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: Leo

Historical notes

The Leo is a fairy chess piece, used with a certain frequency in fairy chess problems. It was invented in 1936 by Dr. P. Seyfert, who was inspired by the movement of the Pao (Cannon) from Chinese Chess (Xiangqi).

For who knows the movement of the cannon from Chinese Chess: the relation between Pao and Rook is the same as the relation between Leo and Queen.


The Leo moves like a queen when it does not take, i.e., any number of empty squares on an orthogonal or diagonal line. When the Leo makes a capturing move, it moves along an orthogonal or diagonal line, but it must jump over exactly one piece, regardless its color: when taking, the leo also moves over a horizontal, vertical or diagonal line, jumps over the first piece it meets (which may either be friendly or from the opponent) and then continues over the line until the next piece it sees: if that is from the opponent, the pao can take it by moving to that position.

Movement diagram

The Leo on d5 can take the bishop on b5, the rook on d1, and the knights on g2 and g8.

Written by Hans Bodlaender.
WWW page created: May 24, 2000.