An Independent Review of the Artisan Sheffield Chess Set

Basic Details of product:

 

Link to product – https://www.officialstaunton.com/collections/chess-pieces/products/sheffield-rosewood-chess-pieces

Cost - £395 (approx. $480/450 eur)

Full Description: A superb set of chess pieces featuring the Sheffield Knight. Graded Rosewood and Boxwood with an expertly crafted knight with incredible ornate detailed embellishments. Rosewood has beautiful natural grains makes this set very attractive. A Large 3.75 inch King with a 1.75 inch base diameter, generously core weighted and felted pieces, this set has perfectly balanced pieces that will streamline and enhance your game experience

 

phph8vqIa.jpeg

 

Review:

 

Basics:

As always, I’m going to start this review by looking at the size of the pieces. For those of you who haven’t read one of my reviews before, I’ve put all the data in tables below. The first table is in millimetres and the second is in inches.

To clarify the labels, Height is the height of the piece, Base is the diameter of the base, Base/Height ratio is Base diameter divided by Height multiplied by 100. The FIDE column states whether the measurements are compliant to FIDE regulations (For anyone who think I’ve interpreted these regulations incorrectly please send me a private message). FIDE Regulations - “Recommended height of the pieces is as follows: King – 9.5 cm, Queen – 8.5 cm, Bishop – 7 cm, Knight – 6 cm, Rook – 5.5 cm and Pawn – 5 cm. The diameter of the piece's base should measure 40-50% of its height. These dimensions may differ up to 10% from the above recommendation, but the order (e.g. King is higher than Queen etc.) must be kept.”

 

Sizes

Piece

Height (mm)

FIDE

Base (mm)

FIDE

Base/Height Ratio

FIDE

FIDE Compliant

Best Square Size

King

94.22

Yes

45.03

Yes

47.79%

Yes

No

58mm square

Queen

84.93

Yes

41.67

Yes

49.06%

Yes

 

Bishop

76.97

Yes

38.47

Yes

49.98%

Yes

 

Knight

71.61

No

38.79

No

54.17%

Yes

 

Rook

59.19

Yes

38.26

No

64.64%

No

 

Pawn

55.44

No

31.69

No

57.16%

No

58mm (2 on a diagonal) or 63.5mm (if 4 in a square)

 

 

 

Piece

Height (In)

FIDE

Base (In)

FIDE

Base/Height Ratio

FIDE

FIDE Compliant

Best Square Size

King

3.71

Yes

1.77

Yes

47.79%

Yes

No

2.25in square

Queen

3.34

Yes

1.64

Yes

49.06%

Yes

 

Bishop

3.03

Yes

1.51

Yes

49.98%

Yes

 

Knight

2.82

No

1.53

No

54.17%

Yes

 

Rook

2.33

Yes

1.51

No

64.64%

No

 

Pawn

2.18

No

1.25

No

57.16%

No

2.25in (2 on a diagonal) or 2.5in (if 4 in a square)

 

 

So, as we can see, the pieces aren’t FIDE compliant. However, even the latest world championship set is not FIDE compliant. Personally, I do not see this as a massive issue… but it’s always a bonus to know you have a tournament compliant set.

 

Onto our next criteria…

 

Materials:

White – Boxwood – A lovely light gold colour

Black – Rosewood – A deep rich red-brown

 

Discernibility:

To me, being able to tell each piece apart is critical to my tactical play and judgement during a chess match. I’ve played with these pieces’ numerous times over the last few days and I have always, easily been able to tell each piece apart. They are all easily discernible!

 

Quality of carving:

Okay, let’s get this out of the way first. If you’re a classic kind of person, you might not like these pieces. While they follow the Staunton idea, they are most certainly variations of it. Personally, I’m not rigid to the 1849-1855 Staunton pattern, I’m quite happy to go for something different. In fact, I love the designs of these pieces, especially the knight… but I’ll get to him later.

General quality – The quality of the carving on these pieces is exceptional! The carving is smooth and consistent on all pieces. The polishing is done very well and they have a nice sheen without being too glossy. The polishing gives the pieces a wonderful grip as you lift them.

I do not like that the bases of the Knights and rooks are different from the other pieces. They have 2 rings whereas the other pieces have one. While intricately carved, it makes them feel like they’ve come from another set. This may not bother you, but I know it will bother some!

The felt on these pieces is green and appears to be billiard cloth.

Kings – Both kings are near identical, however, the crowns are very slightly different widths.

phplQpjd1.jpeg

Queens – There are 4 queens and they are nearly identical too. The points of the crown are very slightly different in ‘sharpness’ and one queens tip of the crown is very slightly wider (less than 1mm).

phpe4bzMl.jpeg

Bishops – There is a slight gouge in the tall side of the mitre in each bishop. This will be as a result of the cutting process. The bishops are well made and I cannot see any variances between the pieces.

phpN5bWAQ.jpeg

Knights – The knights are unique and, in my opinion, lovely! They are wonderfully and intricately carved with an aggressive posture symbolic of a great chess battle. For pieces that are individually carved, it is exceptional to see that they are near perfect replicas of one another. This quality is the reason you pay more for this kind of chess set. The knights are not pieces, they are a work of art. The only variance I found in the knights was a 1mm difference in 1 section of the mane.

phpFtwcqK.jpeg

Rooks – The rooks are very appealing and their unique shape assists greatly with picking them out on the chessboard. Some of you will like the style, some will not. Personally, I love them and this is one of the main reasons I chose this set (along with the knights). This is a gripe of mine, but the top of the rooks have not been polished; this leaves a dull and slightly disappointing look to an otherwise exceptional piece.

php8JWeOC.jpeg

Pawns – The pawns are uniform in size and appearance, and have thick necks.

phpdLIzdk.jpeg

 

Best board that would match the pieces/best pieces for the board:

I would pick a 58mm/2.25in board for this set (that is the size of square that the pictures were taken on). Colour wise, a nice mahogany and maple board would suit particularly well.

 

Feel

Weight –

Piece

Weight (oz)

King

2.88

Queen

2.27

Bishop

2.02

Knight

1.95

Rook

1.73

Pawn

1.03

Piece

Weight (g)

King

81.53

Queen

64.42

Bishop

57.14

Knight

55.35

Rook

49.03

Pawn

29.13

 

 

Balance –The pieces balance very well. I can tilt the approximately 65 degrees before it tipped over (standing straight up is 0 degrees). All other pieces have an equally good balancing point. As a result, I think these pieces would be great for a blitz game, I just don’t know whether I could bring myself to use such beautiful pieces in a game that’s so likely to cause damage.

 

Suitable use

I would recommend this for classical (standard) use.

 

Price

This is a medium-priced set (Just over £10 per piece). I think this set is good value for money, but wish that they had considered the bases when paying this much money.

 

Extra queens

There are 2 extra queens (one of each colour) in this set.

 

Discount Code

25% OFF – use this discount code to get 25% OFF this official Staunton set or any of their others!

 

Shipping and packaging

The pieces were delivered via next day delivery. They arrived well protected in a thick box with polystyrene as a cushion. Each piece was individually wrapped in foam to further protect the set. These pieces were not going to get damaged! A wonderful set! They arrived in a box that was adorned with the Official Staunton Logo.

 phpF4tD52.jpeg

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Summary

 

Pros:

  • Wonderful, intricate carving
  • Well weighted
  • A set for a lifetime
  • High quality

 

Cons:

  • The bases of the Knights and Rooks are different to the other pieces

 

Overall, I give the set 4 ½ Stars. ****

Posted by Carl Miceli on 12 March, 2017 0 comments
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