CategoriesRegency Chess Co. News

Regency Chess Chess Sets Now Available In France

For years our sets have been available all over the world but we are now pleased to announce that many of our lovely chess sets are available to French buyers through a dedicated website Le Palais Des Echecs. This superb website features a great number of lovely quality chess sets with great customer service and fast delivery. We are delighted to be partners of this great company and to see our sets presented magnificently on their website.

The website boasts

  • Fast Shipping to all of France
  • Competitive pricing
  • Great customer service
  • Top quality presentation and images
  • All products hand selected for their style, quality and value

CategoriesChess For Beginners

Help Guide: Buying the Right Chess Set

With so many choices available on our website, buying a new chess set might seem a little bit daunting, however, it doesn’t need to be. Whether you’re buying a chess set for yourself, or as a gift for someone else, this guide is here to help you narrow down your decision and make buying a chess set that little bit easier.

 

Consider the size

The first thing that you’ll need to consider is the size of the chess set. Whilst the larger sets are usually grander and have more intricate detail, particularly on the knights, it’s important to figure out whether or not the larger sets can be accommodated in their new home. If you, or the person that you’re buying it for, lives in a small apartment, then a set with a 23-Inch board would probably be a little too big.

From time to time, our customers will purchase a set from us, only to find that the chess board is either much larger or much smaller than they imagined. For this reason, we would strongly recommend using a tape measure and measuring out the size before buying. Another good idea would be to measure out the size using a scrap piece of card and then lay it out where you intend to play; this way you can easily visualise the size of the board in comparison to the rest of the room.

It’s also worth noting that, unlike televisions, the boards are measured across the bottom from end to end. Therefore, a 19 Inch board would be 19 x 19 Inches. The actual playing area (8×8 squares) would be a little smaller due to the border.

 

What’s the standard size?

There is no “standard size” for a chessboard per se, however, most tournament-sized boards measure between 19 and 21 inches. Having said this, chess organisations such as The World Chess Federation (FIDE) and The United States Chess Federation (USCF) will only specify a range that the square size should be, rather than the size of the board itself.

For example, FIDE rules state that the square size should measure between 5 and 6cm (1.97” to 2.25”) in both length and width. Given this, we know that the absolute minimum size of a chessboard would be 40cm (15.75 inches). However, this would be a board without a border surrounding the playing area. Although organisations like FIDE don’t have any rules requiring a border around the playing squares, most chessboards that are used in official tournaments will have one. Therefore, FIDE-compatible boards will usually be more than 15.75 inches (19 to 21) once you factor in the border.

Of all the tournament-legal chessboards, the one we sell the most is the 19 Inch No.5 Wooden Chess Board with Inlaid Mahogany. With this particular chessboard, the squares measure 2 inches across, meaning that the playing surface is 16 x 16. However, with a border thickness of 1.5 inches, the entire chessboard measures 19 inches.

 

How to pair the size of the pieces with the size of the board

The King is always the largest piece in a game of chess, for this reason, the King’s height is used as the primary measurement in each chess set. Each set of pieces will include the King’s height in the title.

If you’re looking for a set that is more in line with tournament regulations, then you’ll need to purchase a set with a King Height of 3.75 Inches (9.5 cm).

 

More often than not, King Height can be used to determine the size of the board that is needed. However, this assumes that the pieces are of a traditional Staunton design and that their size is proportional to their height and form, with the diameter of each piece’s base measuring 40 – 50% of its height.

Having said this, not all pieces are of a traditional Staunton design. Therefore, the base diameter of the King and Pawns are arguably more important when figuring out whether the chess pieces fit well with a board.

According to FIDE rules, the side of a square should be at least twice the diameter of a pawn’s base. So, if you’re looking at a set with pawns that have a 1-inch base diameter, you’ll need to pair them with a chess board that has a square size of at least 2 inches. Other rules state that the base diameter of the king should be no more than 75% of the diameter of the squares on the chessboard. However, not everyone wants a chess set to play in official tournaments. Many of our customers just play for the love of chess – so feel free to use this formula as a rough guideline only.

