chess variant needs more play testing. It may evolve
In a similar way that Zanzibar
is complementing Metamachy, Pemba is filling the holes
of the Shako
's lineup. Hence the
name of this game as Pemba
a neighboring but a smaller island than Zanzibar.
The piece selection here care
about the relatively modest size of the board. Therefore, some
powerful or long-distance favorite pieces such as the Lion or the
Eagle have been discarded. Instead it has been managed to include
the natural complements of the pieces of Shako. Thus, the Machine,
orthogonal counterpart of the Elephant, and the Crocodile,
diagonal counterpart of the Cannon are present in Pemba. Finally,
both sorts of “elongated” Knights, Camels and Giraffes are
The board is the decimal board already used for Shako.
Here, there are 60 pieces of 12
different types, 30 for each player: 1 King, 1 Queen, 2 Bishops, 2
Knights, 2 Camels, 2 Rooks, 2 Cannons, 2 Elephants, 2 Giraffes, 2
Crocodiles, 2 Machines and 10 Pawns.
Setup at Pemba
Pieces from Shako
- Cannon: exactly as
in Shako, it is borrowed from Xiangqi.
It moves without taking like a Rook, but it takes by going in a
straight horizontal and vertical line and jumping over exactly
one piece. When a Cannon takes a piece, there must be exactly
one piece between the original and final square of the Cannon's
move - this piece may be of either color.
- Elephant: exactly as in Shako.
It moves one or two squares diagonally. When an Elephant moves
two squares, no matter what intermediate squares contain. Note
that it always stays on the same color of square. The Elephant
moves as the combined Alfil and Firzan (Ferz) from Shatranj,
two pieces which were also present in medieval Chess and have
disappeared with the birth of modern moves for the Bishop and
- Pawn: exactly as in usual
Chess, including en-passant capture and a non capturing
double step on its initial move. Pawns promote when
reaching the last and tenth row of the board to a piece chosen
among Queen, Rook, Knight, Bishop, Elephant, Cannon, Camel,
Giraffe, Crocodile or Machine. It must be noted however that the
Pawn needs a minimum of six steps to get promoted, which is one
additional step compare to orthodox chess.
Pieces specific to Pemba
- Camel: jumps to the opposite
square of a 2x4 rectangle, like an extended Knight. No matter
what intermediate squares contain. It is also described as a
(3,1) leaper. Note that it always stays on the same color of
square. A well known piece from medieval Muslim great Chess like
- Giraffe: jumps to the opposite square of
a 3x4 rectangle, like an extended Knight. No matter what
intermediate squares contain. It is also described as a (3,2)
leaper. Note that it always changes the same color of its
square. That piece is found in Alfonso X's Grant
Acedrex. The same pattern, but without jumping, is found
in Janggi, Korean Chess, for the
Elephant. Under the name of Zebra, it is also a fairy piece used
by problemists for compositions.
- Crocodile: it is
the diagonal counterpart of the Chinese Cannon. It moves like a
Bishop (which was named Crocodile in Grant
Acedrex) and needs an intermediate piece between itself
and its victim to capture it. The Crocodile jumps the
intermediate and takes the victim on its square. The
intermediate is left unaffected. Also known as Vao by
- Machine: it is an orthogonal counterpart of the
Elephant as it moves one or two squares orthogonally, jumping
over the first square if it is occupied. Then, it combines the
moves of old Dabbaba and Wazir found in ancient Muslim Chess
variants. The word Dabbaba designated a siege machine at war in
Arabic, hence the name given for this piece.
- End Of Game:
The end-of-game rules, checkmate, stalemate, etc., are
identical to standard chess and to Shako.
Zillions gives these average values, normalized to 5
for the Rook :
Pawn: 1.3 ; Giraffe:2.1 ; Camel: 2.3 ;
Elephant: 2.7 ; Knight: 2.7 ; Crocodile: 3.1 ; Machine:
3.2 ; Bishop: 3.3 ; Cannon: 4.8 ; Rook: 5 ;
A maybe more realistic estimate would be:
Pawn: 1 ; Giraffe: 2 ; Camel: 2.5 ;
Elephant: 2.75 ; Knight: 3 ; Crocodile: 3 ; Machine:
3.25 ; Bishop: 3.5 ; Cannon: 4 ; Rook: 5 ; Queen: 9
These values are just given for a very rough
You can play Pemba if you own Zillions-of-Games.
Download this zip-file (not ready yet)
Find Pemba in the
Chessvariants pages (soon)
There are presets to play
Pemba there (soon).
4 types de pièces supplémentaires, compléments
logiques des pièces déjà présentes
Diagrams made with the fantastic Chess
Board Painting Tools provided by Musketeer