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: Rose

Historical notes

The rose is a semi-well-known fairy chess problem piece.
The only game I know of that uses the rose as a piece is Ralph Betza's Chess on a Really Big Board, the idea being that the board gives the rose enough room to complete a full circle in all directions. (One can also find a diagram of the rose movements with the description of that game.)


The rose can be described as a circular nightrider. More specifically, the rose makes a series of continuous knight moves, except that unlike the nightrider, which continues in the same direction, the rose must make a 45 degree turn with each leap. Like the knight, it can jump over intervening pieces, and like the knightrider, each square it actually comes into contact with must be empty.
If the path if unblocked, it is legal for a rose to travel in a complete circle and end its turn on the same square as it started from.

Movement diagram

In the diagram below, the rose can move to all the squares marked with a black or red circle. The red circles are used to distinguish a single path by the rose (b4-c6-e7-g6-h4-g2-e1-c2, or the other way around, b4-c2-e1 etc).
Note that for the rose to get from b4 to e7, he can travel either b4-c6-e7 or b4-d5-e7. Either c6 or d5 must be vacant, or the rose can not move to e7. If the rose moves to g6 moving clockwise, b4-c6-e7, both b4 and c6 must be vacant (the rose can not move b5-d5-e7-g6, each turn must be in the same direction).
The rose can also continue around in a complete circle, and end its turn on b4.

Rose Helpmate Problem

The following problem, in which it is Black to play and help White mate in five, is taken from Strategems Magazine issue #4. The solution will appear in SG6, due out in April. In the problem below, the board is considered to be a vertical cylinder, meaning that the a- and h-files are joined. Thus a rook moving g8-h8 could continue to a8-b8-c8 etc.

Adam Sobey
H#5, Rose on d3
Vertical Cyluinder

This is an item in the Piececlopedia: an overview of different (fairy) chess pieces.
Written by Ben Good. Some changes by Hans Bodlaender, with thanks to Alfred Pfeiffer for corrections.
WWW page created: January 15, 1999. Last modified: January 22, 1999.