christine Bagley-Jones wrote on Thu, Jan 5, 2012 10:51 PM UTC:
the link given for George Jelliss: Theory of Moves, Knight's Tour Notes 2001,
does not work, but you can find it here, an interesting article (14 pages) he prepared for a talk to the Hastings and St Leonards Chess Club on 21 August 2010. .. just click on 'simple chess variants', a pdf. Great fun for variant fans to read, from page 9 ..

All possible leapers with coordinates up to 4 have acquired special names, as follows: Dummy {0,0}, Wazir {0,1}, Dabbaba {0,2}, Threeleaper {0,3}, Fourleaper {0,4}, Fers {1,1}, Knight {1,2}, Camel {1,3}, Gi-raffe {1,4}, Alfil {2,2}, Zebra {2,3}, Lancer {2,4}, Tripper {3,3}, Antelope {3,4} and Commuter {4,4}.
Names for all two-pattern leapers with coordinates up to 2 are: King {0,1}+{1,1}, Wazaba {0,1}+{0,2}, Emperor {0,1}+{1,2}, Caliph {0,1}+{2,2}, Duke {1,1}+{0,2}, Prince {1,1}+{1,2}, Ferfil {1,1}+{2,2}, Templar {0,2}+{1,2}, Alibaba {0,2}+{2,2} and Hospitaller {1,2}+{2,2}.
Any combination of a piece with a free piece is obviously free. It can however happen that a two-pattern leaper is free even though its components are not. I call such pieces amphibians. The simplest cases are Frog {1,1}+{0,3}, Toad {0,2}+{0,3} and Newt {2,2}+{0,3}.
Many other two-pattern leapers are possible. Of particular interest, especially to those who know the theorem of Pythagoras are the Fiveleaper {0,5}+{3,4} and the Rootfiftyleaper {5,5}+{1,7}, which are the only two-pattern fixed-distance leapers on the 8×8.
The simplest three-pattern leaper is the Centaur {0,1}+{1,1}+{1,2} a combination of king and knight.

Jörg Knappen wrote on Thu, Jan 5, 2012 06:34 PM UTC:
A few miscellaneous entries from the Chess Variant Pages

Piece names

capricorn - a hook mover moving on diagonal lines. Occurs in several large shogi variants

hook mover - a hook mover on horizontal and vertical lines. Occurs in several large shogi variants

querquisite - a piece that has the moves of the piece on its current file in the FIDE starting position. Synonym: oddyseus
(see A. Sibahi: Querquisite Chess, )

Piece terms

divergent piece - A piece with different capturing and non-capturing moves. Synonym: Sniper
  Source: A. J. Winkelspecht: Divergent Chess

hook mover - a piece that can optionally turn 90 degrees and move on. It can capture on its final square only. From large shogi variants.

igui capture - restricted rifle capture of lion movers, capture on a adjacent square without moving

lion mover - a piece that can do two moves in one turn, including the possibilities to capture two pieces in one turn, to pass the turn, or to capture one piece and then return to its starting square. Lion movement can be unrestricted (as in the lion of Chu Shogi) or restricted to certain directions (as in the soaring eagle or the horned falcon of Chu Shogi)

planar piece - a kind of lame hook mover, a piece that can optionally turn 90 degrees and move on as long as the rectangle spanned by the two legs of its move is free from any other piece, friend or foo. It can capture only on its destination square.
    source: Gavin Smith: Prince

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