Science » Technologies and discoveries

Russian inventor designs chessboard suitable for three players at once

Chess pieces sit on three sides of the board

He has been dreaming of building a chessboard for three players ever since he was a boy. He was always unhappy about a situation when only two people could play chess. But three was always a crowd for this game. Mr. Kononov eventually made his dream come true.

He is a radio engineer by profession. He was involved in serious projects working in that field for many years. He came up with lots of ideas. He was part of a team that designed an aircraft driven by solar energy, it was reportedly capable of flying nonstop around the globe.

Having realized that he might spend a lifetime checking calculations and getting his plans off the ground, he focused on his old dream of a chessboard for three players.

A wastepaper basket in his office stayed filled to the brim with concepts and ideas he had to reject while searching for the right design. Finally, he came up with a chessboard resembling a cloverleaf. Chess pieces sit on three sides of the board. Alexander showed the invention to his dad, a chess aficionado. As he watched Alexander arranging neatly three kings on the same board, his dad could not find the words to express his admiration. Then he gasped out: “This is a masterpiece!” Alexander, his son and his dad quickly sat down and put the new chessboard to the test. An extra set of chess pieces on the chessboard are painted in bright color(blue or pink)  to avoid confusion.

Alexander took a patent for his invention from Rospatent. He also registered his three-way chessboard with the State Register of Useful Models of Russia. He says the rules of the game equal those of traditional chess. Pieces can also move along a broken line thanks to design of the chessboard. The game keeps every participant pretty strung right till the end. A smart player can win even when his chances are really slim and he has only four pawns and a king on his side. But he can win by taking advantage of the position of pieces of his both opponents, according to Mr. Kononov. He admits that a regular game of chess seems pretty boring and easy after playing a chess game for three.

Alexander lives in a Russian town of Penza. Many residents of the town took up the new game with enthusiasm. The first Russian three-way chess tournament was held in Penza. Kids from three local schools took part in the tournament. Now Mr. Kononov is dreaming of launching an All-Russian tournament.