Last updated
Developer(s) ThreeChess Team
Publisher(s) ThreeChess Team
Release June 2010
Genre(s) Browser game
Chess variant
Mode(s) multiplayer

ThreeChess is a three-player chess variant with an associated online-play website. The game features all the familiar chess moves and rules, except to win a player must capture an enemy king instead of giving checkmate.

Three-player chess is a family of chess variants specially designed for three players. Many variations of three-player chess have been devised. They usually use a non-standard board, for example, a hexagonal or three-sided board that connects the center cells in a special way. The three armies are differentiated usually by color.

Chess variant games related to, derived from or inspired by chess

A chess variant is a game "related to, derived from, or inspired by chess". Such variants can differ from chess in many different ways, ranging from minor modifications to the rules, to games which have only a slight resemblance.

Checkmate winning game position in chess

Checkmate is a game position in chess and other chess-like games in which a player's king is in check and there is no way to remove the threat. Checkmating the opponent wins the game.


History of ThreeChess

The game San Guo Qi (三國棋, "Game of the Three Kingdoms") is a xiangqi variant and the earliest available for three players. [1] [2] One millennium after, in 1971 Robert Zubrin invented Three-Player Chess [3] and started selling the game in the U.S. The game is quite popular in Europe according to many blogs and websites, [4] and is sold in several countries. In 2010 Rumen Rachkov, Stanislav Popov, and Georgi Semerdjiev created the first online version of chess for three players and named it ThreeChess. The project started in order to participate in the Junior Achievement's Bulgaria Best Graduate Company Competition 2010. The team took first place in Bulgaria, [5] and as domestic champions became qualified for JA-YE Europe Enterprise Challenge 2010, [6] winning the Intel Innovation Award with ThreeChess. [7] The website started on July 1, 2010; [8] play is free and open to everyone.

<i>Xiangqi</i> chess variant native to China

Xiangqi, also called Chinese chess, is a strategy board game for two players. It is one of the most popular board games in China, and is in the same family as Western chess, chaturanga, shogi, Indian chess and janggi. Besides China and areas with significant ethnic Chinese communities, xiangqi is also a popular pastime in Vietnam, where it is known as cờ tướng.

Robert Zubrin American aerospace engineer

Robert Zubrin is an American aerospace engineer and author, best known for his advocacy of human exploration of Mars. He and his colleague at Martin Marietta, David Baker, were the driving force behind Mars Direct, a proposal intended to produce significant reductions in the cost and complexity of such a mission. The key idea was to use the Martian atmosphere to produce oxygen, water, and rocket propellant for the surface stay and return journey. A modified version of the plan was subsequently adopted by NASA as their "design reference mission". He questions the delay and cost-to-benefit ratio of first establishing a base or outpost on an asteroid or another Project Apollo-like return to the Moon, as neither would be able to provide all of its own oxygen, water, or energy; these resources are producible on Mars, and he expects people would be there thereafter.


ThreeChess initial setup; White moves first, play proceeds counterclockwise Starting the game.gif
ThreeChess initial setup; White moves first, play proceeds counterclockwise

ThreeChess is a game for three players, played on a hexagonal-shaped board containing 96 squares of alternating colors. Each player owns the same 16 pieces as in normal chess. The game is played online in Free for All mode, where players compete independently (not in teams).

Chess piece piece deployed on a chessboard

A chess piece, or chessman, is any of the six different movable objects used on a chessboard to play the game of chess.

As in normal chess, check is a direct attack by an enemy piece on a king, and checkmate is a condition of check that a king cannot escape. Unlike normal chess however, checkmate does not win or end the game. (When a player is in checkmate he loses his turn to move. If that player is later freed from the checkmate, he may move again.) The game ends by the capture of a king: the first player to capture an enemy king wins the game.

Check (chess) chess condition

A check is a condition in chess, shogi, and xiangqi that occurs when a player's king is under threat of capture on their opponent's next turn. A king so threatened is said to be in check. A player must get out of check, if possible, by interposing a piece between the threatening piece and the king, capturing the threatening piece, or moving the king to a square where it is no longer in check. If the player cannot move out of check, the game ends in checkmate and the player loses. Players cannot make any move that puts their own king in check.

