How to Play Three Check: The Beginner’s Guide

If you’re a chess enthusiast looking for a new challenge, you should definitely learn how to play Three Check chess.

Three Check is a chess variant that adds a unique twist to classic chess with a new rule that entails that a player can win by checking their opponent three times.

In this post, we’ll talk all about Three Check chess, what it is, its basic rules, some winning tips, and why you’d want to play it.

Let’s jump right into it!

What Is Three Check Chess?

Three Check is a chess variant that adds a new win condition to the traditional game. In addition to the standard way of ending the game by checkmate, stalemate, and timeout, players in Three Check can also win by giving their opponents three checks.

A “check” is when a player’s king is attacked by an opponent’s piece. When the king is checked, you can get out of it by moving it away out of harm’s way, blocking the attack with another piece, or capturing the attacking piece.

What Are the Rules in Three Check Chess?

The rules of Three Check Chess are mostly the same as in regular chess. The only difference is the added win condition of three checks.

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If you’re a beginner, we’ll review the basic rules of chess to ensure you’ve got a solid foundation before diving into Three Check.


The set-up of Three Check chess is the same as traditional chess. The game is played on a standard 8×8 board with the pieces in their starting positions.

Like in traditional chess, white opens the game then players alternate turns.


The laws of FIDE apply to this game. Moves are only legal when they’re considered as such in FIDE. Each piece can move according to these rules:

  1. The pawn moves one or two squares forward on its first move. Then, it moves one square on subsequent moves. The pawn captures diagonally.
  2. The rook moves along its file or rank, in any number of squares.
  3. The knight can move to the nearest squares that aren’t on the same file, rank, or diagonal.
  4. The bishop may move anywhere along the diagonal where it stands.
  5. The queen may move to any square on the rank, file, or diagonal on which it stands.
  6. The king is allowed to move to one square in any direction provided that the square isn’t obstructed by another piece nor threatened by an opponent’s piece.


The game is won in three ways. You can win by checkmate, timeout, or checking your opponent three times. One important thing to note is a double check only counts as one check.


Three Check can also end through a stalemate. A stalemate occurs when there are no longer any legal moves. However, the king isn’t threatened, so the opponent can’t claim a win.

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If you get a stalemate, the game ends in a draw.

What Are Some Winning Tips in Three Check Chess?

The key to winning in Three Check chess is focusing on checking your opponent while avoiding receiving checks yourself.

Protect Your King’s Diagonals

In Three Check chess, leaving your king’s diagonals open can be a quick path to defeat. Guarding the king’s diagonal is just as crucial in this variant as in the traditional game.

Leaving your king’s diagonal open exposes you to checks, so take extra care to keep them closed.

Watch Out for Open Files

Open files are also dangerous in Three Check chess. They can quickly turn a winning position into a losing one. Even if you’ve checked your opponent twice, leaving an open file can lead to consecutive checks.

To avoid this, be sure to control open files. Additionally, challenge your opponent’s pieces that threaten open files.

Avoid Consecutive Checks

Giving your opponent consecutive checks is usually the beginning of disaster in Three Check chess. However, don’t give up even if your opponent has already checked you twice and you still haven’t checked them.

Even if they have more checks, you can still turn the game around. Your opponent may have sacrificed material to get those checks, and you can turn this into an advantage.

Remember to watch out for consecutive checks and try to prevent your opponent from gaining the initiative through them.

Why Play Three Check?

Three Check chess adds a new level of excitement and strategy to the game. You need to be aware of the possibility of giving or receiving three checks. Aside from this added challenge, here are other reasons chess enthusiasts like to play this game:

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Fast-Paced Game

Playing Three Check chess can lead to a faster-paced and more dynamic game.

The three-check win condition allows you to end the game faster than with a checkmate.

Practice Chess Skills

If you want to improve your strategy and gameplay in traditional chess, playing Three Check chess is an effective way to sharpen your skills.

Here’s how playing this variant improves your game:

King Safety

This chess variant makes you more conscious about king safety. Due to the threat of three checks, you’ll be more skilled at not exposing your king.

This skill translates to regular chess where king safety is also crucial to avoid losing the game.

Improved Piece Development

To deliver three checks and win Three Check chess, you need to develop your pieces efficiently. Playing this game can help you practice effectively developing your pieces, which is helpful when you play traditional chess.

Better Defensive Skills

With the added condition of three checks, you’ll have to defend your king very well.

Every check counts in this game, so you must sharpen your awareness of potential threats. Developing your defensive skills is also helpful in improving your strategy in traditional chess.


Three Check chess offers a unique and exciting twist on traditional chess. It’s perfect for those who are looking for an extra challenge. It can also help improve your chess skills by keeping you vigilant of king safety and sharpening your defense.

Follow the winning tips outlined in this post to improve your chances of winning this fast-paced game. Whether you’re a seasoned player looking for a new challenge or a beginner searching for a fun game, Three Check chess is worth exploring.