Behind the design

turned chessmen set

If anyone reads this blog series with the intent of turning a chess set, they will probably make one to their own design/ability. Why copy my simple set when there are infinite variations out there? Even so, I will document my ideas for my own records and the process might be useful or interesting to any passers by.

In general, all the pieces have gentle concave sides they wear as a uniform to show they are part of the same set.

The pawns are, in essence, just small versions of the king. Or you could say the king is just a pawn with a crown. The same is true for the queen. There is a common denominator –  the leaders are just regular people under their outfits.

The rooks have four segments at the top to represent their four directions of movement. Under the same rationale, the queen’s crown is divided into eight.

The knight is the shortest piece on the back rank for two reasons: (1) I like the hight profile shape it creates and (2) other than the king, the knight has the most limited range in one move. Pawns are shorter still, also reflecting their relative mobility. The piece is modelled on the knight himself rather than the horse he rides, but that is because of my lack of carving skill rather than absolute choice.

The bishops have a symmetrical miter and stand tall next to their monarchs. I did not find a way to visualise their direction of movement like for the rook or queen, but I might put more thought into this for a future set.

From a playing point of view, all the pieces have a head portion that is easily handled. All are bottom heavy by design so they are stable even without extra weighting. It would take some effort to knock a piece over accidentally.


The knights were eventually redesigned. You can read about the new knights here.


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