 

Buying the pieces only

If you’re buying the pieces by themselves, then you’ll need to read the first part of the guide, which covers the size of the chess board. This is because a chess piece with a 4-inch King height and a 1.8-inch diameter, won’t fit on a smaller board with say, 1.5-inch squares. Therefore, it’s fair to say that the size of the pieces will dictate the size of the board that can be paired with them.

If in doubt, please check the product description for the set of chess pieces that you fancy the look of – here it will say which board sizes they are compatible with.

 

The Style: Form vs Function

The Staunton chess design is considered to be the standard for chess pieces – this design is recommended for use in competition by FIDE. They are easily the most recognisable chess pieces and they tend to be what people picture when they think of chess.

In addition to the classic Staunton design, we also sell a range of luxury Staunton pieces. These pieces won’t always fit into FIDE’s tournament regulations due to their exaggerated design, but they’re still easily recognisable as honouring the traditional Staunton design.

We also stock chess pieces that are loosely based on the Staunton design. More often than not these will have a more contemporary look to them. For the most part, they include elements that are somewhat recognisable as Staunton, but if you’re not accustomed to using a set like this, picking them apart from the other pieces on the board may take some getting used to.

Moving away from the Staunton design, one of our best-selling sets is the Isle of Lewis chess pieces. These are some of the most recognisable chess pieces in the world –  loved by historians and Harry Potter fanatics alike. The King looks like a King, the Queen looks like a Queen, and the Knight depicts a Knight riding on the back of a horse. For the most part, they’re rather easy to play with…

However, the piece that most people struggle with a little at first, is the rook/castle. This is because most people will think of the crenellated turret design that is used in most rook designs. Even most themed sets will have a castle or siege tower design of some sort. However, with the Lewis set the rook is depicted as a Berserker biting a shield. Needless to say, this element of the set does take some getting used to.

The rest of the sets we sell are considered to be “themed pieces”. They come in all shapes and sizes and range from cats to dragons. These will vary widely in design and may take some getting used to if you’re more accustomed to playing using a traditional Staunton set. It’s fair to say that the themed pieces tend to value form over function.

Therefore, if you’re rather new to chess, or you’re buying for someone who is new to chess, we’d recommend sticking to the Staunton design, or at the very least going with a design that is at least loosely based on the traditional design (see third and fourth rook from the left). Similarly, if you’re buying a set for a chess enthusiast who plays in tournaments, you’d also be better off sticking to a traditional Staunton set and pairing them with a 19-21 Inch board.

All of these pieces are rooks, however, some are more easily recognisable than others.

 

Materials and colouration

Our chess sets are made from a range of materials, from wood and metal, to resin and alabaster. Your material of choice will mostly come down to personal preference. What do you like the look of, what do you like the feel of, and which colours do you like the look of?

You might want to think about the room where the set will live. If you plan on leaving it out as a feature piece, does the colour and style of the set complement the rest of the room? If you have a more contemporary home with lots of marble, for instance, then you might want to consider an alabaster chess set. If your room has lots of wood and warmer tones, then a wooden chess set may suit the room better.

If you’d like to know more about the different ranges of wood that we sell, please consider reading our guide to woods.

 

CategoriesUncategorized

Harry Potter Chess Set Now Available, Wizard’s Chess Anyone?

Have you ever fancied playing Wizard’s Chess, just like Harry and Ron in The Philosopher’s Stone?

Well, Potterheads can raise their wands in delight. You can now recreate the famous chess scene at home with the new Wizard’s Edition Chess Set.

(Oh, and these pieces DON’T come alive and smash each other into bits…)

©NBCUniversal  – Image published under the fair use policy

In an iconic scene from the first Harry Potter film, The Philosopher’s Stone, Hermione enters the Great Hall at Hogwarts to find Harry and Ron Weasley settling in for a ‘barbaric’ game of Wizard’s Chess. 

Aside from the pieces moving hands-free and clobbering each other with chairs, the fictional game looks a lot like regular chess and aficionados will recognise the chessmen as the medieval, and appropriately mysterious, Isle of Lewis pieces. 

If you’d like a reminder of the scene, you can watch it here.

