River Chess Rules


The ordinary rules of Western chess applies with the following exceptions:

CROSSING THE RIVER
The river can be crossed in 4 ways:


1. By swimming

River Chess swimmer
Only the Pawns can swim over the river.

It will take one move to get into the river, and swim over to the other side, and a second move to get out of the water, to dry land.


While in the river, the pawn can move side-ways, one square at a time.
This is useful for escaping boats.


A Pawn can attack any piece on his way out of the water by moving one square diagonally.


The opponent can attack the pawn in the water,
but both pieces will then perish from drowning!



2. By Jumping

Only Knights can jump over the river.

It jumps with a normal move, straight over the river, and then one square to the left or right.



3. By Pontoon Bridge

River Chess pontoon bridge

All pieces can use the pontoon bridges.

But first you have to build one.

To build a pontoon bridge you need to have two of your pieces on the river bank, adjacent to the location of the bridge.

It takes one move to build a bridge, and the builder may use it immediately, in the same move, by moving the piece across or onto the bridge. Thereafter, both players can use the bridge.


4. By boat

When empty, you can move a boat if it is on your side of the river.

Empty boats can only be moved one square, straight or diagonally.

All pieces can use a boat, one at a time.

A piece on a boat can sail one or two squares per move.


To embark, the boat has to lie on the same side of the river as the piece you’re going to move aboard.

The piece has to be moved aboard in the way it normally moves (e.g. straight for the rook or diagonally for the bishop).

Embarking the boat counts as one step, you can then move the boat one square.

Thereafter the boat (with its passenger), may sail one or two squares, or sail the boat one square, and then disembark the piece.


Pieces on boats can be captured from land.


Pieces on boats can be captured by a piece on the other boat, if the boats are lying next to each other, diagonally for bishop, queen, king and pawn (pawn move forward only as usual), or side by side for rook, queen and king.

The attacker will remain on the boatthat has been captured.


A piece on a boat can take a pawn in the water.
The attack can be done with any piece aboard, from any direction.
The piece will remain on the boat.

A boat by itself, without passenger, can not take a pawn.


Boats can also be used to move a piece straight over the river, if they are lying next to each other, diagonally or side by side


Heads Up

A piece on a boat is very powerful since it can advance a step in one direction, and then strike in another direction, all in one single move.


In the endgame, boats are useful for the king as an escape route.
Just keep him close to the river!


This is not check.


This is check!