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Specialized Chess Sets From Around The World

Aug 21, 2008
Chess is one of those things which grew organically in different areas around the world over the course of time. Naturally, all of these different versions would be born with variations in them, but over the course of time they have all blended together so that the game of Chess today is uniform the world around. One thing that has not changed about the game, however, is the love that people have for different types of Chess sets. While the board and the Chess pieces used in the game are all typically the same, the design of these sets can be vastly different. This brings each different Chess set a sense of individuality and allows the owner of it to experience a feeling of pride.

The most popular Chess set today is the Staunton Design, first produced in 1849. This design, with a sleek, simple facade, has become the most common face of Chess pieces since its conception and can usually be recognized the world over. The set was born during the early part of the 19th Century when, as Chess was becoming immensely popular, devoted fans began to recognize the need for a simple set of Chess pieces which could be recognized by Chess players all over the world. Interestingly enough, the set was designed by Nathaniel Cook of John Jaques of London and only named after Howard Staunton, who was considered to be the strongest Chess player in the world at the time of the set's design.

With an endorsement on the set from Staunton himself, originally designed to promote sales, the set took off in popularity and came to be known simply as the Staunton set. This selection of Chess pieces is so popular that in 1924, the World Chess Federation declared that this was the only Chess set which would be used in future tournaments.

The Regency Chess set was another popular selection in the late 18th Century. This set, named after the Cafe de la Regence in Paris, is symbolized with a sleek, stylistic design that doesn't note its pieces with castle shapes for Rooks or horses for Knights. Each piece grows in its height from Pawn to King and has different ornamentation on itself to distinguish its rank. These sets were extremely popular as they were born out of the famous Cafe where many different world figures all frequently played Chess. Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Napoleon, and Robespierre were all known to have frequented this cafe, playing and teaching Chess, and some of them were also known to own a Regency Chess set.

Other Chess sets have come and gone over the years, none of them being particularly more favored than the others. While most of these sets are still available for purchase today, it is easily the Staunton that can be most commonly found. An interested Chess player, looking to buy their own set, should simply consider a few things before making a purchase. Any set design will do, although the simplicity and familiarity of the Staunton set can be considered a bonus. The pieces and board must be manufactured of a good quality, with a little weight to their substance. Other than this, however, a personal Chess set's design is entirely up to the aesthetics of the buyer, as they will be the ones forced to live with the decision! Any set will do, finding the right one is simply a matter of patience and taste.
About the Author
Victor Epand is an expert consultant for board games, chess boards, and dungeons and dragons miniatures. You will find all these things and more if you visit used board games, specialized chess boards, and dungeons and dragons miniatures.
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