How Wooden Championship Chess Sets Are Made

Business Insider took a look at the incredibly detailed process by which wooden World Championship Chess sets are made. Each piece is hand-carved by an experienced craftsperson who is trained in the specifics of the size, shape, and number of cuts within. There are less than 10 such craftspeople in the world who are trained to create the distinctive pieces in accordance with the regimented regulations of the iconic “Staunton Chess Set Design”. The process is time-consuming and the sets are rather expensive. Even so, the quality of workmanship is evident.

An inexpensive chess set can sell for $20, but a handcrafted wooden set certified for the World Chess Championship costs $500. Much of the set’s value lies in just one piece: the knight. Each knight must be carved by hand to look exactly the same. Making this one piece takes two hours, and there are fewer than 10 people trained to carve knights for the championship chess sets.