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

Tournament Chess Combination (3.75 inch King)

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

Non-Staunton Chess Sets. Different, unusual & Interesting Design

SAC Art Deco Chess Set (without board)

A variety of non-staunton Chess sets with unusual and different designs. Interesting Chess sets - great for presents.

Buy Unusual Chess Sets 3 player Chess Sets 10 x 10 Chess

Large 3 player Chess  (pieces and board)

Some 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 Chestnut Chess Cabinet with Briar-root Board

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

Isle of Lewis Ivory & Black Chess Pieces (board not included)

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

Large range of ornamental Chess sets - based on kings and queens, old battles, fictional characters and from history - such as the Lewis Chessmen

Chinese Chess - Buy High Quality Standard & 3D Xiang Qi Sets

Xiang Qi Chinese Chess set with resin pieces

Chinese Chess Sets (Xiang Qi). Good selection of this fascinating chess game. Good quality Xiang Qi products backed up by our exceptional service.

Shogi - Japanese Chess | Quality Shogi Sets from Japan

Magnetic Shogi (Japanese Chess) Set - 25cm

Shogi or Japanese Chess sets, one of most complex of all traditional Chess variants. Reliable service, low prices and immediate dispatch.

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

Magnus Carlsen (Play Magnus) Educational Chess Set

Magnus Carlsen (Play Magnus) educational chess set

The official Magnus Carlsen educational chess set. The Play Magnus set features a stylish design with vinyl board & carry bag

Luzhanqi (Jun Qi) - Chinese Army Game

Luzhanqi (Jun Qi) - Chinese Army Game

A two player Chinese Chess variant, Luzhanqi, or Jun Qi, is an intriguing strategy game. Nice wooden board with good quality pieces.

Dou Shou Qi - Chinese Animal Game

Dou Shou Qi - Chinese Animal Game

A popular Chinese Chess variant among children, Dou Shou Qi is simple to learns but requires strategic thought. Wooden board with nicely illustrated pieces.

Large Demonstration Chess Sets

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

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


Top of page - Chess

Masters Games
Contact Details
About Us

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