With a rich heritage dating back to the pre-Christian era, the game of Chess spread rapidly across the civilized world during medieval times. Since then It has, over generations, inspired the finest craftsmen from around the world to create Chess sets that uniquely reflect their respective national or regional identities and socio-cultural traditions.
Chessmen and chess sets from different regions of the world represent their respective indigenous forms of art, design, sculpture, architecture, costumes - and even their traditional socio-political structures and hierarchies.
The most aesthetically elegant and visually stunning of these creations have established themselves as highly sought-after pieces of art in their own right. They’ve earned the admiration of legions of Chess-inspired art enthusiasts and aficionados, connoisseurs, and collectors - across geographies and generations.
Journey of discovery
This article aims to take readers on a voyage through space and time, to explore and unearth some of the most exquisite Chess pieces and travel chess sets originating from far-flung corners of the globe. Masterpieces that the most ardent of Chess-inspired art collectors, either proudly showcase or positively yearn to acquire.
The creation of many of these wonders of craftsmanship may be traced back to antiquity - and like most antiques, the older they are the more their stock rises. Like other forms of medieval art, some of these seminal pieces of workmanship may prove beyond the reach of all but the wealthiest of collectors.
Fortunately for us, ordinary mortals, faithful reproductions, and recreations by some of the finest contemporary craftsmen are available, though the best of these may still be rare, and may never-the-less cost a pretty packet.
Celebrated Chess Collectibles
4.3” reproduction of the 19th-century vintage B & Co Chess set
Our research into this exquisite set reveals that comes from B & Co., one of the lesser-known British companies in operation since the latter part of the 19th-century.
Modeled after the by-now-world-renowned Staunton design, initially released by Jacques of London in 1849, this one-of-its-kind set is made from specially treated Ebony and Antiqued boxwood, which lends it a patina of antiquity. You can bag this hard-to-find and highly sought-after collector’s item here.
4.3” Pre-Staunton St. George - Calvert Chess Set
Jointly named after the famous St. George Chess Club in England and John Calvert - the designer of the set, this extravagantly multi-collared Chess set is lovingly hand-crafted by master-craftsmen par excellence.
A creation in Antiqued Boxwood and Genuine Ebony, the set has been artificially aged to give it a vintage patina. Double-weighted with lead pellets for substantial heft and a premium, weighty feel, these heirloom Chessmen are built to last for generations to come. Know more about or acquire this beautifully crafted set from here
3.8” Bundesform German Staunton Alternative Chess Set
Emerged in the 1930s as a widely-used alternative to the Staunton design, This minimalist yet exquisite set, characterized by its clean lines, curves, and cuts, is highly favored by players across all levels, for their simplicity, stability, and durability as well as for their distinctive looks and ease of handling.
4.5” Leuchars Cook Staunton Chess Set, c. 1849-50
This extremely accurate, artificially antiqued reproduction of the classic Staunton design in natural Ebony, is jointly named after Nathaniel Cook, its original designer, and William Leuchars, one of its earliest retailers from his premium outlet in Picadilly.
A seamless blend of form and function, this historic design has been widely proclaimed as the gold standard for tournament-level gameplay. The set is also available in Ivory, with Crimson-lacquered dark pieces. You can stake your claim to this masterpiece of design from right here,
4.1” German Collectors’ Staunton Set from the 1920s
This unique set was highly favored across Germany during the early 20th century. It is essentially modeled on the Staunton design but also draws inspiration from the French Lardy collection, with accentuated, ringed collars and symmetrically curved shanks that enhance playability.
Made from prominently grained Rosewood, the Knights are beautifully carved, with a distinctive facial structure and features. This priceless set can be more closely admired and indeed acquired from here.
3.8” Dubrovnik Chess Set from the 1970s
The wildly popular Dubrovnik set, originally created for, and named after, the Croatian city that hosted the Chess Olympiad in September 1950. This beautifully handcrafted reproduction of the 1970s vintage is made from Ebony - with variations in Rosewood, Bud Rosewood, Golden Rosewood, and Lacquered Boxwood.
These triple-weighted Chessmen provide a reassuring heft and stability that is hard to duplicate. Little wonder then that American Grandmaster Bobby Fischer rated it as the best set he had ever played with. Get your hand on this historic set right here!
3.7” 1972 Fischer Spassky Championship Chess Set
Specially created for the historic 1972 world championship face-off between Russian champion Boris Spassky and American challenger Bobby Fischer held in Reykjavik, Iceland - dubbed the match of the century.