With every shaving and small incision master artisans turn these trunks of wood into 32 hand carved chess pieces you can pick up a plastic set for 20 but a wooden set certified for the world. Chess championship cost 500 much of the value of a high quality set comes down to how well just one piece is made the night. There are less than 10 people who are trusted to carve the knights for the official world chess championship sets.
So how are these chessmen made and why are they so expensive at this factory in Omrisar India artisans carve the pieces for the official world chess championship sets and the factory produces only 250 of them each year artisans train over four to five months learning to masterfully shape each figure these small blocks of boxwood were once large trunks dried for three to six months cut down and shaped to the necessary size each block is attached to a lathe which turns the block rapidly before artisans begin to carve.
Artisans use particular steel tools called cutters designed to make the proper cuts and overall shape of a chessmen once the cutter makes contact it immediately changes the wood and any slight misstep could ruin the final shape of the piece no piece is more difficult to produce than the night while other pieces are carved in just a few minutes a single night takes two hours to produce less than 10 people are trained to craft nights for these championship sets second compare that to the four to five months it takes an artisan.
To learn how to carve the other chess pieces but unlike these other chessmen the knight isn’t an abstract representation of a medieval figure it’s designed to look like a realistic horse head it’s the most detailed of all the pieces each carving is intentional from the hair on a knight’s tail to the curve of its neck the quality of the final piece largely depends on the skill of the artisan a top quality night must be completely symmetrical but but it’s just as important that all four nights in the set look totally uniform otherwise the set altogether won’t be nearly as valuable according to the house of Staunton a large manufacturer of chess sets a set of finely carved knights can represent up to 50 percent of the total cost of the chessmen.
The other chessmen have specific height and width requirements designed by architect Daniel whale the king must be the tallest at 95 millimeters and have a base that’s 39 millimeters wide the largest of them all the pieces have defining characteristics like the king’s crown or the refined jewel at the top of the queen’s coronet these distinct features require more time and effort for the carver the king’s crown in a championship set should have eight small cuts and be slightly rounded along the edges compare this king to the king of a regular set which has a much simpler straight edge design pieces with even simpler designs.
Than that like a rook take these artisans seven times longer to produce compared to regular chess sets if the chessmen is like of a championship set then we are only able to make 25 to 30 kings in a day because it’s a very special design if we are talking about making chessmen for tournament players which are used in vast quantities then a carver is even able to make 200 to 250 chess kings in a day but the design of these chess pieces isn’t solely aesthetic it can actually affect the outcome of a game each piece must be the correct height the king being the tallest followed by the queen bishop knight rook and pawn the detailed features are also essential by lowering the chances a player will make a mistake if you see in medieval ages the chessmen were not really in a good form the chessmen were round some of them were spiral the knights were not even carved in the shape of a knight.
In this form you can see the kings properly the knight very distinguished the bishop has a miter cut the queen’s is very sharp so you can easily distinguish between all the six pieces this is known as the Staunton design the only style allowed in international competition today pieces used in the championship match have an electronic coil making it possible to track and broadcast each player’s move a full set with this tracking component costs about seven hundred dollars more the weight of each piece along with the felt bottom are two more significant factors that affect the game both make the chessmen easier to use effectively upping their value.
If the pieces are properly awaited then they do not fall while you are moving the pieces on the boats and also it gives a very nice and a special feel to a chess men some chessmen must be dyed black and dried for 10 days all of the pieces are buffed and polished three times before they’re assessed for quality chess has been played for over one thousand years with some form of the game first appearing in India around the sixth century over the past two centuries high-level competitions have drawn international interest in the game today tournaments continue to keep the game popular as do displays of these competitions in the media the release of the limited series the queen’s gambit on Netflix sent sales of chess sets skyrocketing in November, 2020 and although this demand is a positive for the industry.
It also poses a challenge to chess producers like Aditya it is very difficult to find good quality skilled carvers for manufacturing chessmen and even after four to five months six months we don’t know if the carver would be good enough to carve a nice chessmen so nobody wants to spend so much of time and realize that he was not able to carve the desired quality of chessmen without enough experienced carvers these sets could become more difficult to produce and it’s fair to expect that 500 sets like these and similarly hand carved ones could get even pricier in the future.