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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: Man

Historical notes

The Man, also commonly known as a Guard, Prince, Commoner, or General is a piece which has appeared in various early chess variants under various names, and is still in use in modern inventions. It dates back to at least to the 1200s, when it was used in Courier Chess. It moves like the usual King, but is not royal, so is not subject to check or mate.


The Man combines the movement of the Ferz and the Wazir; that is it may either step one square in any direction (like a King). The Man is not a royal piece. The Man captures the same way it moves.

Vocabulary: Adjacent

A Man can move to any adjacent space. Two spaces are adjacent if they are orthogonally or diagonally adjacent. Orthogonally adjacent spaces share a common side. Diagonally adjacent spaces share no sides in common but are connected at a corner. If the spaces are squares, they share a common corner; if they are hexagons, an adjoining line connects a corner of each space.


The Man is a popular piece, used in many games, under many names, including:


This piece can generally force checkmate against a bare king, with the help of its friendly king. However, this depends on the board size: at or above 15x15, the man can no longer deliver checkmate from a generic position. Try it (on 8x8)!


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

Abstract Set Alfaerie Set Alfaerie Set Cazaux Set

This is an item in the Piececlopedia: an overview of different (fairy) chess pieces.
Written by Sergey Sirotkin (edited by Peter Aronson) and Fergus Duniho.
Updated by Greg Strong.
WWW page created: 2001-10-02.
WWW page updated: 2020-12-23.