Staunton Chess Pieces

A Guide to Staunton Chess Pieces

It is very likely that the very first chess pieces that you owned are Staunton. Whether you play chess professionally or just enjoy the game as a hobby, you have no doubt already been exposed to Staunton chess sets and pieces even without realizing it. Staunton chess pieces are the standard for international tournaments and competitions. Staunton chess sets and Staunton chess pieces are classics for professionals and hobbyists alike. When were Staunton chess pieces made and why are they so popular? Let’s find out. 

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The History of Staunton Chess Sets

To trace the origins of Staunton chess pieces, we have to go back all the way to 1849. Prior to the mid-19th century, every player had their own chess set and there were no standardized ones. Eventually, these differences and the absence of a common chess set created problems during tournaments. Being unfamiliar with the chess set of an opponent significantly impacted the final outcome in the game and favored one player over another. In 1849, John Jacques of London, created the first standardized chess set designed for mass production. This chess set would eventually become known as the Staunton chess set. The set was named after Howard Staunton, one of the most well-known chess players from his era. The Stauton chess pieces and boards became very popular very quickly. They were so popular that they became the standard for tournament games. Today, this rule is still on, and Staunton-style chess sets are considered the standard for chess as a whole.    

Staunton Chess Pieces

All Staunton pieces are designed to resemble medieval figures, including a king, queen, knights, rooks, bishops and pawns. The pieces feature a base that makes them easy to handle and move, and a top that makes them immediately recognizable to the player and anyone watching the game. There is no specific material that is used to make Staunton sets. The pieces in a Staunton chess set can be made with a variety of different materials. Antique chess pieces are sometimes made with ivory or high quality wood. Today, wooden Staunton chess pieces along with plastic, metal, and composite materials are also common. Staunton chess pieces may or may not be weighted depending on the material used to make them, and whether or not the set is designed to be for travel.

Why Is Staunton So Popular

Not only is it the official set for many tournaments but it’s also a popular choice among chess enthusiasts. Staunton chess sets are very famous around the world and people love them because of their classic design which exemplifies the game of chess to a tee. In addition to this, people love the classic look of the pieces which makes it possible to identify each piece at a single glance, without having to look up visual guides or otherwise think too hard. Staunton chess pieces are some of the most recognizable, popular and distinct pieces in the world. They are perfect for professionals and beginners alike, so if you’re ever in doubt, you can never go wrong with classical Staunton chess pieces. 
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