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This item is a game information page
It belongs to categories: Orthodox chess, 
It was last modified on: 1997-02-05
 Author: Hans L. Bodlaender. Inventor: R. Wayne Schmittberger. Wildebeest Chess. Variant on an 10 by 11 board with extra jumping pieces. (11x10, Cells: 110) (Recognized!)[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Glenn Overby II wrote on 2002-04-08 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
I recently sent in a nomination to make this game--a well-established, widely-disseminated, thoroughly-played design--a 'recognized' variant. If you agree, send the editors an email. :)

Nuno Cruz wrote on 2002-04-17 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
This game is really something! To me the best large variant of chess! WHY is it not a recongnized variant yet???? :-)

Jared wrote on 2002-04-19 UTCGood ★★★★
Hey, how do you nominate a game for those anyway? Email me at [email protected]

Jared wrote on 2002-04-23 UTCGood ★★★★
Hey, I can't edit my own comments!! Oh well... stop sending me information please!! I have already gotten two replies. As for the game itself, I personally do not prefer CVs where non-pawns start next to other identical pieces, like the bishops and camels. Therefore I propose a variant where each player has the option of switching a camel with the bishop on the same color, sort of like the switch rule of Changgi.

Charles Gilman wrote on 2003-03-29 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
It took me a while to realise what this game does. It adds the same pieces relative to the Knight as the standard game has relative to the Rook, befitting the Knight's similar antiquity. After all, a Camel move is simply a Knight move turned through 45° and multiplied by root 2, as a Bishop move is to a corresponding Rook move (consider the triangle b2-a3-c4). Nor is it coincidence that the Camel is colourbound. Thus the Camels are to Bishops, and the Wildebeest to a Queen, as the Knights are to Rooks.

Charles Gilman wrote on 2003-05-25 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
The second Excellent is for inspiring a further variant, which I term Ecumenical Chess, with every combination of two first-rank pieces. These include a Marshal (M=R+N), a Cardinal (D=B+N), a Canvasser (V=R+C), and for each colour square a Caliph (V=B+C) (the repetitive use of Ca- is intended for substituting Ze- and Gi- in corresponding combinations with the 3:2-5:1 and 4:1-5:3 leaper pairs, starting with Zemel and Gimel for the plain colourbound leapers). I envisage four versions: basic - 10r by 8f, CLVQKWLC, RNBDMBNR, PPPPPPPP; Pawnless - standard board, RBVQKMBR, NCLDWLCN; Uncommon - 4r by 8f, VQKM, LDWL; and Gross - 12 by 12, RNBCVQKWCBNR, RNBCLDMLCBNR, 12 Pawns. Pawnless and Uncommon are inspired by Half Chess (under small variants).

Charles Gilman wrote on 2004-03-22 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
My Ecumenical Chess is now up, as is a variant of mine combining this game's theme and yet another, Bachelor Kamil (which couldn't be called Bachelor Wildebeest because that piece is not in its array although it may turn up through promotion). This excellent is by way of thanks.

Salamantis wrote on 2004-04-06 UTC
I would like to see the presented Wildebeest moves replaced by the moves of what has been previously characterized as a Superknight; instead of 1 across and 2 up or down, or 1 up or down and 2 across, as in a regular Knight move, a Superknight moves 2 across and 3 up or down, or 2 up or down and 3 across (for instance, a Superknight at b1 would be able to move to, among other alternatives, d4 or e3).

Charles Gilman wrote on 2004-07-21 UTC
The problem with Salamantis' suggestion of using a 3:2 move is that it does not correspond to other moves in the way that those used in this variant do - see my comment from last March. If it is the short range on the moves on this size board that is the problem it may be worth trying out what might be called Zebu Chess - replacing the Knight, Camel, and Wildebeest with the Zebra (3:2 leaper), Zemel (5:1 leaper), and Zebu (Zebra+Zemel).

Mark Thompson wrote on 2004-10-25 UTCGood ★★★★
The basic idea of the game is that, as there are two simple sliders (B, R) and one combination slider (B+R=Q), so in Wildebeest Chess there are also two simple jumpers (Knight = (1,2) jumper and Camel = (1,3) jumper), and one combined jumper (Wildebeest = N+C). I wonder how well the idea would work instead with Knights and Zebras ((2,3) jumpers), and a combination N+Z piece? There is the idea that, as one of the sliders is color-bound, so perhaps one of the jumpers ought to be also, hence the Camel. But it's not obvious to me that rule makes for the best game. I'd be interesting in knowing whether Wayne Schmittberger or anyone else has tried it. Actually, since the preset to enforce the rules has not been written for this game yet, it would be possible to try playing this way, simply entering Zebra moves for Camels and Knight/Zebra moves for the Wildebeest.

R. Wayne Schmittberg wrote on 2004-10-25 UTC
I don't like the idea of replacing the camels with zebras, for two reasons. First, it removes the game's logical framework; e.g., camels are to knights as bishops are to rooks; and the two shortest leapers whose moves do not intersect the moves of the ranging pieces are used. Second, zebras are weaker than camels, and that's almost too weak. (The fact that camels are colorbound is pretty close to irrelevant in determining their value. This can be demonstrated by comparing rooks and bishops, in which the ratio of known values pretty much equals the difference in their total mobilities. Zebras cannot reach their maximum of eight squares from as many squares as camels can, and that's why they're weaker.)

