Wherever I take my 3-player chess board it draws attention, and when I set up chess pieces in three colors on the board, the excitement grows. Anyone who plays chess quickly gathers around to play or watch as my unique game of Mercenary Chess proceeds. Two players may gang up on one, but soon sides will change. If one gets checkmated out of the game, his pieces stay on the board to be captured by the remaining players for a vicious endgame.
Before you can play any 3-player chess game, you need a 3-way board and more chess pieces. Here are instructions to make a board in the shape of a 6-point star. Purchase the extra colored chess pieces separately, or you can paint other sets in different colors yourself.
The size of your board will depend upon the size of your pieces. Standard chess pieces will fit on a 2 inch diamond shaped space. These directions are for such a board. The overall size of a board with 2 inch sided diamond spaces is 24 inches across the arms, and 27 ¾ inches from point to point across the center. Get a piece of poster board, plywood, or other material at least this big.
Credit: author, Mike AckermanCredit: author, Mike Ackerman
• posterboard, plywood, or other board material
• yardstick, straight-edge
• drafting compass
• black paint or marker
Find the center of the material by marking the center of both diagonal lines from corner
to corner. Draw a horizontal pencil line through the center point dividing the board in
half. This center line is parallel with the 24” line that will be drawn later across the top
of the 6-point star arms.
Set a drawing compass at 2 inches and with the point on the center, make a 2 inch radius
circle around the center point. The circle crosses the line on both sides of the center
point giving you new points on the right and the left of the center. Set the compass point
on the right point and mark 2 inches on the circle both above and below the horizontal
line with the compass. Then do the same from the point on the left side of the center.
This marks 6 points equidistant at 2 inches around the circle.
Just as your first line passed through 2 opposite points on the circle, draw 2 more lines
joining the opposite points on the circle as if you were cutting a pie. This divides the
circle into 6 sections. Extend each of the 6 lines to a point 8 inches from the center.
Check the measurement from the end of one line to the end of the next. Each of the 6
line ends should be 8 inches apart. Adjust the lines if necessary. Mark every 2 inches on
Now you will draw the 24 inch lines creating the arms of the star. Using a good yardstick
or other straight-edge at least 24 inches long, draw a line joining the top two of the 8
inch points around the outside, and extend the line another 8 inches beyond each point,
so the total length of the line is 24 inches.
Repeat step 4 for each pair of 8 inch points so that you have drawn the outside edge of
the 6-point star. Each edge of each star arm should be 8 inches long. Then each edge of
each star point must be marked every 2 inches.
Draw in the grid of diamonds by joining the corresponding points on the outside edges
of the star with the points on the 6 inside lines radiating from the center that are also
marked at every 2 inches. (See instruction 3.)
Mark every other diamond of each row with a pencil as one to be colored black. Then
fill them in with black paint or marker as you choose. When the board is dry you are
ready to learn the game and play.
• If you want a board in a different size, just remember that the diamond shapes are made of 2
equilateral triangles joined side to side. The distance across the board from arm to arm will be
12 times the side measurement of the single diamond space. The distance from point to point
will be 13.875 times the side measurement. Have fun with your family and friends! Teach them
a new way to play chess.
• Directions for playing Mercenary Chess are in another article called, How to Play Mercenary
Chess for 3 Players.
Now that you have the board, its time to learn how to play three player chess.