Talk:Fairy chess piece

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Nightrider notation[edit]

Under Nightrider, I found this text:

[the Nightrider is] in algebraic notation [...] represented by the letter N (for this reason, S, from the German Springer, is generally used to indicate the knight in the context of chess problems).

This may or may not be true in Fairy Chess but it seems to imply that S is used for the Knight in standard Chess, which is incorrect. See Since I am not sure whether the assertion about N for Nightrider is true in Fairy Chess, I am removing it. -- Ian Jackson

N for knight is unambiguous in standard chess, (though it used to use "Kt"). However, I've seen evidence of problemists using "S" for knight as far back as the 1930s, as the nightrider ("N") goes back even farther as a concept. WHPratt (talk) 13:01, 13 July 2012 (UTC)


You call the fers a (1,1) leaper. I'm not familiar with shatranj, but wouldn't that just mean one diagonal in any direction? Doesn't seem like "leaping". -- goatasaur

Yes, it does mean one diagonal in any direction. A "leaper" doesn't necessarily "leap" over intervening squares or pieces - it's just a technical term to distinguish it from riders and hoppers. In this case, it emphasises the fact that kings, wazirs and fers are in the same class as knights, dabbabbas and commuters (inasmuch as they move a fixed distance from one corner of a rectangle or square to the opposite corner). I've added simpler explanations of the moves of the fers, king and wazir to the page now. --Camembert

It's a bit weird to call a piece that moves only 1 square a "leaper". It's what we mathematicians call a degenerate case. Are leapers always commutative? ie, could a leaper be (2,1) but NOT (1,2)? Does the notation for leapers always imply the numbers can be reversed? -- Tarquin 17:53 25 Jun 2003 (UTC)

OK, I'll change the wording so that the simpler explanation comes first and the "(1,1) leaper" (or whatever) comes later. On the other point: yes, the implication is that the numbers can be reversed (I've seen the knight described as a (1,2) leaper on many occasions). I suppose it would be possible to have a (2,1) leaper that could go two-accross, one-up, but not the other way round - I don't know of any examples of such pieces being used either in games or problems, however. I'll try to clarify this in the text. --Camembert
Indeed, such "directional" leapers were used in recent years in fairy chess problems, from among top chess composers e.g. by Peter Gvozdják, Jean-Marc Loustau and Reto Aschwanden. --Ruziklan 22:09, 25 December 2006 (UTC)
In Betza notation, the (2,1)-but-not-(1,2) leaper is the rlN (or sN), while the (1,2)-but-not-(2,1) leaper is the fbN. Double sharp (talk) 08:40, 10 July 2012 (UTC)

Thanks! Great article! -- Tarquin 20:46 25 Jun 2003 (UTC)

Thanks tarq - and thanks to all for helping to improve it :) --Camembert
It sounds like alongside knights under this nomenclature, kings and pawns are also leapers, with the pawn having the most restrictions and strangest movements. Is that right?
BTW, I understand that knights are special in being able to move from the back before any pawns have moved or been taken, but I don't believe they actually leap over anything because it is not possibile to have a piece on any point in the straight line segment between say (0,0) & (1,2). Mathematically, the point (0.5,1) would lie on the centre of that segment but such a point with fractional coordinates can't be occupied by a piece. If instead some fairy knight could move from (0,0) to (2,4) in one move, it could be leaping over a piece on (1,2). It seems you folks have this well-and-truly under control, so forgive my "being bold" and feel free to RV me. Thecurran 02:38, 11 October 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for your ideas! Indeed, in my view, to some degree you are right. To put it straight: as regards "leaping over other pieces", ordinary leapers do not need any other pieces nor points to jump over. They jump (leap) from square to square regardless of anything. The sentence from the article "can jump over any pieces between its departure and destination squares" is in my view redundant and seems to be a residual from usual chess explanations.
On the other hand, I cannot agree with two other your points. You have contributed: "Some leapers can choose between several different lengths of move" That is not true. Ordinary leapers are defined using one two-dimensional vector (knight (1,2), dabbabba (0,2), fers (1,1), etc.) and can jump to any square by adding or subtracting dimension - in 1 (zero (0,0)), 4 or 8 directions. Further besides (ordinary) leapers there are defined so called combined pieces - and combination of two leapers is called combined leaper. The example is gnu = knight + camel - for example see [1]
Finally, king and pawn are not ordinary nor combined leapers. King is special piece. Not considering its royal property, it moves like combined leaper vazir + fers, it is sometimes called erlking, but the royal properties place king in the very special class of royal pieces. Also pawn is special - there are many pecularities to its standard movement that can be described as "non-capturing directional vazir (0,1) + capturing directional fers (-1,1)+(1,1)". There is double-step, e.p. capture, promotion...
Generally speaking, fairy piece are difficult to classify, and while my own classification differs (sometimes substantially) from that in the article, I can accept that one as an introductory. I would perhaps make some changes... when I have time. --Ruziklan 12:53, 11 October 2007 (UTC)
mfWcfF is the normal move of a pawn, and is as close as you can get to describing the pawn using un-extended Betza notation. Double sharp (talk) 08:46, 10 July 2012 (UTC)

Pieces with different movement and capturing rules[edit]

What about the cannon from Chinese Chess (moves like a rook; captures by jumping over a single piece (friendly or enemy))? I thought that there were a lot of nonstandard pieces that had different movement rules and capturing rules? Shouldn't they be listed here?

The cannon from xiangqi, in my experience, is normally called a pao in the context of chess variants played on a chessboard (as opposed to the context of xiangqi, when the name is usually translated). I'll add a cross-reference.
This isn't an exhaustive list by any means - of course there's a lot of other pieces that can be added. If you can add things, please do. There are already various pieces that capture different to how they move, however - the pao, vao, mao and leo are all listed. --Camembert

As a general note: I've written this with reference to fairly scattered sources, and I'm not an expert, so it's possible quite a few things aren't clear (or even just wrong). If so, do point them out. --Camembert

Zigs and Zags[edit]

About this:

  • Zag-Zag: a piece which can move vertically or along the NE-SW diagonal.

and all the other zigs and zags: the descriptions are too vague, as they don't say how far these pieces can move. Can they move any distance (like riders) or is it just one square (or some other number of squres) in the direction indicated (like leapers)? I'd like to fix the article, but I don't think I've ever come across these pieces myself. --Camembert

These 4 pieces are capable of straightline movements on geometrically-contiguous square spaces of unlimited range. In other words, they are all riders. Sorry, I neglected to be explicit. Without vigilance, familiarity breeds vagueness. Fergus Duniho at the Chess Variant Pages told me he has never seen this class of pieces used anywhere except within several of the games comprising the Symmetrical Chess Collection. Please check it out. --OmegaMan

Notation for non-rectangular boards[edit]

Someone has established a convention on Wikipedia of describing piece movements upon 2-dimensional gameboards via a pair of positive integer coordinates. To be sure, this is decently clear and accurate. However, it should be noted (yet is not) that this system is implicitly being applied to square-spaced gameboards.

Although geometrically-contiguous square-spaced gameboards so based are by far the most prevalent, chess variants have been invented which play upon geometrically-contiguous gameboards which are triangle-spaced and hexagon-spaced as well.

I do not wish to clutter-up a concise, understandable description by fully explaining all of this yet I feel it should be mentioned somewhere. So, I would value the advice of an experienced editor on this point. --OmegaMan

I don't really have much experience of non-square-spaced boards (I'm not even sure whether I would call games using other types of spaces "fairy chess" games at all, rather than just "board games", but maybe that's just me). I hope we won't scrap the (1,2) type notation, since, as you say, it's easy to understand, but of course, if you want to write a bit about other shaped-spaces, go ahead. --Camembert

Chinese pieces[edit]

The article claims it's going to explain "Chinese pieces" at one point, but never defines this term.

Yes it does, in the list near the end: "Chinese pieces: a collective name for pieces derived from units found in xiangqi, the Chinese form of chess. The most common Chinese pieces are the leo, pao...". --Camembert

Rose movements[edit]

I created a diagramm for Rose movement exactly as it described in text. It doesn't seems to be correct. Are all possible moves given in text? What is missing? Andreas Kaufmann 22:25, 11 August 2005 (UTC)

The list of possible moves in the article was not complete. I thought the words "...and so on" made this clear; my apologies if they didn't. I suppose I should have just included the full list in the first place, but I was evidently feeling a bit lazy. I'll add a full list now, and edit the diagram appropriately. It would be nice to draw dotted lines on the diagram to indicate the "circles" along which the rose moves (it would make visualising the piece's movement much easier, I think), though I realise that isn't possible with the template. --Camembert 00:52, 12 August 2005 (UTC)
If someone could add the circular pattern to the rose piece I would appreciate it. ChrisLawson 17:04, 19 June 2006 (UTC)

Fairy piece values[edit]

Has there ever been attempts to assign a value to these new pieces, e.g. rook 5, bishop 3, pawn 1...? If anybody knows anything about this, even for just a few pieces, please start a paragraph on this topic. --Sonjaaa 22:49, 17 October 2005 (UTC)

There is a system which uses the Queen as the standard, placing it on every square on the board and then calculating how many spaces it can attack in total. Other pieces become ratios of this standard. The system has it's flaws, in particular to hoppers who require special conditions for movement. neoliminal 03:02, 22 October 2005 (UTC)
Interesting work in this area was done by Ralph Betza. For example, see his work About the Values of Chess Pieces.

