At Masters Traditional Games, we always aim for excellent quality but we also like to find games that are a bit special or unusual too. With Chess, it is particularly easy to go and buy any old Chess set from a mundane high-street shop. Why do that, when we can find you something a lot more interesting?
See also: Chess and Draughts Piece Size Guide.
Ornamental Chess Sets
Excellent range of ornamental chess sets of the highest quality - includes character and historically themed Chess pieces in metal and resin.
Lewis Chessmen Sets
Replica Isle of Lewis Chess sets from leading Chess manufacturers, available with and without Chessboards.
Non-Staunton Chess Sets
For those looking for Chess pieces with a more contemporary or unusual design, our range of non-staunton sets are an ideal starting point
Unusual Chess Sets
Not your average chess set, these are perfect for those wanting to take their chess game to the next level - literally, in the case of our 3D set
The Chess sets on this page all come with their own integrated cabinet box designed to hold the Chess pieces when not in use
Our selection of the finest quality Chess Tables from renowned manufacturers, such as Italfama and Giglio of Italy
Extensive range of quality Chessboards in a range of sizes and finishes.
Xiangqi - Chinese Chess
The most popular game in the world. Chinese Chess is an interesting game to learn and has a couple of twists that do not feature in European Chess.
Shogi - Japanese Chess
Shogi is the Japanese version of Chess. The primary difference is that when pieces are captured they can be re-entered onto the board playing for the opposing side.
Giant Chess and Draughts
Fantastic fun whether in your back garden, at a party, a wedding or a shopping mall! Large Chess sets are incredibly eye-catching and any game soon attracts a gaggle of spectators all keen to join in.
Good range of Chess clocks from leading brands such as GARDE - analogue and digital models available
Staunton Chess Pieces & Sets
We stock an excellent range of quality, Staunton-design Chess pieces from leading manufacturers. Many sets are hand-crafted from the finest materials.The original Staunton design was invented by Jaques of London in 1847. By the end of the 19th century, it had become the de-facto standard for chess pieces and remains the standard chess piece form today.
Non-Staunton Chess Sets
For those looking for Chess pieces with a more contemporary or unusual design, our range of non-staunton sets are an ideal starting point.
Unusual Chess Sets
Not your average chess set, these are perfect for those wanting to take their chess game to the next level - literally, in the case of our 3D set. We have quality 3 and 4 player sets, as well as mind-bending tridimensional games. Try something different today.
The Chess sets on this page all come with their own integrated cabinet box designed to hold the Chess pieces when not in use. Chess Cabinet Sets are usually more cost-effective and convenient than buying a separate board and pieces but the pieces tend to be smaller and less detailed.
Our selection of the finest quality Chess Tables from renowned manufacturers, such as Italfama and Giglio of Italy. All these exquisite tables are beautifully crafted using only the finest materials.
Good range of Chess clocks from leading brands such as GARDE - analogue and digital models available.
Chess, Backgammon & Draughts
Our range of Chess, Backgammon and Draughts compendium sets. A popular trio of classic strategy games to keep you entertained.
The Origins of Chess
The ancestry of Chess is hidden in a mist of uncertainty and scholars continue to argue over significant issues, not least of which whether the traditional viewpoint of an origin in India is right or whether the game came first from China. Some historical sleuths believe that shaturanga sometimes spelt chaturanga was the originating game. This is supposed to have been invented by an Indian philosopher in the 6th century. The game was in part quite different to modern Chess in that dice were used and it was a 4 sided game instead of 2. The four players controlled 4 types of piece - Infantry, Cavalry, Elephants and Boatmen under the command of a controled squadrons of a Rajah or Caliph. An Ashtapada board (an ancient Indian race board game) consisting of an 8 x 8 grid was used for this early type of Chess.
Gambling was banned at some later point in the Hindu civilisation and, as happened in similar situations in other countries, this caused an evolution in the games that people played. In the case of Shaturanga, the dice were eliminated and so perhaps it was at this point that a game based entirely on intellectual acuity came into being. Around the same time, the 4 sides that anyway often played as 2 sets of 2 allies, were merged into 2 opposing armies. The new game was called Shatranj and anyone in modern times would recognise this early game as a proto-version of modern day Chess.
There are multiple explanations for the early arrival of Shatranj in Western Europe. Some say that it came through Spain brought by the Saracens of the Byzantine empire, some says crusaders returning from the Middle East brought back this early Chess. Regardless, the game of Shatranj emerged fully formed from India and evolved into a number of different forms that are just as important historically as Western European Chess including Shogi in Japan, Xiang Qi in China, Makruk in Thailand, Sittuyin in Burma and Changgi from Korea.
You can learn more about the History of Chess from The Online Guide to Traditional Games.