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Chess Pieces

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All styles and tastes

Our range of chess pieces is extensive and caters for all styles and tastes. The Regency Chess Company stocks only the finest wooden chess pieces, indeed our selection of luxury Staunton chess pieces has grown to one of the largest collections in Europe and features the worlds’ finest wooden chess pieces. Our chess pieces are made and imported from a variety of different countries including Italy, Poland, India and England. All suppliers are scrutinised carefully for quality and ethics so that only the finest chessmen are added to our range.

Traditional Staunton

While we stock a vast range of chess pieces our most popular style is the classic Staunton chessmen. In fact of all the pieces we have for sale Staunton represents the lions share of our stock. It is without doubt the archetypal set of chessmen and the one universally recognised as the standard and the norm. The Staunton design came about in the mid 1800s when Howard Staunton, a leading chess player at the time, had become frustrated with the vast difference in chess pieces at competitions. He was frustrated when playing against people who insisted on using weird sets where the pieces were not instantly recognised.

A little history

Staunton didn’t design the Staunton chessmen, he loved the design and put his name to each set. He promoted it heavily in his published writings on chess and because of him the set became a huge hit worldwide. As a set of chessmen it ticked all the right boxes. It was easy to manufacture, looked very elegant, it was ergonomic and practical and perfect to play a game of chess with. They are without doubt the ultimate chess pieces and have been adopted by all the words chess organisations as the standard competition chessmen.

Intricately carved

Despite the huge popularity for Staunton we stock a range of excellent quality themed chess pieces, some lovely Italian metal chessmen and the legendary Lewis chessmen. Our range also features some very intricately carved decorative wooden chess pieces which are hand carved from exotic Indian hardwoods.

Antiques in Ebony

Also included in our range of chess pieces is a small selection of antique reproduction chessmen. These are precise copies of antique designs including some pre-Staunton sets such as Northern Upright and St George. These sets of chess pieces have been produced to the highest possible standards from the finest Indian ebony wood and are just like the originals, only much cheaper of course.

Chess Piece styles

There are many styles of chess piece. They fall into a handful of categories. The first and most popular is the Staunton style, this is the most iconic and familiar of all the types of chess piece in the world. There are thousands of variations of this style, from plain basic and functional, to highly ornate and decorative. The second best known style is the Lewis chessmen, these have a lovely back story and are lovely looking pieces. There are other styles, from the contemporary to the highly ornate. We have pretty much all the styles available here at Regency Chess.

Lewis Chess Pieces

You will notice we have a section of our website totally dedicated to the Lewis chessmen. These legendary chessmen are probably the second most popular and familiar design after Staunton. We also stock the amazing National Museum Scotland set which we regard as the official set. It has been created from laser scans of the original pieces and commissioned by an English manufacturer by one of the foremost authorities on the subject.

Large Chess Pieces

We sell a vast range of chess pieces and they come in a large number of sizes. The size that we refer to in a set of chessmen is always the height of the king. Invariably he’s the largest piece so it makes sense to measure the set against him rather than any of the other pieces. We sell chess pieces with a king height of two and a half inches right up to six inches, although it’s very unusual for the size to go above four and a half inches. One thing that can be confusing about large chess pieces is the difference between the various sizes. Without looking you could be forgiven for thinking that there is not a huge difference between a 2.5 inch and a 4 inch piece, it is after all, just a 1.5 inch difference. However due to the proportions of chessmen the difference is huge! There is a standard tournament size, 3.75 inches and pieces that are between 3.5 and 3.75 inches tend to fit most peoples perception of a ‘normal’ sized set of chess pieces. Another key measurement you must always consider is the base diameter of the king. This directly affects the size of board

Materials used to make chess pieces

The most common material found in chess pieces is wood and specifically, hard wood. Wood really is the perfect material for chess pieces. It can be turned, carved, polished, painted, waxed and is available in abundance. Over the century’s chess pieces have been made from a variety of material including.

  • Wood
  • Bone
  • Metal
  • Plastic
  • Resin
  • Stone resin

We stock chess pieces made from a variety of materials both traditional and modern. Without doubt though the most common material in our range is wood.

Why are most chess pieces wooden?

The answer is two fold. Firstly, as mentioned above, wood is the easiest material to work with and it’s physical properties lend themselves very well to making chessmen. Secondly, the Staunton Chessmen are wooden and have become the most popular set in the world. The great thing about wood as a material for chess pieces is that there is a wood for everyone’s budget. From cheap pine up to expensive luxury Ebony.

Woods used in the production of chessmen

  • Boxwood
  • Ebony
  • Rosewood
  • Mahogany
  • Sheesham
  • Redwood
  • Anjan
  • Acacia

The composition of a set of chess pieces

For the game of chess, the set of pieces always follows the same format. There are only six different pieces in a set and a total of thirty-two of them. Although some sets come with extra queens making the total thirty-four, but this isn’t necessary and a set of chess pieces is regarded as complete when there is thirty-two present. The six pieces in order of size are.

  • King
  • Queen
  • Bishop
  • Knight
  • Rook
  • Pawn

How many of each piece is in one set?

A full set of chessmen will comprise of the following

  • Kings 2
  • Queens 2
  • Bishops 4
  • Knights 4
  • Rooks 4
  • Pawns 16
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