The World Chess Championship Chess Set

The World Chess Logo If you are someone who loves chess and more importantly, played a lot of chess, then you would have no doubt seen a multitude of chess sets over the years. Polished hardwood pieces of wood with green felt stuck to the bottom. The new World chess tournament set is quite different in many ways. Firstly, this set comes in refined branded packaging. While most Staunton chessmen on the market these days bear all the hallmarks of Indian hand made production these new pieces are quite different.

The sets come from an English company called Studio Ann Carlton, previously known for their hand painted themed chess sets. For the first time in years you can buy a bona fide branded professional set of chessmen. The pieces come in a white sleeve box, which contains a fairly robust black box with a lift off lid. It seems the black and white is a bit of theme with this branding. But that’s where it ends. The black pieces are of course black, but as with true tradition, the white sides are yellow boxwood.

The World Chess Logo You immediately know that this set is the official one. On the top of the box is a FIDE logo and the words 'Officially approved by FIDE the world chess federation'. The bottom of the box simply has the name of the designer, Daniel Weil, a bar code and the information about the distributor, Studio Ann Carlton. When you open the box for the first time expect the pieces to be rattling around inside. Who ever designed the packaging didn't test it properly so the pieces were all over the box. You can see inserts that look like they were meant to hold the pieces in place. But by the time the set has been through a distribution network from England, across the Atlantic to the US it had failed and released all the pieces into the box.
Not a huge problem, but as a dude who has spent around $300 on a chess set this shouldn't happen.
Disappointingly there is no information inside the box, no leaflets, certificate or information on the set.

The World Chess Logo The pieces have dispensed with the old-fashioned green pool table baize on the bases and instead gone for perfectly cut circles of felt, white on the bottom of the white pieces & black on the bottom of the black. This immediately sets them apart from the Staunton set and gives them a pretty classy look. The pieces are lathed from what looks like boxwood (the typical wood used for white chessmen). The dark side is stained black, rather than real ebony being used. The quality of the chessmen is pretty good, well turned and polished without lacquer.

Unlike many Staunton sets on the market these pieces have relatively simple lines and detail. There are no eyes on the knight for example. It would appear that the set has been made with ergonomics in mind rather than pure looks. (there's more information on the design here). While many of the original Staunton sets looked simply awesome, within a period of time they would have bits missing. This set looks like it's been made to hold its form through hundreds and hundreds of games. It looks tough and strong and like it will last a lifetime. The set is of course weighted, but not triple or quadruple, just double. Hardly surprisingly the king measure three and three quarter inches tall, so it will fit well onto all the existing tournament boards.

The World Chess Logo Although it is sold separately there is an official board to go with the set. A 20 inch veneer board that has the hexagon motif on the game edges; a black one for the black side, and ivory color inlaid for the white side. At last, someone has created a chessboard that won't allow amateurs to set up their boards the wrong way round. Why no one thought of this earlier is astounding, it also lends itself well to spectators of a very advanced game of chess being able to glance at the board and within seconds know who is black, and who is white, even if they know nothing about chess.

I wouldn't like to say the board is an after thought, but aside from the hexagons on each side it is a pretty basic and simple chessboard. Quality is very good and the board works well with the chessmen. If you are considering buying the pieces, why not max out and add the board.