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?


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.

Related Products

Staunton Chess Sets from leading Chess manufacturers

Philos Boxwood Staunton Chess Pieces (3 inch King)

A range of quality Staunton design Chess sets from the leading names in Chess - Jaques, Dal Negro and SAC.

Buy Unusual Chess Sets - 3 player & 10 x 10 Chess - Non-Staunton

Non-Staunton & Unusual Chess Sets

Plenty of non-staunton and unusual Chess Sets to spark the imagination. 3 player chess sets and 10 x 10 Jester Chess will really bend your mind

Chess Cabinet Sets. Chess sets in a box with a chess board lid

Dal Negro Chess Set - 45cm, Bamboo

Beautiful Chess sets stored in a convenient cabinet with a chess board lid. From leading Chess suppliers Jaques, Dal Negro and SAC

Historic Chess Sets - replica notable chess sets from times past

Berkeley Isle of Lewis Chess Set (cream & red)

Historical Chess Sets and replicas from the past such as the historic Lewis Chessmen as well as Chaturanga sets.

Buy Chequerboards. Huge range of quality draughts & chess boards

10 x 10 Chequerboard (Mahogany/Maple, 2 feet square)

A range of quality Chequerboards. Chess boards in all sizes by the best names in Chess - Jaques, SAC and Dal Negro.

Giglio Chess Tables - High Quality Inlaid Chequerboard Tables

Square wooden Chess and Draughts Table with pieces

Superb inlaid wooden Chess tables made in Italy by Giglio, a well-established family-run company who specialise in beautiful quality marquetry work

Portable Travel Chess - Pegged & Magnetic Chess Sets

Travel Chess Sets

Portable chess sets for travel. Small pegged and magnetic Chess sets that will keep the game in position when not in use.

Giant Chess and Draughts. Huge range, great prices

Garden Games Giant Chess Set (without board)

Most comprehensive range of Giant Chess and Draughts. Large Chess sets for the home and robust Giant Chess and Checkers for events and public areas.

Chess Clocks, Go Clocks - Timers For Games

GARDE game / chess clock analogue, wood

Range of game clocks - timers for games such as Go and Chess. High quality game clocks with swift dispatch and our excellent service.

Ornamental Chess Sets - Fantastic range of sculptured chess sets

SAC Lewis Chessmen with folding board

Shop now for ornamental Chess sets. Huge range of Chess sets inspired by kings and queens, famous battles, fictional and historical characters.

Buy Compendia - Unique range of Games Compendiums

Philos Wooden Game Compendium - 35cm (10 games)

Range of quality games compendia - ideal for gifts. Traditional Compendium of games, large games compendium tables and some unusual compendia too

Large Demonstration Chess Board Sets

Large Demo Chess Board - Slot-in Pieces (92cm)

Large size demonstration Chess boards available with magnetic or slot-in pieces. Useful learning tools, ideal for schools, chess clubs and tournaments.

Asian and Oriental Chess Sets - Shogi, Xiang Qi

Oriental Chess Sets

A range of Asian and Oriental Chess sets from Thailand (Makruk), China (Xiang Qi), Korea (Changgi) and Japan (Shogi).


Top of page - Chess

Other Categories

Masters Games
Contact Details
About Us

UK UK based but we ship globally
Secure Hosting Credit Card Safe Amex Mastercard Maestro Visa Paypal