The great news for chess-loving Potterheads is that you can own a chess set that’s virtually identical to the one played by Harry and Ron – albeit completely inanimate!

The Isle of Lewis Chess Set Wizard’s Edition – THE Harry Potter Chess Set

The Isle of Lewis Chess Set (Wizard’s Edition) should look familiar to Harry Potter fans as it’s almost identical to the set seen in The Philosopher’s Stone.

We’ve been asked about the Harry Potter Chess Set more times than you can shake a wand at. So, after studying the scene we noticed that the chess pieces are the spitting image of our limited edition, red and cream Isle of Lewis chessmen. 

The Isle of Lewis chess pieces might not be as recognisable as the world’s-standard Staunton, but their fascinating history – and mystery – make them the perfect choice for Wizard’s Chess.

The original Lewis chessmen were discovered at Uig Bay, on the west coast of the Isle of Lewis, Scotland, in 1831. Most historians believe the chess pieces, carved from walrus ivory and whale tooth, were made in Trondheim, the medieval capital of Norway, in the 12th century.

Given their fascinating origin and links to the middle ages, the Isle of Lewis chess pieces certainly look at home in the Great Hall at Hogwarts.

The pieces in The Isle of Lewis Chess Set (Wizard’s Edition) have been made in England to the exact specifications of the original artefacts – and their cardinal and ivory colouring make them a perfect match for Harry and Ron’s set.  

For the board, we’ve chosen the beautiful, Italian-crafted black and cream leather board. The size, style and colour make this board identical to the one seen in The Philosopher’s Stone with the only difference being the lack of gold edging – oh, and the decades of wear by the hands of generations of Weasleys!

We believe that The Isle of Lewis Chess Set (Wizard’s Edition) is the closest Harry Potter fans can get to a game of Wizard’s Chess – and, with its elegant presentation box, it makes a magical gift to the Potterhead in your life.

What in Merlin’s beard is Wizard’s Chess anyway?

The game Harry and Ron are playing in the Great Hall looks like any other game of ‘muggle’ chess – except for the pieces being animated and violently attacking their opponents.

We can’t expect anything less from a world that introduced us to invisibility cloaks and extendable ears!

The pieces move under the command of the player, e.g., King to C7,  and the pieces seem to be somewhat sentient, as can be seen when one of Seamus Finnigan’s chess pieces advises Harry.

Buy your Harry Potter Chess Set with confidence

The Regency Chess Company is delighted to finally be able to offer The Isle of Lewis Chess Set (Wizard’s Edition) to Harry Potter fans. 

Beautifully crafted in England (the pieces) and Italy (the board), you can expect the superior quality and exquisite attention to detail that separates our chess sets from others on the market.

Rest assured that your chess set will be packaged well and dispatched quickly so your set will arrive in flawless condition without you having to wait long.

We know you can’t wait to play Wizard’s Chess!

CategoriesThe Queens Gambit

Queen’s Gambit Chess Sets: Meet The Spanish Family Behind The Boards

The Queen’s Gambit sent the world into a chess frenzy as the world’s love for the ancient game was reignited thanks to Beth Harmon and her narcotics-fueled rise to chess greatness. This came as a shock for chess retailers (we can attest!) as we saw an unprecedented boom in demand for chess pieces and boards. Many fans of the show are keen to know about the actual chess sets used in The Queen’s Gambit. That’s why we’re going to shine the spotlight on some of the chessboards used in the mini-series and their makers – a small family business from Catalonia.

Image courtesy of Netflix.

It was a typical autumn day in La Garriga, Spain (about a 40-minute drive from Barcelona) when David Ferrer, the boss of the renowned chessboard maker Rechapados Ferrer, found out about an interesting cameo in a certain Netflix mini-series. “One day I came into work and a colleague told me that Netflix had released a new series ‘The Queen’s Gambit’ and some Rechapados Ferrer boards appeared in the trailer,” said David, whose grandfather started the company in the 1950s. It wasn’t only the trailer in which the boards from Barcelona featured, they turned up in several scenes of the critically acclaimed series including its glorious climax. In perhaps the show’s most iconic scene, a distinctive Rachapados Ferrer chess board takes centre stage in Beth Harmon’s final battle with Vasily Borgov in the 1968 Moscow Invitational Chess Tournament.