Starting a game

At the beginning of the game the chessboard is laid out so that each player has a white (or light) colored square at his lower, right-hand side. The pieces are arranged the same way for each game: the queen goes to the left of the player's king, next are the bishops, then knights, then rooks in the corners. The second row ( rank ) is filled with pawns.

Players choose colors by any agreed method. White moves first, followed by Green, then Black, then White again, in a counterclockwise direction. Play continues to alternate in this manner for the entire game.


Check, checkmate and capture

As in normal chess there are only three ways a king can get out of check:

  1. move to a safe square (except castling out of check is not permitted);
  2. block the check with another piece;
  3. capture the checking piece.

If a player has no legal move to escape check, that player is checkmated and must pass his turn and wait. Meanwhile, another player may save the checkmated player with a move that removes the checkmate condition. (A likely try, since otherwise the opponent who gave checkmate may simply capture the king next move to end and win the game.)


Castling is performed the same, and with same conditions as, castling in normal chess. Castling to the right is called rightside castling in ThreeChess (kingside castling in normal chess); castling to the left is called leftside castling (queenside castling in normal chess).

Castling chess move: a king moves 2 squares towards a rook, which moves to the square crossed over by king; allowed only if king and the rook haven’t moved, squares between king and the rook are free and the king is/wont be in check in any of the 3 squares

Castling is a move in the game of chess involving a player's king and either of the player's original rooks. It is the only move in chess in which a player moves two pieces in the same move, and it is the only move aside from the knight's move where a piece can be said to "jump over" another.

En passant

En passant captures are performed the same as in normal chess.

Pawn promotion

Pawns promote when reaching the other side of the board[ clarification needed ] the same as in normal chess.


Similar to normal chess, there are five ways a game may be drawn without producing a winner:

  1. a player is stalemated (it is a player’s turn to move, but his king is not in check and he has no legal move);
  2. a player may declare a draw if the same exact position repeats three times (not necessarily consecutively);
  3. there is insufficient material on the board to force checkmate (for instance, a king and bishop vs. two kings);
  4. fifty consecutive moves have been played without a player moving a pawn or capturing a piece;
  5. the players may simply agree to a draw.

See also

Related Research Articles

King (chess) piece from the board game chess

In chess, the king (♔,♚) is the most important piece. The object of the game is to threaten the opponent's king in such a way that escape is not possible (checkmate). If a player's king is threatened with capture, it is said to be in check, and the player must remove the threat of capture on the next move. If this cannot be done, the king is said to be in checkmate, resulting in a loss for that player. Although the king is the most important piece, it is usually the weakest piece in the game until a later phase, the endgame. Players cannot make any move that places their own king in check.

Rules of chess

The rules of chess are rules governing the play of the game of chess. While the exact origins of chess are unclear, modern rules first took form during the Middle Ages. The rules continued to be slightly modified until the early 19th century, when they reached essentially their current form. The rules also varied somewhat from place to place. Today, the standard rules are set by FIDE, the international governing body for chess. Slight modifications are made by some national organizations for their own purposes. There are variations of the rules for fast chess, correspondence chess, online chess, and Chess960.

This page explains commonly used terms in chess in alphabetical order. Some of these have their own pages, like fork and pin. For a list of unorthodox chess pieces, see Fairy chess piece; for a list of terms specific to chess problems, see Glossary of chess problems; for a list of chess-related games, see List of chess variants.

Atomic chess chess variant; all captures entail an “explosion” by which all surrounding white and black pieces except pawns are removed from play

Atomic chess is a chess variant. Standard rules of chess apply, but all captures result in an "explosion" through which all surrounding white and black pieces other than pawns are removed from play. Some variations additionally remove rules concerning check such that the king may be able to move into or remain in check.

Dark chess

Dark chess is a chess variant with incomplete information, similar to Kriegspiel. It was invented by Jens Bæk Nielsen and Torben Osted in 1989. A player does not see the entire board, only their own pieces and the squares that they can legally move to.

Makrukpronounced [màːk rúk]), or Thai chess, is a board game that descended from the 6th-century Indian game of chaturanga or a close relative thereof, and therefore related to chess. It is regarded as the most similar living game to this common ancestor of all chess variants.

