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Yalta - A Three Player Chess Variant


I bought a small book in a chess-book store in Paris about 18 years ago that included a 3-person chess game called YALTA (A good name, I think). The board looked like the following:

Yalta board
(Graphic by Daniel Lindstrvm)

Unfortunately, I lost the book on the game over the years, but I think this game is more about group dynamics, preferably together with a couple of beers, than as a serious competition.


The moves are the same as for orthodox chess, except:

  • The pawns, bishops and queens have a choice of path when they are passing the center (the pawns just if they are capturing).
  • The queen must be put to the left of the king (for the sake of symmetry).
  • The knights seem to be moving strange, but remember that they always move to a "square" of the opposite color.
  • All disagreements at the table (about the rules) are solved by casting votes among the three participants.
  • When a player is in check he, as usual, has to avoid this when it is his turn. If you put the player to the right in check, the player to the left may try to help him.
  • If you checkmate a player, you remove his king and can use his men as yours. You do NOT get two moves though. You can, for instance, let his pawns reach the last row and promote by putting a piece in a square where the pawn can capture it (a real sacrifice). I think that, logically, the "drafted" pieces must not put your king in check. But maybe such details should be solved by negotiations at the table.
  • All forms of alliances are allowed, but remember that they are always bound to be broken.


Later, Daniel Lindstrvm added:

If you, in a "check-situation", put the player to the right in check and the player to your left also checks the poor guy, and he cannot move, it must be the first check that makes him mate.

If the guy to your left instead checks YOU, I think it might be a good time to start some serious negotiations!!

Starting position
(Pieces added by David Howe)

This text was written by Daniel Lindstrvm ((email removed contact us for address) and slightly edited and reformatted for HTML by David Howe.
WWW page created: May 12, 1997. Last modified: May 27, 1997.