Using the common system 1/3/3+/5/9/4, on a common orthodox chess board 8x8, I could say with some calculations that
Alfil (A) Ferz (Z) Wazir (W) Dabbaba (D) Camel (L)
1+ 2 2 2 3
Graz Pawn Dayrider (AADD) Nightrider (NN) Rose (qN) Gryphon (t[FR])
2 4+ 4+ 6 7
Amazon (QN) Archbishop (BN) Chancellor (RN) Banshee (BNN) Queen of the Night (QNN)
12 7 8+ 8 13
I could give you more fairy piece value attempts if you like it... Tuamir (talk) 01:49, 27 December 2013 (UTC)
Empirical values of Chess pieces can be determined by using a Chess engine capable of handling fairy pieces to play out positions with a material imbalance involving the piece whose value is to be determined. E.g. remove the Knight and Queen from the opening position for one side, and fill one of the vacancies with an Amazon, and play a few thousand games (possibly permuting back-rank pieces Chess960-fashion to create more game diversity if the engine does not randomize enough by itself). In the QN vs Q+N case the result is a score of almost exactly 50%, proving that the value of the Amazon in a FIDE context is simply that of a Queen plus Knight. Replacing the Queen on onse side by an Archbishop favors the side of the Queen with a score of about 65%, but then handicapping the Queen side by classical Pawn odds (i.e. deleting the f-Pawn) would give the Archbishop side the upper hand by about 55%, showing that the Archbishop is worth about 75 centi-Pawn less than a Queen. Similarly one can play a Chancellor against a Queen, to find an advantage for the latter half as much as that of a Pawn. Values obtained this way are quite consistent, i.e. independent of the exact composition of the opponent material. (I.e. if a Queen scores 50% against Rook + Bishop + Pawn, and Archbishop will score the same against a Queen as it does against a Rook + Bishop + Pawn.) The method can be validated by applying it to orthodox Chess pieces, for which empirical values are known, and in this case it agrees pretty well with the Kaufman values (100/325/325/500/950). Except that for Rook-like pieces there seems to be a 25cP penalty in opening value for starting them behind the Pawn chain, probably due to the difficulty of developing them. Using this method the opening value of a Ferz tests as 150 on the Kaufman scale, (actually a Ferz-pair tests as 300, and it is expected that this involves a yet-to-be-determined pair bonus due to the color binding), a Camel as approximately 230, a Man/Commoner as 315, Nightrider as 525, Crowned Bishop as 525, Archbishop as 875, Chancellor ar 900. A Wazir starting behind the Pawns hardly beats a Pawn, but starting it before Pawns it would be about 130. H.G.Muller (talk) 15:26, 27 June 2014 (UTC)

I did start such a paragraph two days ago. It's currently placed below "Notable examples", but I'm wondering if it would be better placed just before the list. Someone perusing the article will have to go through the list which is very long before arriving at this section. Let me know if any opinions. Thanks. LithiumFlash (talk) 15:00, 10 March 2017 (UTC)


I add grasshopper as a reversed white queen Chess dll44.png. --andrejj 20:55, 10 January 2006 (UTC)

I changed the symbol from d to g. So, the picture that should be used is Chess gll44.png. —This comment was added by Sibahi (talkcontribs)

Using Notation in Wiki[edit]

Unless I misunderstood, the list of pieces (fairy or not), does not follow the labelling conventions dictated above. For example the Knight is a "(2,1) Leaper" but wouldn´t "(2/1)" denote the same thing and be consistent with the labelling scheme outlined in the article?

Agreed. I'm not so sure the notation is really relavent to the article, maybe there should be a seperate article for it, or add those sections to the notation article. 12:28, 16 May 2006 (UTC)
What is important, it is the two-dimensional notation. I have seen many imaginable forms, besides mentioned also "x:y leaper", that I have taken for my pages, but in other chess problem sources (x,y)-leaper is seemingly the most frequent. --Ruziklan 22:05, 25 December 2006 (UTC)
I've fixed the notation in the leaper section, which was inconsistent, to be of the form (m,n)-leaper. The choice is not essential, but (m,n) is standard math notation for a vector, and also (according to Ruziklan) is common in chess literature. Zaslav (talk) 05:09, 3 July 2010 (UTC)

I'm puzzled as to why no ~ in front of the knight notation. MotherFunctor 12:47, 26 August 2006 (UTC)

Regarding the list[edit]

I suspect that some of the pieces in "the list of fairy pieces" are a subject of original research and violate WP:NFT. Any thoughts? Introgressive 19:16, 1 September 2006 (UTC)

I don't think so. But if you want, you can check Piececlopedia. If the piece is not there, it could be an original research. Andreas Kaufmann 20:58, 1 September 2006 (UTC)
Hmm, no, I found all the pieces I searched for in that book. I'm probably just being too leery. Introgressive 11:46, 5 September 2006 (UTC)
No, I concur, there is no original research there, many pieces can be found even in . There is however deeper problem with names and definitions of pieces. Some pieces with multiple names are already mentioned in the list, more precisely pieces with the same movement and different names, like e.g. chancellor and empress.
On the other hand, there are different definitions applied to the same name depending on the context, e.g. in various played chess variants and problem chess. An example is archbishop, that is here king+bishop, but in chess problems this name denotes prolonged bishop that bounces in the middle of edge square ad infinitum if the path is free, i.e. ABc1-h6-f8-a3-c1-...
It means, that the list of pieces should be rewritten somehow with indication where the piece is named like that. I can provide definitions for fairy chess problems, but I would not want to interfere with usual definitions from played chess variants as I recognize there are many differences and chess problemists are not the only ones using fairy chess pieces.
Also, given the length of the list, It might be considered its spawning on the other page, leaving here just a few examples and more general information, like basic ideas, classification, notation, etc. Any reactions? --Ruziklan 22:01, 25 December 2006 (UTC)

The list is entitled "Notable examples" but it has a lot of pieces with nothing in the column "found in". If they aren't found anywhere then what makes them notable? I'd like to propose deleting some of them. (The list is not intended to be comprehensive anyway). Here's the pieces I suggest to omit. If nobody objects, after 3-4 weeks (comment period) I will delete these pieces. This should make the list more meaningful. The remaining list (still very long) will have more complete and better information.

Aanca (there is already another Aanca in the list), Backslider, Backward Bishop, Backward King, Backward Knight, Backward Narrow Knight, Backward Queen, Backward Rook, Backward Wide Knight, Drunk, Drunken Backslider, Drunken Deserter, Drunken Gorilla, Drunken Marine, Drunken Sailor, Dummy, Forward Wide Knight, Girlscout, Guerrilla, Kangaroo, Kraken, Left-handed Pinwheel, Mehari, Narrow Knight, overtaker, Queen of the Night, Raven, Right-handed Pinwheel, Sailor, Universal leaper, Wide Knight, X/Y-Hunter.
LithiumFlash (talk) 17:47, 25 January 2017 (UTC)
From your selection, the following pieces are relatively common in problem chess world:
- Dummy - Dummy problems at CCM
- Kangaroo - Kangaroo problems at CCM
Girlscout and its friend boyscout are not very common, but known:
- Girlscout - Girlscout problems at CCM
From others, X/Y-Hunter is well known too, mostly in form Rook/Bishop-Hunter or Bishop/Rook-Hunter, but due its general definition and flexibility, there are not many problems with specific Hunter.
So I would definitely retain these, if my two cents can weigh something. --Ruziklan (talk) 20:56, 25 January 2017 (UTC)
Thanks for the information. I won't delete those pieces. At some point later I might add that info as the games they are used in.LithiumFlash (talk) 04:07, 27 January 2017 (UTC)
I deleted the pieces listed above, not including those cited by Ruziklan. In the process I also found the pieces (below) also do not have anything listed for "found in" or are missing key information. I propose to delete these also. Please leave a comment if anyone has a reason that any of the pieces below should remain in the list:
Bodyguard, Cadet, Carpenter, Chopper, Crooked Bishop, Crooked Queen, Crooked Rook, Crowned Bishop, Crowned Knight, Extended Hopper, Dayrider, Fury, Gorgon, Imitator, Mimotaur, Nobleman, Oliphant, Orphan, Pincer, Reaper, Ximaera.
LithiumFlash (talk) 02:10, 11 February 2017 (UTC)
Imitator (imitator problems at CCM) and Orphan (orphan problems at CCM) are definitely common in chess problems.
Definition of imitator is however not a good one, I'd rather use one from from Julia's Fairies website: "Colorless piece; cannot capture; moves only in dependence of other pieces – its move being simultaneous to every piece’s move, parallel and of same length and direction. If a line piece’s move is imitated, the imitator’s path MUST NOT be blocked. Neither can the imitator be moved outside the board. If complete imitation is not possible, the respective move is illegal. This is even true for checks." (see Fairy Terms - search for imitator). --Ruziklan (talk) 02:32, 12 February 2017 (UTC)
Thanks again for the information. I'll wait a few more days for other possible comments, and then remove the pieces, but not the ones you cited (with other minor cleanup as you've suggested).LithiumFlash (talk) 16:08, 13 February 2017 (UTC)