Greg Strong wrote on 2004-10-26 UTC

Mark Thompson and I have just started a test of his proposed game; see Game Courier under the name 'Zebrabeest Chess'. I have never previously played any variant with a Zebra, so I'm finding a little difficult to visualize the zebra-moves - we'll see how quickly I get used to it. I'm certainly curious ...

George Duke wrote on 2005-02-08 UTCGood ★★★★
'WXYZ,LargeCV': Schmittberger discusses values of Camel and Zebra, the latter not used here. A board this size makes C and Z very close; three points are useful for each in most comparisons. A nice 'idea' game more than one of highest play-worthiness; and Camel not Z completes its thesis (See other Comments). Low piece density reminds one of 17th-C. Turkish Great Chesses, and Wildebeest plays similarly. 'Gnu' is preferred name now for 'Wildebeest'(N+C).

Mark Thompson wrote on 2005-02-09 UTC
I'd have to agree after our game of 'Zebrabeest Chess' (thanks to Greg Strong for setting that up on the courier) that Wildebeest C. is much better.

Charles Gilman wrote on 2006-01-26 UTC
(having given ratings of Excellent previously and not wishing to overdo it) I note that the mixture of non-Pawns in this variant is one King, one each of the two strongest pieces, and two each of four others - a description which also applies to Shogi. This has inspired me to add a subvariant to my Bishogi family of variants(, using the Wildebeest Chess mix of pieces (but two Pawns fewer) on a Shogi board and called Wildebishogi.

Derek Nalls wrote on 2006-04-04 UTC
[Comment deleted.]

M Winther wrote on 2006-11-14 UTC
Cazaux's Zillions implementation of Wildebeest Chess has a bug: when a pawn makes a triplicate step, an opponent pawn cannot capture 'en passant' if the bypassing pawn ends up on the rank behind. Moreover, Cazaux's implementation of Bolyar Chess (in doesn't seem to follow the rules that appear on the Internet, and which I have recently implemented. Cazaux gives no source for his version of the rules. Instead Omega Chess is described. My Bolyar Chess: /Mats

David Paulowich wrote on 2006-11-14 UTCGood ★★★★

Cazaux's Zillions implementation of Wildebeest Chess is also missing the stalemate victory rule. See my comment here. There are even more comments on the 'Recognized Chess Variant: Wildebeest Chess' page here. As I stated there, we have very little information about the problems involved in forcing stalemate.

Abdul-Rahman Sibahi wrote on 2007-03-27 UTC
Since the game was played regularly in NOST, I wonder if any theory was developed, (and, more importantly, published.) -- And, just a thought, what if the Knight and Camel (which are relatively weak due to the bigness of the board) were replaced by Charles Gilman's Endknight and Dicamel ? The Endknight moves like a regular knight with the ability to jump 3 square orthogonally. The Dicamel moves like a regular camel with the ability to jump 3 square diagonally. They would still be called Knights and Camels, of course.

David Paulowich wrote on 2007-04-03 UTC

Two Kingdoms - by Nuno Cruz [2001] - uses the Gazelle piece.

'The Knights represent the Cavalry, moving as the usual Knight or as the fairy Zebra.'

David Paulowich wrote on 2007-04-14 UTC

R. Wayne Schmittberg last made appeared here 30 months ago, so I don't know if he will be reading this comment. After dropping the (Shatranj) Bare King Loss rule, there is one minor detail to take care of. Sample Position: White King(c1), Black King(a1), Black Pawn(a2).

Victory Rules Checkmating your opponent wins the game. Note that you require a king and at least one other piece in order to checkmate. Stalemating your opponent wins the game, except when you have only a lone King. Then the result is a draw.

R. Wayne Schmittberg wrote on 2007-04-14 UTC
I'm not sure what to make of the comment suggesting that a player must have more than a bare king to win by stalemate. I don't recall there ever being any kind of bare king rule in Wildebeest Chess--I simply indicated in my original rules that checkmate and stalemate both win, without going into any details. In practice, there may be some endgames in which stalemate can only be forced with an uncomfortably large number of moves. Probably players and tournament directors should agree to import appropriate rules from orthodox chess, such as the 50-move rule and draws by repetition.

David Paulowich wrote on 2007-04-16 UTC

Endgame Position White: King c1, Knight e1 and Black: King a1, Pawn a2, Rook e2.

1.Nc2 check Rxc2 check and Black has won in Shatranj by the Bare King rule, which has only one stated exception. The Zillions Rule File for Shatranj (correctly) scores the game as a win for Black.

2.Kxc2 stalemate draws the game in my two recent 'Shatranj Kamil' variants. R. Wayne Schmittberg has just confirmed that White wins in Wildebeest Chess. And so we all agree to differ.

Douglas S wrote on 2007-09-29 UTC
There is now a zrf that allows you to play this variant with a purchased version of zillions-of-games.

The Missile Chess.zrf is available at

Joshua Morris wrote on 2007-11-02 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
Just wanted to add my 'Excellent' rating. This game is right up there with Grand Chess. I have a question for all you Wildebeesters. Either side can deliver a smothered Fool's Mate on move 2 using the long leap of a Camel or Wildebeest. This can be defended against in a few ways. Does this cause opening variety to be limited, in anyone's experience? Or is it more like Qh5 in OrthoChess, an aggressive move that tends to backfire if the opponent defends well?

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