Chess is a game that you technically could play with a piece of paper, a pencil, and each player using different objects around your house or your dorm as long as you can remember which each piece is and what each piece does. Despite no real requirement or use of appearance in the game of chess most chess sets and each individual chess piece has a pretty similar look, with a few exceptions like novelty sets which there are countless options for shows, movies, and theme based boards like the Mario themed board below and image of the Ralph Lauren chess set that is on sale for only $3496.50.
The standard chess set is known as the vaunted Staunton Chess set. Shane’s description of these pieces are..
King: with a cross on the top and it’s the tallest
Queen: smaller than king spikey crown
Bishop: almost a mouth on the top of its head that resembles the pope’s hat
Knight: THIS ONE IS IMPORTANT! THE KNIGHT LOOKS LIKE A HORSE. THE KNIGHT IS NOT CALLED A HORSE. IT IS CALLED THE KNIGHT.
Rook: looks like a pillar of a castle
Pawn: simplest and smallest piece with a ball on the top of it.
Before 1849 there was no “normal Chess set”, chess had been played for a few centuries now and amazing amounts of sets of pieces were created from the different regions and areas that played chess that spread across the world. In the early 11th century the game saw a rapid growth in popularity in Europe and the rules began to evolve, the movement of the pieces were formalized, and the pieces themselves were transformed from their origins in 6th century India. In India the game symbolized a field of battle but this was changed in Europe and the pieces became the royal court instead, shown with the transformation of names from counselor, infantry, cavalry, elephants, and chariots, that became king, queen, pawn, knight, bishop, and rook. With growing globalization along with growing popularity of clubs and competitions around the world in the 19th century, the need was created for a standard set that everyone would be familiar with. The Staunton chess pieces filled that need; Howard Staunton was a chess authority and one of the best players in the world at the time that organized many tournaments and clubs in London, despite the name he did not design it. Staunton was only used as a marketing tool because he liked the design of these pieces. It’s believed to be have been designed by an architect that looked at all the popular sets of the time along with design influences of London and ruins of ancient Greece and Rome and made the blue print of the pieces we have today. The Staunton chessmen helped popularize the game and quickly became the world standard, for two hundred years now this is the set used around the world and I am predicting that there will be no changes made anytime soon.