How championship chess pieces are made

by Frederic Friedel
7/21/2021 – An inexpensive chess set can sell for $20, but a handcrafted wooden set certified for the World Chess Championship costs $500. Much of the set's value lies in just one piece: the knight. Making this one piece takes two hours, and there are fewer than ten people trained to carve knights for the championship chess sets. It is fascinating to watch the high-end pieces being made.

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So, how are these chessmen made? And why are they so expensive? Watch this video to find out why.

Watch the process of making fine chess pieces. It is strangely fascinating.

And if you are interested in artistic, hand painted chess sets, like the ones made by Purling, are made, here are some more videos showing you the design process:

As I said before – strangely fascinating! 


Editor-in-Chief emeritus of the ChessBase News page. Studied Philosophy and Linguistics at the University of Hamburg and Oxford, graduating with a thesis on speech act theory and moral language. He started a university career but switched to science journalism, producing documentaries for German TV. In 1986 he co-founded ChessBase.
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Eclipse2008 Eclipse2008 7/22/2021 06:16
I feel Staunton chess set is more elegant than the World championship set
amarpan amarpan 7/22/2021 12:40
the design and the "character" of each of the pieces make it very fascinating to someone who does not know the game. As a young kid I began playing checkers but I watched chess being played with great fascination. It seemed that each piece had a personality of its own, and this pushed me to learn the game. Hou Yifan mentioned that she chose chess over Go because as a child, she found the pieces attractive. The very beauty of each piece makes the game attractive to learn. The best way to promote chess is to mass produce chess sets and distribute it to the younger generation. 3-D printing can be used to produce nicely designed pieces.
Michael Jones Michael Jones 7/21/2021 09:39
I've some recollection that Anand was once asked if he wanted to inspect the playing hall the day before a tournament, and replied that as long as there were a table and chairs and a chess set that was fine by him. He clearly wasn't bothered about the fine detail of the pieces!
KrushonIrina KrushonIrina 7/21/2021 09:24
So why exactly does a set made by poor Indian craftsmen making a few bucks an hour cost $500?

The video fails to address that.

And who is getting the bulk of that $500? No answers there either.
Wastrel Wastrel 7/21/2021 04:07
I agree with sebtak, but that blue and yellow set hurts my eyes.
sebtak sebtak 7/21/2021 12:44
Interesting piece. There is something very soothing watching cratfsmen at work.
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