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Chancellor. Fairy Chess name for Rook+Knight compound.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
John Lawson wrote on 2014-10-09 UTC
For what it's worth, Murray in chapter XVI (p. 346) describes such a game, but it is modern.  The description occurs directly after a description of a 14th C. shatranj-al-kabir, so perhaps a mistake was made.

Garth Wallace wrote on 2014-10-07 UTC
This page says the piece first appears in a Shatranj Al-Kabir possibly from the 14th century. That name has been used a lot. Does anyone know where that claim is from? Is there a particular manuscript it's found in?

Enoch327 wrote on 2011-05-26 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
I prefer chancellor in that it can mean 'prime minister'.  Either the
King's or Queen's chief minister.  I can think of no nation that has a
chancellor for its head of state, head of Government yes. Chancellor can be
the head of an educational institution, but not always.  Even then the
chancellor reports to a higher entity; either a board or some level of
government.  Marshal is okay too.


George Duke wrote on 2011-01-26 UTC
Carrera's Champion is 400 years old. With more cvs by this time 12 years later, these are maybe 1/2 or 1/3 the names for the same piece-type in ongoing use. It is shallow of Seirawan and Harper to call it Elephant I guess it is now, because Shatranj Alfil means Elephant, who strengthened becomes Bishop/Laufer/Fool/Alfil(Esp.)

John Ayer wrote on 2010-08-04 UTC
Shatranj al-Kabir is the name of several Eastern variants of chess; you can read about them in Murray's History of Chess, Chapter XVI. I don't see any form with a rook+knight combination earlier than about 1800.

Daniil Frolov wrote on 2010-08-02 UTC
What is Shatranj Al-Kabir? Where can i read about it?

George Duke wrote on 2008-09-16 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
In the article Duniho favours Marshall as best name. Interesting that Chancellor gets the call in title, though probably the third most familiar of Marshall(RN), Champion(RN), Chancellor in English. Chancellor is the most ambiguous because also used for 'BN'. ''Whereas the name Chancellor has more frequently been used for other pieces,'' notes Duniho, including Centaur(BN). That's reason enough to avoid Chancellor anymore. A lot of work goes into finding the approximately 40 usages of Champion Duniho discovers from 1617 to 2002.

David Paulowich wrote on 2005-05-28 UTC

Chancellor Chess - Book contains several chess problems using the Chancellor (R+N) piece. We should update Piececlopedia articles to include links to any problems, or endgame positions, using the piece in the article. And, ideally, this site would have a monograph on chess variant endgame theory. Here is a brief note:

The endgame where White has King (h8) and Queen (h2) against Black's King (b1) and Pawn (c2) is drawn after 1.Qh7 Ka1 2.Qxc2 stalemate. Or White can keep on checking until the fifty move rule applies. There is simply no way to move the White King closer to the Black Pawn. But substituting a Chancellor for the Queen (h2) leads to 1.Cd2+ Kc1 2.Cb3+ Kd1 3.Cd3+ Ke2 4.Cd4+ winning the Pawn and the game. The Chancellor is a subtle and fascinating piece - I rarely design a chess variant without including it.

Steve wrote on 2005-05-28 UTCGood ★★★★
A position from a Dvoretsky book where I changed a black knight into a

  White- Ka2 Bg8 Nh8 Pf3
  Black- RNd3 Kf6 Pf4

 1...RNb4+ 2.Ka3 RNa6+ 3.Kb3 RNb8+ 4.Kc4 RNxg8 and 5...RNxh8 next.
 Some fancy footwork by the RookKnight.

Steve wrote on 2005-05-28 UTCGood ★★★★
Here we have common, basic RookKnight mate
white- RNc1
black- Kg8 Pf7,g7,h6
 1.RNc8+ Kh7 2.RNf8#.
 Simple but important stuff that should be on a RookKnight webpage
somewhere. This seems to be the most frequet reoccuring mate with this
piece, by a wide margin.

