The Chess Variant Pages

The Piececlopedia is intended as a scholarly reference concerning the history and naming conventions of pieces used in Chess variants. But it is not a set of standards concerning what you must call pieces in newly invented games.

Piececlopedia: Rook-Camel compound(Canvasser)

Historical notes

The Canvasser is a piece that combines the movement possibilities of the Rook and Camel. It appears in a quartet with the Marshal, Cardinal, and Caliph in Ecumenical Chess, and later in a 3d offshoot thereof, Ecumenical Eurasian Ninjachess. The name of the piece is intended to suggest its components. It means a person calling at houses for political or other research purposes, reflecting the Rook's modern representation as a building. The first six letters, Canvas, suggest a tent as a nomad's home that might well be packed on a camel. Finally the first two letters are chosen for extrapolation to Rook compounds with other odd:odd oblique leapers by making the same substitution as From Ungulates Outwards suggests for the oblique leaper itself. Thus Rook plus 5:1 Zemel is Zenvasser, and so on. It has the disadvantage of being thoroughly modern, and so rather out of place with most of the established piece names as well as with Caliph. I therefore welcome suggestions for a better name equally easy to extrapolate.


The Canvasser can move like a Rook or a Camel. Like the Cardinal it combines a non-colourbound move with a colourbound one, and might thus be considered more than the sum of its components. However where it is the Knight move that gives the Cardinal its non-colourbound character and the Bishop that gives it is long-range capability, with the Canvasser it is the Rook that gives the Canvasser both. However, the Camel still gives it an unblockable move in addition to its blockable Rook move.

Movement diagram

The black circles indicate the leaping moves of a Camel, while the green circles indicate the Rook move.

This is an item in the Piececlopedia: an overview of different (fairy) chess pieces.
Written by Charles Gilman.
WWW page created: June 23, 2005.