There must have been a moment at the beginning, where we could have said no. Somehow we missed it. Well, we'll know better next time.
First player to checkmate a king wins? It'll be chaotic but then so is the 4-player.
One player might be at a disadvantage by being in the middle, but you can just put the strongest player in the middle to handicap him.
Just curious b/c only 4 people have voted in the "number of players" poll and *all* four voted "not recommended" for 3 players.
Three players on a four-player board makes for a fun game. With only three players, it has to be cutthroat. It is the last king standing that wins.
There really are no official rules for four player chess. I made my own set of rules in a version I call 4Chess-Adversaries & Allies
In my version, partnering is not required. It is a cut-throat version with temporary alliances allowed that can be entered into and opted out of at will, ultimately leading to betrayals and intrigues, and not a small amount angst, anger, or desire for revenge. This makes the game really exciting, especially for younger, or weaker players, who are able to gang up on a strong or obnoxious player and eliminate them.
Default rules for my version are as follows:
Standard two-player rules apply, including castling and en-passing, except as follows:
1) A player's king must actually be captured to eliminate the player.
2) A player may move into a potential checkmate
3) A checkmated player may move any of his pieces
4) An eliminated player's remaining pieces stay stagnant on the board (default), but may be captured.
5) Pawns can be exchanged for another piece on reaching any end row (ahead, or to the side).
6) The last king standing is the winner, or the last two kings standing if they declare a truce or an alliance.
I think you ought to know I'm feeling very depressed.
It seems like this wouldn't work well for three. One player would be in a significantly different situation at the start of the game. If you want to play chess with 3, I would recommend Chess for Three.
I'm only happy when it rains...
I did it with three a couple times, years ago. Wasn't much fun.
Well, you can play with 3 players, but you must use all 4 sets for this. It's basically a 2 vs 2 game with one single player playing with 2 sets. That doesn't necessarily mean that the single player can play as someone with a doubled set. What I would recommend are the following rules:
1. One king of the other team must actually be captured before the other king of that same team can be checkmated.
2. Since the first king to be eliminated must be captured, it may be checked by pieces of both enemy colors in one move after another, just like any other piece can be attacked. However, kings always have an obligation to protect their own kingdom. Therefor, such king must always avoid being captured; in other words, it's not optional to move out of check if he can. If that king is unable to "uncheck", he may move to spaces controlled by enemy pieces on which he would still be in check to "surrender". This way he can force a piece that captures him in its color's next move to be captured as well, because the king is covered. The player that is checking the king at that moment must capture him. If more piece are checking him at the same time, then the first enemy color to have his move as well as checking the king must capture him. If more pieces that are checking are of the same color, then the owner of that color chooses with which piece to capture. Remember that capturing in this case is compulsory. If the first king must "surrender" (NOT the other king of the same team), but it can "reach" an emeny piece due to his normal move, then the surrendering king may even capture that piece. This way, you'll be more careful with a piece eliminating the first king. If that piece is captured by the surrendered king, and it is covered by a piece of his teammate, then the teammate can capture the surrended first king. However, if another piece of the same color is covering the piece that forces the first to surrender, then only that color may capture the surrendered king.
3. The second king of the same team to be eliminated must be checkmated, but he can't be "multichecked" to force checkmate by pieces of both enemy colors. If one piece puts the second king in check, the checking color is in a special state, which means that only pieces of that color may be checking the king before he moves in his own turn; the pieces of the teammates color are not allowed to. The exceptions to this rule are the discovered and double checks, in which a piece of the color other than or in addition to the moving piece is checking the king. If the king is checked by a discovery move (the piece that moves doesn't check the king), the color of the piece that checks the king takes precedence in having the right of attacking the king. If the king is doublechecked, however, the color of the moving piece takes precedence, because it is "checking by moving/attacking actively" by itself. In addition, this checking piece is considered to be "respected" in terms of being captured, which in this case is only allowed by the color of which the king is in check; the color that is alligned with that king may not capture that piece. However, Pieces of a color alligned with the checking piece may cut off paths for the king to move to on his turn, as long as it doesn't check the king itself. This type of move can also trigger a checkmated position. Players need to remember, however, that a king is only concidered to be checkmated when it is the turn of the checked king's color to move, while that king can not. If that king is the second king to be eliminated and he has been checkmated, the checkmating team wins the game. A piece of the color alligned with the checked king may not capture the checking piece, but it may help the king by interrupting check (standing in between), which puts the king out of check and the attacking piece will lose its "respected" state (it can be captured as usual).
