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Chess for ThreeBROKEN LINK!. Traditional pieces, three players, on a triangular board.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
George Duke wrote on Mon, Mar 8, 2010 07:44 PM UTC:
100-triangle board in the equilateral genre from 2000. Square-based Three Player Chess by Zubrin is a Next Chess rank #4. Klin Zha may be about the only other one retaining the shape.

Jonathan wrote on Tue, Oct 16, 2007 08:56 PM UTC:
I'm glad I could be of help. I have thought for a long time about moves on a triangular board, but have never formulated them into a game. I have thought of first creating a page detailing numerous types of triangular move possibilities, and from there creating my game, with the first page as a reference. However, judging by the work done on the chessvariants wiki, I'm out of a job :) It's already been done. I don't know if it's possible to create a pure FIDE translation, but I'm glad I'm helping, and hope you come to a point where you can settle on what you've got.

I can make one suggestion: instead of pawns promoting in the opponents' territories, perhaps the promotion zone should simply be located on the opposite edge. That avoids the 'impure' sideways move. I imagine that there would be plenty of interference from both players, making promotion just as difficult. Just a thought.

Oh yeah! One more idea, but it's just an idea. Every triangular chess variant I've seen sets up the armies in the corners. FIDE chess is not like this. It might be a tad cramped and require a larger board, but what if pieces were lined up on the edges of the board instead?

james spratt wrote on Sun, Oct 14, 2007 04:41 AM UTC:
Hi Jonathan, Hi Graeme: Jonathan, you're probably right about leaving the rules alone (until I've tried it the other way--Bishops colorbound, Knights orthogonal (wall) departure only, and Pawns no side-stepping toward home row) because it works pretty well as is, and it's been posted long enough that many people have probably already tried it and hopefully, liked it the way it is. Have you played it? For anyone who'd like to try it, fabricating a board out of posterboard requires but little geometry, and finding pieces just means buying two normal chess-sets and spray-painting one team of 16 an odd color, and you're ready to go.

Graeme, you're 'way ahead of me on trigonal moves for faerie pieces, so I'll take your word for it. I noticed your Delta 88 Bishop move rule differs from mine, then figured maybe the shape of your board (I wanted to fill in the sides to make a perfect 100, then noticed that there're 44 pieces, 2 players, silly me) has something to do with it.

How pieces move on a board with triangular cells can vary considerably, obviously, depending on the shape of the board, and anyone making up his own variant, I'd say, has the right to dictate how the pieces move for his game, even though it's sensible to stick to the moves generally accepted for that piece in other games.

Are we all in agreement that 'orthogonal' means leaving the cell at more or less right angles to a wall of the cell, and that 'diagonal' means leaving through a corner of the cell? I think they're useful terms to use because they're easily recognized and universal to all shapes of angular cells. (Am I asking that everyone grasps that hitting your thumb with a hammer hurts? Duh..:-))

Graeme Neatham wrote on Sat, Oct 13, 2007 03:12 PM UTC:
...that's a pretty board Graeme put up--the first one in the three triangular board games--it looks like a snowflake....

Hi James, glad you liked the board. Not sure if you had a look at the links under 'child pages', but you might be interested in Features of a trigonal board and Fide pieces for trigonal boards

There's also my trigonal version of FIDE chess Delta88 Chess


edit: I've used snowflakes before - see Antarctic Chess (for 2 to 7 players)

james spratt wrote on Fri, Oct 12, 2007 10:47 PM UTC:
Hi, Joe, Hi, Jonathan: Boy, Joe, that's a pretty board Graeme put up--the first one in the three triangular board games--it looks like a snowflake. My first thought was 'hey, this is a variant of fide chess for three,' and my second thought was 'gee, with a little prodding (from you guys :-),) I may have established the fide version, or almost got it. (I was delighted to discover that ten cells per side makes 100 cells, which fits the ratio of pieces (3 x 16 = 48) to cells just about the same as the 32 pieces to 64 cells in fide chess. That discovery drove me on.)

Jonathan, since your original kind comments and rating, you got me to thinking about it again, in particular the Bishop move, which I now believe I got almost right in my initial ruminations on how to make a chess game for three players years ago; I suppose I stuck with the un-colorbound bishop because I just didn't think all the way to a complete fide analogy for the whole game before I started playing it with others and having fun with it. To have him non-colorbound makes him a particularly strong piece, but to translate him accurately to make the game and all its pieces representative of a fide version, he should be colorbound, and at setup, one of the Bishops should be switched with one of the knights so the two bishops will start on different colors. Naturally, any three can play him either way, and the rules as written make for a fun game that works right well.

