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Tridimensional Chess (Star Trek). Three-dimensional chess from Star Trek. (7x(), Cells: 64) (Recognized!)[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Jim Tinsmith wrote on Tue, Sep 27, 2022 02:23 AM UTC:Excellent ★★★★★

The premise for tri dimensional chess set's presence on federation star ships was to teach three dimensional combat tactics, which is something the Bartmess and Meder rules patently fail to do, by blocking circumventing moves.
The rules presented here, on chess variants, are not complete and lack rules for castling but also advocate inverted attack boards, which, if nothing else, are highly impractical.
Not only were the World Tri Dimensional Chess Federation rules written by a fighter pilot, to teach three dimensional aerial combat, which is more in keeping with the original theme, they also start the king and queen in the centre files and provide the most reasonable method for castling, as the attached images demonstrate.

King's side castling
Tri dimensional chess kings side castling
Tri dimensional chess king's side castling
Queen's side castling
Tri dimensional chess queen's side castling
Tri dimensional chess queen's side castling

Charlie Evans wrote on Tue, Aug 17, 2021 08:21 PM UTC:

According to the the World Tri Dimensional Chess Federation's rules, the starting positions illustrated here are quite correct. As they were originally created by a military fighter pilot, to help teach aerial combat tactics, in a three dimensional space, aren't they more pertinent to the original idea of 3D chess in Star Trek?

Franz Joseph admitted he wasn't really a chess player, so the Bartmess starting positions lack any real integrity.

I'd be interested in anyone else's thoughts on this.

🕸📝Fergus Duniho wrote on Sat, Mar 21, 2020 12:29 AM UTC:

Thanks for the information. I looked through the scenes in these two episodes, and I found the Gothic set in "The Naked Time," but I could not find any scene with 3D Chess in "Day of the Dove." Curiously, both episodes had Sulu wielding a sword.

dougdrexler@rocketma wrote on Fri, Mar 20, 2020 04:02 PM UTC:

Hi There! Ganine's Gothic chess pieces were indeed used on the original series. You can see them in The Naked Time, and Day of the Dove. I believe there may be other instances. I can tell you that Star Trek Continues would never have use Chess pieces that were not authentic. Loved your article. - Doug Drexler

Steve Linnell wrote on Sun, Feb 18, 2018 02:42 PM UTC:Good ★★★★

Just a small update on the post by Jaymes. Taking the picture shown in the article for the starting position, the left hand side is the Queens side and the right hand side is the Kings side. The Kings and Queens should be on the movable levels next to the Rooks (or Castles). The back rank on the top and bottom levels should have the Knights at each side with the two Bishops on the centre ranks. At least, this is the setup shown in the pamphlet I got with my official Star Trek Tridimensional Chess Set almost 30 years ago.

Aurelian Florea wrote on Mon, Oct 30, 2017 04:54 AM UTC:

Where can it be found? I could enjoy it, too no idea that people on this website like star trek but in retrsopective it seems likely :)!

Greg Strong wrote on Mon, Oct 30, 2017 02:11 AM UTC:

WOW.  I had never heard of Star Trek Continues.  I just watched the first episode and was blown away!  It's incredible that a compeltely ameture production was able to look that good and fit the style and feel of the original series so perfectly.  And the story was excellent.  If it continues at this quality level, it will definitely surpass the quality of the original series (which, although ground-breaking for the time, had a ton of very marginal episodes.)

🕸📝Fergus Duniho wrote on Sat, Oct 28, 2017 04:03 PM UTC:

I have added a couple more pictures from the third episode of the well-done fan-series Star Trek Continues.

Norman Powell wrote on Sat, Jun 9, 2012 07:40 AM UTC:Excellent ★★★★★
Clear explanations, excellent site with all the information I required.

Congratulations and thank you.

I think I have spotted one minor error.

I think that there is an error with the last diagram which shows the moves:
The path of the lower white castle should go over the far to squares of the movable/attach board, not the nearest two as shown.

Many thanks,


Jaymes wrote on Mon, Jan 30, 2012 07:20 PM UTC:Good ★★★★
nice page & links ... but I just wanted to let you know that your diagram for the 'Starting positions' is incorrect, the K & Q need to exchange places with the K's and begin the game on the attack boards ( King & Queen's levels)

Larry Smith wrote on Sat, Dec 4, 2010 04:28 AM UTC:
Check out:

Patrick Degan wrote on Thu, Dec 2, 2010 07:56 AM UTC:
One problem with the Star Trek Tri-D chess game is that, essentially, all
it was really was a clever visual prop.  Wah Chang crafted a piece of
artwork which allowed the actors to simply move the pieces about without
actually knowing how chess is played and without the audience really
catching on, even amateur or inexperienced players of the real game, since
you can assume a different rule set works.  Hobbyists have attempted to fit
rule systems into what was seen on the TV series, which included the small
2x2 boards being moved around.  But all this is actually unnecessary if you
a) forget about moving the small castle-boards and b) consider the board as
a coordinate system.

In the episode 'Charlie X' when Mr. Spock attempts to explain to Charlie
Evans that the basic principles of chess are mathematical, I realised that
this applies to the algebraic notation used to define the chess space and
the whole picture of a rational Tri-D chess game fell into place for me.

Try this: the small castle boards remain fixed at the corners of the upper
and lower boards, permanently.  Their grids are identified as AB12, AB78,
GH12 and GH78 respectively.  The home boards have the grids CDEF1234 and
CDEF5678.  It's the middle board, the 'neutral field board' as it's
called in the Franz Joseph technical manual, which bridges the four small
'castle boards'.  It's coordinate grid would be ABGH3456.

