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This page contains information regarding Star Trek: Prodigy, and thus may contain spoilers.
Malcolm and Travis play chess

Travis Mayweather and Malcolm Reed play chess

Star Trek Picard 3D Chess Set 2

A chessboard and pieces in Picard's quarters at Coppelius Station

Chess was a tactically and intellectually advanced Human board game played by two opponents, one controlling "white" pieces and the other controlling "black" (though the pieces may be different colors.)


In 2154, Ensign Travis Mayweather and Lieutenant Malcolm Reed played chess aboard the NX-class starship Enterprise while inhabited by Organian observers. Lieutenant Reed told Ensign Mayweather that he was the ship's champion and won all the tournaments. According to the observer inhabiting Reed, the total number of possible outcomes in a match of chess was 10123 (a number that can be represented as a one followed by one hundred and twenty three zeros). (ENT: "Observer Effect")

McCoy watches Spock play chess

Spock, McCoy, and 3D chess

By 2265, a three-dimensional variant had been devised and was available to the crew of the Constitution-class USS Enterprise. James T. Kirk and Spock frequently enjoyed playing it together. (TOS: "Where No Man Has Gone Before", "Charlie X", "Court Martial", "By Any Other Name", "Whom Gods Destroy")

In an alternate timeline, Kirk frequently played three-dimensional chess with his first officer on the UEF Enterprise, until she tired of losing. After he was transported to 2022 Toronto with La'an Noonien-Singh, he obtained Canadian dollars by defeating several people at chess and betting on himself. Afterwards, he described the "old-fashioned" two-dimensional version as "idiot's chess". (SNW: "Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow")

In 2266, during a confrontation with the First Federation vessel Fesarius, while the Enterprise and its crew were apparently helpless against the alien Balok threatening to destroy them, Spock likened the situation to chess in which one is lost when overpowered, suggesting that the Enterprise crew was checkmated and the game was over. However, a comment from McCoy led Kirk to reject Spock's chess analogy playing poker a game in which one can overcome a losing situation by bluffing.(TOS: "The Corbomite Maneuver")

Chess, globe-memory test

Spherical chess during Spock's memory test

Another variation of chess was used in Spock's memory test in 2286, which featured the game on a spherical grid. (Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home)

When the computer of the USS Enterprise-D was affected by nanites, it responded to an inquiry with "Pawn to King Three, Knight to Rook Four, Queen to Bishop Three". (TNG: "Evolution")

According to Captain Jean-Luc Picard, dealing with the Romulans was "always a game of chess". (TNG: "The Defector")

On stardate 44390.1, two chess tournaments took place aboard the USS Enterprise-D. (TNG: "Data's Day")

One of the false memories planted into Geordi La Forge's brain after being brainwashed by the Romulans was of making second place in a chess tournament on Risa. (TNG: "The Mind's Eye")

Benjamin Sisko and Jadzia Dax played a game of chess in early 2371. (DS9: "Equilibrium")

A house featured in the holonovel Janeway Lambda One had a chess set on display, its pieces set up. (VOY: "Persistence of Vision")

Despite the game's inherent complexity, some individuals have been dismissive of it. When Harry Kim referred to Kal-toh as "Vulcan chess", Tuvok claimed that "Kal-toh is to chess as chess is to Tic-tac-toe". (VOY: "Alter Ego")

The Doctor claimed that his "cousin" (programming-wise) was a prize-winning chess program, not an electric shaver as Tom Paris had joked. (VOY: "11:59")

In 2375, Lieutenant Commander Data told the Ba'ku resident Artim that his chess routines were quite advanced. (Star Trek: Insurrection)

As part of his many enhancements to his program, The Doctor added a subroutine that allowed him to play chess at the level of a grandmaster. It was one of several he agreed to leave behind in order to pare down his program enough to be sent in a compressed data stream to the Alpha Quadrant in attempt to save his creator, Dr. Lewis Zimmerman, from dying. (VOY: "Life Line")

Q's Game

Q's game to test the Cerritos' senior officers

In 2380, Q set a challenge for the bridge crew of the USS Cerritos by dressing them as chess pieces and placing them on a giant chess board with elements of several other sports and games. Q made Captain Carol Freeman the queen, Dr. T'Ana became a rook, and Commander Jack Ransom and Lieutenant Shaxs both became pawns. (LD: "Veritas")

In 2381, when the USS Cerritos was being stolen from drydock by Ensign Beckett Mariner, Gary was playing a version of chess on his computer console. (LD: "Grounded")

While stranded on Ysida with the USS Protostar for ten years, Chakotay built a chess board with pieces in the shape of the ship's lost officers, including his first officer Adreek-Hu. (PRO: "Last Flight of the Protostar, Part I")

Sometime during the far future, Craft played chess with Zora during his stay on the USS Discovery. (ST: "Calypso")


See also[]

Background information[]

In the final draft script of TOS: "Charlie X", an ultimately unused line of dialogue referred to the chess pieces used aboard the USS Enterprise as "Antarian metal chess pieces".

In a revised draft script for TOS: "The Galileo Seven", a game of chess, played in Captain Kirk's quarters, was featured at the start of the episode's teaser. In a memo to Gene Roddenberry (dated 23 August 1966), Robert H. Justman suggested omitting the chess game and instead having the entire teaser set on the Enterprise's bridge.

An unfilmed line from TNG: "Coming of Age" suggests that the Mordock Strategy was a strategy in Benzite chess. The script of DS9: "Empok Nor" described the Cardassian game of Kotra as being "a cross between chess and Stratego".

The chess nomenclature used for the computer's lines in TNG: "Evolution", English Descriptive Notation, has become highly uncommon in the early 21st century, in favor of the far more efficient Algebraic Notation method, which was developed during the early decades of the 20th century.

In the writers' first draft script of ENT: "Dear Doctor", Phlox correctly ascertained that Captain Jonathan Archer had recently been playing chess, a deduction he arrived at after finding that Archer's pet beagle, Porthos, had mistakenly eaten a pawn from the game.

In an ultimately omitted scene from the final draft script of ENT: "The Council", Malcolm Reed admitted to hating chess.

Three chess sets "like the one featured in the Star Trek: Enterprise episode 'Observer Effect[!]'" were sold during the It's A Wrap! sale and auction on eBay, and two three-dimensional chess sets were sold in the Christie's auction 40 Years of Star Trek: The Collection. [1]

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