October 11, 1990, Bruce Balkden, balden@van-bc.wimsey.bc.ca, 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 Scachzeitung 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 visualization of the moves of the Unicorn
(see below), just as the two-colour scheme permits easy visualization of
the moves of the Bishop.
Notes on practical construction
A practical model of the cube consists of 5 plexiglass 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 visualization of bishop
moves.
Notation
Various types of algebraic notation have been used. In this article, I use
the following: I, II, III, IV, and V denote the 5 levels from bottom to
top, with I being White's home level and V 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 caes 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 |
+----+----+----+----+----+
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
The Chess Variant pages are maintained by Hans Bodlaender, hansb@cs.ruu.nl.