• Chess Sets •
Our offering of chess sets combines a nice range of chess pieces and chess boards. Our Chess Sets category shows the most popular piece and board combinations from The Regency Chess Company UK. The collection of pieces and sets, stored just north of Toronto, Ontario will continue to grow over time as we add to our product range – at Canada’s online chess shop. All of our chess sets have been selected for aesthetics, quality and suitability of chess pieces for their respective chess boards. Our products are sourced from renowned suppliers around the world – from countries such as England, Italy, Germany, India and Spain. We hope that you will also buy your chess set from a reputable supplier – The Regency Chess Company Canada.
The most recent addition to the Regency brand is the high gloss Black Anegre and Maple board. This design is exclusive to The Regency Chess Company. We have also introduced a design with Black Anegre and a deep brown Palisander border. These fine European boards have also been finished in a high gloss lacquer and are available in a range of larger sizes. Our Briarwood and Elmwood burl Italian boards are the epitome of class when it comes to the royal game. These boards can be combined with many luxury pieces to make an impressive chess set for display and appreciation.
Luxury Chess Sets
Our Luxury Chess Sets in The Regency Chess Collection are some of the finest in Canada and the USA. In particular, take note of our beautiful Red Sandalwood sets. This exceptional wood is now banned for export, so it is quite simply no longer available in the crafting of chess pieces. At most we have only a few sets left in each of the categories listed. Please note that we feature Red Sandalwood in our most expensive folding chess set.
Most demand in luxury chess sets is for pieces with a King that is at least the standard 3-3/4 inch height or larger. In the near future we will be introducing smaller versions of our luxury sets they are more proportionate to many modern homes.
Isle of Lewis Chess Sets
The iconic Isle of Lewis chess pieces were found in 1831 and are believed to have originated from Scandinavia circa 1100 AD. The original pieces, now found in the British Museum and National Museums Scotland, were made from Walrus tusk and whale bone. Our authentic reproduction pieces, from National Museums Scotland, are the closest reproduction of the originals available. These sets can be found in various approximations of the original and in various materials at relatively inexpensive prices. However, if you are looking for the official National Museums Scotland pieces, manufactured in the UK from precise laser scans of the originals, then we have your pieces.
Red Sandalwood Chess Sets
Red Sandalwood, Pterocarpus santalinus, is so valued that it was once presented to King Solomon (c 920 BC). This rich grained exotic aromatic wood adds to the allure of a luxury chess piece. The wood is so valuable that when harvested, virtually the entire tree is used, including its roots and base trunk. Native to mountain ranges in southern India and Nepal, all Sandalwood trees are deemed government property. Illegal harvesting has led to an outright ban on export. Hence, the Red Sandalwood pieces and Folding Chess Sets in our stock will never be replaced once our very limited stock is exhausted.
Staunton Chess Sets Video
Staunton Chess Sets
Before the mid 19th century the chess playing public played with many different styles of chess pieces such as the St. George Chess set, the French Regence Chess Set and the central European Selenus Chess Set. As well as being tall, light and easy to tip over, these sets of pieces had one important characteristic in common – the pieces were not easily distinguishable from each other. The solution to this problem was initiated by Nathaniel Cook, editor of the Illustrated London News, who on March 1, 1849 registered at the Patent Office an aesthetically pleasing design with distinct forms for each piece, or an ‘Ornamental design for a Set of Chess-Men’ under the Ornamental Designs Act of 1842. Cook contracted the manufacture of the pieces to the games manufacturing firm of his brother-in-law, John Jaques of London.
There are several theories on the inspiration for the design. Firstly, it was thought that Cook had used architectural concepts in the neoclassical style of ancient Greece and Rome. In particular the Knight’s head was fashioned from the Elgin Marbles from the Greek Parthenon. The second theory is that Mr. Jacques, a master wood turner, had created the design as one that was both reasonable in cost and one that would likely be accepted by players. It was also possible that the design was somewhat fashioned after symbols for chess pieces that were used in printing books. Perhaps the truth is somewhere in the middle.
In order to popularize the pieces, Cook convinced the leading player of the day, a Shakespearean scholar named Howard Staunton, to lend his name to the design in exchange for a royalty. Staunton heavily promoted the new pieces in his regular Illustrated London News column. The first 500 numbered sets were signed by Staunton.
The following advertisement was published in the paper:
A set of Chessmen, of a pattern combining elegance and solidity to a degree hitherto unknown, has recently appeared under the auspices of the celebrated player Mr. STAUNTON. A guiding principle has been to give by their form a signification to the various pieces - thus the king is represented by a crown, the Queen by a coronet. The pieces generally are fashioned with convenience to the hand; and it is to be remarked, that while there is so great an accession to elegance of form, it is not attained at the expense of practical utility. Mr. STAUNTON'S pattern adopts but elevates the conventional form; and the base of the Pieces being of a large diameter, they are more steady than ordinary sets.
- Illustrated London News, September 8, 1849
The pieces became available to the public on September 29, 1849. Staunton promoted the pieces to such an extent that he purposefully continually derided all other designs of chess pieces. Staunton may have been the first example of a leading public figure who was so actively involved in promoting a commercial product – a pioneer ‘celebrity endorsement’.
When The World Chess Federation (Federation Internationale des echecs or F.I.D.E.) was established in Paris, France in 1924 the Staunton design was selected as the set of choice for all international chess tournaments. The design has proved to be the standard today amongst both serious players and the general public.
Today many variations of the original design are in circulation. Many have exercised their artistic licence with respect to colour, base material (wood, ivory, bone, metal, etc.), finish, detailing and styling.