Which chess game is used in the World Chess Championships

Obsessed chess fans have probably noticed that during the World Chess Championship, Magnus Carlsen always uses the same chess pieces, no matter who is in the seat in front of him – Vishy Anand, Sergey Karjakin, Fabiano Caruana or, like this year, Ian Nepo. Opponents change, the chess pieces stay the same.

Everything ready for the 2021 World Chess Championships in Dubai

Design

The chess game (the official name: World Chess Championship Set) was designed in 2012 by Daniel Weil of Pentagram for World Chess, the company that organized the championship cycle and went on a self-proclaimed mission to change the way chess looks both online and offline. Pentagram, a renowned design powerhouse responsible for some of the most iconic modern designs, developed the way chess tournaments look today, but their most impactful contribution was chess.

Daniel Weil enlisted Magnus Carlsen, Vladimir Kramnik and the expertise of other chess stars and tested the numerous versions of the set whether it would be comfortable to lift the pieces with two fingers or with a grip. After numerous careful revisions that involved flying the pieces back and forth between India and the UK, the set premiered at the 2013 Candidates Tournament in London. Carlsen won the tournament and has not used any other chess set in any of his championship matches.

The set immediately caught the attention of the media and was featured in the influential design magazines. A limited edition of the set went on sale in select Paul Smith stores and sold out within days.


FIDE approval

Before the World Chess Championship set was used in competitions, the approval of the sport’s governing body, FIDE, was required. The set has been studied in detail by FIDE’s panel of experts and unanimously approved for championship use.


production

The set is manufactured exclusively for World Chess in India. It is hand-carved from premium wood: white pieces are made from rosewood and black – from ebonized boxwood. Each set takes about three days to make. Once produced, each set is quality checked and packaged in a custom storage and shipping box designed by Pentagram. It is then shipped to World Chess facilities in London and Berlin and shipped to buyers after additional inspection. A film about the making of the sets by Business Insider has been viewed more than 6 million times on YouTube.

Distribution

The sets are sold exclusively by World Chess and are available in the official online shop and from select partners including Chess and Bridge, Harrods and other stores around the world. Members of the FIDE Online Arena have priority access to the set.

Limited Editions

Starting in 2021, World Chess will release limited editions of the sets to commemorate special events, such as the Championship matches and collaborations. The first limited edition with Algorand sold out within minutes.

You can find details about the set in the official World Chess online shop.

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