The practice of playing chess began as an exercise of strategy for kings in the Indian subcontinent. Owing to the royal palaces where the game grew for centuries, luxurious chess sets based on rich tastes and inventions of the players were commonly found in such places. However, with the game gaining popularity in various levels of the society, developers began to come up with plain, cost-efficient models aimed at the common man. Among the classic designs of chess sets, the Staunton chess sets are the most prevalent because of the clearly identifiable pieces and other styles are now found only in the collections of chess connoisseurs.
Because of the long history of the game, there have been various luxurious designs developed using an amazing variety of materials in various styles. Of all the materials used for designing chess sets, marble is the most pleasing to the eyes. With an visually appealing, polished look and the ability to exhibit a wide range of colors, marble designs can dazzle viewers with their beauty. Though they are not as brilliant as marble, chess sets made of alabaster are known to produce a similar effect on the viewer.
Another good option for creating a chess set is glass. Transparent as well as shaded glass can create an everlasting effect with their characteristic sheen. Unusual options such as bronze and other metals can be used to create a vintage feel.
If you intend to pick among styles, you will be amazed by the sheer multitude of available styles and their features. Every style has a history of its own. The now famous Staunton chess pieces were created by Nathaniel Cook who was apparently inspired by the famous chess master of his time, Howard Staunton. However, the Regency chess pieces owe their name to the elite players who frequently gathered at a cafe. Antique masterpieces like the Lewis Chessmen were created using Walrus ivory and whale teeth. These designs are tokens of the age when they were created and are treasured as historical artifacts by people interested in history and often come at a high price.
The technique of design too varies among different styles of chess sets. The pieces of a Staunton chess set are based on Neoclassical architectural style and the minute details of the pieces are based on the components of Victorian era like the queen’s coronet or the king’s crown. In contrast, the Regency chess set is very class conscious. The pieces in this chess set grow taller with their position. Therefore, the pawn stands short whereas the king is the tallest.
Chess pieces decorated with rare stones and gems were a common sight among emperors and noblemen of the past. But, plain design is the style of the current generation. Hence, possessing a chess set created in an outdated yet appealing way can help you make a lasting impression on people and also speak volumes about your exquisite taste.