There is one more piece in the list missing key information: The ruthven has no move notation indicated, and a google search brings up no information at all about this piece. The entry in the list says it's used in "Chess with different armies" but even the Wikipedia article about this game does not mention the piece. If there's no objections, I'll remove this piece from the list in a few days also.LithiumFlash (talk) 14:48, 10 March 2017 (UTC)

Now that the list is cleansed of OR, we at least don't have to rename it to "Comprehensive overview of every fairy piece ever conceived, even if only to expand this list". But I still think renaming is in order, as for instance Wa Shogi cannot really be called a notable game, (most Shogi players don't even know it!), and the Liberated Horse is not a very prominent piece in it. For me 'notable' stops after Chess, Xiangqi, Shogi, Makruk, Capablanca Chess, Omega Chess, and Shatranj, as far as entire games are concerned. For individual pieces Amazon, Nightrider, Grasshopper, Commoner (not really a different piece from King, btw), some elementary leapers (Wazir, Dababbah, Camel, Zebra, Giraffe), Berolina Pawn and the Shogi Lion would qualify. As examples of other move types we could show a limited-range slider, some heavily asymmetric pieces from Shogi variants (left/right Quail from Tori Shogi, Golden Bird/Great Dragon and hook movers from Maka Dai Dai Shogi, Vice General from Tenjiku Shogi). Not notable by themselves, but representatives of entire classes of pieces. Anything more goes in the direction of a "Comprehensive list". H.G.Muller (talk) 15:38, 1 August 2017 (UTC)

We'd also need to retain some common pieces from the problemist tradition that are problematic in real games (e.g. the grasshopper, marguerite and other hoppers; dummies; etc.) Double sharp (talk) 00:07, 2 August 2017 (UTC)
Agreed, but I know nothing about fairy problems, so I cannot make any suggestions for that (apart from the already mentioned Nightrider and Grasshopper, for which I wouldn't know any notable variant). The entire zoo of shogi-variant pieces seems mostly very non-notable, however. As suggested, we could split off a comprehensive list from the current article, but I really question the usefulness of such a comprehensive list. All shogi variants have their own articles, with elaborate lists on all the pieces, even including move diagrams. Having them mixed in a list, which also contains pieces from western variants, just makes the list harder to use. Boundary cases for notability would be Kirin, Phoenix (because these occur universally in Shogi variants >= Chu, often with decisive promotions), and Copper & Iron General (Because of the nice progression they make together with Gold & Silver). Oh, and the Tenjiku Tetrarch is definitely worth mentioning, not so much for its notability, as well as for being an example of a 'ski-slide', of which we have no other example yet. Although the purity of that example is spoiled a bit by that it also can do igui. We could mention a ski-bishop instead, but I am not aware of any game it occurs in. Tamerlane Chess had a lame ski-bishop. The (once patented) Falcon of Falcon Chess would be an example of a lame multi-path leaper. Gryphon (Grant Acedrex) would be an example of a bent slider. I am still in doubt concerning the Ultima pieces. IMO Baroque/Ultima is not a chess variant any more than Arimaa is. You can play it with a chess set, but that is all. If we are going for weirdness, there is enough to find 'closer to home'. E.g. Mats Winter's 'bifurcators', which deflect from other pieces (a sort of generalized bent hoppers), or his 'catapult pieces', which sling adjacent pieces to other locations when they move. The concept of immobilizing pieces (or the opposite, inducing extra moves in other pieces) could be mentioned, though; it is not unique to Ultima. Perhaps there should be a separate section to discuss 'side effects'; Fire-Demon burning would also count as such a side effect. H.G.Muller (talk) 08:50, 2 August 2017 (UTC)
I wonder if the deva-capturing rule in maka dai dai ought to count as a side effect or some intrinsic attribute of the piece (contagion?). I'd also want to include the emperor and the hook mover, as very unique examples. I too am not sure if Ultima is a chess variant, but some people seem to think it is. In any case I would want to prune the list down to a list of pieces which either have very standard names in the problemist tradition (because there would be nowhere else for them), together with some pieces that occur across very many notable chess variants and illustrate the immense variety that is possible, like the examples you mention. Double sharp (talk) 10:09, 2 August 2017 (UTC)
Well, it is often difficult to tell where properties of pieces end, and general rules of the game begin. E.g. in Knight-Relay Chess, should the Knight be considered to be abnormal, because it induces Knight moves in other pieces, or is it just a weird property of these other pieces that they are inducible? When I made an Interactive Diagram for 'Scirocco', which has two pieces that can induce extra moves in others, it turned out to be easiest to consider them multi-leg moves of the inducer, where the first leg hops on the friendly piece you want to induce, and then highlights the induced moves of that piece as possibilities for the second leg, but then moves the induced piece there rather than the inducer. It is more natural to ascribe the exceptional behavior to few, than to many. So I guess that contagion could be considered a property of the contageous piece, if it affects all or most capturers in the same way. Although the term in itself refers to the specific situation where capturing the piece makes you change into it. If capturing an unpromoted Deva would already make you promote to Teaching King, it is really something more general. (Although it can be explained away by saying that you first promote to Deva, and then to TK.) In a more general case AxB could force change (i.e. promotion) into a completely unrelated piece C. (Which could actually be an empty square, which would be more like B is 'booby-trapped' than contageous. Disappearing is a peculiar form of promotion.) So, yes, this deserves to be mentioned amongst the side effects, but I would propose to use the Buddhist Spirit as the example, as this is the clearest case, without any controversion on its move. I started a list below: H.G.Muller (talk) 12:17, 2 August 2017 (UTC)


Basic: Ferz, Wazir, Alfil, Dababbah, Knight, Camel, Zebra, (Giraffe?)
Chess: Shatranj Pawn, Bishop, Rook, Queen, King
Shogi: Asian Pawn, Gold, Silver, Lance, Dragon Horse, Dragon King
Xiangqi: Elephant, Horse, Cannon
Chu++: Lion, Kirin, Phoenix, Copper, (Iron?)
Capablanca: Archbishop, Chancellor
Omega Chess: Wizard, Champion
Problemist: Nightrider, Grasshopper, (Man?)
Common in non-notable variants: Amazon

Other examples (representative for various classes of pieces):

Limited Range: [large Shogi] Violent Ox, [Maka Dai Dai] Wrestler
Inhomogeneous ranges: [large Shogi] Golden Bird
Multi-path: [Falcon Chess] Falcon
Asymmetry: [Tori] Quail, [large Shogi] Right/Left Chariot
Bent slider: Gryphon, ([Grant Acedrex] Unicorn?), [large Shogi] Hook Mover
Ski-slider: [Tenjiku] Tetrarch, (Ski-Bishop?), ([Tamerlane] Picket?)
Alternative Pawn: Berolina Pawn
Locust capture: Checker, ([Chu] Soaring Eagle?)
Multi-jumping & Area move: [Tenjiku] Vice General
Contageous: [Maka Dai Dai] Buddhist Spirit
Bifurcation [ ]: Secutor
Multi-bent (?): Rose, Crooked Bishop
Catapult (?): Turret [ ]
Immobilization: [Ultima] Immobilizer, ([Superchess] Femme Fatale?)
Induction: [Scirocco] Harpy ( )
Burning: [Tenjiku] Fire Demon

As regards fairy pieces to be kept, it is difficult to give any reasonable list. I personally use in my compositions tens of fairy pieces on regular basis, the program I use for composition offers 1488 different pieces in this moment, but still, such a list of current value is hard to obtain. Simply, problemists do not publish anything like fairy-pieces-yearly-chart of the recently most popular pieces. So making such list would border on the original research. Yet, if asked, I'd say that at least around 30 pieces or piece families should be taken from fairy chess area for this kind of list. --Ruziklan (talk) 19:05, 5 August 2017 (UTC)

Well, basically the message that should be conveyed here is that any conceivable combination of direct leaps and (limited-range?) slides is possible and has probably been tried before, under several different names. The reason for listing individual pieces (after having listed enough pieces that fit the description in the previous sentence to convey that message) would be that they have some move component that does not fall in this 'mundane' category, e.g. a bent trajectory, or dependency / effect on a third square (lameness, hopping, immobilization, move relay, locust capture...). The 30 pieces you are referring too, do they have any overlap with the list proposed above? For those not yet in the list, do they fall in the 'mundane' category (e.g. the Flamyngo (1,6) leaper, or a Camel-Rook compound) or are they examples of a special move not yet covered in the table (or perhaps a better representative of a principle already covered in the table)? H.G.Muller (talk) 08:58, 6 August 2017 (UTC)


Why is the pawn in the list? It isn't a "Fairy piece" --GW_SimulationsUser Page | Talk 21:05, 12 September 2006 (UTC)

The list is a Partial list of orthodox and fairy chess pieces and the pawn is an orthodox piece. You might however believe that a list in an article about fairy pieces should not contain regular ones, or what? I have no opinions. Introgressive 13:42, 22 September 2006 (UTC)

