In Dromedary Chess the objective is checkmate. Normal chess rules apply except for the following. Any piece (not pawn) adjacent to the friendly King acquires additional movement powers. Positioned next to the majesty it can move like a Dromedary (Camel), namely leap three squares in a straight line, and one to the side (3+1). So now any piece can go to the kingly stable, mount a Dromedary, and ride away.
As the bishop is positioned adjacent to the king it can move like a long- leaping Camel, in all directions (not just the two highlighted here).
The Dromedary, under the name of Camel, is a piece that dates back at least to Tamerlane Chess, allegedly invented by Timur Lenk. The Camel is used in many modern chess variants, but it seldom appears to its advantage since its long leaps makes it somewhat awkward to handle. Another factor is that it is colour-bound and can only reach half of the positions on the board. In this variant the Dromedary capabilities are utilized in a different way. It does not appear as a physical piece. Instead, any piece can, as it were, mount a Dromedary, and make a long leap. Pieces that fulfil the requirements for making a Dromedary leap are referred to as dromedaries, e.g., "a bishop-dromedary on f1".
This variant is interesting because there is an inherent conflict between protecting the King, and, on the other hand, to keep the King near the battle situation, while it can increase the strength of the friendly pieces, which can then attack by Dromedary jumps. Probably one should keep the King in the center for a while, and not castle too soon. Already in the middle game, a daring player might advance with the King, in order to provide his army with Dromedary reinforcement.
The endurance and strength of the dromedary (Arabian camel) have made it a valuable beast of burden. The dromedary, generally used as a saddle animal, can cover more than 161 km (100 mi) in a day. It is also an effective battle animal.
There is also a variant where Scorpions take the place of the pawns. The Scorpion has the additional moves of a Knight, but only in two forward directions: east-north-east, and west-north-west. There are no additional capture moves.The Scorpion's value is half the value of a Knight or Bishop, that is, 1.5. This means that a light piece can be exchanged for two Scorpions, a possibility which often occurs. In the endgame it could become very dangerous, and its value often increases. Dromedary Chess, and the Scorpion pawn, were invented by undersigned, June 2006.
The two oblique moves in the image are the Scorpions two extra movement possibilities. It can only capture like a regular pawn.
• You can download my free Dromedary Chess program here (updated 2007-11-12), but you must own the software Zillions of Games to be able to run it (I recommend the download version).
• You can play Dromedary Chess by e-mail here.
• Don't miss my other chess variants.
© M. Winther 2006