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Isn't it called the Aldebaran exchange and not "Aldebran exchange"? --BlueMars 14:03, Aug 30, 2004 (CEST)

Why is this called Three-dimensional chess instead of Tri-Dimensional Chess? "3-D" chess would be played on an 8x8x8 grid (cube) with the pieces moving horizontally and/or vertically. But Tri-D chess is a very different game, more of a multi-level 2-D variant. I also thought that this game has always been referred to as "Tri-Dimensional Chess" in the Trek-verse. -- Stekev 05:19, 12 May 2006 (UTC)
I think this page could do with an overhaul, there are a few variants featured through the series, including the one featured in the TNG episode TNG: "Ménage à Troi" which is a common variant available from chess shops. Lt.Lovett 18:26, 21 November 2008 (UTC)
I think Franz Jospeh called the game "Tri-Dimensional Chess" in his "Star Fleet Technical Manual." However, in "Charlie X," Spcok says: " The principles of three-dimensional chess are basically mathematic, Charlie. You put the white here and the black on the secondary level." From a canon standpoint, it looks like the game is "Three-" instead of "Tri-." The preceding unsigned comment was added by GSchnitzer (talkcontribs).
Many versions of chess are called 3D chess, including stratochess, raumschach and dragon chess.
Roddenberry himself approved Schnaubelt's work, entitled tri dimensional chess.
In the cited quote, Spock might have just referred to the game he played as simply 'chess' and still implied tri dimensional chess or could have been explaining all versions of three dimensional chess are mathematical.
Tri dimensional chess is the unambiguous name for the game of three main levels with additional attack boards.
-- Charles 22:30, 19 June 2022 (UTC)
Regardless of your opinion, this is what it is called on screen, so it is literally as canon as you can get.--Gvsualan (talk) 02:45, 20 June 2022 (UTC)
I removed my opinion. Is the Star Fleet Technical Manual then not considered canon?
-- Charles 11:04, 20 June 2022 (UTC)
By far, no. It's a book. See: MA:CANON.--Gvsualan (talk) 11:17, 20 June 2022 (UTC)
I hadn't seen the canon rules before, thanks.
The main mistake here is I expected the thoughts of Mr Roddenberry to be sacred.

Article needs research[]

The info in the Setup and Play sections seems to be mostly speculation and/or paraphrasing of background material. If I am wrong and all of this stuff is canon then the article needs some citations.--Hribar 01:05, 27 May 2009 (UTC)

The gameboard consists of seven levels, three fixed levels four squares long by four squares wide and four movable "attack board" levels which are two squares by two squares. (By the 24th Century, a variant using six "attack board" levels was also common.)
The three stationary levels are set up in a stair-like pattern with each higher level overlapping the one beneath it by two rows.
The four movable levels start out at the corners of the top stationary level, overlapping the corner square of both, and the bottom stationary level, two each. (With the six attack board variant, the additional two movable levels start on the centermost board, usually starting on the upper left and lower right corners as viewed by either player.)
The pieces used in three-dimensional chess are identical to those used in the traditional game: two Kings, two Queens, four Bishops, four Knights, four Rooks, and sixteen Pawns, each divided equally between the sides - Black and White.
The initial positions of the pieces appear similar to those of standard chess when viewed from above, with one rook, one knight and a pair of pawns on each of the movable levels, and the bishops, the Queen and King, and the remaining four pawns occupying half of the bottom or top stationary level - White at the bottom, Black at the top, with no pieces on the middle level.
Agreed. — Morder (talk) 19:56, April 29, 2010 (UTC)
I also removed the following for not being supported by canon, as far as I'm aware:
Again, it should look like a legal move in traditional chess when seen from above.
Cleanse ( talk | contribs ) 10:42, January 1, 2011 (UTC)


If it's about the rules of 3D chess, then it should be on the 3D chess page. I'm also wondering if all the info here is directly from canon. --31dot 23:46, February 18, 2012 (UTC)

Merge, and no, the rules were never mentioned in canon. I don't see a reason why we couldn't briefly explain the "official" rules (if some can be found) in a bg note though, as the game seen in Trek was more or less invented for the show, according to Three-dimensional chess. It might be prudent to check this to make sure it isn't a copyright violation as well. - Archduk3 00:06, February 19, 2012 (UTC)


Here is a brief history of the most widely played sets of rules for tri dimensional chess.

It was thought the Enterprise crew would play three dimensional games to better train them for three dimensional space combat and to that end the original stage property was provided by Irving A Feinberg, the property designer.

He may very well have repurposed a commercially available product for TOS.

The game was included under the name 'tri dimensional chess' with scant and largely unplayable rules, in the 1975 Ballantine Books publication of Franz Josef Schnaubelt's Star Trek Star Fleet Technical Manual, which was approved personally by Gene Roddenberry.

The first set of playable rules was compiled by Andrew Bartmess, a chess player and Star Trek fan, with the encouragement of Schnaubelt, although these utilised the 'highest board move' rule which imparts a considerable advantage to the player starting on the highest board, traditionally black.

British flying officer, John Hawkins, created a set of rules to impart the ideas of actual aerial combat, in 1992 and they are currently used by the RAF fighter, British army helicopter and the US navy top gun schools, as well as the World Tri Dimensional Chess Federation.

Jens Meder developed a full set of rules to govern playing tri dimensional chess at tournament level.

Tony Britton made a television appearance promoting his 'jedi smurf' rules, as used by the Amateur Tri Dimensional Chess League.

The Noble Collection released an ornamental board and included a stripped down version of Federation Standard rules.

The ornament has been widely criticised as hard to play on because the boards don't align properly, making it difficult to judge horizontal proximities.

A more comprehensive discussion of these rules can be found at: -- Charles 00:13, 20 June 2022 (UTC)

Are you proposing a change to this article? 31dot (talk) 23:27, 19 June 2022 (UTC)

I feel the play and the moves sections need a lot of extra work, but I would not like to outright edit them, so I provided this history to help someone slightly closer to Star Trek canon make the decision, 31dot.

I actually play the game a lot, so I might be a bit biased. I also support the name change. -- Charles 00:13, 20 June 2022 (UTC)

This screams fanon. --Gvsualan (talk) 02:37, 20 June 2022 (UTC)
A fair point, Gvsualan. Any real authority is only ever going to be Schnaubelt's minimal and flawed footnote, which is a shame because it's such a great game. Memory alpha was the first place I went looking for rules of play when I started and I was left disappointed.
I might copy this to memory beta.
-- Charles 10:52, 20 June 2022 (UTC)