This makes the challenge of the game a matter of tracking the coordinates
of the squares of the various boards in combination and understanding that
it distributes the traditional orthogonal chess space into a
multidimensional packet.  The players must be aware of where the moves for
the pieces require a shifting between boards and how attack lanes proceed
across and through this distribution.  Psychologically, it would model the
viewpoint of a spacefaring culture which has developed faster-than-light
propulsion and the techniques for navigating in three and four dimensional
space.  No special rules for play are necessary, only the capacity to think
in mathematical terms across multiple dimensions (the boards).

Kenneth Fourcell wrote on Wed, Nov 24, 2010 07:41 AM UTC:
Do you play 3D chess? 
     How would you like to join a club where you could meet, greet and compete with other play 3D chess players? I putting together an 3D chess club just for 3D chess player using a patented 3D chess set of my own design, which would be the exclusive property of the club. The only place one will be able to use it or see it will be at the club; or on my web site:
     No computers! 
     Tell me what you think.
     Visit my website:, and or email me: [email protected].
     Your most critical opinion is appreciated.

George Duke wrote on Wed, Mar 10, 2010 04:06 PM UTC:
To Flowerman's Chess in films, Bill Wall has had since early days: Far bigger topic is Chess in Literature, which can be found many places.

Flowerman wrote on Fri, Mar 5, 2010 11:58 AM UTC:Good ★★★★
I like this game, but it will be hard to make board... Isn't there game,
created by 'Star Wars' fans? There also was shown chess variant: in
'Episode IV, A New Hope' C-3PO and Chewbaca played game on circular
board, where some wild space creatures were pieces :). By the way, it would
be interesting to remember different chess games, wich was showwn in films
or described books, and when thinked up, like this:

Anonymous wrote on Thu, Sep 17, 2009 01:47 AM UTC:
The links to Andrew Bartmess' page are broken. They should be changed to

Trek Girl wrote on Sun, Mar 15, 2009 09:53 AM UTC:Excellent ★★★★★
I have a GENUINE STAR TREK Tridimensional Chess Set made by FRANKLIN MINT.
I want to sell it. Does anyone know how much it is worth and where you can sell it.

[email protected]

Anonymous wrote on Fri, Jan 11, 2008 09:41 PM UTC:Average ★★★

Zinab Fincham wrote on Wed, Nov 21, 2007 01:52 PM UTC:Excellent ★★★★★
Just come nto possession of the 3-d chess set ... thought I knew chess!
Thank you so much for enlightening me!!!

Gitimus wrote on Fri, Nov 9, 2007 09:37 AM UTC:Excellent ★★★★★
I Thought The Game Is Good Fun. I may have taken hours to play but at least
the game is challanging(With a few minor modifications to the rules).

My mate and I build one out of wood and now my most of my year like
playing the game.

Jea_Pet wrote on Sun, Aug 19, 2007 11:23 PM UTC:


According to the regulation tridimensional chess rules the board setup listed on this site were not correct. The setup of the board is: Black/Gold (lower levels going from the outtermost edges toward the 'middle' or towards White/Silver):

Attack board 1:

Outside: Rook | Pawn

Inside: King | Pawn

Attack board 2:

Inside: Queen | Pawn

Outside: Rook | Pawn

Main board lower level starting from attack board 1 side going toward attack board 2 side:

Knight | Pawn

White/Clear Bishop | Pawn

Black/Blue Bishop | Pawn Knight | Pawn

White/Silve (upper levels going from the outtermost edges toward the 'middle' or towards Black/Gold):

Attack board 3 (top of set in the same line as attack board 1):

Outside: Rook | Pawn

Inside: King | Pawn

Attack board 4 (top of set in the same line as attack board 2):

Inside: Queen | Pawn

Outside: Rook | Pawn

Main board upper level starting from attack board 3 side going toward attack board 4 side:

Knight | Pawn

Black/Blue Bishop | Pawn

White/Clear Bishop | Pawn

Knight | Pawn

In summary the knights go where the bishops are, the bishops go where the king/queen are, and the king/queen go where the knights the sketch on this site.

This diagram can be found in the Star Trek Star Fleet Command Technical Manual, copyright 1975, ISBN: 0-345-34074-4, page TO:03:98:31


[email protected]

Mike FItzpatrick wrote on Wed, Jun 13, 2007 04:40 PM UTC:Excellent ★★★★★

Amanda Ryals wrote on Sat, Mar 24, 2007 01:56 AM UTC:Excellent ★★★★★
Very helpful. I will be consturcting one of my own soon. Thank you.

Abdul-Rahman Sibahi wrote on Sun, Oct 8, 2006 11:47 AM UTC:
Personally I have to say : this makes more sense.

Tony Quintanilla wrote on Sun, Oct 8, 2006 04:18 AM UTC:
The editors received the following correspondance from Rainer Hecker:

Dear Sirs and Madam’s,

thank you for this fascinating Page about “Star Trek Chess”. But if my
information is correct you have made two mistakes:

No movable Level (or in Star Trek terminology “Attack Board”) is ever
placed below, always above a corner! For some reasons: 1. Continuous use
would wear the Boards and Pins so that the Attack Boards would hold any
longer upside down. 2. I have never an Attack Board below a corner,
neither in the original series nor in any of its following series.

The position of the pieces at the start of the game is not correct.
According to my sources the queen and king start the game on the Attack
Boards occupying the places of the knights in your diagram. the knights
start the game on the Main Boards on the outer lines occupying the places
of the bishops in your picture. The bishops start on the inner lines
occupying the places of king and queen in your diagram.

yours sincerely
Rainer Hecker

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