Image courtesy of Netflix.

Rechapados Ferrer was already enjoying a jump in demand thanks to Spain’s stringent lockdown policies in the Spring and Summer of 2020 – but, the Covid lockdowns impact on the chess industry was nothing compared to the effect of Beth Harmon fever.  Prior to 2020, Rechapados Ferrer would typically produce around 20,000 boards. This leapt to 22,000 in 2020 as folks were stuck indoors and seeking distraction during the start of the pandemic. 

In 2021, once The Queen’s Gambit had got a firm hold on the chess world, the Catalonian chess board makers DOUBLED their annual orders from 22,000 to 45,000.

Although this trend rippled through the entire chess industry (eBay famously attributed a 215% rise in sales of chess sets and accessories to the show’s success), the accolade of having your actual products featured in the show meant that Rechapados Ferrer has benefited more than its competitors. “When the Netflix series came out, it all just went crazy and drove sales of chessboards through the roof,” David continues, “We’d just finished supplying our orders for the Christmas season when one of our most important clients came back to us and asked for another order of the same size. We thought, ‘Wow! That’s odd’.” Although David doesn’t fancy himself as a grandmaster (busman’s holiday and all that), he admits that the series has reignited his love for the game.  “My chess is at a very basic level; nothing approaching professional,” he confesses. “But, to be honest, I’ve got back into chess and have been playing a bit more because of the series.” He’s certainly not the only one. The Queen’s Gambit is solely to blame for turning a dusty old game into a trendy, and dare we say it, sexy, one.

Where can I buy the chess boards seen in The Queen’s Gambit?

The actual chess set used in the film features a dark wooden chess board with a decorative border and Russian style chessmen. We have The Queens Gambit Chess Set available that features the exact board used as the prop and pieces that are very similar to the pieces used during filiming.

 

If you want to see more of Rechapados Ferrer’s chess boards – stars of The Queen’s Gambit – then feel free to explore our comprehensive collection today.

Adéu!

The Regency Chess Team.

CategoriesThe Queens Gambit

Is The Queen’s Gambit a True Story? The ‘Real’ Beth Harmon Revealed

Is The Queen’s Gambit a true story? It might be nearly two years since we fell in love with the story of Beth Harmon and her rise to chess greatness, but it has us thinking… was the whole thing made up? Or is there some truth to the compelling tale?

Is The Queens Gambit a True Story?Image from imdb.com.

The Queen’s Gambit was a surprise smash for Netflix when it debuted on the platform in October 2020. In just four weeks, it became Netflix’s most-watched scripted miniseries ever and won itself a treasure trove of awards including 11 Primetime Emmys and 2 Golden Globes – one being Best Actress In a Miniseries or Television Film for the show’s main star Anya Taylor-Joy. The show’s success sent shockwaves throughout the chess community. Inspired by Beth’s story, people all over the globe discovered or rediscovered their love for one of the world’s oldest games. Demand for chess sets hit an all-time high (and came rather unexpected for the team here at Regency Chess!) According to US figures, in the three weeks following the show’s debut, unit sales of chess sets jumped 87% and chess book sales rose a whopping 603%. But is the Queen’s Gambit a true story?

Is The Queen’s Gambit Based On a True Story?

No… but kind of. The character of Beth Harmon and her story is fictional. It came from the mind of writer Walter Tevis (1928 – 1984) way back in 1983 when the novel ‘The Queen’s Gambit’ was first published. At the time of release, there was fervent speculation on the inspiration for Beth Harmon. In a New York Times interview, Tevis denied that Beth was based on anyone in the chess community and considered ‘The Queen’s Gambit’ to be his ‘tribute to brainy women. That’s not to say the show isn’t infused with real-life elements. Chess experts have praised the quality of the playing and have noted that many of Beth’s moves have even been modelled off of famous contests.

But what about Beth herself?