Universal leapers[edit]

The kraken and universal leaper can 'teleport' anywhere? Does that mean they can capture whatever they want on any move? How is that useful, as it gives a first-move checkmate? Radiant_* 12:05, Mar 23, 2005 (UTC)

Only when the pieces are used with certain rule-sets. In orthodox chess, and many other forms of chess, such pieces would, of course, be unusable, but with certain esoteric rule-sets or problem stipulations, they can have a purpose (for example, the problem may be to get a line-piece to a certain square, with the kraken attempting to intervene to stop it). --Camembert
Sorry, just to clarify, -universal Leapers take by simply landing on any occupied square?Number36 00:02, 11 May 2007 (UTC)
Yes. Double sharp (talk) 14:09, 15 January 2013 (UTC)
A royal kraken or universal leaper is usable in orthodox chess, and indeed the royal universal leaper appears in the Japanese large variants maka dai dai shogi and tai shogi. Another way to make these pieces usable in orthodox chess is to make the king (and no other piece) immune to them. Double sharp (talk) 14:08, 15 January 2013 (UTC)
The latter appears in Betza's "About the Values of Chess Pieces" series of articles as the Ravager. Double sharp (talk) 13:50, 6 June 2013 (UTC)

The Most Popular[edit]

This article mentioned the "nightrider" as the most popular fairy chess piece, but a separate article linked from this article to the fairy chess piece "grasshopper" described that piece as being the most popular. I have changed both of these claims so that they now each read "one of the most popular," and suggest that in the future, if somebody decides to claim a piece as being the most popular one in the many variations of chess, that they cite their claim accordingly. Rudy Breteler (talk) 21:33, 20 January 2008 (UTC)

Added some more movement notations[edit]

I added a notation for the spy. I wasn't positive how to describe that it moves one horizontal, then one forward (or vice versa), I mean the forward part, so I wrote (1/1)>. Along with the other possibilities, of course. I also found a small mistake in the pawn's movement; before it said that it could capture backwards. Fixed. If anyone thinks of a better way to describe the spy's movements, be bold. Timeroot (talk) 12:25, 21 July 2008 (UTC)

Rewrite planned[edit]

For some time I am considering doing a major rewrite of the page. Some of the latest additions have convinced me it is quite a necessary step. My area of competence is fairy chess problems (and I have very good knowledge of this area), while I know only something about the other area - chess variants. Is there anything I should keep in mind in this respect? Further, my English is not excellent yet and I will appreciate any help with the wording. --Ruziklan (talk) 19:46, 19 October 2008 (UTC)

I can help in reviewing and proofreading the changes. Just let me know what you need, I will keep a watch on this page. MatthewYeager 21:56, 19 October 2008 (UTC)
Coming from the chess variants side I will look over it. As far as I can see, there are three really problematic pieces, namely
  • the rook-knight compound: Marshall or chancellor in chess variants, empress or chancellor in problems
  • the bishop-knight compound: Cardinal, archbishop, janus or paladin in CV, princess in problems
  • the wazir-knight compund: Marquis or Stone King in CV, emperor in problems
though I note that even the problemist Werner Speckmann wonders about the names emperor and empress. Such names look inappropriate for pieces that represent servants in a king's army. --Schachfee (talk) 13:48, 24 October 2008 (UTC)
Great, thanks to both of you. I will outline the syllabus (synopsis, content sketch) here for comments as soon as possible and then the rewrite will be made section by section. I will try to keep in mind chess variants view.
As regards the names of combined pieces in problems, rook+knight is nowadays usually referred to as empress (impératrice in French), not chancellor, bishop+knight as princess, but wazir+knight has not any recognized name currently in use, AFAIK. From the terminological point of view, specific names of this kind are actually a reliable :-) source of mess. Systemical names like "bishop+knight" are much more clear, but the tradition sticks. E.g. archbishop in problems is a kind of bishop reflecting on the edges of the board. And so on...
Anyway, the outline first, details then. --Ruziklan (talk) 16:14, 24 October 2008 (UTC)
Wazir+knight (NW) is one of Betza's augmented knights. There, it's just called the NW. Double sharp (talk) 08:41, 10 July 2012 (UTC)

One source only?[edit]

I don't see the reason for that "One Source Only" tag. In fact, there is an impressive list of respectable and independent sources, namely the works of Grimbert, Poisson, Ebert et al., Speckmann, and Jelliss. In addition there is the reference to, a huge collaborative work put togethere by many people. Some of the sources are in french and german, but they are of very good quality.

Therefore I will remove the tag again. Schachfee (talk) 14:50, 28 November 2008 (UTC)

I'm going to see what I can do to flag any specific instances of this more clearly, in that case. It appears right now that the article's format (primarily relying on one reference for each section) is the source of the problem here, although it's not obvious how to remedy this. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 15:45, 28 November 2008 (UTC)


I seem to recall a fairy chess piece that worked in the following way. They were rooks, starting in rook position and moving like rooks. Except every time one of them moved, you considered the rectangle that they defined the corners of. If there was an enemy piece at either of the other two corners of that rectangle, it was captured. It was part of a strange set of fairy chess pieces all of which captured without entering (or remaining) on the target square. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Bigmac31 (talkcontribs) 23:13, 23 March 2009 (UTC)

The described piece comes from Ultima or Baroque chess by R. Abbot. Schachfee (talk) 11:49, 26 March 2009 (UTC)

Xed pieces[edit]

  • Here, is "xed" pronounced "ksed" or "ekst"? Anthony Appleyard (talk) 22:48, 24 May 2009 (UTC)
    • Don't think it matters; since this term isn't really used much elsewhere, it seems that "X" is just being used as a placeholder for any attribute (e.g. knighted (+N), crowned (+WF)) that can be added to a piece. Double sharp (talk) 13:49, 6 June 2013 (UTC)

Diagram Uniformity[edit]

With fairy pieces, I find that several share letters. For example, the S is used for both the ship from Chaturaji, and the inverted knight. Is there a possibility of making this uniform? I can make any required pieces, but most are available. I've started such a plan on my userspace here, but I'm not sure where to go, or to make it useful for diagram creators. NikNaks talk - gallery - commons 10:24, 6 June 2010 (UTC)

Shogi pieces[edit]

Hi, what would shogi (and maybe shogi variant) piece moves look like in this notation? And xiangqi pieces? OneWeirdDude (talk) 18:59, 15 May 2011 (UTC)

The shogi article and almost all the articles on shogi variants now include Betza notation. The xiangqi article doesn't, but they would be: soldier, fW before crossing the river and frlW after; advisor, F; elephant, nA; horse, nN (using the usual convention that a knight travels orthogonally first, then diagonally); cannon, mRcpR; chariot, R; general, W. Double sharp (talk) 06:42, 8 March 2015 (UTC)

Discovered versus invented[edit]

I think it's better to say a piece was invented rather than discovered. Things that already existed are discovered (like South America) while things that are made up (like the light bulb) are invented.


This one's from the Oxford Companion to Chess, which I don't have at my elbow: a five-leaper is either a (3,4) leaper or a (5,0) leaper, the distance is the same in both cases (thank you Pythagoras).Captain Pedant (talk) 11:16, 25 May 2012 (UTC)

There is the related root-fifty-leaper, which is (7,1) or (5,5). The five-leaper may be considered the root-twenty-five-leaper; (3,4) is the antelope, while (5,0) doesn't seem to have a common name. Double sharp (talk) 08:43, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
However, following the pattern of "threeleaper" (3,0) and "fourleaper" (4,0), it might be better to let the plain (5,0) be the "fiveleaper", and for (3,4)+(5,0) to be the "root-twenty-five-leaper". The combinations should have "root" in front of their name.
Also note that the "rooty" pieces (root-25-leaper, root-50-leaper, move from square A to square B if and only if all possible squares B lie along a circle with centre A. This makes visualising their moves slightly easier. The radius of their circle will be the number in their name, and their possible moves will be the lattice points along that circle (if the circle is taken to be centered at the origin). Double sharp (talk) 13:07, 10 July 2012 (UTC)

Examples needs cleanups[edit]

I've seen orthodox chess pieces on the list (ie, bishop) and a "fairy chess" piece that's not even part of chess (ie, Checker).

Would've added Lia's Pawn to the problem if it wasn't for me to realise that houserules could use that piece.

Karjam, AKA KarjamP (talk) 20:59, 21 July 2012 (UTC)

Orthodox chess pieces are useful to include for comparison. The checker could potentially be used in a chess variant, as it also travels on a chessboard, and it's also useful for comparison. Hence I think it is better to keep them in. Double sharp (talk) 13:48, 6 June 2013 (UTC)
Justification for keeping checker: cheskers, i.e. checkers with bishops, kings and camels (as cocks). BartekChom (talk) 16:20, 13 July 2015 (UTC) Another example. BartekChom (talk) 16:29, 13 July 2015 (UTC)

Muslim versions of chess[edit]

Should this not be "Arab versions of chess"? The isn't religious, is it? JIMp talk·cont 00:57, 19 January 2013 (UTC)

For some reason, "muslim pieces" is the usual term for pieces taken from shatranj. Dickins' A Guide to Fairy Chess refers to them in this way, for example. If we were going to go by ethnicity, shatranj is actually of Persian rather than Arab origin, but those aren't the terms in use. Maybe they should, but the article's purpose is to document what is, not what should be. — Gwalla | Talk 18:06, 12 May 2014 (UTC)

Why does this page use equals instead of divide?[edit]

In the Parlett's movement notation section, there is this note:

= – orthogonally sideways (used here instead of Parlett's divide symbol.)