4. There is a type of check which can't be triggered in orthodox chess: the supercheck. The supercheck can only be performed if both enemy kings are still in the game. As being said, both kings always have to protect themselves and the color alligned with the king being in check must treat the checking piece the way as described in rule number 3. A supercheck, essentially a fork of checks, is nothing more or less than putting both kings in check with the movement of one piece that also checks both kings itself (a single queen, for example, can check both kings at the same time by herself). If this happens, that checking piece can't be captured by either defending color, because the checking piece is in the "respected" state. In such situations, the check of one color can only be undone by moving the king out of check, because the alligned color must undo the check on his king himself as well.
5. And then there is another check type, which is similar to the supercheck, but a bit less powerful. It involves a piece that moves and this way triggers a discovered or double check on one king, while it causes another piece to check the other king at the same time. The same rule as number 3 applies. It is only less powerful, because the checks can still be interrupted and the checking pieces can be captured by the king's defending color (except with a double check, of course). Still dangerous to be confronted with.
6. Pieces of same team may not capture any of the pieces of the alligned color.
7. Kings of the same team are never checking each other in any way. Therefor they can occupy squares directly adjacent to each other. However, the standard rule still applies for enemy kings, which for this reason can not occupy squares directly adjacent to each other. The king of an alligned color that must make a move to "surrender" (because he can't prevent himself from being captured as the first eliminated king), while the other king as the second king to be eliminated is in check, the first king may surrender by undoing the check on the second king. He can do this by interrupting the second king's check or capturing the checking piece. This move, allthough it would be very rare to see such a situations, even put the second king out of a position that would cause him to be checkmated when it would be the turn of the second king's color.
8. Players from the same team sit across from each other. When pawns of the alligned colors (but their own) "meet" (blocking each other's paths), then a those pawns may swap places, having the ability to move on towards the opposite side of the board. Pawns still block the paths of enemy pawns when they "meet" and thus can't be swapped. All other rules for pawns apply. This includes en passent captures, which can only be done if the pawn that will be captured is in front of the capturing pawn from the perspective of the player who will capture this way.
9. 3-player games are, like I said, essentially 4-player 2 vs 2 games, but with one player controlling two colors of pieces. The single player has to treat these colors as alligned, but separate as well. The gameplay is done by taking turns in clockwise order, and the single player must always play this way as well, meaning that he can never move with pieces of the same color two times consecutively. If he makes his move with a piece of one color, he must make his next move with a piece of the other color. A second king can not be considered checkmated if is the turn of the other color the single player plays with. Kings can only be considered to be forced to surrender or be checkmated it is the turn of of that kings color. When the first king is eliminated, the pieces of that color are still active as a separate color, but they can all be used (according to the rules regarding turn order) to protect the second king.
10. There is the famous saying: "Two heads are better than one". Since this is a team game, players of the same can co-operate with each other. However, a team is playing against a single player, who has his own team, but he can not discuss anything with a teammate, because he doesn't have one; he only has the allignment of his two armies. Therefor there are limits to what the "2-headed team" can discuss. First they need to know that their opponent can hear anything they say, so it would be wise to not give away to much; the single player can keep any secret from his opponents, because he doesn't have to discuss anything with someone else. And secondly, the two teammates must not become too strong together to create a disturbance in the balance of the game (not that of the Force, by the way). For this reason, the teammates may talk about everything they want to do with their own pieces in terms of movement, but they may not make suggestions about the movement of their teammate's pieces (except when they and/or their teammate are in check or surrendering his king as the first king to be eliminated.
I know, it is a LOT of text which may cause many questions. Sorry for that. No worries, if you have one or several, I'll answer it/them.