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Three Player Chess Sets

Three player chess sets are relatively new in the chess world but they have a well established fan base. As the name itself suggests, it’s a variant of chess that is designed for three players instead of two. Three men chess was invented in 1984 by a man named George R. Dekle Sr. It grew in popularity during the 21st century and is now available in nearly every specialised chess story. Kaoori is no exception. Our collection of three player chess sets features both handmade wooden chess sets  as well as more affordable sets.

Browse our selection of three men chess sets and without a doubt, you’ll find the next addition of your personal chess collection. 

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The history of three men chess 

As we already mentioned, George R. Dekle Sr. is credited with the invention of 3 man chess. However, in addition to his version, there are also records of three player chess that actually dates all the way back to ancient China. We’re talking about the 3-player version of the popular San Guo Qi game, which itself is considered to be the predecessor of Western chess. Other sources mention Robert Zubrin as the promoter of three player chess in the West, who also inspired George R. Dekle, Sr. to create his own version of 3 man chess. 


Currently, in addition to the standard three men chess, there are also some variations but they all use a hexagonal board that allows for each of the 3 players to control a standard amount of chess pieces including king, queen, knights, rooks, and so on.


The rules of three player chess 

Three men chess essentially uses the same rules as regular chess, it’s just adapted a bit to accommodate three players. In terms of colors, we have the classic white and black pieces and for the third one, some chess sets have brown pieces, while others feature red ones. In any case, the Kings are set on white and white goes first and then the order is clockwise. In terms of movements of pieces, the principles are the same as in conventional chess. The Queen and the King are allowed to move diagonally, vertically and horizontally, the Bishop can move diagonally, the Pawn moves diagonally and vertically, and the Rook is only allowed horizontal moves.  


While some rules are general, there are ones that vary from version to version and the main difference is usually related to who wins. Here are some of these variations:

  1. The winner is the player who delivered the first checkmate and the losers are both the player who was checkmated and the other player who did not prevent the king from being captured. 

  2. The game continues even after the first king is captured but the player who delivered a checkmate can take over the pieces of the checkmated player and plays with two sets of pieces until the final checkmate is delivered.

  3. The game continues after the first king is captured but the checkmated player gets to keep the pieces on the board, however, no movements are made with the use of these pieces. They can be captured and replaced when a player wants to set his/her piece on the square occupied by such a piece excluded from the game — until the delivery of an ultimate checkmate.


The boards and pieces of a three person chess set are the same regardless of rules, so if you wish, you can experiment with your friends and find a version that you like the best. 


Three men chess is challenging and that is it’s value. Get your own three player chess set from Kaoori and try out this exciting variant.