Fri. Oct 7th, 2022

Not many individuals know this, however a number of centuries in the past, a chess piece was so sturdy that it had to get replaced by a weaker one – the queen.

It is onerous to imagine, however the age-old recreation of chess wasn’t all the time what we all know and love at this time. For hundreds of years, many international chess items have been fought on chessboards everywhere in the world.

From the widespread man to the mighty Amazon, get able to find out about 10 uncommon chess items you’ve got most likely by no means seen earlier than.

historic chess items

The usual chess military hasn’t been the identical all through the ages. Many historic items of the long-standing armies that our ancestors commanded on board have disappeared through the years. Luckily, a few of these historic items have survived and made their method into armies of thrilling varieties. Listed here are some unconventional (additionally referred to as angel) items that seem in lots of varieties and have roots in earlier variations of chess.

Wish to attempt these items?

attempt our new Comfort with tons of recent items and guidelines!



Though chess has all the time been a recreation of kings, it additionally took centuries for it to turn out to be a recreation of queens. In its historic kind, Chaturanga, chess gamers may rely solely on their mantra— Minister In English.

Unusual Chess Pieces: Minister.
The minister was once the king’s conflict companion within the recreation of Chaturanga.

The queen’s predecessor was not practically as sturdy as her majesty. It may solely transfer one sq. diagonally, with entry to solely half a sq. of the board. The same piece nonetheless exists in different variations of chess, akin to in jiangqi and jangi. In each of those video games (in addition to in different varieties), they’re referred to as guards (or advisors).

Unusual Chess Pieces: Minister.
The minister may management solely half the sections of the board.

On the brilliant facet, your minister’s mistake was undoubtedly not as disappointing as hanging the queen.

The minister can be recognized by many different names, however the most well-liked is inherited from chess – firz. Different names are Advisor, Mile, and Cat Sword.


Indians invented the sport of Chaturanga 1,500 years in the past. The identify Chaturanga means “4 arms” as a result of each bit used represents a department—or arm—of the Indian Military.

There have been no bishops in India at the moment. As a substitute, gamers had one other sort of piece at their disposal: elephant,

Unusual Chess Pieces: Elephants.
Bishops had been elephants within the historic recreation of Chaturanga.

Regardless of wanting like a mighty piece, the Chaturanga elephant can solely skewer two squares. Like knights, elephants can soar over different items. The ability of an elephant to leap can seem to be a triumph. Nonetheless, they’ll solely management 4 squares at a time, and their common motion (in distinction to the knight’s irregular soar) restricts their entry—every elephant can solely ever attain eight particular squares of the board.

Unusual Chess Pieces: Elephants.
The elephant may soar over different items however may solely transfer two squares at a time.

In lots of fashionable varieties, the elephant nonetheless exists beneath the identify Al Fil or just Fil – which is why the bishop continues to be known as “Alfil” in some languages.

Are you curious to see how you’ll handle the problem of attacking together with your elephant? Then go to our variants web page and luxuriate in taking part in Chaturanga!


One other historic piece that later disappeared from the orthodox chessboard Camel,

Unusual Chess Pieces: Camel.
The camel is often depicted as an upside-down knight.

The medieval Tamerlane chess model featured this unique piece that strikes just like at this time’s knight, leaping over different items. The one distinction is that the camel can soar a sq. farther than its equine counterpart.

Unusual Chess Pieces: Camel.
The camel can journey throughout the board sooner than the knight.


Chess is a recreation of conflict. Nonetheless, in some European chess varieties, civilians additionally took their place on the chessboard.

In medieval courier chess a chunk referred to as Man, Oddly sufficient, the widespread man depicted in Courier Chess was stronger than the pawns, which all the time characterize infantry. Like a king, the person may transfer a sq. in each path.

Unusual Chess Pieces: Man.
The person is usually depicted as an inverted king.

In contrast to the imperial ruler, nonetheless, the person may very well be captured by a rival with out dire penalties.

Unusual Chess Pieces: Man.
The person may stroll like a king.

The person first appeared across the yr 950 and was used completely within the medieval model of Courier Chess.

An illustration of man chess piece.
An illustration of a person. Picture: Wikimedia Commons, CC.


Which is best, knight or bishop? The reply to this query is undoubtedly advanced. However in case you can have each, why select only one?

princess There was a chunk consisting of joint actions of the bishop and the knight. It may soar over different items whereas transferring as a knight however couldn’t accomplish that when transferring like a bishop.

Unusual Chess Pieces: Centaur.
The princess is often depicted with the higher a part of the knight and the decrease a part of the bishop.

Within the first report of the princess (which comes from a Sixteenth-century Italian model referred to as Carrera’s Chess), it was known as a centaur. Many different chess varieties have used this piece beneath completely different names—the vizier in nice Turkish chess, the archbishop in Capablanca chess, and the elephant in Ceravan chess are a number of examples.

