Last week we spoke to the makers of the best chess sets on the planet, ChessBaron.
So what’s the history of ChessBaron Chess sets?
Well John, Just over 10 years ago, we wanted to market a range of Staunton chess sets that were not available in the UK. The USA was just starting to get some nice new designs that were a little different than the standard Staunton chess designs – but the UK didn’t have them. ChessBaron were the first to sell designs such as these, and many others:
But as well as the Staunton design stretched in this way, we wanted to supply solid excellent quality chess sets in standard Staunton that were weighted and made in high quality woods.
Where do you get your sets?
We have a factory in the one town in India where 80% of the worlds fine chess sets are made – Amritsar – the home of the Golden Temple and best known by many as the filming location and setting for Bride and Prejudice, the Bollywood version of Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austin.
If you make them how long do they take to make?
The better sets take around 3 days to make fully. The knights take the longest and here’s an interesting fact about the carvers of the knights – they are in great demand, highly paid compared to a common Indian wage – they all have cars, mobile phones, etc. which isn’t necessarily common in North India.
How do your sets differ from others?
Since those early days – others have seen the beauty of these chess set designs and have gone to the same place to get alternative designs. Most of ours are unique, but the problem with producing sets in India is that copyright laws are difficult to enforce and copies tend to sprout up – usually inferior. But, in all honesty, the market demands nice chess sets these days so there is a good offering across a number of retailers. But none have the breadth of offerings that ChessBaron has.
Do you sell anything else?
After a couple of years ChessBaron started selling theme chess sets as well as the Staunton designs. The Isle of Lewis is the best known example of these, but there’s also such things as The Battle of Colluden, etc. We also started specialising in chess computers, although the market has changed so much here – there are barely any produced any more – so we’re manufacturing our own chess computer which is due for the market in around 6 months.
We’ve also just ventured into Backgammon, Draughts and wooden Puzzles.
Now you sell variations of regular chess sets. What’s the most unique you have?
Probably the awesome Baggio. It’s unique to us and is just wonderful:
Any advice for people who’d like to take up chess?
The game of chess is known to have excellent benefits for life. It’s basic theme of strategy and consequences is a teacher for life. It’s also known and proved to have benefits for dysfunctional children.
But… what better way to pass leisure time than to pass it with a glass of wine or cognac and a good friend.
Where can people get your sets?
Thanks for this interview John and an opportunity to get our message out.
ChessBaron is known for it’s design range but one area we’re really excelling in is our customer service. No one is required to order through our site – we’ll take an order and we’ll follow up. As our feedback shows on Facebook we engage with customers.
The future is bright when we’re focused on customers – we intend to keep it bright.