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This item is a game information page
It belongs to categories: Orthodox chess, 
It was last modified on: 2001-10-20
 Author: Bruce  Balden and Hans L. Bodlaender. Inventor: Dr. Ferdinand  Maack. Raumschach. The classical variant of three-dimensional chess: 5 by 5 by 5. (5x5x5, Cells: 125) (Recognized!)[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Kevin Pacey wrote on 2016-02-18 UTCGood ★★★★
I may be wrong, but so far I've concluded that in Raumschach there are possible mating positions with a K & B plus R (or an opposite coloured B) vs. lone K, but it seems that they are not forcible, or 'basic' mates (unlike K & Q vs. lone K). I'm wondering if a K plus some combination(s) of 3 pieces (aside from including any Q or P) can force mate against a lone K. Perhaps more than 3 such pieces are required?

Malcolm Webb wrote on 2013-01-30 UTCBelowAverage ★★
I noted an acknowledgement of Mr Pfieffer in pointing out the error. However there is no acknowledgement of David Paulowich for pointing out another error. According to Dickins' book Black pawns promote on A first rank, White pawns promote on E fifth rank.

Malcolm Webb wrote on 2013-01-30 UTCBelowAverage ★★
This page (& the associated Zillions rules file) would be good if the pieces were set up correctly. Mr Pfieffer is right: according to Anthony Dickins "A Guide to Fairy Chess" the positions of the Black pieces on the D-level should be:

Da5-Unicorn, Db5-Bishop, Dc5-Queen, Dd5-Unicorn, De5-Bishop.

That is, each player should see each of their Bishops to the left of each of their Unicorns. Unfortunately the author has not yet corrected this error.

Dickins' book is a secondary source, based on articles by T.R.Dawson in Chess Amateur 1926. The most authoritative source would be Ferdinand Maack's original three books in German; if anyone has access to these books and can show that Dickins was wrong, then I stand corrected. However this page references Dickins' book without correctly implementing it.

There are problems with Raumschach as a game, one being the incomplete coverage of the 3D-board by the Unicorns. However Raumschach has a place in Chess history, and should be correctly presented with all its faults.

Anonymous wrote on 2011-02-28 UTCPoor ★
both bishops should be beside the queen.

Matthew La Vallee wrote on 2008-04-11 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
David, Thank you very much for fixing what I could not in the preset for Raumschach. I looks terrific! It is now exactly as it should be. Say, how did you alternate the colors on the boards? Can we replace the original preset with your revised version? Again, Kudos!

Matthew La Vallee wrote on 2008-04-10 UTCPoor ★
Yes, poor, but not Raumschach, itself. It is the game's preset which is 'poor.'.'*** The preset given on this site for Raumschach is improperly set-up in several ways. ( Here is a link to my only partially fixed version. Still, several of it's major problems are fixed.).*** First of all, the boards themselves are aligned incorrectly. The preset on this site depicts them in an identical array, side-by-side. Really, the squares on the second and fourth boards should be mirror images of the boards above and below them. Thus, the squares Aa1, Ba1, Ca1, Da1, and Ea1 should alternate in color, as should, obviously, every other square on the board with regard to its vertical file, and should be the same color along 3D diagonals. One needs only to look in the rules section for Raumschach to note the discrepancy between the example board given there, and the boards present in the preset.*** The incorrect positions of the second and fourth boards (or, if you want, the first, third, and fifth boards- it makes no difference) have many potentially confusing consequences with regard to all of the 3D movement of the pieces. The Bishops, and the Queens, when executing 3D, board-to-board, diagonal movements, are NOT color bound. They are so when moving on a single board, but, should either move one board above, or below, diagonally, they swap colors, and continue to do so top to bottom. Conversely, when a Rook moves along a 3D file it IS a color bound piece, and the Unicorn, which may never move on one board, 2D, is ALWAYS color bound, though in the original game, it is not. Even a Knight, when moving two squares, say, up, then over one square, must first pass through two squares of the same color.***The CVP Game Courier's Raumschach preset has another problem; the placement of the Unicorns and the Bishops are, here, the opposite of the games original starting set-up, and is, again, demonstrated in the rules page. The white Bishop on the square which, in this preset, is named Db1 (yet another problem!) should really be positioned at Da1, and the Unicorn should be at Db1. All of the other Bishops and unicorns should similarly 'swap' positions, as well. I'm not certain if this inconsistency should have a substantial impact on the game's play. Still, unless one is attempting a variant, it would probably be best to depict the game as it was originally conceived. *** Alas, we come to yet another problem. All of the pieces are placed exactly opposite of how they should be arranged. Here, the white pieces start on the E ranks, and the dark pieces are placed on the A ranks. Though one might consider this a technicality, if one were to, say, want to transcribe a game of Raumschach played on this site, it would make no sense to someone accustomed to the game's proper configuration.*** I am well aware of the difficulty involved in creating these presets. I have just completed one myself- Rennchess II, Eric Greenwood's new sequel to his awe-inspiring game Rennchess I. I need only finish its rules, and y'all can try it. I am also struggling with another preset of my own design at the moment, as well. I even tried to edit the preset for Raumschach, but was only partially successful. There were certain changes which were beyond my current capacities. I'm new at this. Yet, I do think we owe it to the inventor of Raumschach, Herr Doktor Ferdinand Maack (yes, apparently, that was really his name!), to portray his game as he intended. This game was invented in 1907! Few other chess variants can claim such seniority, despite Raumshach's often discussed flaws. It's a pretty darn fun, very challenging game- flaws and all!*** Finally, I wanted to make it clear that I mean no disrespect towards the creator of this preset, and, if I come across as snide in any way, it was entirely unintended. I respect that the creator of this Raumschach preset took the time to make a preset (and a difficult one, at that!) for a chess variant which has been, for many, a source of contention for some time.*** Would anyone 'in the know' care to fix the remaining problems which I could not? The other changes it needs are as follows: the second and fourth boards need to be mirror images of the others; the light pieces need to be moved to the bottom of the first and second boards; the dark pieces need to go to the top of the fourth and fifth; I changed the labels, but they ought to be put back such that they are read from left to right, once each side's pieces are moved appropriately; and, I need to be told not to write such long comments! Say, is it even possible to alternate the square colors of these side-by-side boards? Me, I dunno!

