Today is American Chess Day! Chess is an age-old strategic game of skill and wit, played for centuries on a beautiful carved board with carved or sculpted chess pieces. Whether you’re a novice or an expert, prefer to play digitally against a computer or in person with your friends and family, it’s a timeless classic. Today’s blog is covering some great local places to enjoy a game of chess with community organizations and public events, as well as highlighting some woodworking projects, handmade wooden boards, and chess related goodies!
A Brief History of Chess via Alex Gendler for TedEd on YouTube:
Let’s take a little look at the evolution of chess pieces and chess set designs:
The earliest known chess pieces, known as “chatrang” were found in Uzbekistan, consisting of seven pieces: a king, chariot, vizier, horse, elephant, and soldiers. They were made of ivory and dated back to about 760 AD. In Europe, some of the earliest known chess sets made of bone and ivory are dated around 885 to 1017AD, the most famous of which is the Isle of Lewis Chess Set. The Charlemagne Chessmen were dated at some time around 1100AD, and are believed to be created in Italy and brought to Paris as a gift to French kings. The most commonly known and widely used set of chess pieces, however, are the Staunton Chess Set and Jaques of London Chess Set. Of course, there are also hundreds of variations and personalized options to make the game your own!
20th Century Modern Chess Designs via AncientChess on Youtube:
How to DIY Your Own Chess Board:
How NOT to Make A Chessboard: Beginner’s Mistakes from BA Woodworking on YouTube:
The most common wood types used in creating chess boards and pieces are Walnut, Sheesham, Ebony, Mahogany, Boxwood, Bud Rosewood, Maple, and Beech. In general, the wooden board is about 1” to 1 ½ inch thickness, and the standard board is 21” x 21” with 2”x2” squares on the playing surface.
Nothing would be more impressive at the local chess club than playing with a board and set you’ve made for yourself! Check out these amazing woodworking projects for a DIY Chess Board and Set:
The Housegrail has 10 different Chess Board Plans for download that are perfect for all skill levels of woodworking.
General Tools has a very simple, easy to follow plan for a DIY Wood Chess Board.
Popular Woodworking has this fantastic combination chess set box and chessboard.
Penn State Industries has a wonderful project set for turning any surface into your very own chessboard, and a special Chessman Template set for creating your own pieces.
Game On: Local Venues to Play Chess Near Plainfield NJ
Whether you’re looking to start learning how to play this beloved game for the first time, you’re an enthusiastic amateur, or even a seasoned pro, you’ll find lots of challenging opponents and learn new skills at these great local NJ chess clubs! And of course, you can always start your own at a local school or meeting hall.