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Themed Chess Sets
The game of chess is a battle between two opposing sides. Much of the inspiration for novelty chess sets is derived from the many conflicts of past history, especially ancient and medieval history. Add to these the stories of battles, or the fight between good and evil that forms the basis for many myths and legends, novels and films.
Generally where it is agreed that the fight is between the good and the bad, you will find that the white chess pieces are represent the side we want to win, and the black pieces are the evil opposers!
Character chess sets from literature
The stunning Lord of the Rings Chess Set from the Studio Anne Carlton is based on the characters taken from the movie "The Fellowship of the Ring". Gandalf the Grey is the white King figure standing against the black Saruman. Gandalf leads Aragorn, the dwarf Gimli, Frodo Baggins, Sam wise and Hobbits in the battle against Saruman who is accompanied by Ringwraiths, Lutz and various Orcs. It is a set to grace the home of any Tolkein fan, but they will need to put aside any hope of the game reaching the same outcome every time they play, or even the conclusion being a victory for Gandalf!
The Lewis Carroll masterpiece "Alice in Wonderland" with it's memorable Victorian illustrations lends itself to a work of art in the form of a themed chess set, again from the celebrated SAC. In this case the characters on each side of the board, the King, Alice, The Mad Hatter, Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee with a row of White Rabbits for pawns are identical in all but color. Naturally when designing a themed chess set, one has to be selective as the number of pieces is limited. It just has to be Alice. The Queen of Hearts just will not fit in the lineup!
Themed Chess Pieces from History
Historical subjects lend themselves well to chess sets for example the Crusades, Richard the Lionheart, and the Battle of Waterloo, 1815. The sight of the Duke and Duchess of Wellington with the Prince of Orange and their troops in red facing the Emperor Napoleon beside Josephine and Marshall Blucher with their army all in black really brings the event to life. Women did accompany their men folk to battle in Europe in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century and they certainly did not take part in the fighting, remaining instead in the nearest towns. But this is chess, and you have to have a Queen!
Egyptian Chess Set
Egyptian art is always appealing and the majesty and awe surrounding their God-Kings is legendary. There is no mistaking which piece is the chess knight in the beautiful hand painted Egyptian Chess Set by SAC.
Samurai Chess Set
Japanese Samurai Warriors are noted for their courage and their self-respect. They were noble and honourable, and would prefer to die at their own hand by Hara Kiri than be captured or lose their lives in a shameful manner. This is unlikely to happen in a game of chess of course.
The Diamond Jubilee Chess Set
2012 is an important year from the UK. Not only are we hosting the Olympic games but it's also the Diamond Jubilee year of Queen Elizabeth the second. An officially approved commemorative chess set has been created by Studio Anne Carlton to mark this historic occasion and we are delighted to be authorised stockists of this amazing product. The set is produced in limited numbers and will only be available to buy from late October 2011 and throughout 2012 or until stocks last.
Novelty Chess Sets
The adjective, 'novel', has been defined as 'of a new kind, strange, hitherto unknown.' Another meaning of novelty is a small, unusual object. Well, there are certainly quite a few small, unusual objects to be found in the world of the novelty chess set. These days, of all the board games, the game of chess has the rare distinction of attracting a vast array of designers, artists, artisans and assorted creative's who feel compelled to make their mark on this game of all games. For centuries chess has been used as a great vehicle for demonstrating the skill and artistry of the worldwide artistic community. Such is the quality of chess as a game of great intellectual challenge, an exciting battle on a board game, you would think people would be happy to simply enjoy playing the game with the standard Staunton pieces as indeed the great chess masters do. But no. Such is mankind's love of novelty that one assumes that the pleasure of playing is raised by using sets that have been enhanced by the creative mind.
Novelty chess pieces
It is unclear at what point brand licensing companies saw another branding opportunity outlet in the form of a chess set. We are all used to seeing the mugs, t-shirts, stationery sets, notebooks, figurines, dolls, books and video games all incorporating our favourite movie characters. Now add to this list the chess set – specifically the novelty chess set. Here are a few: Peanuts, the Simpsons, Winnie the Pooh, Harry Potter, Zombie Slayers, Star Trek.
There exists a four player chess set which has twice as many squares and uses pieces of four different colours. There are chess sets for towns, sports teams, police and firemen. One of the weirdest is the Santa Fe chess set. The pieces have little train engines and carriages mounted on tubular edifices which look more like cake decorations than chess pieces.
The world's most expensive novelty chess set
From this folksy chess set we can go to the other extreme; probably the most expensive novelty chess set in the world would be the Jewel Royale Chess Set. This is the creation of the British family firm Boodles. Founded in 1798, the Boodles Company has created the ultimate in chess set luxury. The pieces are constructed from gold and platinum and set with diamonds, emeralds, sapphires, rubies and pearls. The King is made from 165.2 grams of 18 carat yellow gold and set with 73 rubies, 748 diamonds, 146 sapphires and includes a secreted pearl. The board or playing surface is made up of squares of yellow and white gold set with diamonds. The unique piece design is based around the DNA double helix model. The set has been valued at £5,000,000.
For sheer originality the Umbra Wobble Chess Set deserves first prize! The pieces all have a ball shaped base, and each of the board squares is scalloped. So as the game progresses and the pieces are touched, they begin to wobble on the board. The question is, does this aid or distract concentration?