Fergus Duniho wrote on 2004-09-21 UTC
You were right about the dates being switched. I've now fixed it. Thanks.

David Paulowich wrote on 2004-09-17 UTC
The Encyclopedia Britannica (1911) says: 'The chancellor of an order of knighthood discharges notarial duties and keeps the seal.' Sounds good to me - and we all agree on the spelling! Can anyone give references for the noun (not the proper name) 'marshall' before, say, 1940? <p>Looks like the dates for Carrera's Chess and The Duke of Rutland's Chess are switched above.

Charles Gilman wrote on 2004-09-17 UTCGood ★★★★
Another point favouring the name Marshal is that the nearest approximation of this in two Japanese characters (the usual name length in Shogi variants) is 'Ma-Sha', meaning Horse Chariot. This sums up the move of the piece rather nicely. While I am making a comment I notice that I have yet to rate this page, so this rating reflects my agreement with the verdict expressed here in favour of Marshal.

Charles Gilman wrote on 2003-05-11 UTC
Have any names been given to combinations of Rook with other oblique leapers, e.g. Rook+Camel, Rook+Zebra, &c.?

Charles Gilman wrote on 2003-03-16 UTC
Fergus Duniho is right, Marshal/Martial is another coincidence like Ashtapada/Spider and Alfil/Elephant. Note also that one of the inflections of the Chinese word Ma means horse (another means mother, possibly the only pun crossing this E-W divide!). To reinforce the name further air forces have Marshals, and flight ties in with zoological Rook!

Fergus Duniho wrote on 2003-03-02 UTC
The name Mars gives us the word martial, but it does not give us the word marshal. These two homonyms are etymologically unrelated.

Anonymous wrote on 2003-03-02 UTC
Except the etymology of 'Marshal' is through Mars, the Roman god of war, and 'marshal' is a high-ranking military officer in many European ranking schemes.

Charles Gilman wrote on 2003-03-01 UTC
There is no getting away from the problem of Empress for a piece weaker
than the Queen, whose bishop move alone is more powerful than the
bishop's own as it can be executed from a starting square of either
colour. The first name that I saw was Chancellor, but having read the
above I am won over to Marshall; the Mare element in the name preserves
the femininity (in mediæval eyes) of a piece having the move of the home
and refuge that the Rook represents.
Besides, there is a much more suitable meaning for Empress: a 3d piece
combining rook, bishop, and unicorn. This would reflect it being a Queen
with an extra dmiension. Tying in with this could be Emperor for a 3d king
that can also move one square triagonally, and Viceroy for a piece that
can only move one-square triagonally (i.e. a triagonal version of the
Wazir and Fers).

Fergus Duniho wrote on 2003-01-25 UTC
I don't think it is desirable or feasible to enforce standardized names. I
believe it's best to respect the autonomy of individual game creators,
allowing them to choose whatever names they prefer. But I also believe
that game creators are best served by knowing the history of the pieces,
so that they can make informed decisions about what to name a piece. I
also believe it is good to provide reasons for and against certain names,
allowing the game creator the freedom to judge whether or not the reasons
are good ones. This allows game creators to freely make informed
decisions, which is what's best.

As it happens, this piece and the Bishop-Knight piece are probably the two
pieces with the longest list of different piece names. This is because
they are the most popular fairy pieces, but they have never been standard
pieces. The standard pieces and the little-used pieces are generally known
by fewer names, and it is easier to settle on common names for them. But
these two pieces have been used in several unrelated games, possibly
reinvented several times, and they have acquired a longer list of names.

Glenn Overby II wrote on 2003-01-24 UTC
I think the solution is education and encouragement, not some sort of
unenforceable faux compulsion.

To this end, I think that encouraging the use of a slightly tightened
Betza notation on a widespread basis has clear merit.

