Bringing Chess to Ethereum

Marguerite deCourcelle
7 min readNov 21, 2020

Announcing GET PWND: Your friendly neighborhood Ethereum chess set vendor!

Today, I’m announcing a coordinated effort to launch a marketplace and platform for 3D custom chess sets which can be designed by third-party artists and supported in-game by third-party developers: GET PWND

Marguerite deCourcelle here, CEO of Blockade Games, and perpetual Ethereum developer with COIN, a community and developer-focused project on cultivating creative ecosystems.

If you’re a developer, don’t miss the technical details at the bottom of this article!

Why Chess? Why Now?

To start, Battle Chess is one of my all-time favorite video games from growing up.

As I’ve been building games for Blockade, I’ve often found myself considering the unexplored opportunities between decentralized assets and Chess. Chess sets are inherently artistic in design and collectible in nature. These attributes dovetail with recent technological innovations to bring Chess to the entire Ethereum ecosystem.

These past few weeks my love for chess was reignited as many of us shared an affinity for the successful Netflix series The Queen’s Gambit. So as chess seems to be on the forefront of our minds, it is with great pleasure to announce a new partnership to explore the opportunities that Chess may provide for creative decentralized blockchain assets.

Today I’m delighted to roll out “GET PWND” a new store on OpenSea, co-owned by Alexandra Botez, the COIN development team and Glitch_Black as a featured artist. OpenSea is the largest marketplace for rare digital goods.

A Knight and a Queen from the GET PWND Genesis Set Collections

Who is Alexandra Botez?

I’ve been a long time fan of Alexandra, a beautiful woman of strong intellect and wit who dominates at chess. Alexandra is one of the elite few who holds the title Woman FIDE Master, with an Elo rating of 2020. She and her sister Andrea have built a strong Twitch following as she entertainingly crushes her chess opponents on livestream. It’s very timely that this Sunday she will be taking on the Ethereum savant and prodigy Vitalik Buterin over a friendly game of chess to be streamed live on Sunday 11/22 at 9 pm ET.


As decentralized creative blockchain assets continue to flourish within the content creator circles including mainstream notables such as Beeple, John White, Genuine Human, 3LAU, and RAC, we’re beginning to see the emergence of platforms to support interactive experiences of the content.

The newly launched blockchain game Blankos shows how customizable 3D assets can live at the center of art and gaming. Likewise, in an attempt to bridge gaming, social engagement, content creation, and development, we have brought together a talented team who thrives within each sector to experiment with the possibilities. To focus on an immediate use-case, we picked Chess as the game to streamline content production and game development from the talented Ethereum community at large.

The new technological innovations on the OpenSea Marketplace and the launch of projects like BeyondNFT and AsyncArt have opened doors to produce and trade 3D programmable object files which can be simultaneously supported across multiple independent game environments.

In Chess, there are incredible opportunities to explore a multitude of variants and environments. An example of the long running list of game variants include but are not limited to 3-way chess, 4-way chess, circular chess, infinite chess, 4D chess, masonic chess, rhombus chess, battle royale chess, and more generally, chess with obscure objectives, missions, and rules. I personally love the idea of Ethereum smart contracts being used to support features such as “play for keeps” and “permadeath”, and other high-stake game modes that interact with NFTs.

We envision this platform will showcase artists who will create custom 3D chess sets, where players and collectors can mix and match their sets, complete full sets, and play competitively. Revenue from the store will go towards producing more custom sets and additional bounties for game development.

The Genesis set, created by Glitch_Black, is a cyberpunk-themed set. We chose cyberpunk as my company, Blockade Games, is excitedly ramping up for Neon District, a cyberpunk RPG launching on December 15th. There are two types of chess sets available: The Genesis Red Set & The Genesis Blue Set.

Neon District is a cyberpunk role-playing adventure by Blockade Games. Strategize and fight to progress through a sci-fi dystopia while collecting characters and gear backed with blockchain technology.

For collecting convenience, these Genesis chess sets will be offered in various bundles. Individual pieces, except pawns, will be available for collecting. In total, there will be enough NFTs for 600 complete Genesis sets of 32 pieces.

NFTs will be offered for the following ETH prices and quantities, and will also be accepted in COIN at an initial 15% discount that is subject to change:

The Store will populated with bundles tomorrow! Visit GET PWND ahead and during the live-streamed event to pick up a collectible set, the match starts at Sunday 11/22 9pm ET on BotezLive! In the meantime, if you’d like to make an offer on the pieces, they’ll be considered prior to the bundle listings tomorrow.

If you’re an artist and would like to participate in creating a custom 3D chess set, contact me at The current requirements for submission to the store are:

  • Create a set of chess pieces using a 3D modeling program:
  • Pawn
  • Rook
  • Knight
  • Bishop
  • Queen
  • King
  • Export the chess pieces as a glTF file format, which is web-friendly and works natively on OpenSea and in Three.JS for easy import into web-based 3D games and experiences
  • Make sure that the materials used to color / texture the chess pieces for glTF format can be exported with the glTF file. PBR materials work for glTF exports.
  • Provide an animated GIF or a still JPEG or PNG for each of the files, so that preview images can be displayed across a host of NFT browsing sites
  • Lastly, provide a name and description for the set


Calling all Devs!

Build a Game with these 3D chess pieces! We’d love to see creative uses of these 3D NFTs in a variety of environments — embedded into existing blockchain virtual world experiences, brought into a VR experience, and most importantly: playable in a web-based chess game!

To start, we’re kicking off a major bounty for the development of a 3D chess game that uses these NFTs in a PvP chess match!

What we’d love to see is a 3D PvP chess game that:

  1. Lets a player send a link to a friend to play against them in real-time
  2. Reads the player’s wallet to determine which pieces they own
  3. Let them pick and choose from the pieces they have
  4. Displays the chosen NFT pieces for both players on the board, with default chess pieces where NFTs aren’t owned or selected
  5. Let the players play through a full match of chess!
  6. Make this freely available as an open source library

We’re opening a bounty of 5,000 COIN for the development of the 3D PvP chess game that meets all of the above requirements! If there are multiple submissions, we’ll choose our favorite; however up to two additional submissions will receive 2,500 COIN.

There are also fun additional bounties that could be added to the above! Such as:

  1. Play against a bot, with options for different difficulties — 300 COIN
  2. Leaderboards of addresses and their W/L record — 300 COIN
  3. Ability to “view” a match in real-time and watch other players play — 300 COIN
  4. Allow players to bring their own board as an NFT! We haven’t created any boards yet, but we’d love to add variety to the environment as well as the pieces — 300 COIN

How to build a game using these NFTs:

To help you get started, there are already a slew of JavaScript chess libraries out there:

And perhaps the best starting point, an actual 3D chess game built in JavaScript:

Others can be found through Google: “javascript chess library 3d”

Vitalik and Jing, chess match 2019



Marguerite deCourcelle

Marguerite deCourcelle (aka coin_artist) is a technologist, game designer, and blockchain enthusiast. She is the CEO of Blockade Games