The Master of Chess PiecesPosted March 10 2012
One of the most monumental meetings that we could ever have hoped for happened this week. We took a short commute from our offices to meet with a true master of wood. A business associate, and now a friend, traveled from Amritsar, India, especially to visit with us and show us samples from his 2012 collection. His journey took him via the United Kingdom and the USA, where he met with other acquaintances in the chess business.
We met at a mutually agreeable location on a cool winters day - a far cry from the heat of the Punjab. Being nervous about how to approach the meeting, I decided to greet our guest with a true bottle of Canadian Ice Wine. We hit it off immediately. The meeting proceeded, and after introductions, we started to look through a catalog of samples. The table infront of us became littered with samples of chess pieces not yet seen in Canada.
In all we viewed twenty designs, and spoke about wooden boards and travel chess boxes. We discussed the intricacies of manufacture and carving, and discussed the merits of lead weighted and steel weighted pieces.
Some of the designs were very unique - Knights and Rooks and Kings and Queens that did not look in any shape or form like chess pieces as we know them. Some of the Bishop's mitre designs were very unique, and the carving of the King's and Queen's crowns were sublime.
We discussed wood types and spoke long and hard about wood seasoning times and techniques.
Each and every piece of the wooden sets that Cool Chess Canada sells are hand turned and meticulously hand carved by the employees of this master. Hours of work go into waxing and polishing. A team of twenty three make up the manufacturing company and master craftsmen are trained and mentored by the previous generations. The company has been carving chess pieces for over fifty years, and now my friend has taken over the running of the company that his father ran before him.
Of course the Knights of each set were the pieces that really caught our attention. Our lovely lower-range Knights, such as the Germans and French, the Pioneer and Tournament Staunton, show great looking lines and traditional carving that you would expect in a really high quality wooden chess set.
Once heading into the mid-range sets we started to see more intricate carving and a higher volume of wood throughout the set. Our Broadbase Staunton is a perfect example. Big pieces, detailed carving, and a very heavy solid feel. Some of the mid-range sets were perfect for players and some were perfect for collectors.
Moving on to the high-end pieces, we saw the most amazingly carved Knights. Individual hair strands flowing in the wind, and amazingly detailed features of a horse's head show flawlessly. Some of the designs sported intricately carved bridles. We were literally blown away. These sets were less likely to be used by a player, but would definitely be acquired by a collector.
For Cool Chess Canada, this meeting solidified a relationship with a wonderful man and a wonderful company. And for Canada, it means that we can introduce chess sets that haven't yet been imported into the country. We are very excited about our future collections of chess sets - for this year, as well as the next, and so on, into the future.