Three-player chess (also known as Three-handed, Three-man, or Three-way chess) is a family of chess variants specially designed for three players. Many variations of three-player chess have been devised. They usually use a non-standard board, for example, a hexagonal or three-sided board that connects the center cells in a special way. The three armies are differentiated usually by color.
Three-player chess variants (as well as other three-player games) are the hardest to design fairly, since the imbalance created when two players gang up against one is usually too great for the defending player to withstand. Some versions attempt to avoid this “petty diplomacy” problem by determining the victor as the player who first delivers checkmate, with the third player losing in addition to the checkmated player. Other solutions have been tried as well.