Amazon (chess)

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An icon for the amazon used in diagrams

The amazon, also known as the queen+knight compound or the dragon, is a fairy chess piece that can move like a queen or a knight. It may thus be considered the sum of all orthodox chess pieces other than the king (because it cannot castle and does not know when it is under threat via the check rule) and the pawn (because it cannot practice en passant). The amazon can force checkmate on an enemy king without the help of any other friendly piece.

Chess moves in this article use A as notation for the amazon.


a8 black cross
e8 black cross
b7 black cross
e7 black cross
h7 black cross
c6 black cross
d6 black circle
e6 black cross
f6 black circle
g6 black cross
c5 black circle
d5 black cross
e5 black cross
f5 black cross
g5 black circle
a4 black cross
b4 black cross
c4 black cross
d4 black cross
e4 A l
f4 black cross
g4 black cross
h4 black cross
c3 black circle
d3 black cross
e3 black cross
f3 black cross
g3 black circle
c2 black cross
d2 black circle
e2 black cross
f2 black circle
g2 black cross
b1 black cross
e1 black cross
h1 black cross
Moves of the amazon. It may jump to any square with a circle, or move as a rider to any square with a cross.

The amazon's movement combines those of the queen and the knight. Thus, it may move to any square on the same rank, file, or diagonal without jumping, or it may move to any of the nearest squares not on the same rank, file, or diagonal.


The amazon is one of the most simply described fairy chess pieces and as such has a long history and has gone by many names.[1][a] It was first used in Turkish Great Chess, a large medieval variant of chess, where it was called the giraffe. Later, it was widely experimented with in the Middle Ages to replace the slow ferz, and it competed with the modern queen for this role; the modern queen eventually won out, as the amazon's power was deemed excessive. In Russia, the amazon persisted into the 18th century; some players disapproved of this ability to "gallop like the horse" (knight).[3][4] The book A History of Chess by H. J. R. Murray, page 384, says that one Mr. Coxe, who was in Russia in 1772, saw chess being played with the amazon.

The amazon is best known for its appearance in the chess variant Maharajah and the Sepoys, where it is the maharajah. It is royal and White's only piece.


h7 black king
d5 A l
a1 white king
White to move mates in one with 1.Af6# or 1.Af7#.

The amazon's value is estimated to be 12 or 13 points in the chess piece relative value system.[5] It is extremely mobile, can control every square surrounding itself in a 5×5 area, and can force checkmate by itself. In contrast, although the gryphon (or griffin) from Grande Acedrex (which moves one step diagonally before continuing outwards as a rook) would seem to have the value of two rooks (10–11 points), the squares it attacks are more dispersed, and it is more easily defended against than the amazon.

In the endgame of king and amazon versus king and empress (rook+knight compound), the amazon usually wins; however, in a few positions, the weaker side may force a draw by setting up a fortress. Such a fortress forces the side with the amazon to give perpetual check; otherwise, the side with the empress can force a simplification or give their own perpetual check. King and amazon versus king is a forced win for the side with the amazon; checkmate can be forced within four moves. In comparison, the queen requires 10 moves and the rook requires 16. In fact, the amazon does not even require its king's help to force checkmate (as an example of a checkmate position, the king is in the corner and the attacking amazon is a knight's move away from it), and this great power is the reason why it is not seen as often in chess variants as the princess or empress.


Both white and black symbols for the amazon were added to version 12 of the Unicode standard in March 2019, in the Chess Symbols block:


See also[edit]

  • Empress—the rook+knight compound
  • Princess—the bishop+knight compound
  • Queen—the rook+bishop compound


  1. ^ Other names the piece has acquired include angel, ayanu, commander, crown prince, elephant, empress, general, giraffe, grand chancellor, maharajah, rettah, royal guard, superqueen, tetra queen, and wyvern.[2]


  1. ^ "The Piececlopedia: Amazon". Retrieved 2021-10-12.
  2. ^ Pritchard, D. B. (1994), "Pieces", The Encyclopedia of Chess Variants, Games & Puzzles Publications, p. 227, ISBN 0-9524142-0-1
  3. ^ [1] Archived 2012-01-11 at the Wayback Machine (in Russian)
  4. ^ [2] Archived 2013-09-20 at the Wayback Machine (in Russian)
  5. ^ "Superqueen – Green Chess".