Chess Set

Make a Chess Set

Step One: Download a Chess Board Image

We’ve provided two options, the first from the1792 Dictionnaire de jeux (check out the game boards from the same book) and the second from Thomas Hyde’s Mandragorias, the first significant history of chess. The Mandragorias set includes the titles of the original Persian positions on the board.

Step Two: Print

You can be as simple or fancy as you choose. Print on plain paper or print on heavy stock and attach to block of marble. Be creative.

If you choose the Dictionnaire option, cut out the chess piece images separately and consider using them in step 3.

Step Three: Make Chess Pieces

For classically simple, properly 18th-century chess pieces, use the images from the Dictionnaire. Print two copies for each chess piece and glue, tape or staple them together, leaving a strip along the bottom you can fold out on each side as a stand (see the Petit Poucet figures for an example). Or just attach the images to existing chess pieces.

For the deluxe version, craft replicas of the ivory-carved Persian chess pieces depicted in Mandragorias. You can see what they look like by visiting the exhibition at the Library (through February 15th).

Here’s the count for the chess pieces you’ll need (multiply by 2 for both sides): 8 pawns, 2 rooks, 2 knights, 2 bishops, 1 queen, 1 king.

Step Four: Play Chess

For a period guide to the rules, you can use either of the sources mentioned above. Or find rules and strategy from another period guide, like the British Chess Company’s The American Chess Code (1897).