The idea of three-dimensional chess, at least as we know it, comes from the world of Star Trek. The pilot episode, "Where No Man Has Gone Before,” shows Captain Kirk and Spock facing off, but the actual gameplay is never explained in the series.
With the new series on CBS, we might just get that -- especially as the game does really exist and someone has actually taken the time to figure out a way to play it. Vice's Motherboard interviewed the creator of the unofficial "Tridimensional" chess board or "Hyperchess" board. Created decades ago by a board game designer Max Chappell, it existed in somewhat obscurity, only for truly committed Star Trek fans that went to the early conventions.