V. R. Parton English chess variant inventor

Vernon Rylands Parton was an English chess enthusiast and prolific chess variant inventor, his most renowned variant being Alice Chess. Many of Parton's variants were inspired by the fictional characters and stories in the works of Lewis Carroll. Parton's formal education background, like Lewis Carroll's, was in mathematics. Parton's interests were wide and he was a great believer in Esperanto.

Tamerlane chess chess variant derived from Chaturanga developed in Persia during the reign of Timur (1336–1405)

Tamerlane chess is a strategy board game related to chess and derived from chaturanga. It was developed in Persia during the reign of Timur, also called Tamerlane (1336–1405). Some sources attribute the game's invention to Timur, but this is by no means certain. Because Tamerlane chess is a larger variant of chaturanga, it is also called Shatranj Kamil or Shatranj Al-Kabir, as opposed to ash-shaghir. It is distinctive in that there are varieties of pawn, each of which promotes in its own way.

Four-player chess family of chess variants played with four people

Four-player chess is a family of chess variants typically played with four people. A special board made of standard 8×8 squares with an additional 3 rows of 8 cells extending from each side is common. Four sets of differently colored pieces are needed to play these variants. Four-player chess follows the same basic rules as regular chess. There are many different rule variations; most variants, however, share the same board and similar piece setup.

Dice chess can refer to a number of chess variants in which dice are used to alter gameplay; specifically that the moves available to each player are determined by rolling a pair of ordinary six-sided dice. There are many different variations of this form of dice chess. One of them is described here.

Monochromatic chess chess variant

Monochromatic chess is a chess variant with unknown origin. The initial board position and all rules are the same as in regular chess, except that pieces that begin on a black square must always stay on a black square and pieces that begin on a white square must always stay on a white square. This would mean that knights can never move, but The Classified Encyclopedia of Chess Variants says that knights make a double jump. It has been suggested that a knight be replaced with a (3,1)-leaper (camel).

Omega Chess is a commercial chess variant designed by Daniel MacDonald. The game is played on a 10×10 board with four extra squares, one added diagonally adjacent to the corner squares. The game is laid out like standard chess with the addition of a champion in each corner of the 10×10 board and a wizard in each new added square.

Outline of chess

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to chess:

2000 A.D. (chess variant) chess variant

2000 A.D. is a chess variant created by V. R. Parton which employs fairy chess pieces on a 10×10 board. Parton published the variant in his 1972 monograph My Game for 2000 A.D. and After.

Wildebeest Chess

Wildebeest Chess is a chess variant created by R. Wayne Schmittberger in 1987. The Wildebeest board is 11×10 squares. Besides the standard chess pieces, each side has two camels and one wildebeest. The inventor's intent is "to balance the number of 'riders'—pieces that move along open lines—with the number of 'leapers'—pieces that jump".

Chad (chess variant) chess variant

Chad is a chess variant for two players created by Christian Freeling in 1979. It is played on an uncheckered 12×12 gameboard with one king and eight rooks per side, where rooks are able to promote to queens.

Dragonfly (chess variant) chess variant played on a 7×7 board

Dragonfly is a chess variant invented by Christian Freeling in 1983. There are no queens, and a captured bishop, knight, or rook becomes the property of the capturer, who may play it as his own on a turn to any open square. The board is 7×7 squares, or alternatively a 61-cell hexagon with two additional pawns per side.

Three-Man Chess

Three-Man Chess is a chess variant for three players invented by George R. Dekle, Sr. in 1984. The game is played on a hexagonal board comprising 96 quadrilateral cells. Each player controls a standard army of chess pieces.


  1. Murray, H. R. J. A History of Chess. pp. 133–134.
  2. von Möllendorf (1876), Schachspiel der Chinesen
  3. "Modern Living: Chess for Three", Time Magazine, January 08, 1973
  4. "Dutch newspapers mentioned a new chess variant for three players", April 17, 1997
  5. "Youth Business Forum "Rising Stars" gathered more than 500 people", Junior Achievement, June 6, 2010
  6. "Young start-ups capture the spotlight in unique competition", Junior Achievement, July 6, 2010
  7. "Intel Innovation Award to stimulate young entrepreneurs", Junior Achievement, July 7, 2010
  8. "About ThreeChess", ThreeChess official web site