Zebra (chess)

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8
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b7 black circle
f7 black circle
a6 black circle
g6 black circle
d4 N l
a2 black circle
g2 black circle
b1 black circle
f1 black circle
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The zebra (represented as an inverted knight) may move to any of eight squares (black dots).

The zebra is a fairy chess piece that moves like a stretched knight. When it moves, it can jump to a square that is three squares horizontally and two square vertically, or three squares vertically and two square horizontally, regardless of intervening pieces; thus, it is a (2,3)-leaper. Below, it is given the symbol J from Betza notation.

Value[edit]

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8
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a8 four
b8 three
c8 six
d8 one
e8 four
f8 five
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h8 one
a7 five
b7 four
c7 one
d7 four
e7 three
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h7 four
a6 two
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f6 five
g6 two
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g5 five
h5 four
a4 two
b4 three
c4 four
d4 three
e4 two
f4 five
g4 two
h4 three
a3 five
b3 four
c3 one
d3 four
e3 three
f3 four
g3 three
h3 four
a2 four
b2 three
c2 six
d2 one
e2 four
f2 five
g2 four
h2 one
a1 five
b1 four
c1 three
d1 four
e1 three
f1 two
g1 three
h1 four
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Distance from the f5-square, counted in zebra moves.

The zebra by itself is worth just below two pawns (appreciably less than a knight), due to its restricted freedom of movement on an 8×8 board. Its larger move is the main reason why it is weaker than a camel on an 8×8 board, even though the camel is colorbound and the zebra is not. A zebra and a bishop and a king can force checkmate on a bare king; while a zebra, a knight and a king cannot; and a zebra, a camel, and a king cannot. The rook versus zebra endgame is a win for the rook. (All endgame statistics mentioned are for the 8×8 board.)

As a component of other pieces, it has about the same value as a knight (both pieces can move to eight squares), but its long move carries the danger of causing unstoppable attacks in the opening and winning large amounts of material. Ralph Betza opined that the zebra's move was too large to be functional on an 8×8 board, and that only on a 10×10 board or larger would it be worth its ideal value of about a knight.

References[edit]