Beth & Bobby

Tevis was a keen chess player himself. In the acknowledgements of The Queen’s Gambit, the author mentions how he was inspired by the chess greats of the time, notably the Grandmasters Bobby Fischer, Boris Spassky, and Anatoly Karpov. Tevis writes: 

“The superb chess of Grandmasters Robert Fischer, Boris Spassky and Anatoly Karpov has been a source of delight to players like myself for years. Since The Queen’s Gambit is a work of fiction, however, it seemed prudent to omit them from the cast of characters, if only to prevent contradiction of the record.”

Of all the chess legends who inspire Beth’s character and career, it’s Fischer who had the most obvious influence. Both had a difficult start in life and would become self-sufficient teens. Although Fischer didn’t grow up in an orphanage, he and his sister were raised by their single mother – who was homeless at the time of Bobby’s birth – and was shuttled to different schools as his mother sought ways to support her young family. Career-wise, there are also notable similarities. Both Fischer and Beth won the U.S. Championship whilst still in their teens (in the same year, 1967, no less.) Beth would have been 18 while Fischer became the youngest ever U.S. Champion at 14 years and 10 months. The last match we see Beth play is against the USSR’s Borgov in Moscow. The contest closely imitates Fischer’s 1972 ‘Match of the Century’ against Boris Spassky, also from the USSR. What’s more, both Fischer and Beth took time to learn Russian to prepare for their quest for chess greatness. That’s where the similarities end. Although Bobby Fischer had his demons (that would be a whole other article!) the reclusive Grandmaster isn’t known to have struggled with drugs or alcohol addiction. 

Who influenced Beth’s addiction struggles?

Beth’s addiction to the fictional drug xanzolam, after being introduced to it as a child in an orphanage, is an important theme throughout the novel and series – and rather than a chess great, her issues with narcotics were inspired by non-other than her creator himself. In the 1983 New York Times article, Tevis admits to mixing a certain part of his background to form the Beth character. He says:

”When I was young, I was diagnosed as having a rheumatic heart and given heavy drug doses in a hospital. That’s where Beth’s drug dependency comes from in the novel.” 

Tevis goes on to explain how cathartic it was to express this difficult experience through Beth:

“Writing about her was purgative. There was some pain – I did a lot of dreaming while writing that part of the story. But artistically, I didn’t allow myself to be self-indulgent.”

The endgame

Although a work of fiction, The Queen’s Gambit is littered with real-life elements and inspiration from the greats of chess. This ‘true feel’ has no doubt helped the show and its stars enjoy the enormous success it has achieved.  While we wait (and hope!) for season two, we have time to reflect on Beth’s journey and improve our own chess game!

CategoriesThe Queens Gambit

The Queen’s Gambit Season 2: What to Expect

When The Queen’s Gambit hit Netflix in the Autumn of 2020, it took just four weeks for it to become the platform’s most-watched scripted miniseries ever.
Nearly two years and a treasure trove of accolades later, drama fans and chess enthusiasts all over the world have just one question…
“When will we see Beth Harmon again?”

 

To say that The Queen’s Gambit was a successful show is a massive understatement. But here we go…11 Primetime Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Limited or Anthology Series (the first show on a streaming service to win the category nonetheless); two Golden Globe Awards, for Best Limited Series or Television Film and Best Actress In a Miniseries or Television Film for Anya Taylor-Joy; a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie (Taylor-Joy again); a Grammy Award for Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media: and many, many more.

Usually, a show centred around a sport or pastime will attract fierce criticism from its enjoyers. Not this one. The Queen’s Gambit not only enthralled non-players but also received a positive response from the ardent chess community for its accurate depiction of high-level chess. But aside from the mountain of accolades, viewer figures, and critical response, it’s the show’s impact on the chess world that has perhaps been the most impressive of all. The Queen’s Gambit made one of the oldest games thrilling and, dare we say it, sexy. The unexpected success of the show caught many retailers off guard. In an industry that traditionally enjoys steady demand, chess stores worldwide were swamped and left with back-orders galore. According to US figures, in the three weeks following the show’s debut, unit sales of chess sets jumped 87% and chess book sales rose 603%.

Will there be The Queen’s Gambit Season 2?

