Three Player Chess

Creating a community chess board

Three chess is not a new kind of gameplay for chess. It is quite popular among chess enthusiasts worldwide. My aim here was to create a community chess board. A gameplay where you make a move and get back to work while random people take turns to move the other pieces instead of you. The joy of it lies in the fact that you can never plan ten steps ahead. Some form of teamwork, eh?

The board I designed here was carved on a 6mm MDF sheet using a laser cutting tool. The entire board being seemingly flat, is a demonstration of low relief work of geometrical shapes. The ideal procedure to make the board would have been to use my carpentry skills, but the challenge of making a constant groove of 0.5mm on a standard sheet material is not something that you would like to spend time on.

Step 1:


  1. 1 MDF sheet 6mm THK of dimensions 500 X 500MM – Exact laser cutting output is 460.40 X 460.40MM
  2. 1 Fevikwik – small tube
  3. 1 Soap
  4. 500 ML Warm Water
  5. 1 Sponge scrubber (or use your hands)
  6. Access to Laser Cutting Machine, 3D Printing Machine

Step 2:


  1. Print the Dxf file on the 6mm THK MDF sheet on a laser cutting machine.
  2. Repeat step 1.
  3. Separate the board from the MDF sheet and take it to the wash area.
  4. Wash with soap and warm water to remove any soot or residual carbon particles.
  5. Leave the Board to dry.
  6. You can varnish/ paint/ weather proof it. (Optional)

Step 3:


  1. 3D print them
  2. In the order of pawns, rook, knight, bishop, queen and the King.
  3. Pay attention to the print quality: on certain FDM machines, the inset details can be acquired by setting 0.5X print speed on the machine.
  4. Stick the cross on the King with using Fevikwik.
  5. Paint using any three acrylic colours. Popular combinations are (white, black, and grey) / (white, black, and B&W) / (Pink, Purple, and Green)
  6. Leave them to dry

Step 4:


In 1972, Robert Zubrin invented three player chess and started selling the board game all over the USA three player chess is a game played between three opponents on hexagonal shaped board containing 96 squares of alternating colors. Each player has 16 pieces: 1 king, 1 queen, 2 rooks, 2 bishops, 2 knights, and 8 pawns. The game is played in free for all mode, where every player plays for himself.

Arranging the board
The chessboard is laid out so that each player has the white (or light) color square in the bottom right-hand side. The second row is filled with pawns. The rooks go in the corner, the knights next to them, followed by the bishops, and finally the queen, who always goes on your left square, and the king on the remaining right square. The player with the white pieces always moves first, followed by red and then black.

Check, checkmate and capture
The purpose of the game is to capture opponent’s king. This happens when the king is put into check and cannot get out of check.

There are only three ways a king can get out of check:

  1. Move out of the way (though he cannot castle!),
  2. Block the check with another piece,
  3. Capture the piece threatening the king.

If a king cannot escape checkmate then you miss your turn and wait. 

Check is when the king is in danger.
Checkmate happens when the king is in a position to be captured (in check) and cannot escape from capture. 
The first who captures one another’s king is the winner. 
Checkmate is not enough as in classic chess, you should take the king.
When a player is in a checkmate position he loses his turn. And if somehow he is freed up, he can move again.

A chess game may end in a draw, if:
The position reaches a stalemate where it is one player’s turn to move, but his king is not in check and yet he does not have another legal move.
There are not enough pieces on the board to force a checkmate.
A player declares a draw if the same exact position is repeated three times (though not necessarily three times in a row).
Fifty consecutive moves have been played where neither player has moved a pawn or captured a piece.

Step 5:


Promotion – Pawns have another special ability and that is that if a pawn reaches the other side of the board it can become any other chess piece (called promotion).

En passant – If a pawn moves out two squares on its first move, and by doing so lands to the side of an opponent’s pawn (effectively jumping past the other pawn’s ability to capture it), that other pawn has the option of capturing the first pawn as it passes by. This special move must be done immediately after the first pawn has moved past, otherwise the option to capture it is no longer available. The last rule about pawns is called en passant.

Castling – on a player’s turn he may move his king only two squares over to one side and then move the rook from that side’s corner to right next to the king on the opposite side.
This move allows you to do two important things all in one move:
Get your king to safety, and get your rook out of the corner and into the game.

In order to castle, however, it must meet the following conditions:
It must be that king’s very first move
It must be that rook’s very first move
There cannot be any pieces between the king and rook to move
The king may not be in check or pass through check

Step 6:


You can download and use these files to build your own set:

Chess pieces - Click here to download

Chess board - Click here to download

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