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Space Chess

Space Chess is a three dimensional chess variant, marketed by Chessex, 2900 San Pablo Avenue, Berkeley, California, U.S.A. The game was sold in shops and over the internet for a number of years; my set has a copyright notice of 1994, but it seems that the game now is no longer marketed: a pity because this was a nice and affordable commercial three dimensional chess variant. I received a request for the rules from a reader who lost his own set. More information can be found on a webpage with photo's of a set.


The board

There are three levels; each 8 by 8. Some squares have markings: the centre and squares c3, c6, f3, f6 have a star, and squares f1 and f8 have a king as marking.


The pieces of white are as in orthodox chess setup on the first two rows of the lowest board. Blacks pieces are, as in orthodox chess setup, on the last two rows of the top board.


Movement is as in orthodox chess, but there are some rules that make a piece change levels.
  1. Each piece must move to the middle level on its first move, except that
    • Kings do not have to change level on their first move. If they castle, also the rook may stay on the original level.
    • You may stay on the same level with a piece on the first move if this is the only way to prevent checkmate.
    • You may not change level and move to an occupied square on the new level.
    • Pawns moving to a star square may change one or two levels.
  2. After the first move of a piece, pieces (except the king) may only change levels by going to a starred square: at the end of the move, the piece may go to an empty square above or below, changing one or two levels. Example: a rook on top-level a3 may move to top-level c3, and then if he wishes, in the same turn to middle-level c3 or bottom-level c3 (provided these are empty). Capturing can only happen on the board the piece starts his move.
  3. Kings may change one level when going to a square with a king symbol, and may also use the starred squares.
  4. Changing levels is not compulsory, except for the first move a piece makes, as detailed above.

Written by Hans Bodlaender.
WWW page created: April 23, 2001.