Style Variations Of Hand Carved Chess Sets
Chess is a game that has been loved all over the world for years. The complex game is a combination of strategy and critical thinking that challenges players to think ahead before making a move. While playing the game, people rarely think about the look of the pieces themselves. There have been many different styles of hand carved unique chess sets throughout history, and a few of them will be touched on here.
The Staunton chess, named after English chess master Howard Staunton, was created by designer Nathaniel Cook in the 1800s. Since the creation of the original, there have been numerous variations, all sharing a similar style to the original. Recognizable characteristics are the cross on the crown of the king and the indenture on the bishop.
The Dubrovnik set was introduced in the 1950s and has Staunton influences in its pieces. The pieces are the work of P. Pocek, a sculptor, and painter who was given the task of creating the pieces for the Chess Olympiad. Notable differences in the Dubrovnik set are the lack of religious symbols on the pieces, and the pieces having wider bases, which were used with boards containing 55-millimeter squares.
Wood isn't the only material that chess sets are made from, as many have seen through various bone chess sets. From as far back as the 18th century, cow bones were turned into chess sets by turners. The bone affected the shape of the pieces, with knight pieces being flatter in comparison to kings and queens due to the thickness of the bone. These sets were generally more expensive than their wood counterparts, but cheaper varieties exist.
Wood chess sets even existed in China and was exported to Britain during the 1800s. Sometimes carved from ivory the sets took a more eastern approach in design, featuring more detailed human like pieces with decorative clothing carved into them. They sell for high prices in auction shops.
Popular for over 100 years during the 1800s and 1900s, the St. George chess set were commonplace in Britain. Expensive versions of the sets were made of ivory from Africa, while lower quality, lower priced versions were made from carved wood or cow bones. Wood varieties were composed of boxwood that had been shellacked or black ebony. The pieces are particularly large, with larger pieces carrying more worth. One can look at the knight of the set to determine its quality.
Chess was a popular game among people in the early days of the America's, and even George Washington owned an ivory chess set. The style that has been called the Washington style by many is notable for the level of detailed carving on the rock, and slender stems attaching to the bases of the other pieces. The style of the knight pieces was used in the early 1800s due to how easy they were to carve.
Chess has a rich history that can be seen in the design of each piece. See if you can recognize some of the styles of chess sets while playing your next game, or try to buy a set in one of these styles.
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