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: Knight-Dabbaba compound (Carpenter, Doughnut)

Historical notes

The Carpenter is a piece that combines the movement possibilities of the Knight and Dabbaba. It first appeared under the name Doughnut in an army planned for Ralph Betza's Chess with Different Armies but as yet not completed. Doughnut is based on combining the initials of its components under a food theme alongside Waffle and Pancake, which have long had their own entries. It was reinvented (in ignorance of this work in progress) as a Carpenter by Charles Gilman, who was inspired by Timothy Newton's Kangaroo to fill in other such pieces, and used in Avon and the Oyster Hunt subvariant of Truffle Hunt Chess. The name is in allusion to the fact that Knights require the most craftsmanship in turned Staunton FIDE sets and there are many kinds of horse (rocking, hobby, dandy) and war engine made of wood. If Homer is to be believed at least one work of carpentry was both! Carpenters had a useful rôle in mediaeval society and even if, like real-life queens, they didn't acually go into battle, their works did as queens' champions did.


The Carpenter can either move two squares in one orthogonal direction and then one in the other orthogonal direction, (like a knight), or just two squares orthogonally like a Dabbaba. Usually the carpenter jumps, i.e., the move can be completed regardless whether the intervening squares are occupied, but in Truffle Hunt an "active" first-rank piece on the intermediate square blocks its Dabbaba move. By combining a colourswitching and a colourbound move, this piece can return to a cell in an odd number of moves, for example two Knight and one Dabbaba moves in an acute isoceles triangle. The relationship between the Alibaba, Carpenter, Kangaroo, and Squirrel is analagous to that between the Queen, Marshal or Chancellor, Cardinal, and Ace or Amazon.

Movement diagram

This is an item in the Piececlopedia: an overview of different (fairy) chess pieces.

Written by Charles Gilman.
WWW page created: June 18, 2005.