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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: Zebra

Historical notes

The Zebra is a fairly well known fairy chess piece, and has appeared in chess variants under different names. In Mideast Chess, for example, it is called the Courtier.


The Zebra is a (3,2)-leaper, i.e., it moves (with or without taking) three squares horizontally and two vertically, or two squares horizontally and three vertically. Like a Knight in chess, it jumps — it can move regardless whether the intervening squares are occupied or not.


The Zebra cannot inflict checkmate on a rectangular board with only assistance of its own King, and is thus a minor piece. Even with a pair of Zebras you cannot force checkmate on a bare King, but paired with another minor this is sometimes possible. Try it on a 9x9 board (where all corners have the shade the Ferz is on, which makes it easier than on 8x8, where it is in general not possible to force mate with Zebra and Ferz)!

This is an item in the Piececlopedia: an overview of different (fairy) chess pieces.
Written by Ben Good.
Updated by Greg Strong.
WWW page created: 1999-01-11.
WWW page updated: 2020-12-20.