If you bought a wooden chess set after watching The Queens Gambit, the price you paid was most likely dictated by just four pieces.
The knights alone can account for as much as 50 percent of the cost of a nice wooden set. While the rest of the pieces can be machine-made, the knights are carved by hand to resemble the head of a horse, a tedious process to make sure all four are exactly the same.
The knights in the set used in World Chess Championship matches ($310 for the pieces and $220 for the board) were inspired by a horse carving from the Parthenon in Athens, said Ilya Merenzon, the chief executive of World Chess, the company that licenses the rights to the matches. The process of creating the set when it was redesigned in 2013 required extensive back-and-forth communication with carvers in India to discuss minutiae like the horses smile.
About 10 people specialize in carving knights for the World Chess sets, Mr. Merenzon said. It takes about two weeks to produce 100 sets, with a set of knights requiring about six hours to carve, he said.
Chess sales spiked 125 percent after the October premiere of The Queens Gambit, a Netflix show about an orphaned chess prodigy, Beth Harmon, who crushes the male-dominated game. Many sets sold out before Christmas.
The House of Staunton in Alabama, one of the worlds largest chess retailers, offers wooden sets with relatively simple knights, such as the $129 tournament-style set in boxwood and rosewood, as well as sets with more detail. They go all the way up to a luxurious $5,995 set in antiqued boxwood and ebony and featuring intricate horses.
Business & Economy
Dec. 23, 2020, 8:59 a.m. ET
In the higher-end sets, you can literally see the teeth carved into the horses mouth, said Noelle Kendrick, the House of Stauntons business development director. They are extremely detailed. You can see the mane, the rivets of the mane, if it has a flowing mane.
The ornamentation isnt strictly decorative. In tournament play, milliseconds matter, and so does how a piece fits into your hand, Mr. Merenzon said. This is particularly true in the especially fast-paced games that can be used to break ties at tournaments: blitz-style games, which generally last less than 10 minutes, and rapid games, in which players have 25 minutes to make all their moves. The players tend to move their pieces and press their clock in one swift motion.
If you drop a piece and press the clock before standing it back up effectively cutting into your opponents time you could lose the game under some tournament rules. At a 2016 tournament put on by Indias league for professional players, the grandmaster Abhijeet Gupta lost the chance to advance after dropping his queen in a tiebreaking blitz game.
Thats why expensive, hand-carved pieces are used in the championship, Mr. Merenzon said. The pieces are also weighted. They feel significant and kind of special.
If you dont want to spend $150 or more, there are more basic wooden sets, like those from big-box retailers. The knights are produced by machines and are more in the style of a Picasso than a da Vinci.
When you shop for chess sets, Ms. Kendrick said, you find yourself almost solely focused on what the knight looks like. Its the only piece that has a real significant difference.
Go here to see the original:
- No women at Tata Steel chess this year, but game is growing in popularity - DutchNews.nl - January 20th, 2021
- MCCL to host 2021 All-Girls State Championship on Feb. 20 - The Madison Record - themadisonrecord.com - January 20th, 2021
- Yamagata: Discover snow monsters and a hidden mountain temple - Japan Today - January 20th, 2021
- 5 key concepts in poker and chess | chess24.com - chess24 - chess24 - January 20th, 2021
- Bryce Hall confronts creepy stalker invading their TikTok house - Dexerto - January 20th, 2021
- Twitch Chess GM Behind the PogChamps Event Makes Up With the Botez Sisters - EssentiallySports - January 15th, 2021
- Grand Chess Tour: Carlsen, Nakamura Only As Wildcards - Chess.com - January 15th, 2021
- 11 of the best musical soundtracks to test your speakers - What Hi-Fi? - January 15th, 2021
- Fiji Chess hopes to stage a tournament in the North - FBC News - January 15th, 2021
- The Voice Celebrates: Bar-Mitzvahs of Jake Stoopler and Jonah Kutikov - Jewish Community Voice - January 15th, 2021
- Wojtaszek: I'd like to get into the Top 10 - chess24 - January 15th, 2021
- The benefits of approaching this year like a total newbie - KDRV - January 13th, 2021
- World famous Hastings chess tournament takes place this weekend - Hastings Observer - January 9th, 2021
- Sailor Moon: 10 Fights That Are Better In The Anime | CBR - CBR - Comic Book Resources - January 9th, 2021
- Draft Results for the LCS Lock In Tournament Group Stage - The Game Haus - January 9th, 2021
- FIDE confirm postponement of Women's Grand Prix in Gibraltar - Insidethegames.biz - January 9th, 2021
- Learn The Queen's Gambit and More Chess Plays In This Bundle - IGN Southeast Asia - January 9th, 2021
- Rook No Further! Coral Springs Holds Open Play Chess and Tournament - Coral Springs Talk - Coral Springs Talk - January 6th, 2021
- Radjabov Wins Airthings Masters - Chess.com - January 6th, 2021
- Azeri-Jewish Chess Grandmaster Radjabov in tears after winning tournament - The Jerusalem Post - January 6th, 2021
- Yu Yangyi and Tan Zhongyi are the 2020 Chinese champions - Chessbase News - January 4th, 2021
- For Premium only: Who do you want in the next Champions Chess Tour event? - chess24 - January 4th, 2021
- Snow, Rambo and everything in between: Leon Mendonca is India's 67th GM - ESPN - January 4th, 2021
