The Chess Variant Pages
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October 11, 1990, Bruce Balden posted the following rules of the original Raumschach game on rec.games.chess.

THREE DIMENSIONAL CHESS

This is the original RAUMSCHACH as invented in Germany, a long time ago.

Bibliography

Modern books

A Guide to Fairy Chess, Anthony Dickins, Dover, pp 16-18
Classics of Fairy Chess, T. R. Dawson, Dover.

English language periodicals

T.R. Dawson, Chess Amateur "Half Hours" column, July 1926 to December (volumes XX and XXI).

This source contains, among other things, a complete game between experienced players.

Fairy Chess Review, December, 1945.

Other material

Das Schachraumspiel: Dreidimensionales Schachspiel'
Spielregeln zum Raumschach
Raumschach: Einfuehrung in die Spielpraxis
all by Dr Maack of Hamburg, early part of this century.

Deutsche Schachzeitung 1878

Board

I hope some correspondent in Hamburg can dig some of this material out of the archives.

The board is a cube divided into 5 pieces in each of the three coordinate planes, creating a 125-cube playing volume. The cubes are alternately coloured black and white for convenience, although four-colour schemes have been advocated to allow for easy visualisation of the moves of the Unicorn (see below), just as the two-colour scheme permits easy visualisation of the moves of the Bishop.

Notes on practical construction

A practical model of the cube consists of 5 plexiglas chess boards, each 5 by 5. The coloring alternates: Board 1 has black in the corner, Board 2 has white in the corner, etc.

The dimensions of the human hand, etc. suggest that the squares should be about 2 inches (5 cm) wide and the board separation should be between 5 and 7 inches, depending on the size of the pieces and the care with which one is willing to move the pieces. The "black" squares should actually be colored with a translucent paint to facilitate the visualisation of bishop moves.

Notation

Various types of algebraic notation have been used. In this article, I use the following: A, B, C, D, and E denote the 5 levels from bottom to top, with A being White's home level and E being Black's. Within each level, ordinary algebraic notation applies. Thus, viewed from the "front" (White's side), the front, left, bottom "square" (representing a cube of course) is Ia1, while the diagonally opposite square is Ve5.

The Pieces

The pieces in the three-dimensional game are:
```Symbol		Piece
K		King
Q		Queen
R		Rook
B		Bishop
S		Knight (German: Springer)
U		Unicorn (German: Einhorn)
P		Pawn

```

Moves

The available moves for each of the traditional pieces Rook, Bishop, and Springer is the same, extended into three dimensions by saying that the move has the same geometrical shape.

Remember that each of the planes that holds one coordinate constant can be thought of as 2D chess board in its own right. In other words, for example, the set of squares at the front of the board, namely

xy1, where x and y are arbitrary, forms a two dimensional board, within which the 2D rules apply. The rules for other cases are similar.

Detailed description of each piece's moves:

Rook

May move as far as possible along any file, rank, or vertical column, until blocked by another piece. A rook positioned at Cc3 on an empty board can move to:
```	Ccx    (i.e. along a file)
Cx3    (i.e. along a rank)
Xc3    vertically, along a column
```

Bishop

May move along diagonal contained within any horizontal plane or other plane parallel to the coordinate planes (i.e. the horizontal, front and side planes and NOT any other plane)

A bishop positioned at Cc3 on an empty board can move to Cd4, Ce5, Cb2, Ca1, Cd2, Ce1, Cb4, Ca5, exactly as in 2D chess Dd3, Ee3, Bb3. Aa3, Db3, Ea3, Bd3, Ae3, in the front plane, Bc2, Ac1, Dc4, Ec5, Bc4, Ac5, Dc2, Ec1 in the side plane, and nowhere else.

NOTE: The bishop's move is perhaps key to understanding this game. A bishop, in particular, does not, and cannot, without changing the fundamental character of the game, have the Unicorn's move( see below).

Unicorn

A Unicorn moves as many expect a bishop to move, in the "three dimensional diagonals". It cannot move within any coordinate plane. A Unicorn placed at Cc3 on an empty board can move to Dd4, Ee5, Bb2, Aa1, Db2, Ea1, Bd4, and Ae5.

Queen

The queen has the moves of ROOK+BISHOP+UNICORN

King

One cell in any direction (including the 3D diagonals), giving the king a range of 26 cells.

Knight

2 in one direction, and 1 in a another, exactly as in 2D chess. Note, however, that the Knight is a much more powerful piece in 3D than in 2D chess.

For example, in 2D chess, a knight at Aa1 cannot reach Ac3 in less than 4 moves. In 3D chess, however, a two-move sequence does it: Aa1 - Bc1 - Aa1.

Check it out! It works.

Pawns

Pawn moves are a little complicated, just as in 2D chess. There is no en-passant rule. This disappears because the board is smaller and because there is no 2-step initial move either. Other than that, the rules are the same:

Pawns move "forward" (towards their side of their home level, which is always one of two directions), and capture bishop-style in 2D diagonals. Thus, a White pawn at Ac2 can move to Ac3 (as in 2D chess) or Bc2 and capture at Ab3, Ad3 (as in 2D chess), or at Bb2, Bd2, and (according to some) at Bc3, although I personally do not like this variant.

Pawns "queen" at their "home row" which for white is the front row of level A and for black is the back row of level E.

Initial Layout

The initial layout is quite similar to original chess.
```Level E
a    b    c    d    e
+----+----+----+----+----+
| BR | BS | BK | BS | BR |  5
+----+----+----+----+----+
| BP | BP | BP | BP | BP |  4
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    |    |    |    |  3
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    |    |    |    |  2
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    |    |    |    |  1
+----+----+----+----+----+

Level D

+----+----+----+----+----+
| BU | BB | BQ | BU | BB |
+----+----+----+----+----+
| BP | BP | BP | BP | BP |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    |    |    |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    |    |    |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    |    |    |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+

Level C

+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    |    |    |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    |    |    |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    |    |    |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    |    |    |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    |    |    |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+

Level B
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    |    |    |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    |    |    |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    |    |    |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
| WP | WP | WP | WP | WP |
+----+----+----+----+----+
| WB | WU | WQ | WB | WU |
+----+----+----+----+----+

Level A

+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    |    |    |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    |    |    |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
|    |    |    |    |    |
+----+----+----+----+----+
| WP | WP | WP | WP | WP |
+----+----+----+----+----+
| WR | WS | WK | WS | WR |
+----+----+----+----+----+

```