3 Man Chess Rules

If you are not familiar with traditional Chess, or are having difficulty with the rules, please check out our Guided Tutorial. Or, click here for printable PDF of these rules.


All rules for conventional Chess are applicable. There is however some protocol that must be applied for maneuvering 3 bordering teams on a round board.

  1. Set all Kings on white. White goes first, then clockwise to gray, then black.
  2. The center of the board may be passed through, but has no square to be occupied.
    1. Adjoining vertical squares, through the center, maintain the same color.
      1. Queen, King, Rook, or Pawn, advancing 1 square through center, retains same color.
      2. Knight also will retain same color.
      3. This phenomenon is necessary to maintain ’round board’ integrity. As players should be aware of this, conventional Chess strategy is not compromised.
  3. DIAGONAL MOVES (Queen, King, Bishop, or Pawn capturing)
    1. Follow 1 of the 2 trajectory lines out from the square it rest on.
    2. May rotate through the center.
    3. Can not ‘turn the corner’ at the outer rank, in 1 move.
  4. VERTICAL MOVES (Queen, King, Rook, Pawn)
    1. Follows straight, (and if necessary, through the center), along the checkerboard file.
  5. HORIZONTAL MOVES (Queen, King, Rook)
    1. Rotate about the center on the same row (rank).
    1. 2 squares vertically then 1 square horizontally, or
    2. 1 square vertically then 2 horizontally.
    3. Use 1 of the 2 methods above (i.e., do not follow a trajectory line through the center). Also, these 2 methods are necessary for BORDER CONTROL described below.
    1. MOATS
      1. Thick green lines ‘MOATS’ have been dug into the outer rank, bordering the teams. No piece may traverse across a MOAT (horizontally OR diagonally across the corner) until it has become open, i.e.,‘BRIDGED’. (see below).
        1. If the conditions exist allowing a MOAT to become BRIDGED (see below), it is considered BRIDGED only to pieces crossing the MOAT that do not end THAT move in the capturing of a piece or initiating a CHECK. Also no piece can CHECK through an open or closed MOAT – ever.
        2. A MOAT can become permanently Bridged for HORIZONTAL or DIAGONAL traversing if:
          1. A team has been eliminated. Therefore both of its bordering MOATS are Bridged.
          2. An active team vacates its outer rank of ALL pieces. Note: Re-populating its outer rank will not re-close the bordering MOATS.
      3. KNIGHTS must observe the 2 & 1 rule of travel, mentioned above.
        1. If either configuration of a KNIGHT’S move would carry it Horizontally across a Moat, then that move is illegal (unless that Moat is Bridged).
    2. CREEKS
      1. CREEKS run 2 squares off the MOATS, denoted by thin green lines.
        1. They are observed only by PAWNS that haven’t crossed through the center yet.
        2. PAWNS are not considered strong enough to capture across a creek. They must advance to the square beyond the end of the CREEK first. (4th rank from the outside)
          1. Once across the center, they no longer observe CREEKS.
    1. A team’s CHECKMATE status is not finalized until it is their turn, unless their King is captured.
      1. If a King’s position is so unfortunate whereas the next team’s move creates a CHECK to it by the following team, then that following team may capture that King if it wishes. Now, they are considered CHECKMATED. See example #1 below.
      2. If the extremely unusual circumstance occurs whereas a team could not make a legal move (as in a Stalemate), and 3 teams are still in, that team would be out of the game. If there were only 2 teams left at the time, the game is a draw.
    2. When/if a team becomes CHECKMATED, that player is out. ALL remaining pieces remain on the board dormant. They lie as dead fossils, without even a descent burial from the useless government they once supported. The square that one of these corpses consumes may be captured by another team’s piece if it wishes to occupy that square.
    3. The game is continued between the other two players until only one remains. The ultimate goal would be for one team to CHECKMATE the other two teams at the same time!


Example #1:

This is very unusual, but must be addressed. After much discussion, there seems to be no better way to logically satisfy the situation:

Player 2’s King (here, gray) is on the space shown in red. Player 3 moves their Bishop (here, black) to any valid cell, leaving Player 2 in Check by Player 1. Player 1 then uses their Queen to Capture Player 2’s King before Player 2 can save themselves.

This type of event, where the King is put in Check and can not answer because it isn’t that player’s turn yet would provide the ONLY means whereas that King could be captured by the Queen in the example shown. Once this King is captured, the team is Checkmated.