But there is no explanation given as to why this variation has been made, when the rest of the section is explicitly documenting Parlett's notation, not building upon it. Anyone care to clarify or change to the "correct" symbol? - IMSoP (talk) 18:05, 15 March 2014 (UTC)

I also wonder. I was assuming that the modification was standard among people who wants to use the notation in ASCII, but I have no source for that belief. If someone find one way or another, please update! (talk) 01:15, 11 April 2015 (UTC)

Re: Anti-King[edit]

"This piece is in check when not attacked. If a player's anti-king is in check and unable to move to a square attacked by the opponent, the player loses (checkmate)."

I'm not at all familiar with the variant, but logically, shouldn't this read as follows? (Added a "not.")

WHPratt (talk) 14:02, 22 August 2014 (UTC)
Upon further reflection, our use of "check" is somewhat ambigious. Perhaps ... "This piece is in check when not attacked. If a player's anti-king is not under sttack, and unable to move to a square attacked by the opponent, the player loses (checkmate)."
However, I suppose it isn't wrong as originally stated. WHPratt (talk) 16:26, 22 August 2014 (UTC)


1. I know that regular chess pieces are in unicode, what about fairy chess pieces? (talk) 18:22, 1 November 2014 (UTC)

None currently. The Quivira font contains some variant pieces in its Private Use Area, but like all PUA assignments they are not standardized (in this case, not even a secondary centralized agreement like CSUR or STIX). Currently most fonts with fairy chess pieces are non-Unicode-compliant "dingbat fonts" that assign them to Latin-1 codepoints. I'm actually doing some research toward a potential proposal, but I don't have much to show for it ATM. — Gwalla | Talk 19:31, 3 November 2014 (UTC)

Thank you for telling me the fairy chess pieces are not in unicode. You have answered a question thats has been bothering me for a long time;. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:07, 7 November 2014 (UTC)

Parlett notation for shooting pieces[edit]

I have question how to node in Parlett notation shooting pieces, like for example canon in ko_shogi ( I think maybe simple s will solve this problem. Then pieces will be described as following:

Long bow 弓 yumi 1X.s3*(not ...)

Longbow cavalryman 廣弓騎 kōkyūki ~o1/2.s3*

cannon 1X.s5*

European cannon 佛狼機 butsurōki o1x.s7*.s7*

I am not sure...What do you think?

The XBetza notation used by XBoard will be extended in the upcoming version to interpret an 'i' modifier in a continuation leg of a multi-leg move (defined with the aid of the 'a' modifier), where the interpretation as 'initial' makes no sense, as 'iso'. Describing that a continuation slider leg has to be of equal length as a preceding slider leg. This allows description of slider rifle captures as, say, caibR for capture as Rook and move again as Rook an equal (i) distance back. Leaper rifle captures could of course already be indicated without this, as leaper steps are of unique length (e.g. cabN). H.G.Muller (talk) 20:33, 26 April 2016 (UTC)

Parlett notation: does n include 0?[edit]

Apparently the bishop is nX, and the aanca is 1+.nX. Since it is well-established that a 0-square move is not a move (a player in regular chess may not pass), this implies that "any distance" implies any non-zero distance.

But I can't find a definitive source on whether this is true for the aanca. says that it's similar to the gryphon (one diagonal, then rook move), which says *is* allowed zero orthogonal squares.

Does Parlett notation specifically exclude n=0? If so, is there an alternative notation that allows it, so the gryphon may be described? (talk) 01:35, 11 April 2015 (UTC)

so are there names for all obvious compounds?[edit]

At the very least, NW, NF, ND, and NA are not given special names here AFAICS. We have WA (phoenix), WF (mann), WD (wazaba IIRC), FD (kirin), FA (modern elephant), and DA (alibaba IIRC). But do NBW and RNF have names? ("Crown princess" is hard to resist for the first!) Double sharp (talk) 10:39, 22 February 2016 (UTC)

A Thai once told me that the RNF occurs in a Makruk variant named after it ('Ai-Wok'), where it replaces the 'Med' (Ferz Queen) as only difference with regular Makruk. The idea is probably that this super-piece combines the moves of all other Makruk pieces (R, N, K). Sounds like an improvement over the normal Makruk rules, btw! H.G.Muller (talk) 19:41, 26 April 2016 (UTC)

Listing vs. Descriptive Article[edit]

Due to the size of the notable examples table, I propose creating a separate page for it. So we would have two pages. One would be "Fairy chess piece" (the page as is exists now, but with the notations and notable examples removed. The other page would be "List of Fairy chess pieces" which would contain only the notable examples table and the notations. DavidJHowe (talk) 13:57, 20 March 2016 (UTC)

When I was busy correcting some inaccuracies in the list, I noticed that there are quite a number of duplicate entries just because the sae piece is named differently in different variants. (E.g. a Golden Bird and a Violent Wolf in Wa Shogi is what in other Shogi variants is called a Gold General.) I strongly doubt we should do this. IMO the purpose of the list should be to show what kind of pieces exist, not how they can be named. So I urge for only listing each piece under the most commonly used name for it (in the example 'Gold General', as this is its name in the World's 3rd most-played Chess variant, while Wa Shogi is a pretty obscure Shogi variant.) H.G.Muller (talk) 19:35, 26 April 2016 (UTC)
This is certainly a good idea, but for rare pieces like the RNF it may be difficult to find out what the most common name is, while common pieces like the princess (BN) and empress (RN) would suffer the opposite problem of having too many names. (At least in this case there is a scholarly convention that we follow.) Double sharp (talk) 01:07, 27 April 2016 (UTC)
The main problem is that there seems to be a deep division here between the fairy-Chess problems community and people designing and playing games. E.g. 'Princess' seems to be almost univerally used for the BN in fairy problems, while Capablanca Chess is probably known to more people as all other variants featuring this piece together, and refers to it as 'Archbishop'. Perhaps the article should recognize this 'naming trench', and specify (where applicable) two names, one used by problemists, others by players. E.g. like is done now the name of the archetypal variant in which the piece occurs could be written in parentheses behind the name, or the word 'problems'. E.g. 'Archbishop (Capablanca chess), Princess (problems)'. Having separate columns for problemist names and variants names is probably not a good idea, as I am pretty sure most of the Shogi-variant pieces in the list have never been used in the problemist community, and while these variants no doubt have their own history of mating problems, these will not have used the pieces under different names, as at the time they were not considered variants at all.
Btw, I wonder how sensible it is to flood the list with pieces from the large Shogi variants. Because this would make the task reminiscent of providing a list of 'notable integers' with the article on natural numbers. Pretty much every crazy combination of step, limited range, infinite range or nothing in every direction occurs in these games. So I would be inclined to just select a few characteristic pieces to demonstrate how Shogi variants typically create diversity in their pieces. Pieces that come to mind are (apart from the pieces of standard Shogi) Copper, Iron, Stone, (and perhaps Drunk Elephant), Kirin & Phoenix (and Tori Pheasant?), Side Mover, Flying Dragon (Dai), Wrestler/Guardian of the Gods (Maka Dai Dai), Golden Bird (Dai Dai - Tai), Right/Left Quail (Tori) as representatives of asymmetric steppers, jumpers, 2-fold-symmetric slider/stepper compounds, range-2 movers, vb and lr asymmetric range-3 movers, 2/3/inf movers and left-right asymmetric pieces. And of course the Lion (Chu), Horned Falcon (Chu, for linear Lion power), (Japanese) Lion Dog (Dai Dai - Tai), Hook Mover (Dai Dai - Tai), Great General (Tenjiku), Fire Demon (Tenjiku, for area moves) to demonstrate the very special moves. And perhaps Furious Fiend, Buddhist Spirit and Teaching King (Maka Dai Dai) as examples how these special moves get combined with normal sliding moves. H.G.Muller (talk) 10:46, 27 April 2016 (UTC)


Chess pieces are not proper names, so should not be capitalized. (i.e. Wikipedia's article on the rook never capitalizes "rook"). But when used in a title, they are capitalized (because titles are capitalized). However, when a piece name is used in a list, they seem to be capitalized. I believe this is an example of correct capitalization:

Archbishop: Combines the powers of bishop and knight. Also called Princess, Cardinal, or Janus.

