- Oldest Chess Set– The Lewis Chessmen
One of the earliest chess pieces are the Isle of Lewis chess pieces. They were created in the 12th century with Walrus ivory and whale’s teeth. They are also known as the Uig chessmen after the Uig bay island they were discovered at, in March 1831. This hoard contained 93 carvings- 1 buckle, 14 pieces of a game called tables and 78 medieval chess pieces. Some pieces bore traces of red stain when found, possibly indicating that red and white were used to distinguish the two sides,unlike black and white used right now.
These antique figures have attracted people to the British Museum since the moment they were acquired. The artist who created these beautiful, iconic pieces was a master of the craft.
In 2019, a warder/rook was found in one of the drawers and was sold for above 1 million dollars. Addition to the pieces found earlier. Making it to be the only Lewis chessmen ever auctioned.
The pieces have found fame by their appearance in the film Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. A replica of these pieces were used by Harry and Ron.
How exactly the chess pieces ended up on the sandy cove on the Isle of Lewis, who they were made for, where and who made them, from where do they belong – Norway? Scotland? Iceland? Where the missing pieces are? All of it is a complete mystery.
If only these pieces could talk?
- Smallest Chess Set–
The chess set has been crafted by artist Ara Ghazaryan, with an exceptional eye for detail. He holds the Guinness World record for tiniest chess set.
The set is made on an incredibly minute scale. The entire board along with pieces measures a total of 15.3 x 15.3 mm (0.6 in x 0.6 in), a size that amounts to be smaller than a coin. The Kings is the tallest measuring 4.8 mm, where as the pawns measure 2.3 mm. The chess set weighs only 6.63 gm.
The chessboard is made from a Brazilian cherry wood and 18 carat yellow and white gold, while the bottom of the board has small bezel diamonds in each corner.
You might lose a game of chess but you definitely do not want to lose any of these pieces.
However, Necati Korkmaz, a Turkish micro-sculptor has created the potential smallest chess set in the world. The measurement of the board is 9 x 9 mm (0.35 x 0.35 inch). Potential as this is not an official record yet. If its approved this will be the smallest chess board.
- Most Expensive Chess Set– The Jewel Royale Chess Set
The set is royal, regal, meticulously styled, and glitters with gold and platinum, it has diamonds, emeralds, rubies, pearls and sapphires. The king alone uses 146 diamonds and 73 rubies studded in 165.2 grams of 18 carat gold and costs $132,864.
Costing 9.8 million dollars, it is the most expensive chess set in the world.
- The Largest Chess Set
The largest chess set board measures 5.89 m (19 ft 4 in) on each side. The set was made by William Taylor of Medicine Hat Chess Club, Canada. It was presented and measured in Medicine Hat, Canada, on 27 May 2009. The pieces are all hand and lathe crafted from teak wood and imported from Indonesia. The tallest piece in the set is the King which measures 4 feet tall. Collectively, the pieces weigh in at a whopping 870 pounds!
You can go and play on this set, unlike the above ones. The club takes a 10 Dollar fee/hour.
In 2009 it was officially certified as the World’s “Largest Chess Set” by Guinness World Records. However, the Guidelines have been updated and are now requiring the chess pieces to be bigger as well as the chess board.
The world’s biggest chess board (excluding pieces) is in Norway
The world’s largest chess piece is in USA.