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Three-dimensional chess

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3d chess

Spock moving a piece while playing against the computer in 2267.

Three-dimensional chess is a version of the Earth game, chess, and was commonly played throughout the 23rd and 24th centuries.

James T. Kirk first gained a passion for playing three-dimensional chess whilst studying at Starfleet Academy. After leaving the Academy, he carried the passion with him to his various duty assignments. Aboard the USS Farragut, he often played chess with Gilhooley whilst swapping bawdy tales. Following the disaster at Tycho IV, Kirk withdrew inside himself and contented himself with playing chess against the computer. Shortly after Kirk's assignment to the USS Constitution, Gary Mitchell attempted to set up a match between Kirk and Borrik, the ship's communication officers, but he wasn't interested. (TOS - My Brother's Keeper novel: Constitution)

In the 2260s, Kirk and Commander Spock played many games of three-dimensional chess together aboard the USS Enterprise. It was a fascinating experience for Spock as Captain Kirk beat him on many occassions, defying Spock's own logic. (TOS episodes: "Where No Man Has Gone Before", "Court Martial")

Spock later programmed the computer of the Enterprise with a knowledge level of three-dimensional chess equal to his own. As a result, Spock felt that as a result the best he should've been able to achieve would be a draw. While Captain James T. Kirk was on trial for the death of Ben Finney, Spock played chess, and defeated the computer several times in a row. Spock realized that someone had sabotaged the computer to frame Captain Kirk, and it was soon realized that Ben Finney was still alive, seeking revenge for Kirk's logging a mistake that Finney made a number of years ago which caused a reprimand to be entered against Finney. (TOS episode: "Court Martial")

After Spock was separated into separate Human and Vulcan beings in early 2268, the Vulcan Spock played several games of three-dimensional chess against Kirk and "beat the pants off of him". Kirk remarked to McCoy that it was like playing against a freshly rewired computer. (TOS short story: "Ni Var")

Even in his advanced age, Spock was still able to play, into 2367. Without gamepieces of any kind, using only memory, he challenged Lieutenant Commander Data, aboard Enterprise-D. It ended in mutual stalemate. (TNG comic: " The Modala Imperative")

Benjamin Sisko owned a three-dimensional chess set and displayed it in his quarters on Deep Space 9. (DS9 episode: "Move Along Home")

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