David Paulowich wrote on 2007-06-07 UTCGood ★★★★

Regarding Charles Gilman's [2003-05-25] comment, Jim Aikin called the (Bishop + Unicorn) piece a Wizard in his 2001 variant Five Up.

I consider the (Ferz + Unicorn) piece to be another interesting idea. First reference I can find to this piece: November 4, 2001, david moeser made posts #976 and #977 in Yahoo chessvariants, suggesting the Unicorn in Raumschach be replaced by a Ferzicorn.


Mark J. Reed wrote on 2006-12-28 UTCGood ★★★★
So is it possible to win this game without a Queen? I've tried all sorts of combinations against a bare king and it's just so dang mobile...

Matthew Paul wrote on 2004-10-04 UTCGood ★★★★
The Unicorn probably deserves a piecelopedia page, as it covers a fundamental direction in 3D. Although it might not be powerful on it's own, it's direction of movement (the so-called 'triagonal') can be used in combination with other pieces.

Kaneda wrote on 2002-08-06 UTCGood ★★★★
I have always liked the idea of using the unicorn as a knight with an added dimension of movement. it's how i first imagined he would move instead of as a bishop with an added dimension. when my friends and i play, we use it this way because we find that there aren't very many good strategies that the unicorn can implement moving as a bishop. as a knight, we allow it to move in all three dimensions, one space in two and two spaces in one, ie. foward once, left once, up twice, or back one, right twice and up once. there are many combinations and it is much more difficut to determine where it will end up allowing surprise attacks to the uncautious. i haven't sat down and analysed any potential problems using the piece this way, nor have my friend and i encountered any. as for the king, we found it becomes easier to check mate if you cut out 8 of his moves, those eight being where he moves in 3d diaganols. this is just my input of minor tweaks to an otherwise great impemintation of 3d chess. the most fun one i've played as a matter of fact.

Fearless wrote on 2002-08-01 UTCGood ★★★★
I like the setup, it's the most strait-forward, simple version of 3D chess that I've seen. However, there is a problem. The way the unicorn currently is, you need to have four of them for the same reason that you need 2 bishops in standard chess. Upon further investigating, you will find that each unicorn can only reach 30 squares (60, total) at any point in the game. That leaves 65 squares that they can never reach. As for using 4 color squares, that would be a good idea if you used 2 pairs of closely related colors, e.g. blue and green instead of black and clear and gray instead of white. This way, you can still see the bishop's diagonals. There should be 30 squares of 3 of the colors and 35 of the color that's on the corners of boards A,C, and E. Also, any given 2x2 square from any board should have all four colors (trust me, I've worked it out). As far as the king having too many moves, all the other pieces have added moves, too. Plus, there's more pieces anyway, so checkmating the king shouldn't be THAT hard. But other than the unicorn problem, it looks like a pretty good game.

Jim Aikin wrote on 2001-05-14 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
Raumschach is elegant in design (a good thing!) but not quite as good as it could be. The unicorn is far too weak to be a useful piece, and the king is so mobile that he is bound to be difficult to checkmate. I'm currently (5/15/01) working on these problems, and hope to have my new version ready for posting before too long. --Jim Aikin ([email protected])

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