Unusual Chess Pieces: Centaur.
The princess may advance as a bishop or a knight.

the Empress

One other piece of Carrera’s chess made its method right into a plethora of different chess varieties—the queen

Unusual Chess Pieces: Champion.
The empress is often depicted as a mixture of a rook and a knight.

This mighty piece had the mixed powers of a rook and a knight. Just like the princess, it may solely soar over different items whereas transferring as a knight.

Unusual Chess Pieces: Champion.
The empress had the mixed gait of the rook and the knight.

Known as the champion in Carrera’s chess, the piece had many different names in several variations. A number of the extra well-known had been the conflict machine in Turkish chess, the chancellor in Capablanca chess, and the falcon in Ceravan chess.


heroine That is by far essentially the most devastating piece on this record. It combines the actions of the queen and knight, protecting 35 squares when positioned within the middle of the board. On account of its glorious velocity vary, it could defeat the enemy king with out the assistance of another items. As if that wasn’t sufficient, Amazon can soar over different items whereas strolling as a knight, which makes it much more lethal.

Unusual Chess Pieces: Amazon.
The Amazon is often represented by a knight carrying the queen’s crown.

Some historians imagine that the Amazon was one of many items that struggled to interchange the previous Chaturanga minister. Information present that the piece first appeared throughout the Center Ages and was nonetheless a part of Russian chess units till the late 1770s.

Unusual Chess Pieces: Amazon.
Amazon may have a king verify by itself.

As a result of the Amazon was so highly effective, gamers deserted it and made method for a modern-day queen to enter the sport. Nonetheless, the chess gamers by no means left this sensible recreation behind. Amazon is featured in lots of chess variations, together with modern-day video games akin to 4 Participant Chess. Its different names are giraffe, maharaja, angel and basic.

asian chess items

Different types of chess emerged from the unique recreation of Chaturanga. Notably noteworthy are the sorts of chess performed in Asian international locations up to now. Shogi in Japan, Jiangqi in China and Korean Janggi even have distinctive items to make up their military.

dragon horse

Totally different from worldwide chess, shogi, the Japanese model of chess, can promote a number of items. When a bishop is promoted, he turns into a dragon horse,

Unusual Chess Pieces: Dragon Horse.
A promoted bishop turns into a dragon horse.

The Dragon Horse is without doubt one of the strongest items in shogi. It has joint actions of the king and the bishop. One of these motion solves one of many largest issues of the bishop controlling solely half the squares of the board.

Unusual Chess Pieces: Dragon Horse.
The dragon horse strikes like a bishop and a king.

Dragon King

Dragon King There may be one other highly effective shogi grind. That is the results of a rook propagation.

Unusual Chess Pieces: Dragon King.
The Dragon King is one among Shogi’s strongest items.

The promoted rook good points the flexibility to maneuver one sq. diagonally like a king.

Unusual Chess Pieces: Dragon King.
The dragon king strikes like a king and a rook.


One of many strangest items on this record comes from the Chinese language and Korean chess video games, jiangqi and janggi. cannon Nonetheless in use in each variations of the sport.

Unusual Chess Pieces: Cannon.
Chinese language model of the cannon.

The cannon is the one piece on this record that strikes in two alternative ways relying on whether or not it’s capturing one other piece. When transferring with out taking one other piece, Canon behaves like a daily rook. Word that in Jiangqi and Jangqi the items don’t transfer on squares, however relatively go by the intersection of the traces on the board.

Unusual Chess Pieces: Cannon.
The cannon strikes like a daily chess rook when it’s not occupied.

Nonetheless, every time one other piece is captured, the cannon should first soar to precisely one different piece. If it doesn’t soar to a different piece, the seize can’t happen. Within the down place, the black cannon can seize the purple piece on its facet, however not the opposite, which can’t be captured as a result of there isn’t a piece to leap over the cannon.

Unusual Chess Pieces: Cannon.
The cannon can solely be captured by leaping over one other piece. The black cannon can pull the purple piece in the direction of itself however not the opposite.

Due to its distinctive motion, the cannon is the one piece that may create a triple verify place in opposition to the opponent’s king (referred to as regular in these variations). Gamers can acquire this by checking the enemy king with a horse (knight) and uncovering a double-check of the chariot (rook) and cannon.

Unusual Chess Pieces: Cannon's Triple Check.
The horse (knight) strikes from e6 to f4, checks the king and opens the verify with the chariot (rook) on e8 and with the cannon on e9.


For the sake of brevity, this record incorporates solely 10 of my private favourite unconventional items. There are a lot of different chess items from different types of chess. I hope you could have loved studying about these completely different items and that they show you how to respect the richness of chess much more.

Are you aware another chess items that did not make it to this record? Please depart a remark under describing it, and do not forget to go to our variants web page to see what it is prefer to play chess with a few of them!

Supply hyperlink