Camel (chess)

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The camel (or long knight) is a fairy chess piece that moves like an elongated knight.[1] When it moves, it can jump to a square that is three squares horizontally and one square vertically, or three squares vertically and one square horizontally, regardless of intervening pieces; thus, it is a (1,3)-leaper.[1]


c7 black circle
e7 black circle
a5 black circle
g5 black circle
d4 white upside-down knight
a3 black circle
g3 black circle
c1 black circle
e1 black circle
The camel (represented as an inverted knight) may move to any of eight squares (black dots).
a8 three
c8 three
e8 one
g8 one
b7 two
d7 two
f7 two
h7 two
a6 three
c6 one
e6 three
g6 three
b5 four
d5 two
f5 white upside-down knight
h5 two
a4 three
c4 one
e4 three
g4 three
b3 two
d3 two
f3 two
h3 two
a2 three
c2 three
e2 one
g2 one
b1 two
d1 two
f1 four
h1 two
Distance from the f5-square, counted in camel moves. The dark squares cannot be reached, as the camel is colorbound.

History and nomenclature[edit]

The camel is a very old piece, appearing in some early chess variants such as Tamerlane chess, but also in Wildebeest Chess.[1] It is still known as such in fairy chess problems.[1]


The camel by itself is worth about two pawns (appreciably less than a knight), because of its colorboundedness and lack of sufficient freedom of movement on an 8×8 board. However, a camel and a bishop and a king can force checkmate on a bare king (assuming that the attacking pieces are not on the same color);[2] a camel, a knight and a king can force checkmate on a bare king, but not easily (there are thirteen types of fortress draws);[2] a camel, a wazir and a king can sometimes force checkmate on a bare king, but it can take up to 77 moves.[2] Even if they are on different colours of squares, two camels cannot checkmate a lone king.[2] While the rook versus camel endgame is usually a draw, more winning positions exist than there are in rook versus knight and rook versus bishop endgames: the longest win takes 35 moves.[2] (All endgame statistics mentioned are for the 8×8 board.)[2]

Usage and value as a component[edit]

As a component of other pieces, it has about the same value as a knight (both pieces can move to eight squares). The camel plus ferz compound is used in Omega Chess where it is called a wizard,[3][4] and the camel plus king compound in Paulovits's Game where it is called general.

Its long move carries the danger of unstoppable attacks in the opening and capturing winning large amounts of material.[5] For example, if a camel plus wazir compound (LW in Betza's funny notation) replaces White's queen-side rook, then White can immediately win material with 1.(LW)b4, threatening 2.(LW)e5 winning Black's queen and 2.(LW)b5 winning Black's queen's rook; the threats cannot both be parried.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Piececlopedia: Camel by Hans Bodlaender, The Chess Variant Pages
  2. ^ a b c d e f Endgame statistics with fantasy pieces by Dave McCooey, The Chess Variant pages
  3. ^ Dylan Loeb McClain (2007-08-19). "Giraffes, Viziers and Wizards: Variations on the Old Game". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-10-12. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  4. ^ "Omega chess"
  5. ^ a b DAN+, Different Augmented Knights by Ralph Betza, The Chess Variant Pages