Wazir (chess)

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a4 b4 black cross c4 d4
a3 black cross b3 white upside-down rook c3 black cross d3
a2 b2 black cross c2 d2
a1 b1 c1 d1
Wazir (notation W) moves one square orthogonally.

A wazir (or vizir) is a fairy chess piece that moves like a rook, but can go only one square. Below, it is given the symbol W. In this article, the wazir is represented by an inverted rook.

History and nomenclature[edit]

The wazir is a very old piece, appearing in some very early chess variants, such as Tamerlane chess. The general in xiangqi moves like a wazir, but has additional restrictions involving check and where it can move. It also appears in some historical large shogi variants, such as dai shogi, under the name angry boar (嗔猪).

The name wazīr (Arabic: وزير) means "minister" in several West and South Asian languages, and is found in English as vizier. Wazīr is also the Arabic name of the conventional chess piece called queen in English.


Fortress positions in the
rook vs. wazir endgame
a4 b4 white rook c4 white king d4
a3 black king b3 c3 d3
a2 black upside-down rook b2 c2 d2
a1 b1 c1 d1
Black is to move.
a4 b4 c4 white rook d4 white king
a3 b3 black king c3 d3
a2 b2 black upside-down rook c2 d2
a1 b1 c1 d1
Black is to move.

The wazir by itself is not much more powerful than a pawn, but as an additional power to other pieces it is worth about half a knight. Three wazirs and a king can force checkmate on a bare king, but not easily; two wazirs and a king can force stalemate on a bare king, but not easily. The endgame of rook versus wazir is a win for the rook, except for two drawing fortress positions for the wazir. The ferz, despite being colourbound, is in fact more powerful than the wazir (in the opening phase of the game), due to its larger mobility forward. A wazir and a ferz cannot force checkmate on a bare king, unless the bare king is significantly close to a corner that is the same color as the ferz, but the combination of knight and wazir, the combination of giraffe (the (1,4)-leaper) and wazir, as well as that of camel and wazir, can do so. 4.29% of the positions with knight and wazir against the bare king are fortress draws.