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This item is a piececlopedia entry
It belongs to categories: Orthodox chess, 
It was last modified on: 1998-09-14
 Author: Hans L. Bodlaender. Dabbabah. Jumps two orthogonally.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Christine Bagley-Jones wrote on 2005-12-03 UTC
wow thanks for that link, it is brilliant info on the ancient pieces!

David Paulowich wrote on 2005-12-02 UTC

The Arts and Science pages of the Case Western Reserve University Medieval Society have movement definitions and diagrams for many pieces from old shatranj variants. A pair of 10x10 variants (both called Shatranj Kamil) are believed to date back 1000 years. One added the orthogonal leaper we now call the Dabbabah. The other variant added a (nonroyal) King.

Courier Chess uses the wazir under the name 'schleich', which is sometimes translated as 'fool'. Ralph Betza may be the first to use the 'wazir-dabbabah' piece in a chess variant, but there are also the 'knights' in Cohen's Error Chess (1977). Jean-Louis Cazaux calls this piece a 'machine' in his 14 x 14 variant Gigachess (2001).


Christine Bagley-Jones wrote on 2005-12-01 UTC
hi just some questions on dabbaba, what are the origins of it, and also the 'dabbaba + wazir'? is 'timur chess' the first recorded game or fairy chess problem with dabbaba? Ralph Betza calls 'dabbaba/wazir' a 'woody-rook' in his 'chess with diff armies' .. did it exist before that?

John Ayer wrote on 2004-09-16 UTCGood ★★★★
Murray says that this device was known in the Middle Ages as a sow, and the Oxford English Dictionary defines this as 'A movable structure having a strong roof, used to cover men advancing to the walls of a besieged town or fortress, and to protect them while engaged in sapping and mining or other operations.'

John Ayer wrote on 2004-03-24 UTC
Very well! The site http://www.goddesschess.com/chessays/calvognosis2.html has this to say about a conjectural parent of Chaturanga: <p>The German historian Johannes Kohtz (1843-1918) supposed that in the protochess the Rook was also a jumping figure, with a mobility limited to a third square. So the squares accessible to a Rook in h1 would be f1 and h3, and later in the game f3, d3, d1, b1, b3, b5, d5, f5, h5, h7, f7, d7 and b7. His theory makes a lot of sense (in spite of Murray's rejection after long arguments by post), because the three jumping pieces (Alfil, Knight, and Rook) represent a diagonal, hook-curved and rectilinear movement of the same range. It also expresses a perfect ranking order: The King and the Knight are the only pieces which can move to any of the 64 squares. The Firzan has half of the board, 32. The Rook half of that, 16 squares. And the Alfil, half of that, 8. <p> End of quotation. The goddesschess page cited above suggests that this protochess traveled to Persia, where the concepts of checkmate and check were introduced. The rook was invented to make checkmate more attainable, and the board was enlarged to ten squares by ten to accommodate it. This game is known to John Gollon and his followers as Shatranj al-Kamil Type I. The orthogonal leaper (0,2) in that game is called a Jamal, or camel. It has the same move as the dabbabah in Tamerlane's Shatranj al-Kabir. We are apparently to infer that the rook was so popular that players used it at the corners of the eight-square board instead of the old 0,2 leaper, and the game in this form traveled back to India and supplanted its predecessor as swiftly and thoroughly as modern chess did medieval chess in the late fifteenth century. My thought is simply that Shatranj al-Kamil I traveled along the Silk Road through Central Asia to China, where the camel/dabbabah became the cannon/catapult, extending its leap from two squares to any number. The game was transferred to a previously existing Chinese game-board, and with a few minor adjustments became Xiangqi.

Charles Gilman wrote on 2004-03-22 UTCGood ★★★★
Perhaps some mention should be added on this page to the theories of this piece's place in Chess history described in John Ayer's comments on Chaturanga and Xiang Qi.

Tony Paletta wrote on 2003-10-27 UTC
There is nothing especially simple, elemental, basic or natural about the rules for movement proposed by Glinski in developing a chess variant played on a hexagonal board -- in fact, the Glinski-B interpretation is considered something of a kluge by some CV designers (others view it more favorably). Other interpretations are not 'exotic' -- they are simply other, currently less well-explored, possibilities for defining movement. As I see it, Glinski's 'Hexagonal Chess' is fully equivalent to a game with half-Bishop + half-NRider (g-Bishops), Rook + half-Bishop (g-Rooks), half-N + half-Zebra + half-Camel (g-Knights), Rook + Bishop + half-NRider (g-Queens), King + half-Knight (g-Kings), and Berolina-type pawns (g-Pawns) played on a portion of an diagonally-oriented 11x11 chessboard. (Oddly enough, it's still an interesting game). I personally feel it might be better to embrace this equivalence (and others like it) rather than insist on somewhat arbitrary distinctions between hexagonal- and square-tiled playing fields.

Charles Gilman wrote on 2003-10-26 UTC
Fair enough, I should have said no 'simple' or 'elemental' piece. Tony Paletta's suggestion is certainly interesting. A slight difference from the FIDE Bishop is that the latter has only two varieties - light-square and dark-square - whereas the Paletta piece has six, with each hexagon covered by three of them. Combining forward/backward and sideways components can also be used for analogies the other way. Forward/backward Knight (the Heavenly Horse of Wa Shogi) plus sideways Dabbaba gives a square-board approximation to the hex Dabbaba of which I originally asked.

Tony Paletta wrote on 2003-10-04 UTC
(Partial reply to your post. You mentioned several topics.) I assume you mean a Dabbaba-analog on a hex board, using the Glinski-based analogy to FIDE chess. Mapping the hex board onto a standard chessboard (where the 91 Glinski hex board >> diagonal oriented 11x11 chessboard with 15 squares cut from each of the two side corners, for example) helps clarify the situation: the h-Dabbaba is more strictly equivalent to a true Dabbaba plus half an Alfil and, since the Alfil adds nothing to the Dabbaba's possible squares, the net effect is (not so surprisingly) the same type of boundedness as the true Dabbaba. One type of 'half-bound' piece on the hex board would be a piece moving in any single h-Rooks direction (e.g., N-S) and in the perpendicular h-Bishop direction -- its a FIDE Bishop. A conventional Camel is also possible, as are any other half-bound pieces mapped from a square-tiled chessboard.

Charles Gilman wrote on 2003-10-04 UTC
Has anyone tried putting this piece in a Hexagonal variant? I notice that it is also bound to a quarter of that kind of board, despite there being no piece bound to half of it. This is surprising given that a Dabbaba's share of the board is half a Bishop's on a square board, while on a cubic board it is half a Unicorn's and a quarter of a Bishop's (it is in fact the intersection of the two). On the other hand a piece leaping three spaces orthogonally would be bound to a subset of a normal hex cell colour.

Charles Gilman wrote on 2003-04-27 UTC
Tank was not so much slang as code. These vehicles, or their components, were transported using a label that would not give away what they were. It is rather like the Supergun beikng called 'metal tubing' or whatever it was at the other end of the 20th Century! While I am writing to this page the English slang for the original Dabbaba machine was Sow, tying in with the animal names for longer leapers!

Iyad wrote on 2002-07-26 UTCGood ★★★★
I would just like to note that 'Dabbabah' is the Arabic word for a modern Tank, and it literally means somthing that throws-into or throws-down. It was most likley coined for the WW1 tanks, for the word it's self is slang -does not follow the characteristics of native 'old' arabic words -

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