Over the past COVID afflicted year, I’ve spent countless hours learning 3D design and printing. I find that the best way to both teach and learn new skills is to take on a project with a tangible outcome––in an area the student is passionate about. For me, this was the perfect chess set.
I wanted a set that could be beautiful but also utilitarian. I wanted one that could be used in a competitive setting, heavy and hard to knock over, with pieces that were distinctive and easily identifiable. I wanted the pieces to stay upright during chaotic, tumultuous speed chess matches.
I’ve also had time to survey my house. There are pennies everywhere. Under any and all pieces of furniture, tucked inside every crevice of laundry rooms and cars, and abandoned in pockets of rarely-worn jackets and jeans are these useless copper disks that cost more to store than they’re worth. I could amass thousands to be used as wights for the pieces.
I’ve pondereed discarded things that could be used as boards. Sidewalked leather couches, old wooden panels, large swathes of fabric. Anything I could silkscreen print checkerboards on would be fair game.
And there you would have everything you need to play chess, especially in these times. A good, weighted, tactile set, that won’t tip over in a lightning game.
So here it is, all 32 pieces printed, polished to an ebony/ivory finish, weighted with pennies, felted with leather, on a hand-silkscreened board.
I’m making more and giving them to friends and family, but also thinking about a kickstarter campaign to help me build a distribution model, where I could sell this and other designs Jeanne and I are working on. Stay tuned for that.