Chess has had the distinction of being one of the most popular strategy games in the world for centuries. Millions of people around the world, hobbyists and seasoned professionals, enjoy this classic board game. Contrary to what some believe, chess is not difficult to learn. The rules are basic and so simple to understand that even young children can master them, although mastering the game only comes with extensive play experience.
No one is 100 percent sure where chess originated, but its history dates back at least 1,500 years. Most believe that its roots are in India, and some historians point to China as the place of origin of chess. Wherever it comes from, one thing’s for sure: it’s just as fascinating to play now as ever.
To play, you will need at least one chess set; fancy bells and whistles are not required, as chess is more about the skills of the player than the team. However, those looking to flex their skills with a luxurious set will find no shortage of options. It is not uncommon for people to spend $ 50, $ 100 or perhaps more to own a quality chess set, but this is nowhere near the most expensive you can buy. Here are five of the most expensive chess games ever made.
5. Carolingi XIV Chess Set – $ 113,575
Piero Benzoni made this impressive chess game. It features a scene that pays tribute to the ancient battles of the 9th century that took place between the Ottoman Turks and the Carolingians. Each piece in this chess set is adorned with period attire and is composed of fine gold and silver. The Carolingi XIV chess set has a gothic look and the details of the handmade pieces are amazing. Rather than having the chess pieces as standard, this medieval set is carved to resemble royal kings, queens, knights, bishops, pawns, and rooks.
To hold the beautiful pieces, the Carolingi XIV set has an onyx chess table that is also highly detailed. All this luxury and skilled craftsmanship adds up to a price tag of $ 113,575. This is a chess set that was designed to be decorative, but can actually be used to play.
4. J. Grahl Chess Set – $ 450,000
Jim Grahl originally designed this chess set in 1972 to order, and it is a beauty. The total weight of all figures is almost one pound and each is made of solid silver and 14 karat gold. The pieces sport a 14th-century aesthetic, complete with period dresses and details. The chessboard is made of ebony wood adorned with sterling silver, and even the case is handcrafted with exquisite details.
Overall, the set has a refined appearance and would be the perfect board for someone who admires fine workmanship, exotic wood, rare gems, and has a lot of money to spare. The price for a custom replica of this J. Grahl chess set is $ 450,000.
3. Royal Diamond Chess Set – $ 500,000
Charles Hollander is a company known for selling extraordinarily luxurious items, and the Royal Diamond chess set is no exception. French artist and jeweler Bernard Maquin designed the set for Charles Hollander, and it is an incredible combination of artistic beauty and luxury. To say that this set is luxurious is an understatement. It took over 4,500 hours to design and create the chess board and pieces by hand, making it one of the most expensive chess sets in the world.
The classic-style chess pieces are made of 14 karat white gold and adorned with 9,900 black and white diamonds weighing a total of 186.09 carats; The makeup of this game is in large part why it costs half a million dollars.
2. Art of War Chess Set – $ 750,000
Sun Tzu’s Art of War is widely regarded as the definitive treatise on military strategy, making it the perfect subject for a game of chess. Victor F. Scharstein designed this masterpiece which is made of solid gold and precious gemstones. The pieces in the set have an Asian influence and each was decorated by hand with rubies, emeralds, sapphires and diamonds. The ebony tabletop itself is a sight to behold, and its legs, hinges, handle, and key are carved in gold and studded with gemstones.
The Art of War game has always been among the most expensive chess games in the world. When it was put up for auction, bids came in from almost every continent. The manufacturer turned down a $ 750,000 bid for the set that came from Indonesia, so the winning bid had to be significantly higher.