I've noticed that having three players in a game makes it particularly lively and fun; the multiple interactions of three tend to preclude long, studied silences which often evolve in two-player games--I'd guess the joviality factor is approximately doubled, (and if it's not fun, why bother?)-- and the presence of two random factors, embodied in the two opponents, make strategy much more difficult, which I see as a plus. One must be less a plotter than an opportunist, quicker on the feet, so to speak, and the interactions of three people are ever amusing; a triangle is very strong. A second piece move I didn't get just right is probably the Pawn, who is permitted to move sidewise to get to a Home row for promotion if he has reached the other side of the board and is somewhere between the two opponent home rows. By hindsight this looks like sort of a 'fixit' rule, and he probably shouldn't be permitted to make those sidewise moves, because there's no similar condition in fide chess; if he hasn't planned his journey, he should probably be just stuck there, waiting to be swept up. Or should he? I noticed that, even with triangular cells, one has two basic choices of move out of them, orthogonal, wherein one moves the piece out through the wall of the cell at (more or less) a right angle to the wall, or diagonal, wherein one moves the piece out of the cell via the corner. These are essentially the same two choices one has in square-cell fide chess or any variant thereof, and I believe that, once that is seen, it should be easy to adapt any faerie piece to a board with triangular cells meant to be played by three. This established, it should be easy enough to determine how to move any faerie piece on a board with triangular cells, for the purpose of creating variant games using boards with triangular cells. You're helping, Jonathan, and thanks!

Jonathan wrote on Fri, Oct 12, 2007 04:53 PM UTC:
As I said before, I'd prefer you leave the game as it is.  The option I
mentioned is merely the closest to an analogous diagonal that I've found,
but it is impossible to create a true ranging diagonal move on a triangular
board.  I feel that what you've done is the best for the game, despite
some side effects.  One way or another, you will have to sacrifice some
aspect of a pure FIDE chess move when translating to triangular cells. 
Let's take a look at your rook move for an example.  It is the standard
concept for orthogonal moves on triangles.  However, if we were to get
technical, it's not truly an orthogonally straight line.  The rook
leaving its starting cell intersects the border of the adjacent cell at a
perpendicular angle, just like in in FIDE chess.  But if it wants to
continue intersecting at perpendicular angles, it has to change
directions.  It really is creating a sort of zigzag.  Or you could say
that it is indeed going in a straight line, but then the rook isn't
intersecting borders at perpendicular angles as in FIDE chess.  I'm not
sure if I'm being clear--I've wanted to create a page describing
triangular moves for some time; it sure would help.  My point is that
something has to be sacrificed in the translation process, but that's
quite ok.

Hexagonal boards make a little sacrifice (diagonals are not truly
adjacent), but they still translate orthogonal moves very nicely.  It's
far harder with triangular boards.  Some aspect of square boards has to
go.  If it's a loss of literal orthogonals or diagonals, or if bishops
change square colors, that's ok.  As long as much of the original
character is preserved, and the analogous moves can be easily visualized,
I don't mind.  That's why I praise your game.  It looks like FIDE chess,
it feels like FIDE chess.  If one tries too hard to translate the moves too
literally, I feel that the end result is a poor game.

So back to my original thought, I think you have the best triangular chess
game around.  I really mean it :)

Joe Joyce wrote on Fri, Oct 12, 2007 05:10 AM UTC:
Gentlemen, I urge you to check out the CVwiki, and the work of Graeme Neatham on triangular chess:
I think you will find he has done some work on things you are considering.

james spratt wrote on Thu, Oct 11, 2007 04:52 PM UTC:
Well, maybe there should be a way to refer to the comment to which one is
responding while one is writing his response; sorry I didn't address your
mention of the 'intragonal' move, which is a move from cell A to cell C,
separated by cell B and connected to each other only at one point, maybe
better described as 'going around the corner'of cell B, the cell between

No piece goes around a corner of an intervening cell in Chess for Three.
Pieces have to move in straight lines, exiting their spaces along a path 
that begins at the theoretical dead center of the originating cell and
exiting either through the center of a wall of that cell, or through one
of its corners, then going whatever distance it's entitled in a straight
line.  To enable pieces to go around corners injects a move that I've
found confuses people because it is inconsistent with a fide analogy,
which would not permit skipping around a Cell B.  Perhaps there's a way
to use 'intragonal' moves in a triangular game, and perhaps some faerie
pieces move that way on square-cell boards, leapers, maybe (?), but it's
not needed or wanted in Chess for Three.

💡📝James Spratt wrote on Thu, Oct 11, 2007 04:18 PM UTC:
Hi, Jonathan, and thanks again.  It's not necessary to create a perfect 3-player analog for fide chess, but now you've got me stirred to perfect what you say is the best try yet (thanks again), so I might try Chess for Three with the Bishops color-bound, knowing that that is more correct.  Bishops in fide can only access half the cells on the board, anyway, and the same would be true in CF3. I'm wondering how or why I overlooked that.

