When I was a kid and got interested in learning how to play chess I checked out a book from the library. It was a kids’ chess book and had pretty clever pictures of the various pieces as people dressed up in medieval garb, only in black and white. The pictures were a lot more interesting to me than the actual mechanics of playing chess: the bishops wielded wicked-looking morning stars, the knights were on horseback, of course, the pawns were squat little soldiers with clubs, and the queens had long swords. The kings just looked kind of pensive since they were the primary target. I don’t remember what the rooks looked like, which is strange, because I think they would have been the most interesting characters of all, being mobile castles. In fact the British call that piece a “castle” which makes more sense than “rook” since a rook is a bird, but that’s another story.
And while I could usually hold my own fairly well in a game of chess against my friends any time I went up against adults I got trounced. My parents were probably relieved I wouldn’t be searching for Bobby Fischer, for a number of reasons.
Anyway my pottery instructor also teaches ceramics classes and one evening she had some chess pieces one of her students had made. My aunt who made ceramics used the same mold which brought up a wave of nostalgia for me. And I thought it would be fun to make my own chess set out of pottery.
Because of my lack of skill and because pottery isn’t as malleable as ceramic I went for a more stylized look.
Here’s the white side since in chess white traditionally goes first:
And here’s the green side. They were supposed to be red but pottery glaze is a funny thing. Like a good chess player it’s unpredictable.
And now a little chess-related music.