I see several cases where the capitalization may be wrong in the article's list. I may make a few corrections, but probably cannot do it all in one sweep. Please leave a comment here if the rules I listed are not correct. Thanks.LithiumFlash (talk) 17:48, 24 February 2017 (UTC)

I believe most capitalization in the list has been fixed, but there may still be a few places where it's still not updated. I won't give this as much priority, but stylistic improvements are also still possible. In general, the style (bolding and italicizing) I'll use for most comments (in Notable examples) will be as in the example above. (I updated the example with bolding and italicizing). Again, please leave a comment here if the conventions being used are not correct or best practice. Thanks.LithiumFlash (talk) 16:48, 5 March 2017 (UTC)

I think these are cloudy issues not hard & fast. (If appears as a sentence is it a list? Also am not sure *all* piece names s/b lowercase all the time; for e.g. an inventor who chooses to represent names germane to their game only using uppercase, and appears in limited/any/all literature as uppercase, is it appropriate/correct that WP represent differently/lowercase?) --IHTS (talk) 21:00, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
I agree this can sometimes be a cloudy issue. I am generally following the example above. About the only exception (similar to your example) is when a name is derived from a place name, such as the Berolina pawn (i.e. "Berlin").
Also, I am not capitalizing names of games, as in other Wikipedia articles. Examples from other Wikipedia articles:
"Taikyoku shogi is very different from other large-board shogi variants: tenjiku shogi, dai dai shogi, maka dai dai shogi, and tai shogi".
"Xiangqi, also called Chinese chess ... is in the same family as Western chess, chaturanga, shogi, Indian chess and janggi".
Thanks for your commentary.LithiumFlash (talk) 23:07, 21 March 2017 (UTC)

Re-order of article's sections[edit]

The article currently has about 100 lines of text describing the notation for movement of pieces (Parlett's and Betza's systems). This information is very technical and lengthy, and I think the specifics are not interesting to the average reader just looking to learn generally about fairy chess pieces, or get information about specific pieces.

Therefore I'd like to suggest that the sections (Parlett's movement notation / Additions to Parlett's / Ralph Betza's funny notation / Addition to Betza's) be moved to near the end of the article. Instead a brief explanation of the purpose of these systems will be added just before the table. This will let readers see the table sooner, which is richer in information and more interesting.

Any comments? If no comments or objections I may do it in a few days.LithiumFlash (talk) 17:48, 12 March 2017 (UTC)

Also, the "(m,n)-leaper" table is currently shown in the article twice, once to explain leapers, and again with Betza's notation system. This is redundant. Moving the notation sections to near the end of the article will resolve this (and work well, because the 2nd table doesn't show the piece names and is filled with letters so is less interesting.LithiumFlash (talk) 18:04, 12 March 2017 (UTC)

newly introduced icons[edit]

Please justify use of newly introduced icons instead of inverted standard symbols (e.g. grasshopper, mann, nightrider etc.) in this article and standalone articles, where they come from etc. --IHTS (talk) 20:47, 19 March 2017 (UTC)

The justification for the icons that I have used is that they most closely resemble the icons that are most commonly used at independent and secondary websites, and (if the piece is old) also resembles the shape of the piece that has been used for decades or even centuries. As examples of the three pieces you mentioned:
(1) The grasshopper with an upright icon (not inverted queen) can be found here:
Also here:
Also here:
(All three use an icon similar to icon I chose for the article)
(2) The mann with an upright icon (not inverted king) can be found here:
(Shows two icons with a "radial-spike" pattern which have a similar shape (although low resolution) to the icon I chose to use for this article).
Also here:
(Also has an icon which appears similar to the icon I chose to use for this article).
Also here:
Shows the mann being used in the thirteenth century with an upright chesspiece (has similarity to the shape of the icon I chose to use for this article).
Also here:
Also here:
Shows the mann being used in a painting from the year 1508 with an upright chesspiece (and a shape that invokes a radial pattern).
Also here:
Shows the same painting and also a hand-drawn image of an icon for the mann which is upright.
Also here:
Shows the mann being used in the thirteenth century with a chess piece which is upright.
(3) The nightrider with an upright icon (not inverted knight) can be found here:
Shows an icon for the nightrider which is a knight with a horizontal swoosh (very similar to icon I chose for the Wikipedia article).
Also here:
Shows FOUR icons for the nightrider which is a knight with a horizontal swoosh (again very similar to icon I chose for the Wikipedia article).
Using inverted icons may be OK as a placeholder when another icon is not available, but when independent sources have already established widespread and/or historical usage of a shape or icon, I think it's better to use the established icon.LithiumFlash (talk) 02:37, 20 March 2017 (UTC)
The problem with your logic is that your examples of use in NO WAY are "independent sources that have established widespread and/or historical usage". That is your complete wild imagination that they do. These are simple user artistic creations for specific purposes like blogs or user-contributed articles, duplicated elsewhere like a chat-site for convenience, and inconsistent with one another at that. The Chessvariants nightrider shows artistic creations and labels them "alternative icons". (Alternative for what? And why would you label "alternative" as "established historical usage"?) I say your justifications are complete poppycock. The images are totally WP:OR. How do you explain that none of these icons appear in any chess font? (Or if I'm wrong, name one font.) Meanwhile, inverted or turned standard symbols are used in not only fonts, but published books. (Name one book any of your so-called "established" icons appear in.) --IHTS (talk) 04:13, 20 March 2017 (UTC)
One example:

The most popular of alll fairy pieces, the grasshopper is represented by the symbol G or the figurine Chess gll45.svg.

— Hooper, David; Whyld, Kenneth (1996) [First pub. 1992]. "grasshopper". The Oxford Companion to Chess (2nd ed.). Oxford University Press. p. 157. ISBN 0-19-280049-3. 

It is represented by the symbol N or by the figurine Chess sll45.svg.

— Hooper, David; Whyld, Kenneth (1996) [First pub. 1992]. "nightrider". The Oxford Companion to Chess (2nd ed.). Oxford University Press. p. 271. ISBN 0-19-280049-3. 
--IHTS (talk) 07:22, 20 March 2017 (UTC)

We will first meet the GRASSHOPPER (G), (Chess gll45.svg), which moves and captures [...]. [...] Some thousands of problems using Grasshoppers have been published.

We next meet the NIGHTRIDER (N) (Chess sll45.svg), which moves [...].
— Dickins, Anthony (1971) [Corrected repub. of 1969 2nd ed., The Q Press, Richmond, Surrey, England]. "2. FAIRY PIECES". A Guide to Fairy Chess. New York: Dover Publications Inc. p. 8. ISBN 0-486-22687-5. 
--IHTS (talk) 07:34, 20 March 2017 (UTC)
Another published WP:Reliable source:

The Grasshopper moves [...] (a G on an empty board cannot move). [...]

a b c d e f g h
f2 black upside-down queen
g2 white pawn
h2 black pawn
f1 white king
h1 black king
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
a b c d e f g h
A problem by V. Onitiu, Die Schwalbe 1929. The inverted queen on f2 denotes a grasshopper. White mates in 6 [...].
— Pritchard, D. B. (2007). "Grasshopper Chess". In Beasley, John. The Classified Encyclopedia of Chess Variants. John Beasley. p. 144. ISBN 978-0-9555168-0-1. 

The 'nightrider', traditionally represented by an inverted knight, moves in straight lines through squares a knight's move apart:

a b c d e f g h
a8 black circle
g8 black circle
b6 black circle
f6 black circle
c4 black circle
e4 black circle
h4 black circle
b3 black circle
f3 black circle
d2 white upside-down knight
b1 black circle
f1 black circle
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
a b c d e f g h
Pritchard, D. B. (2007). Beasley, John, ed. The Classified Encyclopedia of Chess Variants. John Beasley. p. 139. ISBN 978-0-9555168-0-1. 
--IHTS (talk) 08:13, 20 March 2017 (UTC)
On the above bases, am planning to review *all* your novel icon additions to WP fairy chess articles, for relocating out of lede image positions, for re-captioning the unreferenced claim they are "typical", or for removal. --IHTS (talk) 08:44, 20 March 2017 (UTC)
Here's WP:MADEUP content you found and added to previously respectable encyclopedic article Fairy chess pieces:

A typical icon of the bulldog: The Bulldog.