As the rules are written up to now, with Bishops un-colorbound, they can both move as freely to any cell as the Rooks, and seem even more dangerous than rooks because of the particular geometry of the board's triangular cells--the bishops exit the points of the triangles, they are able to slip between even quite a few pieces that appear visually to have the way blocked, parked side-by-side, but don't really stop the bishop, making him seem almost like a stealth piece, and quite sneaky. Color-binding him would put a sufficient limit on his freedom to make a better analog to his stature in fide chess.

Your ASCII diagram, if you mean a move from cell A to cell C, depicts a Rook move, not a Bishop move, but I appreciate that you've studied it with some care.  I've field-tested my version of Chess for Three with a hard set in public with many strangers and found that, if they could play normal chess previously, they catch it almost immediately and it's a lot of fun.  If anyone cares to try it, a board requires not much geometry to fabricate from a piece of poster-board or masonite and the pieces are commonly available, being standard; just spray-paint a third set of pieces and you're ready to go.  Some highschool in the UAE asked me about purchasing ten sets; I couldn't see charging a school the price for ten collector-sets, so I told them how to go about making them up for their class and that it was okay to print out the rules. Haven't heard back how it went over.

Jonathan wrote on Mon, Oct 8, 2007 10:17 PM UTC:
No problem--you deserve it.  Let me point out that a change in position or
in the nature of the move of the bishop will still not create a truly
analogous piece.  If the bishop still follows the path of the
'diamonds,' but only lands on those of the same color, it can only
access a small fraction of the board's cells.  The closest to a
colorbound bishop that I've found on a triangular board is like a two
space rook move in your game:
 /\  /\

I hope my little ASCII diagram turns out.  Anyhow, a move from the first
cell to the third cell provides a colorbound bishop move, and sort of
looks like a form of diagonal (the first and third are still adjacent,
though not orthogonally, or truly diagonally--I propose the term

But for your game, I think the loss of colorbound bishops is fine.  I
recommend leaving as is.  As stated before, it's impossible to truly
create a perfect triangular equivalent of a square cell game, but I feel
what you've done is the best version to date.

💡📝James Spratt wrote on Sun, Sep 30, 2007 03:15 AM UTC:
Hi, Jonathan: Thanks for the excellent rating and for your very kind comments. Your astute observation regarding the difficulty of establishing representative moves for rooks and bishops on the triangular boards brought to me an inspiration I should have had earlier, which is to color-bind the Bishops, thereby restoring them to their normal level of power in the heirarchy. All they'd need is a slightly different starting position, on opposite color cells. Anyone who wished could play it that way, and thanks again.

Jonathan Rutherford wrote on Sat, Sep 29, 2007 08:34 PM UTC:Excellent ★★★★★
I enjoy three player chess games, and have invented one myself.  However, I
don't wish to address that aspect of your game.  Instead, I wish to
discuss the triangular geometry.  Most triangular games I've seen do not
truly take advantage of a triangular grid's fascinating geometry.  There
are only three types of perfect grids--grids that are composed entirely of
one equilateral shape, namely triangular, square, and hexagonal.  Of these,
only the cells of a triangular grid are not all oriented the same.  Some
point up and some point down.  This presents problems for game creators
wishing to create a chess game on such a grid.  I won't go into details,
but those interested should just experiment to see how it is impossible to
create an exact rook or bishop equivalent on a triangular grid, while there
is little difficulty doing so on a hexagonal grid.

What James Spratt has done is create a very clever game that truly takes
advantage of a triangular board's geometry.  I really enjoy the rules he
has created, and his triangular chess variant is the best I've seen.

💡📝James Spratt wrote on Wed, Jul 7, 2004 06:08 AM UTC:
James Spratt is posting Yaron Gvili, programmer of the original Chess for
Three Game, comments re the new triangular version:
>>>Dear James,

Thank you for your email. Your chess work is interesting
and looks very professional. My connection to chess for
three started about 7 or 8 years ago. I implemented it
as a student, and as an active chess player. The game
itself is a patent by Jersy Luberda from Poland.
I will address the game in several manners. First, as a
piece of art, it looks very nice, especially due to the
closeness to regular chess. Second, the geometry of the
board is clean. Note that the Polish chess for three has
a 'hole' in the middle of the board, whereas your board
is complete. However, the back rows of the polish game
are easier to grasp. The pawns are far more powerful in
your version of the game than the polish one, as well as
the sliding pieces. Third, the winning goal of your game
is different than the polish one. A player's strategy in
your game would be to survive first and only then to
attack other sides. When two players battle, the third
one can wait and stay strong for the final attack. The
polish game takes a different approach. The first king
that is captured ends the game, and the winning side is
te one who captured him. Therefore, each player must
defend 3 kings and attack 2. This seems to create more
opportunity for complications in the development of the

I wish you all the best and good luck with your game.
I would be happy to hear if there is interest in your
chess variants.


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