3 Man chess in the Round

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Finally, a Chess variant board has been developed that accommodates three players, without compromising ANY of the rules, strategies, or competitive challenges that make Chess the best board game in the world. The only changes from conventional chess are some protocol issues that must be followed to maintain order

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Transcript of 3 Man chess in the Round

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Finally, a Chess variant board has been developed that accommodates three players, without compromising ANY of the rules, strategies, or competitive challenges that make Chess the best

board game in the world.  The only changes from conventional chess are some protocol issues that must be followed to maintain order where the teams border each other, which is simple and necessary.  Also, please

notice that the trajectory lines orienting from the outer rank, are simply visual aids to help guide diagonal moves passing through the center.  If the path is clear, a diagonal move starting from the outer rank can pass

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through the center and sweep back around to where it originated.  The complexities of the third player are infinite.  Your threatened piece may be allowed to maintain occupancy as your position is beneficial to the

threatening player.  But how long can it last?  This scenario may exist all over the board.  There are multiple trust and doubt situations between all players.  An unexpected move might well result in a cascading massacre. 

Defense is crucial since a diagonal move through the center, or a horizontal move around the center can sneak up behind you.  A player

can be checkmated by a combination of both other players or ultimately one player can checkmate both other players at the same time.






3 Man Chess715 Shawnee DriveNashville,TN 37205

e-mail to: [email protected]


The game is patented (Des. 376,824). 3 Man Chess is played "in the round," that is, the field of play is circular. The game board consists of 6 concentric ranks of 24 squares each. Three conventional teams of 16 pieces border each other adjacently on the outer 2 ranks; the teams are separated and protected from each other by impassable "moats." A circular void occupies the center of the board, through which moves may pass, but not rest. Vertical moves pass across the center to the opposite "spoke," while horizontal moves orbit around the circular ranks. The diagonal sweeps are interesting and dangerous, taking on a spiral quality. A diagonal move starting from the outer rank can swing through the center and return to its origin. These "teardrop" trajectory lines are colored into the board, as visual aids only. (Rotation through the outer rank is not allowed continuously in the same move.) After just a couple of turns around the board, strategy becomes intensely complex and fascinating.

G AME BOARD : The board's true wood rendered image is laminated to a 191/4 inch diameter, 1/8 inch thick round sheet of tan Komatex™ (PVC).  It has been cut to fold into thirds.  A newer style

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board that some stores already carry is 19inch diameter.  The image is  silkscreened to 2mm thick  Sintra™ (that is 1mm thinner than the Komatex, but a higher density PVC).

G AME PIECE S: The pieces are black, gray, and ivory in color.  Each set of game pieces, consists of 48 pieces comprising 3 teams of 16 pieces each.  All pieces are solid plastic with felt bottoms.  Kings are 2.625 inches tall, with a 1-inch diameter base.


The gameboard, pieces, and rules are now being shipped  in the new retail box.  


3 Man Chess is played just like conventional Chess.  There was NEVER any intention of trying to make the game "better" because that can't be done.  However, being able to play with three minds interacting creates situations that never arise in conventional Chess. 

There is a rule sheet (next page), but you can start playing without it and refer to it as needed.  Basically, three sets of pieces (the same sets as in conventional Chess) border each other on the outer two ranks of the round board.  Since the "rows" are now concentric circles, a Rook may

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rotate around the entire board or move straight across the board passing through the center.  There is no space to occupy in the center, you simply pass through it.  By the nature of the board, diagonal moves "bend" toward and may rotate through the center.  The "trajectory" lines on the board are only visual aids to help you see and plan possible diagonal moves.  Diagonal moves such as a Bishop, may rotate through the center but cannot rotate through (or bounce off) the outer rank in one move.  There are "Moats" between each team on the outer rank.  They are necessary to keep Rooks from capturing each other on the first move. These Moats may become bridged if the outer rank between two teams becomes vacant.  Also, there are Creeks that run two ranks toward the center off each Moat.  The Creeks only purpose is that a Pawn cannot diagonally capture across the Creek (it must first be past the Creek).

That's basically it.  The Rules of the Game (next page) explain in more detail Moat bridging, Checking through Moats, and Checkmate.

Clicking here will take you to a website that will explain a system of notation for 3 Man Chess.

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(2) MOMENTARILY, while the outer rank of an active team is vacant of ANY pieces. Once that outer rank becomes occupied (by any piece such as one that just crossed the BRIDGED MOAT), the bridges are raised, and a piece may become trapped inside!