("Typical"? For a non-notable game?) --IHTS (talk) 09:00, 20 March 2017 (UTC)
Excellent, and thanks for your attention and help with this article. As you know, many chess pieces can be identified with more than one icon, so I won't show counter-examples (beyond the references I already listed). The Chess Variant Pages (CVP) publishes an on-line encyclopedia of fairy chess pieces, which is not subject to reader contributions. Taking the first case you mention, there is a reference for the grasshopper dated 1992 where the inverted queen is used for its symbol. Later CVP published an upright icon for this piece, dated November 1995 (my first reference). Another upright icon is shown on a chessboard playable at the game courier published December 2015 (my second reference). And a similar upright icon is used for chess games being played currently (my third reference).
Selecting the best contemporary icon might be an arbitrary choice. One idea for Wikipedia articles is to show both the inverted queen and the modern icon (indicating dated and modern versions). The upright icon conveys the likeness of a grasshopper, which is what the piece represents. It is also the icon that is currently favored at (non-Wikipedia) encyclopedic resources, and is currently in use at game-playing websites, and it's my preference to keep that icon for Wikipedia articles.
I definitely don't think the list needs an icon for the majority of fairy chess pieces. I recently added a few (pre-existing) icons at the article's introduction to show three general types of pieces (compound, Chinese, special attributes). The image of the Chinese pieces in particular makes it unnecessary to add other Chinese piece icons, since they are usually similar, and one image conveys the nature of the pieces in general.LithiumFlash (talk) 21:27, 20 March 2017 (UTC)
You don't understand what a WP:Reliable source is. The Chess Variants Pages can in some cases be used as reliable sourcing, but not for icons, which are in geneneral, constructions created for use on that website only and convey no encyclopedic/historic/WP-reliable-sourcing value. The fact that you "find" these things used by the CV Game Courier or elsewhere is not the justification as RL that you think. Your phrase "the modern icon" has no documentable/sourcable/attributable meaning beyond your own personal like/dislike. Referring to unidentified "non-Wikipedia encyclopedic resources" is more blue smoke, identify them! (Or perhaps you think you have already!?) What is in use at "game-playing websites" are again artistic creations specifically for those applications and nothing more, so equally irrelevant. Your "it's my preference" is already plainly obvious, guess what, that's not sufficient. p.s. Correspondence chess was/is about correspondence play for the game of chess, you've attempted to pack that article with chess variant references, including more of your personal obsession or agenda with spreading all over creation about "Infinite Chess", which afaik has no real published reliable sources to back up WP:Notability. (Have you even digested any of these WP policies!?) --IHTS (talk) 11:24, 2 April 2017 (UTC)
You seem to be attempting to make WP chess variant articles an extension of stuff from You can't do that. You are probably yourself an active member at!? That would explain why you do not understand WP is an encyclopedia with policies including Reliable sourcing. --IHTS (talk) 11:32, 2 April 2017 (UTC)
The CVP "Piececlopedia" is an encylopedia. The name should make this evident. There is almost nothing else on-line that competes with it for fairy chess pieces. Let's take the first example you mention, the grasshopper. The CVP page was written by Hans Bodlaender. It describes grasshopper chess and chess pieces. Then it shows the icon of the grasshopper (not an inverted queen). This site is also directly linked to the Play Chess Variants site (note the root of the web address). The Play Chess Variants site also shows the icon of the grasshopper (not an inverted queen). Then go to It also shows the icon of the grasshopper being used for variant chess games (not an inverted queen).
As you did here, please continue to discuss these issues on the talk pages. Improvements by any editor to the article are welcome. But please discuss here before making large deletions of properly referenced material. You are also welcome to help by editing and supplementing existing material (rather than deleting) and adding reliable references and citations to statements that may appear to be dubious.LithiumFlash (talk) 17:25, 2 April 2017 (UTC)
You don't know what you're talking about. Yeah, let's take grasshopper. WP:Reliable sources for grasshopper are inverted queen, as I've already shown. There are no reliable sources for any other icon representing this piece. Uses of alternative icons are made-up creations for particular applications (Play Chess Variants and and those do not supplant reliable sources. Bodlaender uses the reliably source inverted queen here [2]. You don't understand WP reliable sourcing, you can't put in WP encyclopeida just because you found in on the Net somewhere. You don't know what you're talking about, it is blue smoke. Meahwhile, you decorate it with patronizing condescension. You have been polluting WP articles w/ WP:UNDUE, WP:PROMOTION, WP:SYNTH, non-WP:Notable additions & changes. --IHTS (talk) 18:00, 2 April 2017 (UTC)
Your numerous additions re "Chess on an Infinite Plane" are non-notable WP:MADEUP stuff here is proof: [3]. Ditto "Bulldog Chess" and "Musketeer Chess" references you have been polluting WP articles with. --IHTS (talk) 18:31, 2 April 2017 (UTC)
The internet has had an impact in how people play games, including chess, chess variants, and the images of game pieces. Written hardcover material is no longer the only fundamental and prime medium of a WP reliable source. Please read Wikipedia:Offline sources. It reads in part, "there is no distinction between using online versus offline sources" (Bolding original, not me). Your reference supports what I say - people are playing a game, but in no place have I ever mentioned the first origin of a piece or a game. Games have been played before the citation, and there will be games played after that citation. For the grasshopper people have used the queen icon, and people have used the grasshopper icon. They both exist. One does not make the other disappear. I honestly don't undersand the premise of what you are trying to say.—LithiumFlash (talk) 06:04, 3 April 2017 (UTC)
I don't think you understand what notability means: "If a topic has received significant coverage in reliable sources that are independent of the subject, it is presumed to be suitable for a stand-alone article or list." (emphasis original) Where are the sources for your variants that are independent of their original proposers and the sites they started being played on? Where are the sources for the "piece icons" beyond CVP? Double sharp (talk) 09:51, 3 April 2017 (UTC)
12 are listed above. Those that include are particulary noteworthy because it is by far the most popoular chess-playing website. In fact it is 20 times more popular than the next most popular chess-playing website:
LithiumFlash (talk) 11:59, 3 April 2017 (UTC)
That is completely misleading! might be a leading server for orthodox Chess, and recently also features a very small number of Chess variants that can be played with orthodox pieces. But the variants and pieces you talk about are not officially supported by at all: they are merely used in a forum of unrefereeed user contributions, by two or three users that currently are rather active playing their inventions against each other, and against a few other interested persons that had no part in the design. H.G.Muller (talk) 12:54, 20 May 2017 (UTC)
I don't think you get it: please read Wikipedia:Identifying reliable sources#Questionable and self-published sources to see what the problem with is here. Double sharp (talk) 15:19, 3 April 2017 (UTC)

I removed all icons from the table. For one, I don't think the table is a good place to contain icons. We already show icons in the leading image of the article. Secondly, most were totally pointless. Showing a drawing of an elephant / boat / unicorn for pieces called elephant, boat or unicorn does not convey any information. People can be expected to know what an elephant is, and recognized a simplified drawing of it. It would only make sense to show icons that are not obvious, like inverted knight for nightrider. But we already do that, in the leading image. Finally some of the images shown where extremely non-notable. H.G.Muller (talk) 15:42, 30 July 2017 (UTC)

Apart from the icons, it also seems that some non-notable pieces from even less-notable recently invented games have sneaked their way into the article. I think all references to Chess2:the sequel, Musketeer Chess, Waterloo, Amsterdam Medieval Chess, Chess on an infinite plain should be deleted, and the pieces that only occur in these variants deleted with them.H.G.Muller (talk) 14:43, 30 July 2017 (UTC)

I didn't know what a chess icon for a boat looks like. The shapes of chess pieces are a fundamental element of chess. Indeed, chess pieces aren't labelled with their names - they are identified by their shape, and only by their shape.OhioOakTree (talk) 16:17, 31 July 2017 (UTC)
I strongly support the deletion. These icons are made-up original research. The usual practice in most chess diagrams for fairy pieces is just to use rotated icons for standard pieces (e.g. upside-down or horizontal knights) with some key below saying what these "wildcard symbols" might be referring to this time. I would prefer not to know of a chess icon for a boat than to go away with false information about it. Double sharp (talk) 23:53, 31 July 2017 (UTC)
What's your suggestion for chess pieces that have proper references indicating a specific graphic, but are not one of the representative examples in the lead?—OhioOakTree (talk) 02:50, 1 August 2017 (UTC)
From my reading of the fairy literature it does not seem that there are all that many. A horizontal knight may well be a (1,4)-leaper in one diagram and a (1,6)-leaper in the next, for example. So I doubt this situation will arise. Double sharp (talk) 05:58, 1 August 2017 (UTC)
What's your suggestion for chess pieces that have proper references indicating a specific graphic, but are not one of the representative examples in the lead?—OhioOakTree (talk) 06:23, 1 August 2017 (UTC)
As I said there are almost certainly very few and probably none. The lede can take one or two more if it needs to, and I think it currently has too many: all those inverted icons should be put together with a note saying that inverted icons are usually used as wildcards for just about anything. Double sharp (talk) 06:57, 1 August 2017 (UTC)
 Done Double sharp (talk) 07:06, 1 August 2017 (UTC)
What's your suggestion for chess pieces that have proper references indicating a specific graphic, but are not one of the representative examples in the lead? One example of such a piece would be the Amazon. You can read about it at the CVP website in the Piececlopedia. We will need to understand how to accommodate pieces such as this for the article. Maybe restore the icons that have proper references?—OhioOakTree (talk) 12:49, 1 August 2017 (UTC)
The fact that you seem to think the Piececlopedia is a reliable source (despite it being, you know, pretty much self-published) does not bode well. Neither does your repeatedly asking the same question, as if a different answer would be forthcoming on the second or third time. I am also not impressed by the fact that the Piececlopedia article gives multiple different icons for the same piece, and the diagram illustrating movement itself simply uses a horizontal queen icon. The last one is in fact the published convention (here are a few amazon-using problems that have been entered in actual real-life composition tournaments), not the graphics displayed under the Piececlopedia article. Therefore I stand by my original answer: there are almost certainly no true such cases, and this is not one of them. The only reason I am not similarly sceptical for the princess and empress is because they at least have been used in a very old and famous variant (invented by no less than Capablanca) and have standard icons there that are not the rotated wildcards of fairy chess problemists. The situation for the amazon is nowhere near that. Double sharp (talk) 14:07, 1 August 2017 (UTC)
Please see Wikipedia:Offline sources which says "Even though Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia, there is no distinction between using online versus offline sources." Books can be self published, so your comment has no merit. What's your suggestion for chess pieces that have proper references indicating a specific graphic, but are not one of the representative examples in the lead?—OhioOakTree (talk) 14:47, 1 August 2017 (UTC)
Exactly: self-published books are just as unreliable as self-published webpages. Given that you're continuing to waste our time by asking the same question over and over, I shall cease to respond to you. Double sharp (talk) 00:04, 2 August 2017 (UTC)

