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The Chess Variant Pages

Raft Chess (Floßschach)

Raft chess is a modest chess variant where a part of the board is submerged by water. Two rafts are floating in the water. The game was invented in Germany, probably at the chessclub Stotel/Loxstedt (near Bremen). My description follows the booklet Schach mal anders.

Board and setup

The usual board is divided in land and water. The land consists of the ranks 1, 2, 7, and 8, and of the files a and b. The rest of the board is water and may not be entered by any chess piece. There are two rafts consisting of 2 times 2 squares floating in the water.

The pieces start at their usual position and each player chooses a starting position for one raft.


Pieces can move onto a raft, from a raft, and they can move on a raft. They cannot move across a raft in one move, they have to stop there. Moves from one raft to the other are possible. A player who has a majority of pieces on a raft can move the raft instead of a regular move. Allowed raft moves are: Move the raft one space rookwise or rotate the raft 90 degrees.

Aim and Rules

The aim is checkmate of the other king. All rules of FIDE chess apply.


Deutsche Schachjugend (editors): Schach mal anders, Berlin 1996.
Written by Jörg Knappen.