In the finale, we left Beth Harmon, dressed like the white queen herself, in a Russian park playing chess with the locals having just achieved her life goal of becoming a Grandmaster. The show ends on a note of narrative perfection, satisfying the fanbase it held in its grip for 7 enthralling episodes. That’s not to say there isn’t demand for a second season. Far from it. The show’s millions of fans are eager to learn what’s next for Beth Harmon, but at the time of writing, a second season seems unlikely. For one, The Queen’s Gambit was always billed as a Limited Series. It was adapted from a 1983 book of the same name by American novelist Walter Tevis – who wrote three other books that were adapted into major films; The Hustler, The Color of Money and The Man Who Fell to Earth. Sadly, Tevis died a year after The Queen’s Gambit was released. The death of the original writer might seem like more than a minor inconvenience… but still, there’s hope. Robert Ludlum died after writing 3 books in the Jason Bourne series which was to be continued for another 11 books by another writer, Eric Van Lustbader. As for the whole ‘limited series’ thing, HBO’s Big Little Lies was another novel adaption, also billed as a miniseries, that got a surprise second season.

Could The Queen’s Gambit Season 2 save Netflix?

The tightening of budgets post-COVID lockdowns and the cost of living crisis has been blamed for the cancellation of 1.5 million memberships to Netflix, Disney+ and other streaming services in the UK in the first quarter of 2022. Many of us can no longer afford to subscribe to numerous streaming services and so are forced to limit ourselves to one. And let’s face it, we don’t subscribe to Netflix, Amazon Prime et al. through blind loyalty. We choose the shows and movies they offer. So, what better way to win back some of those errant subscribers than with a second season of one of its best-loved miniseries?

So you’re telling me there’s a chance…

The cast and powers that be behind The Queen’s Gambit have been badgered about a second season as soon as the show wrapped up – with mixed responses. In an interview with Town & Country, Taylor-Joy addressed questions about The Queen’s Gambit Part 2. “If I’ve learned anything from being in this industry, it’s never say never. I adore the character, and I would certainly come back if I was asked to, but I do think we leave Beth in a good place. I think the rest of her life will surely be an adventure as well, but in the quest that she goes on in this to find some form of peace, just some form of being able to be happy with who she is. I think it ends in a nice place.” Harry Melling, who played Harry Beltik in the series, showed even more enthusiasm when asked about the as-yet-unplanned second season, “It’d be good, right, a Queen’s Gambit part two? The place we end in the limited series is the place we end in the book. I don’t know if there can be another one, but stranger things have happened.”

When asked about a second season by Deadline Hollywood, the show’s executive producer, William Horberg seemed less hopeful. “It’s wonderful to know that people loved the show where they want to spend more time with these characters; we never envisioned it that way. We felt that the series had a satisfying endpoint and we’d allow the audience to fill in the space as to what happens next for Beth Harmon.”

What might happen in The Queen’s Gambit Season Two?

Although a second season might feel like a distant dream, there’s nothing to stop us from speculating on what lies next for our favourite Grandmaster.The series might’ve ended with Beth defeating the world’s greatest chess player, but no one stays at the top forever. Younger, hungrier players will keep her on her toes and could even topple her from her throne – something hinted at in the first series when she narrowly defeats the 13-year-old prodigy Georgi Girev. We might continue Beth’s fight with addiction. Her dependence on drugs and alcohol played an enormous role in the series and her use of tranquillizers even aided her success. For anyone struggling with substance abuse, maintaining sobriety is an everyday struggle and a relapse might be just around the corner. USA’s tense relationship with Russia could be explored further – maybe with hints of defection or an international romance causing rifts between Beth and the US Government. Taylor-Joy herself has been vocal about wanting to explore another potential phase in Beth’s life, motherhood. The actress told Deadline, “It would be very interesting to see how Beth would be as a mother, now that she’s sober and more cognizant of the demons that pull her down.

The endgame

A second season would be warmly received by fans and the chess community alike and there are a plethora of potential plot lines to explore. But alas, we have no evidence that Queen’s Gambit Part 2 will ever happen. But in the words of its star Anya Taylor-Joy, “Never say never…