Chess sets for the rich and famous

by Albert Silver
2/25/2015 – Chess is easily one of the games that seems to most inspire exotic and artistic variations. It can range from the barest minimum, such as pieces of bread in Stefan Zweig's classic novella, to opulence beyond your wildest dreams. Here are a few of the most luxurious sets available, from the $2000 Ferrari set to the one-of-a-kind Art of War set that costs a cool $1 million.

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Ferrari's luxury piece of merchandise for the gaming collector features a wood chess/draughts
board covered in carbon fiber and stamped with an enameled metal Ferrari shield. Board squares
alternate between carbon fiber and fiberglass. The black and red playing pieces are also made of
wood, with knights shaped like the company's signature Prancing Horse. Yours for just US$2050.

If you are a die-hard LOTR fan (that's Lord of the Rings in nerd parlance), then this might
be a marriage made in heaven: a beautiful detailed set crafted according to the mythology,
based on the movie's visual. The 32 playing pieces are precise miniature sculptures in fine
pewter of the actual cast members and each likeness is so realistic, they were personally
approved by the individual actor. For sale for US$495.

Pianki provides an entire series of gorgeous handmade chess sets that in 24kt gold and silver
plated solid bronze completely hand made and signed by the sculptor. Together, the chess pieces
and chessboards form artistic historical themes recalling notable events in human history. This set
is based on a medieval setting, but there are others on Romans, Cowboys, and more.

The prices range from just $7000 to over $30,000. Here is a close-up of the detail in the work.

The most expensive set in the series is The Art of War Chess board and set, custom-tailored and
inlaid with gold, rhodium and precious jewels. The Art of War set features an elegant inlaid custom
chess board, fashioned with rich gold handles incrusted with a luminous 21 jeweled arrangement.

Here is a detailed view of the pieces. The official website even comments,
"If you are looking for an incredible gift for someone special, this Art of War
chess board set is guaranteed leave viewers speechless." Truer words were
never uttered, as it retails for a cool US$1,000,000 (yes, a million)!

The famed seller of classical chess pieces, the House of Staunton, has in its lineup the Supreme
Collector Series Luxury Chess Pieces
. It is described as "Crafted to replicate the proportions and
design of the original Staunton pattern Chessmen, registered by Nathaniel Cooke in March of 1849
and first manufactured by Jaques of London in September 1849." This gorgeous set costs US$1995.

The Royal Diamond Chess is entirely hand-made of 14-carat white gold, set with 9900 black and
white diamonds. This chess set was designed by the renowned French artist, designer and master
jeweler, Bernard Maquin, and is a part of the famous Charles Hollander Collection. He is asking $500,000.

30 artisans spent more than 4500 hours, using 1168.75 grams of 14-carat white gold and
set with approximately 9900 black and white diamonds, weighing a total of 186.09 carats.

These unique design patterns were created by New York designer Alexander Gelman. He
developed the chess sets in four different types of fine Japanese craftsmanship – fuki-urushi
(wood lacquering), makie (gold lacquering), haku (platinum lacquering) and kutani (hand
decorated ceramic pieces with intricate patterns).

As of now, the chess sets are on display at the Fellissimo Design House in Manhattan and
are available for made-to-order for $80K to $123K depending on the craftsmanship.


Born in the US, he grew up in Paris, France, where he completed his Baccalaureat, and after college moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He had a peak rating of 2240 FIDE, and was a key designer of Chess Assistant 6. In 2010 he joined the ChessBase family as an editor and writer at ChessBase News. He is also a passionate photographer with work appearing in numerous publications, and the content creator of the YouTube channel, Chess & Tech.


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