A set of Space Chess, a three-dimensional chess variant, was bought by me from in 1997. List price was $39.95. The set is issued by Chessex, and has item number CHX1420. Chessex might be well known to owners of specialized game stores (that sell wargames, role playing games, and similar) as it is a large distributor, so a set like this could perhaps also ordered or bought there (like in `de Joker' on the Oudegracht in Utrecht, the Netherlands.) Unfortunately, it seems that in 2001, the set is no longer available.
The set looks very nice. It contains three levels of 8 by 8 squares, hold together by a wooden pole in the middle. Putting the set together is not too easy: it costed me between one and two hours - once put together, it is not a good idea to disassemble the set. One gets: one wooden board, two perspex boards, two wooden poles, a wooden ball (for on top of the set), and some screws. Problem is that the holes in the poles are too small for the screws, so one needs to drill larger holes - but not for the screw that goes to the bottom, as that one is different and smaller. The final result is however quite satisfying.
Some standard plastic pieces with metal inside for stability are supplied. Distances between the levels and sizes of the pieces make it easy enough to move the pieces.
Unfortunately, the rules of the game are not so good. The board is marked with a number of stars and king symbols. Most pieces are transferred to the middle board on their first move; in other cases they need a star-square to go from one level to another; kings can also go between levels with squares with the king symbol. One thing is too easy: promotion of pawns (they move to the middle board, and then perhaps with a star back to the board where the pieces of the owning player started and are hard to obstruct), and one thing is too hard: mating the king of the opponent. For instance, king plus queen versus king is a draw, and I think that king plus two queens versus king is also a draw. Apparently, the rules were either invented or approved by Larry Evans (one of the most well known and strongest US chess players).
The game has been marketed already many years ago, in the end of the 1960's or in the 1970's.
Wim Bodlaender playing Space Chess at the age of six.
Wim Bodlaender and Hans Bodlaender playing Space Chess.
Written by Hans Bodlaender; photo's by Hans Bodlaender and Brigit Bodlaender.
WWW page created: August 11, 1997. Last modified: April 23, 2001.