The Chess Variant Pages

Abstract chess set

Around the age of twenty, I designed and made this abstract chess set. Here, pieces are merely geometric shapes, only vaguely resembling their forms in more usual sets. The idea was that their shapes represent their movement capabilities in some way: rooks become cubes (representing the rectangular movement), bishops pyramids, queens balls (representing that they can go `to all directions', and kings have a shape of a `plus', reminding of the cross at the head in Staunton pieces, and representing the `1'-square distance they go. Knights have a shape that gives the starting, jumped over, and ending square of a knight-jump. At hindsight, I am not so happy with my choice to take a small ball for pawns (representing their ability to promote to queen), and think that a cylinder would have been better.

I made this set from clay. It has been displayed once at an exhibition of unorthodox chess sets, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the `Bennekomse Schaakvereniging'; one of the organizers of the exhibition was my father.

There is an index to more photo's of usual and unorthodox chess sets.

Written and photo's by Hans Bodlaender.
WWW page created: January 29, 1997. Last modified: August 17, 1998.