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C.S. Graves' Proposed 3 Man Chess Notations

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written 2003/03/27

    Once in a while I had given thought as to how one might record games of 3 Man Chess. At first the problem seemed a little unusual, given that the 3 Man Chess board is circular, as pictured below.

A rough approximation of the appearance of the board

    I printed out a piece of polar coordinate graph paper (printed with an older, freeware version of the now shareware Graph Paper Printer) and filled in the black squares in pencil to make a rough representation of the board. Now that I had something I could look at and mark on if necessary, I got inspired...

    I realized that a modified version of good ol' algebraic notation could be used if one thought of the circular board as merely a distortion of a rectangular board, as pictured above.

Proposed modified algebraic notation for use with 3 Man Chess

    Clockwise from white (or left from white if you're using the rectangular board depiction to visualise), the three colours are set thusly: white, gray, and black. For the purposes of notation, the board is divided into three zones, one for each colour. Each zone starts at the outer rank (where the major pieces of each colour are set up) and extend to the void (the unoccupiable center space in 3 Man Chess), as well as extending to either moat bordering the pieces. These zones should be designated a letter or group of letters, such as WH (white) GR (gray) or BL (black). The files start from the king's rook at "a", and go on to "h" at the queen's rook. The ranks begin at the outer rank with "1" and end at the inner rank just before the void at "6". A single piece move is expressed first by zone, then file, then rank. Moves are noted in order, from white, gray, and then black. Using this proposed modification of algebraic notation, it should be possible to keep track of 3 Man Chess games.

Example: WHe4 (pawn to e4 in the White zone), BLBa2 (bishop to a2 in the Black zone), GRRcxBLf3 (rook on the c file of the Gray zone takes f3 in the Black zone), etc...

Proposed 3 Man Chess modified Forsyth notation

The rules of regular Forsyth notation apply with the following exceptions:

  • All pieces are denoted by lower-case letters.
  • Colours are distinguished by the upper-case letters W (white), G (gray), and B (black).
  • Before notation, the colour of the zone is written.
  • Zones are noted in the order of black, gray, then white.

Black 8/8/8/8/BpBpBpBpBpBpBpBp/BrBnBbBkBqBbBnBr
Gray 8/8/8/8/GpGpGpGpGpGpGpGp/GrGnGbGkGqGbGnGr
White 8/8/8/8/WpWpWpWpWpWpWpWp/WrWnWbWkWqWbWnR

    Now I'll be able to post some 3 Man game notations on my site for anyone else with a 3 Man set to read, and no doubt criticize. Ye gods, I'm a nerd!

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