4. KNIGHTS must observe the 2 & 1 rule of travel, mentioned above.

(1) If any configuration of a KNIGHTS move would carry it HORIZONTALLY across a MOAT, then that move is illegal, unless that MOAT is BRIDGED.

3 MAN CHESS: A Review

A game of chess played between three or more players has quite a different quality to it

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compared to orthodox, two-player chess. The addition of a third person adds a dimension of political intrigue and savoir faire to the game. Instead of relying on oneself, one must build (and break) alliances. Whereas the motives of your opponent are well known in orthodox chess, in three player chess one is at times unsure of what a player's intentions might be (other than to win the game of course).

3 MAN CHESS in the round is a new 3 player chess game, that takes two old ideas (chess on a circular board and 3 player chess), and elegantly combines them into one game. The game comes with a nice, laminated circular board, a large felt carrying case (which may be use with a coat hanger to hang the game in a closet for convenient storage), three sets of nice quality, plastic chess pieces (also with their own felt carrying bag), and instructions. In addition to being an enjoyable game, this set makes a nice display for those interested in a conversation piece, or something to highlite a room or a piece of furniture.

The rules are very straightforward and easy to understand. There are some rare conditions regarding checkmate, and the possible capturing of an opponent's King, that were not covered in the rules, but these have since been added and are now covered adequately.

The three players all start out next to one another, so that on the opposite side of the circle is half of one player's army, and half of the other player's. Pieces are prevented from immediately capturing their neighbors by the introduction of a moat, separating the armies for the first two "rows". This moat is usually uncrossable, but may be crossed under certain conditions (which usually occur later in the game). Horizontal moves are circular as they trace the circumference of the various concentric circles. But diagonal moves also turn out to be circular in many cases because diagonal connector lines through the center of the board.

This game manages to keep fairly close to orthodox chess, while ingeniously using a circular board to allow three player symmetry. The game works well and is fun to play. This game would be appropriate not only for those interested in chess variants and novelties, but for any chess player interested the more social and politically intriguing three player experience.

Date of review: March 1999 Reviewer: David Howe

note: The construction of the game has changed since this review was published. Please see the "Description of Game Board & Pieces" for the improved revisions.

Proposed 3 Man Chess Notations

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written 2003/03/27

    Once in a while I had given thought as to how one might record games of 3 Man Chess. At first the problem seemed a little unusual, given that the 3 Man Chess board is circular, as pictured below.

    I printed out a piece of polar coordinate graph paper (printed with an older, freeware version of the now shareware Graph Paper Printer) and filled in the black squares in pencil to make a rough representation of the board. Now that I had something I could look at and mark on if necessary, I got inspired...

    I realized that a modified version of good ol' algebraic notation could be used if one thought of the circular board as merely a distortion of a rectangular board, as pictured above.

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Proposed modified algebraic notation for use with 3 Man Chess

    Clockwise from white (or left from white if you're using the rectangular board depiction to visualise), the three colours are set thusly: white, gray, and black. For the purposes of notation, the board is divided into three zones, one for each colour. Each zone starts at the outer rank (where the major pieces of each colour are set up) and extend to the void (the unoccupiable center space in 3 Man Chess), as well as extending to either moat bordering the pieces. These zones should be designated a letter or group of letters, such as WH (white) GR (gray) or BL (black). The files start from the king's rook at "a", and go on to "h" at the queen's rook. The ranks begin at the outer rank with "1" and end at the inner rank just before the void at "6". A single piece move is expressed first by zone, then file, then rank. Moves are noted in order, from white, gray, and then black. Using this proposed modification of algebraic notation, it should be possible to keep track of 3 Man Chess games.

Example: WHe4 (pawn to e4 in the White zone), BLBa2 (bishop to a2 in the Black zone), GRRcxBLf3 (rook on the c file of the Gray zone takes f3 in the Black zone), etc...

Proposed 3 Man Chess modified Forsyth notation

The rules of regular Forsyth notation apply with the following exceptions:

All pieces are denoted by lower-case letters. Colours are distinguished by the upper-case letters W (white), G (gray), and

B (black). Before notation, the colour of the zone is written. Zones are noted in the order of black, gray, then white.


Black 8/8/8/8/BpBpBpBpBpBpBpBp/BrBnBbBkBqBbBnBrGray 8/8/8/8/GpGpGpGpGpGpGpGp/GrGnGbGkGqGbGnGrWhite 8/8/8/8/WpWpWpWpWpWpWpWp/WrWnWbWkWqWbWnR

    Now I'll be able to post some 3 Man game notations on my site for anyone else with a 3 Man set to read, and no doubt criticize. Ye gods, I'm a nerd!

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