Archive for October 30th, 2016

October 30, 2016

Staunton Chess Set

howard-staunton

The Staunton chess set is the style of chess pieces approved for competitions. Nathaniel Cook patented the design in the U.K. in 1849, and they are named after English chess master Howard Staunton. The first 500 sets were hand signed and numbered by Staunton. The pieces were first made available by games and sporting goods retailer Jaques of London and quickly became a standard. They have been used around the world since.

The increased interest in the game of chess, particularly in international play during the late 18th century and early 19th century, brought about a renewed demand for a more universal model for chess pieces. The variety and styles of the conventional form, begun in the 15th century, had expanded tremendously by the beginning of the nineteenth century. Conventional types popular during the period included the English ‘Barleycorn’ set, the French ‘Regence’ chess set, and the central ‘European.’ Most pieces were tall, easily tipped and cumbersome during play, but their major disadvantage was the similarity of the pieces within a set. A player’s unfamiliarity with an opponent’s set could alter the outcome of a game.

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