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Luxury Staunton Chess Pieces – Part I

Luxury Staunton Chess Pieces – traditional and elegant

In the last post, I looked at some of our most popular and durable staunton chess pieces. This time around i’m going to look at some of the most popular luxury staunton chess pieces that have a traditional flair about them.

What makes these Chessmen “traditional and luxury”?

The staunton design of chess sets have been around for quite some time and have developed countless variants. All of them are considered staunton, but some are more artistic and interpretive, testing the boundaries of the Staunton design. This is neither good nor bad, but is a stylistic choice.

What do I mean? Well, every Staunton chess set will have the bust of a horse as a knight, a bishop with a slit at the top, a rook that looks like a tower, and so on. The luxury chess pieces i’ll be looking at today are more classic in design. That means i’ll be looking at less of the elaborate knights with reigns or modern interpretations of the classic design. Instead, i’m going to focus on five sets that are fairly close to the classic shape and design.

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 luxury chess pieces.

Legionnaires Staunton Chess Pieces

Legionnaires Luxury Chess Pieces

This is the Legionnaires Staunton in Ebonized Boxwood

The Legionnaires design is a very traditional design of luxury staunton chess pieces. You will notice that it has an extra wide slit for the bishop with a half-ball on top and a classically proportioned king with cross.

The main feature, as usual, is the knight. The Legionnaires knight has a slightly wavy back with good detailing of the main, and he looks directly forward. This is someway similar to classic Jacques designs of the past. It is both simple and elegant, with the attention to detail in the teeth and face compensating for not being overwhelmingly flashy as you might see in some of the more modern designs.

Imperator Staunton Chess Pieces

Imperator Luxury Staunton Chess Pieces

This is the Imperator Staunton in Crimson Rosewood

The second classic design is the Imperator Staunton. You might notice that it looks very similar to the legionnaires in many ways – it should. The king, bishop, and pawn are all identical. Like the Legionnaires, it is well weighted and balanced for play. The place you see some difference is the knight.

The Imperator knight is my personal favorite for luxury staunton chess pieces, and you can find them also paired up with chessboards as our choice ‘luxury chess set’ on the website – this is with good reason. It maintains the classic look and feel of a jacques staunton design, but has even more attention to detail than the Legionnaires. Notice the sloping back with the wavy mane, and the perked up ears for the horse. He continues to look ahead, but with an ever so slight slant. It gives the knight a lot of personality without being ‘over the top’ with reigns or a fancy knight. It’s fantastic.

Elite Premier Staunton Chess Pieces

Elite Premier Staunton Chessmen

This is the Elite Premier Staunton in Cardinal Rosewood

The Elite Premier Staunton stands out for having a very broad base, and thus is even heavier than the average chess set. Besides the wider base, you’ll notice some differences from the other luxury chess pieces above: the slit for the bishop is not as wide, nor the crenelations in the rook as deep.

The knight is similar to the legionnaires, but is chunkier with a bigger belly juxtaposed by a thinner face. His mane has a similar mohawk-like look as the legionnaires, but you’ll notice his snout does move at an angle as opposed to facing straight out.

Hoplites Staunton Chess Pieces

Hoplites Luxury Staunton Chessmen

This is the Hoplites Staunton in Honey Rosewood

The Hoplites design is a step up from the durable chess set category but is the most affordable on this list. The pieces are less delicate, and these pieces could likely have also been in the previous post of durable chess sets – but it has a tall, extended cross that is a little more fragile.

The knight of the hoplites design is looking downward more than the other options on this page, perhaps as if it was rearing up. You can see there is some detailing in the mane and face, but at nowhere near the detail seen in the Imperator, Legionnaires, or Phalanx designs.

This is an all around nice and sturdy set, a step up from the ‘basic’ chess sets but not quite at the highest levels of luxury either. A good mid-range choice.

Phalanx Staunton Chess Pieces

Phalanx Luxury Staunton Chess Pieces

This is the Phalanx Staunton in Ebony

Just as the Tournament Champion design was a crossover from Durable to Luxury, the Phalanx is a crossover from luxury to exotic. This set stands out from the others across most of the primary chess pieces.

You’ll notice the pieces have a wide, multi-tier base. This gives a lot of room for weighting but also makes the whole set stand out. Unlike in several of the other designs, the crown on the queen has a flower like blooming appearance with extra curves. The king is especially notable because it has a very solid and strong cross. The king in some ways stands out even more than the knight as it is the only set that has such a strong, standard, wide cross of that nature.

The knight is filled with great detail, from the curved main to perky, extended ears. The face looks out and down with a close-mouthed grimace of determination. The large base gives a unique definition to the chess pieces that you do not see in any of the other sets.

Luxury Chess Piece Conclusions

There are several more luxury chess sets to review, and i’ll do that shortly. The rule of thumb is that there is no right or wrong in choosing a chess piece set. Often your first instinct – the chess pieces that call to you – are the best option for you.

Next up we’ll take a look at some of the most elaborate designs the Staunton design has to offer.

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.

Quentin Turner

Our Chess Store

Our Chess Store in Massapequa, NY. Click to come inside!

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