Is "fairy chess piece" an accurate term?[edit]

"Fairy chess" is a genre of chess problems involving unconventional pieces or rules. These rule changes may or may not be related to chess variants that are actually played. I wouldn't consider a shogi or xiangqi piece without a western chess equivalent to be an example of a "fairy chess piece". MaxBrowne (talk) 05:35, 25 May 2017 (UTC)

"Fairy chess" and "fairy chess piece" were terms that originally had the precise meaning specified above. These days the terms seem to be used in both the original meaning and also in a broader sense of any unorthodox chess piece. Given that ambiguity, perhaps the main title for this page should be changed to "Unorthodox chess piece" so as to avoid possible misinterpretation. However, this would mean replacing "fairy chess piece" with the slightly more awkward sounding "unorthodox chess piece" throughout the article. DavidJHowe (talk) 14:33, 25 May 2017 (UTC)
Actually term "fairy piece" is nowadays quite common. Encyclopedia of Chess Problems (by M. Velimirović and K. Valtonen, published 2012 by Šahovski informator) defines it as: Any unorthodox piece. Any piece that does not conform to the FIDE Laws of Chess. Ruziklan (talk) 20:59, 26 May 2017 (UTC)
Thanks, that's very useful. Do you have a page number for that reference? We should use it to cite the definition of fairy chess piece. Quale (talk) 05:49, 27 May 2017 (UTC)
It is given as such on page 168 of Encyclopedia of Chess Problems (by M. Velimirović and K. Valtonen, published 2012 by Šahovski informator). --Ruziklan (talk) 18:47, 5 August 2017 (UTC)

Notability of dummy and nao[edit]

It is rather hilarious that OhioOakTree persists in removing these two pieces despite them having a lot of prominent use in recent published problems; just this year the nao made three appearances in one informal tourney, of course with the related pao and vao. (And I haven't even bothered to go look in the FIDE albums yet, which many of the composers showcased on that site, including the creator herself IIRC, have been published.) It is also fairly funny that he should keep spamming the same questions on the talk page and failing to understand what a reliable source actually is, which I note from his interactions with Ihardlythinkso on pages such as Talk:Mann (chess) is hardly a recent phenomenon.

The fundamental problem here is that the bulk of fairy chess activity in the problemist tradition, which is where you are likely to see these pieces called "fairy", does not happen online. If you only search online you will likely see nothing but spammy articles about pieces in games that people made up one day when they were bored. Often they do not even bother to check what other people have called the same piece, and often the game itself has practically zero existence and players outside the site, not even having passed the more stringent bars that accompany more print publication. Given the more coordinated and well-sourced nature of the problemist tradition, together with the very name of the article, it is perfectly sensible for the article to focus on that.

An obsession with poorly sourced iconic representations for pieces shows nothing but unfamiliarity with the nature of the subject matter. Double sharp (talk) 08:27, 2 August 2017 (UTC)

That's fine. You are setting a standard that an appearance of a piece in a problem or game alone is justification for a piece to be included in this article. Some editors may argue with this, but the list in this article appears to have had a low standard for inclusion for some time. By the way, when adding comments on this Talk page please be familiar with WP:PERSONAL.—OhioOakTree (talk) 12:59, 2 August 2017 (UTC)
I am very familiar with that policy, and I apologise if you have interpreted my statements as personal attacks, because they were not intended as such. However, I am hardly setting a standard here, since your reasoning for removing these and other pieces was specifically "no references, and nothing is found when checking for origin or usage". In any case I would think that most problemist pieces deserve a brief mention here, as they would be used practically nowhere else and have no place in any other article. Double sharp (talk) 13:35, 2 August 2017 (UTC)

Unicode proposal to encode fairy piece symbols[edit]

Here is the Unicode proposal. As I expected, there are very few cases of pieces that are not usually symbolised by turned versions of the orthodox pieces or by simple geometric shapes: there are only the equihopper, flake, and perhaps the amazon (noting that the amazon is, like the princess and empress, usually represented by a new glyph only in the games that use it, which are much fewer in number for the amazon than the princess and empress). The shatranj pieces are often given their own glyphs, but this is more akin to the different glyphs in use for pieces in well-established ethnic variants of chess such as xiangqi and shogi. Double sharp (talk) 13:42, 2 August 2017 (UTC)

But this reference is not comprehensive.—OhioOakTree (talk) 17:12, 5 August 2017 (UTC)
Of course it is not. It simply does not consider all those icons that are just made up for one game and never used anywhere else. The only thing that is some sort of a standard that many people actually recognise and is published in reliable sources is the problemist tradition for most of these pieces, as it says. Given that this is an actual Unicode proposal for inclusion, by the way, one would think that the author has mad every effort to be comprehensive (as you need to demonstrate a large corpus of use), and the absence of most of these made-up icons is due to there being no tradition of their use in reliable publications, whether online or offline. Hence I see no good reason for your removals, although I can think of the poor one of WP:IDONTLIKEIT in the sense that you evidently do not like or understand what a reliable source is, and do not like them when they say something that contradicts what you evidently think reality ought to be like.
And given that I was able to find a reliable source (e.g. for the Duke of Rutland's chess, dating in a book from September 1817 on chess and its then-current variants) almost instantly for one of the pieces you just tagbombed with "citation needed" tags, and given that I was able to do the same (which you, of course, immediately rejected as unreliable) for some of the other pieces you deleted, I have the strongest of doubts that you actually know what a reliable source is, or how to go about finding one. I have been examining and will examine all your removals carefully and will not hesitate to revert them if you carry on. Double sharp (talk) 03:38, 6 August 2017 (UTC)
That's fine. Likewise I'm selective in my editing, and have not made large-scale deletions, nor added anything without reliable references. I too will occasionally check for editors who add dubious and unsourced material. I did make copies of the markup of several pieces which have been removed (by me or others), and may add some back for cases where good references exists.
Also, please note the reference you added actually makes a case that rotated and inverted symbols are a thing of the past. It reads: "In the days of hot metal typography, this enabled composers and publishers to use easily available chess typefaces for fairy problems, without the added hassle and expense of designing and cutting new type for each and every new kind of piece."
We are now living in the days where graphics-editing software is widely available, chess pieces with unique graphics are often specified at game-playing websites, and there are numerous variant game designers who no longer use the archaic system of inverted symbols for chess pieces.
Thanks for your support of this article.—OhioOakTree (talk) 05:26, 6 August 2017 (UTC)
You do not seem to understand that even today, among actually reliable sources (which do not include all these just-made-up variant games self-published on forum posts), the inverted icons are still standard in fairy chess publications, even when hot metal typography is long gone.
Hot metal typography is certainly the reason why these symbols were initially chosen, but as the reference itself demonstrates, they are still used today in actual reliable publications for fairy chess. None of these self-published variant games are reliable publications. It's not a matter of them being online or not. It's a matter of them being self-published. If they really were widely played, or at least had some influence within the chess variants community getting those symbols adopted, you might expect to see them at least in something like Pritchard's Encyclopedia of Chess Variants. Yet we do not. Double sharp (talk) 06:23, 6 August 2017 (UTC)
The CVP webpages are not self-published. It currently has six editors and every page at the website is subject to editor and peer-review. The editors are experts in the field of variant chess, and they represent a wide-spectrum of game designers, article contributors, and software developers for chess and variant chess games. And this is only one of several websites where variant chess games are discussed and played. The internet has supplanted hardcopies of books as the primary mode of disseminating information for nearly all games, including variant-chess. I don't completely agree with the lead paragraph because several statements are not supported by available references, so we'll need to work to continue to improve it.—OhioOakTree (talk) 06:44, 6 August 2017 (UTC)
The problem with CVP is certainly different, to be sure, but it is still different. Because it aims to be a site describing not just known chess variants but also newly invented ones, there are a lot of good games there that were just invented one or two years ago, which sadly have pretty much zero existence outside the site. That is the harsh truth about it: while it is true that specific icons are more common in the variants community than the problemist one, the problem is that the individual games that they are used in are simply not notable. And the same thing happens with almost all the pieces (again, excepting the B+N and R+N compounds; even the Q+N compound gets in more out of analogy than out of appearing in a game with any notability whatsoever). Thus, while a mention that variant chess designers online tend to use and invent new icons is valid, this should be put in perspective against the much better documented-in-reliable-sources use of turned icons among problemists even till the present day, and any examples (again beyond the knighted compounds) would not be appropriate. Double sharp (talk) 23:48, 6 August 2017 (UTC)

index of some published fairy problems[edit]

This ought to hold off the wanton deletions for a while. Double sharp (talk) 09:26, 25 August 2017 (UTC)