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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.

Piececlopedia: Dabbabah

Historical notes

The Dabbabah was a piece that already appeared in some very early variants of chess. Its name represents an ancient war machine, and is sometimes translated as war engine, although it is not known exactly what shape the physical piece had.

In different old chess variants, Dabbabah's were used with different movement rules, e.g., it has been used to name a piece that moved like a normal bishop. The movement given below is the most common and is the one used by modern inventions with the Dabbabah.


The Dabbabah is a (2,0)-leaper, i.e., it moves two squares horizontally or vertically. It can leap over any piece in its way and will capture any enemy piece on the landing square.

Movement Diagram


Its severely limited board access makes the Alibaba a very weak piece, but together with a strong minor it might still be able to force checkmate on a bare King. A compound of a Knight and a Wazir (sometimes called Marquis) appears to be sufficient. Try it!

A minor that itself is proficient at delivering mate in all corners does not need to be exceptionally strong when assisted by a Dababba. Try it!

In combination with a color-bound piece on even-sized boards there will always be one corner that neither piece can attack, so that the game will end as a fortress draw if the bare King can reach that corner.

Alternate Images

Click on an image to view the full piece set it belongs to.

Abstract Set Alfaerie Set Alfaerie Set

Printable Pieces

The following designs are available for printing on a 3D printer. Links are to Thingiverse.

Dabbaba by Jean-Louis Cazaux
Dababa by Bob Greenwade

This is an item in the Piececlopedia: an overview of different (fairy) chess pieces.
Written by Hans Bodlaender.
Updated by Greg Strong, H.G.Muller, and Fergus Duniho
WWW page created: 1998-09-04.
WWW page updated: 2024-04-28.