Why do people generally prefer the staunton design of chess sets?
Overview: Staunton is the traditional design for chess pieces throughout the world. Since chess is such a popular game, a standard had to be reached of some sort of design. Manufacturers have been able to innovate their chess designs such that staunton is still the basic design but with some flourish or flair, but still the staunton design is the favoured one for chess players. Why is this?
What is staunton? The staunton chess design is a traditional chess piece design for chess sets and chess pieces for the vast majority of chess players. The typical knight is a horse, the queen has a coronet and is almost as tall as the king, the rook is the corner of a wall with a turret, and the other pieces follow the design most people recognise in chess pieces. This makes up a chess set with the design of Staunton.
Who was Howard Staunton? Howard Staunton was an early player with some significant success in the playing of the game of chess. He achieved top world status between 1843 to 1851. He linked up with a businessman to give his name to a new set of chess pieces that would be a recognised design so that games would be more consistent. There was much value in seeing which piece was which in a competitive game, and this was achieved in the staunton design of chess sets.
Why tradition trumps. When it comes to chess, the staunton design has become standard and recognised. The worlds design of plastic chess pieces always follows this standard, and so wooden sets that are more collectible are generally carved in the same design. People like to be sure and safe in their choice of chess set. Since most of us like and appreciate the merits of tradition, we buy what is generally accepted. Such are the sets at ChessBaron – a wide range of chess sets, chess pieces, chess clocks and computers that follow the style of staunton with many variations in style.
Other people buying chess sets for friends and family. There is a loophole to the traditional design of chess pieces and chess sets. When none chess playing people decide to buy a present for someone – they may not be sure of what is appreciated by the future recipient. Since they are not accustomed to viewing chess pieces on a chess board – they may well opt for something that is attractive to them, without thinking through the playing of the game and the need to recognise the pieces without having to ponder too much on which pieces can be moved and which are under attack. This is where the retailer of theme chess sets often get their sales.