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This page is written by the game's inventor, Jörg Knappen.

Fearful fairies

This is a new experimental army for Chess with Different Armies (CwDA). It is inspired by a recent discussion of how to name the Ferz-Knight compound and it features it as Dullahan together with his female counterpart, the Banshee. The whole army follows a fairy theme.


In place of the Rook there is the Phoenix (WA), in place of the Knight there is the Dullahan (FN), in place of the Bishop there is the Fearful (FA) and in place of the Queen there is the Banshee (RNN). The King and the pawns are the same as in Chess with Different Armies.


The Phoenix moves one square orthogonally or jumps 2 squares diagonally. The name Phoenix is traditional from large Shogi variants; alternate names for this piece include Waffle (used by Ralph Betza in the colorbound clobberers of CwdA) and Caliph (used by problemists). The Phoenix has the same value as a standard chess Knight.

The Dullahan moves one square diagonally or jumps like the standard chess Knight. The same piece is also known under the not very specific names Prince (by problemists) and Priest (e. g., in Adrian King's Scirocco). The name Dullahan was suggested by Jeremy Lennert in this comment as male counterpart for a Banshee. The Dullahan is a major piece by all criteria, it is about the same value as a Rook and it has the can-mate property.

The Fearful moves one square diagonally or jumps two squares diagonally. The name Fearful is an old word play on Ferfil (the established name for this piece among problemists). In chess variants the name Modern Elephant is another well-established synonym. I choose Fearful here because it fits nicely with the theme of this army. The Fearful is another minor piece worth about a Knight.

The Banshee moves on diagonals or on hippogonals, i. e., on lines consisting of consecutive Knight moves in the same direction. It is a combination of a Bishop and a Nightrider. The name Banshee is well-established both in the problemist and the chess variant community. Betza evaluates the Banshee as exactly of Queen value, but newer results by H. G. Muller on the value of the Janus (Bishop-Knight compound) found here suggest, that it is in fact about a pawn stronger than the Queen. This is a good thing in our context, since the army is on the weak side compared to the FIDE team and lacks a pair bonus.


The rules of Chess with Different Armies apply.


The Fearful Fairies differ from other CwDA armies in the fact that almost all pieces are short ranged. The pieces work very well together and have a large firing density, but don't reach far. They are excellent support for the pawns.

On the weak side, there is no piece with rookish moves and the army is vulnerable to attacks by rooks. So the FIDEs want to clear the field for the rooks to jump in.

The Banshee in her starting position eyeballs the pawn on g7. Preparation of short castling is made more difficult by this fact.

A contest against an army which does not protect g7 is excluded because of a trivial mate-in-one. This excludes the Nutty Knights from competing with the Fearful Fairies.

An interesting experience is pitting the Fearful Fairies against the Shatranjian Shooters 2 (version 1 is too strong by about 2 pawns) by Abdul-Rahman Sibahi and Joe Joyce.

During play testing I considered the Woody Rook (WD) as the corner piece but I discarded it because it is easily outmanoeuvered by a Knight in the endgame.

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By Jörg Knappen.

Last revised by Jörg Knappen.

Web page created: 2012-01-16. Web page last updated: 2021-02-24