- Chess: Goas 14-year-old boy becomes Indias 67th GM - Star of Mysore - January 4th, 2021
- Kriti Kharbanda arrives in Lucknow for her next rom-com, '14 Phere', directed by Devanshu Singh - Knocksense - January 4th, 2021
- Quintessential grandmillennial: A show with all the right moves - Irish Examiner - January 4th, 2021
- Final chess tournament for the year on today - Stabroek News - December 31st, 2020
- Monsters of 2020: The Queen's Gambit - Mother Jones - December 31st, 2020
- Chess: Goa's 14-Year-Old Leon Mendonca Becomes India's 67th Grandmaster - Outlook India - December 31st, 2020
- Why Chess is thriving in Kenya despite Covid-19 pandemic - The Standard - December 31st, 2020
- Wilton Bulletin Board: Meditation, cooking, stream cameras - The Wilton Bulletin - December 31st, 2020
- Not particularly fusced: reflections on a first term - Cherwell Online - December 31st, 2020
- Writer's Choice: Trent Murray's Top Five Stories of 2020 - The Esports Observer - December 31st, 2020
- Frontline workers owed 'debt of gratitude,' GG says in year-end message - Yahoo News Canada - December 31st, 2020
- Meet Norfolk's own queen of the chessboard - Eastern Daily Press - December 29th, 2020
- The Queen's Gambit Does a Lot Well. Portraying Being a Woman in Chess Isn't One of Them. - Ms. Magazine - December 27th, 2020
- What the Hell Is Quantum Chess? | IE - Interesting Engineering - December 27th, 2020
- Explore the History of Chess From Ancient India to the Cold War Rivalries - My Modern Met - December 27th, 2020
- 2020 year of power struggle in AICF, players keep the flag flying - DTNext - December 27th, 2020
- Online tournaments have strengthened local players - Stabroek News - December 27th, 2020
- Year in Review 2020, Biggest Sports Stories: After t..issues, India declared joint-winners of Chess Olympiad - Firstpost - December 27th, 2020
- Christmas puzzles: Add-a-king, and take that back! - Chessbase News - December 27th, 2020
- Chess and horse sport share one common element: The expensive part - Horsetalk - December 27th, 2020
- GM Zavokhir of Uzbekistan crowned champion at Liberation Cup - Oherald - December 27th, 2020
- I was 13 and suddenly winning everything - India Today - December 27th, 2020
- The 5 biggest moments in streaming from 2020 - Dot Esports - December 26th, 2020
- WCM Magpily eyes another title in Balinas-Pichay Cup - manilastandard.net - December 26th, 2020
- NASCAR Team up with the World Poker Tour while Artificial Intelligence Breaks New Barriers - HighstakesDB - December 26th, 2020
- Live chess tournament broadcasts | chess24.com - December 18th, 2020
- Welcome | US Chess.org - December 18th, 2020
- IM Martin Neubauer on Simon Williams' Budapest Gambit - Chessbase News - December 18th, 2020
- Chess: 'Game of the Year' decides title as Covid-19 hits Russian championship - The Guardian - December 18th, 2020
- The Creative's Gambit - Creative Review - December 18th, 2020
- 4 tips on how to stay focused, from a chess grandmaster - CNBC - December 16th, 2020
- Next Chess Olympiad In 2022; Budapest Wins Bid For 2024 - Chess.com - December 16th, 2020
- Superbet Foundation Becomes Principal Partner of Grand Chess Tour 2021 - European Gaming Industry News - December 16th, 2020
- Superfinals: Nepomniachtchi and Karjakin still tied on top - Chessbase News - December 16th, 2020
- Beccacece and a chess tournament with the Racing kids - Inspired Traveler - December 16th, 2020
- The reign of 1990s star vintage as over-the-board chess resumes in Moscow - Financial Times - December 16th, 2020
- M'sian Parents Are Sending Their Kids For Chess Classes Because Of 'The Queen's Gambit' - SAYS - December 16th, 2020
- Russian Superfinals 9-10: Title race goes down to the last round - chess24 - December 16th, 2020
- 2020 Speed Chess Championship: All The Information - Chess.com - December 13th, 2020
- The Grand Chess Tour Returns In 2021 - Chessbase News - December 11th, 2020
- Autumn Series on Playchess # 8 - Play and win prizes - Chessbase News - December 11th, 2020
- From Our Archives: Here's a look back at this week in 1976 - McDowell News - December 11th, 2020
- International squad beats Spain in training match - Chessbase News - December 11th, 2020
- Chess: Polina Shuvalova shines as over-the-board play resumes in Moscow - The Guardian - December 11th, 2020
- Grandmaster Sam Shankland '14 on The Queen's Gambit and Chess Today | Alumni Stories | Alumni, Friends and Families | Brandeis University - Brandeis... - December 11th, 2020
- Moscow will host the Chess Olympiad 2022, Budapest will host the Chess Olympiad 2024 - Chessbase News - December 11th, 2020
- How The Queens Gambit Is Inspiring Women to Take Up Chess - The New York Times - December 11th, 2020
- Young Chess Stars Meet in a Winner Take All Tournament Checkmate! - The Zebra - December 9th, 2020
- The real-life Beth Harmon trounced men before 'The Queen's Gambit' - Insider - INSIDER - December 9th, 2020
- Think you know the US map by heart? Take our quiz to know for sure - Film Daily - December 9th, 2020
- Pegasystems' Trefler on leadership and strategy - learned from chess - Yahoo Finance - December 8th, 2020
- Superfinals: Karjakin and Shuvalova take the lead - Chessbase News - December 8th, 2020
- Netflix show credited with renewing interest in chess - HalifaxToday.ca - December 8th, 2020
- The little known story of chesss real Beth Harmon - The Independent - December 8th, 2020
- Russian Superfinals 1-2: Karjakin & Nepo among the leaders - chess24 - December 8th, 2020
- The stillness of the hunter - Chessbase News - December 8th, 2020
- Trump tries to one-up wrestling champ with election win fantasy - Manila Bulletin - December 8th, 2020