Exotic Staunton Chess Sets – unusual and amazing
Last time, I looked at some of the popular luxurious staunton chess pieces. Next we will take a look at some of the most exotic staunton chess sets available today. These chessmen stay within the bounds of Staunton design while having sometimes great flair and uniqueness.
What makes these Chess pieces so exotic and different and yet still Staunton?
So we’ve gone over a lot about what makes a staunton chess set staunton. This group is an extension of the luxury options and shows what carvers have done to continue to make amazing and unique designs that still fit under the heading of a traditional chess set.
These exotic staunton chess sets will have features just a little different – ranging from modern interpertations of the pieces to very elaborate knights with long, flowing manes. The most elaborate of chessmen would be included in this group, and I do not review them all – we even have chess sets that have an entire hand-carved horse for a knight, as opposed to just the bust of a horse.
Remember, all of these designs are well weighted and come in different sizes and all of the different woods shown below. For sake of ease, if you click on an item it will take you to that wood type – not that specific set. This is because you can find all of these designs in all of these categories. It all depends on what wood and size you are looking for in exotic chess pieces.
Myrmidon Staunton Chess Pieces
We start with the Myrmidon design, which includes most of the traditional Staunton features and boasts of an extremely heavy, well weighted design. In addition, it has two very unique elements. The first is the king. The cross is actually rounded and thick, and comes across as very powerful in relation to the star-like designs common on many other chess pieces.
The main unique feature, however, is the knight. The Myrmidon design boards of a heavily detailed knight that lurches forward with wide open eyes and perked ears. There is elaborate detailing in the main, and a rounded quality to the forward shoulders of the horse itself. This design extends the knight a bit lower on the body then is customary with most sets.
Praetorian Staunton Chess Pieces
The Praetorian design is probably one of our most popular exotic designs and has been around for quite some time. While the traditional features of staunton remain, you will notice the extra height of the king. It has an extra level not commonly seen in the crown that extends the piece to a whopping 4 1/2″, large for a traditional set. You will also notice that the cross is noticeably not a cross. This design is inverted, making it appealing to those wishing to avoid a traditional cross.
The Praetorian knight is also one of the most fancy of all designs for exotic staunton chess sets. The knight has a distinctive bridle and sharply pointed ears and a jagged mane covering an S-curved back. This set is considered by many to have the most elaborate and detailed knight of all the staunton designs – the only possible exception being the Eques, which features an entire carved knight.
In any case, if you’re looking for an extremely well detailed knight that is sure to stand out, the Praetorian is a great choice.
Centurion Staunton Chess Pieces
The Centurion design is the other chess piece style that features a bridled knight. The knight is distinct in that it is quite rounded as opposed to the flat and S-type backs seen with most other designs. The jagged mane makes it look to be a particularly aggressive knight, accented with a slightly open mouth and bared teeth.
Another element of this design is the bishop. In this design the slit is actually straight up and down and goes near to the base of the ‘head’ of the piece, which is a slight variation of the common design. Overall this is a very unique chess set with a lot of character.
Velites Staunton Chess Pieces
The Velites is a common Russian or eastern design of chess pieces. Most notable in this set are that the cross of the king and the ball on top of the bishop and queen are actually the opposite color wood. This is a very unique feature that ties the two sides of the chessmen together quite nicely.
Additionally, Eastern European Chess Sets are known for knights that noticeably face downwards. In this set you can see the knight appears almost squared off at the top with a snout aiming directly down and a nearly flat front.
Vanguard Staunton Chess Pieces
The final set I’ll review today is the vanguard design. This luxury design has a streamlined, ultra-modern design with sleek pieces across the board. The pawns have a teardrop like shape and the rooks are more stubbly and straight.
The standout knight has a different design – unlike the others this piece is the bust of a horse that is raised on a pedestal type base with a forward-facing head. This causes the piece to really stand out in the set.
Exotic Chess Piece Conclusions
I hope you have enjoyed this brief review of several of the hand-carved, wood Staunton chess sets we carry. There are of course several others I did not touch on, but I think this is more than enough to get you started to notice the little details that differentiate the exotic Staunton chess sets from the luxury Staunton sets, and so on.
We’ll have a lot more articles going in to detail on different chess items as the weeks go by, so stay tuned. We might also have a surprise or two for those of you who follow our facebook account as well after we finish each of these segments.
You can see all of luxury Staunton chess pieces I’ve discussed, our any of our other Staunton chess pieces designs on our website, organized by wood type:
See all of our Staunton Chess Sets by wood or size here.