I also think that designers for their part would be well-served by some
modest research before they jump to publication--and their games are in
fact better served by forging their links to the family tree with good

Tony Paletta wrote on 2003-01-24 UTC
I definitely OK with not insisting on a convention; my main objection is to
any insistence on a new convention to replace the problemist's one of
Princess/BN and Empress/RN. I also don't think there is any known
convention among 'CV players', or anyone who could (at this time) speak
for them. 

I would like it to be easier to find out what an author is talking about.
As a partial solution, I think John Lawson's suggestion has merits.

John Lawson wrote on 2003-01-24 UTC
While it is convenient to have universally understood conventional names
for common variant pieces, it will always be true that variant designers
will want to use ad hoc names that fit the theme of their variant.

Additionally, there *are* conventional names for the most usual
first-order atomic moves (Ferz, Wazir, Alfil, Dababbah, Knight, Camel) and
second-order moves (Rook, Bishop, Queen, King) built from them.  Add the
nearly universally understood use of 'rider' and 'leaper', and it is easy
to describe most variant pieces.

I am in agreement with Mike Nelson in supporting the universal use of
Ralph Betza's funny notation in move descriptions, and I further believe
that an effort to standardize the syntax of funny notation would be
worthwhile.  Once the syntax is consistent, so that a given move can be
validly descibed in ony one way, the Piececlopedia could be upgraded to a
database, where, e.g., one could enter a query for 'ADF' (but not 'AFD' or
'FAD') and get a list of all the names of pieces with that move and what
variants they are used in.  This seems like an enormous labor, but there
is now so much material on the CVP that no one can be familiar with it
all, and this will aid designers in discovering if their new variant has
been anticipated by someone else.

Michael Nelson wrote on 2003-01-24 UTC
With due respect to problemists, Chess problems are not Chess and Fairy
Chess problems are not Chess Variants.  Though, of course many individuals
have a high level of interest in both problems and games, the overlap is
by no means 100%.  For myself, I have only a very mild interest in
problems (though I can see why someone could find them fascinating). 
Similiarly, I have known problemist fanatics who have little interest in
playing the game--to each his own.

If there is to be an orthodoxy in the naming of variant pieces let it be
based on usage in games rather than in problems--likewise, if there is to
be an orthodoxy in the naming of problem pieces, let it be based on usage
in problems rather than games.

I don't really care what someone names a piece.  What would be a nice
touch on the game pages would be to put the piece's 'funny notation' after
the name:  Thus the inventor could use Chancellor (RN), Marshal (RN),
Empress (RN), or Bogeyman (RN) and I know at a glance what piece is being
refered to.

Peter Aronson wrote on 2003-01-24 UTC
However, both Marshal(l) and Chancellor where in use long before problemests discovered these pieces. It seems to me if you're going to talk precedence, than Empress is a new-comer. In any case, I don't see any reason why we should 'nudge' anyone toward using 'standard' terms -- if a variant designer wants to have a piece called a <b>Goshdak</b> that moves like a Rook or a Knight, all I'd want is a note that the piece is more commonly called a Marshal or a Chancellor. And yes, I wouldn't even mention Empress, since among variant <u>players</u> that name is far less well known.

Tony Paletta wrote on 2003-01-24 UTC
It seems to me that there are only two ways to name the B+N and R+N: either
they are the Princess (B+N) and Empress (R+N) or they are whatever you
want to call them in your CV. 

My reasons? There is a well-established group of dedicated problemists --
many active for decades -- who adopted the Princess/Empress convention
long before this web site was started. While I'm not a problemist, I
respect their efforts: adopting different names as the preferred choices
seems arrogant, insulting and needlessly confusing.

While I have no objection to a 'grandfather rule' that would allow
existing CVs to keep whatever name the author chose, I think we should
(gently?) nudge contributors toward the problemist's standard, since
different names for the same off-the-shelf fairy chess pieces (Camels,
Zebras, etc.)usually makes no sense.

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