Tri-Dimensional Chess (Tri-D Chess)


             Probably the most familiar 3D chess variant to the general public in the middle 20th century and early 21st century is the game of Tri-Dimensional Chess (Tri-D Chess), which can be seen in many Star Trek TV episodes and movies, starting with the original series and proceeding in updated forms throughout the subsequent movies and spinoff series. The original Star Trek prop was assembled using boards from 3-D Checkers and 3-D Tic Tac Toe games available in stores at the time (also visible being played in the original series episodes) and adding futuristic chess pieces. Rules for the game were never invented within the series; in fact, the boards are sometimes not even aligned consistently from one shot to the next within a single episode. The Tri-D chessboard set was made popular by its inclusion in The Star Trek Star Fleet Technical Manual by Franz Joseph, who invented starting positions for the playing pieces and short additional rules. The complete Standard Rules of this game were originally developed in 1976 by Andrew Bartmess (with approval from Joseph), and he has subsequently expanded and fine-tuned them. There also is a Creative Commons-licensed manual written in Italian by Marco Bresciani, which presents a complete and faithful translation of the latest version of Bartmess' Standard Rules, with instructions on how to build a chessboard and many other things. This manual is available through the Star Trek Italian Club (for members only, see external links, below). Marco Bresciani also made a software project as an Information Technology Laurea Degree final thesis, that allows playing Tri-D Chess with Bartmess' Standard Rules full support. There are various computer applications for playing Tri-D Chess. A set of tournament rules for Tri-Dimensional Chess written by Jens Meder is available on his website, However, Meder's rules are based on FIDE's Rules more than Andrew Bartmess's Standard Rules, with some deviations too.


  • 6 years ago


    I love Tri-D chess; but it is VERY hard to find people that play it. Does anyone know if there is a Tri-D chess club, or web site where it can be played?

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