Why Championship Chess Sets Are So Expensive | So Expensive

An inexpensive chess set can sell for $20, but a handcrafted wooden set certified for the World Chess Championship costs $500. Much of the set’s value lies in just one piece: the knight. Each knight must be carved by hand to look exactly the same. Making this one piece takes two hours, and there are fewer than 10 people trained to carve knights for the championship chess sets. So, how are these chessmen made? And why are they so expensive?

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Why Championship Chess Sets Are So Expensive | So Expensive


  1. Everyone in the comment section is so clever, wow!

  2. Thanks for a very interesting video. Chess, like many other board games was born in India. You also mentioned this in your video. The concept comes from the four type of regiments a powerful Maharaja's army comprised of: foot soilders, horsemen, charioteers and Elephants. Each main group could have different sub groups like archers and lancers etc. but that's another issue. Now how did the King end up with a Christian Cross on its head and a Bishop was added to an army amuses me. When did the Hindu chess became a Christian display of passive religious discourse? Isn't it time we returned this honour to its rightful inventors? Chaturang as it was called referring to the four types of regments was squarely secular.

  3. my grandma had a very old, very beautiful chess board, handcarved and made to perfection just laying around. i rembered her about this and she said i could just take it home. she doesnt play chess and i could not be more happy. it feels very good after it was polished. this made me play chess more often 🙂

  4. As an Indian I can easily understand their words 😂

  5. As a woodworker, the turning is easy. I can see all the $$$$$$ is on the knight. The more refine the knight is the higher the price for the set. I can carve the knights. It just each one will look different 🙁 I prefer the Staunton style.

  6. This video did not answer the question posed in the title. I want to follow the money: I am sure that most of it is not ending up in the carver's pocket.

  7. voiceover says "factory" aand cuts to four people sitting crosslegged on the floor of a shack…

  8. knights represent "up to 50% of the value" – I would say it's clearly much more than that, the video starts by saying each other piece is carved in "just a few minutes". That's 28 pieces and say 5 mins to be generous, that's two hours. the knights take two hours each and there's four of them. So it's more like 80%. That's wild.

  9. If the game start you will not remember how detailed the piece look like

  10. " The quality of the pieces can affect the game play" 🙂

  11. "The detailed features are also essentional, by lowering the chances a player will make a mistake" 🙂 Hikaru laughs 4:58

  12. Well I hope India can start training more people for this skill

  13. This is so satisfying to watch, I need to get into some carpentry.

  14. The woodworker's lung that must be produced by the sawdust in this place… not good.

  15. 500 bucks isn’t bad at all for that much manual craftsmanship.

  16. I've seen other artisians try to make a simple rook…trust me, it's not as easy as it looks

  17. I have a chess set where the black set is carved from wood and the white set is carved from soapstone, how much would it be worth? Its more than 10 years old, the pawns have a knights helmet, the king a guy with a beard, i think all of them have carved faces.

  18. I guarantee if they made an apprentice Chess set and sold it for 100$ people would buy it knowing it was made by a student, under the guidance of a master artisan. Just a side note. When products are manufactured to perfection these days, I think people get a corporation machine made vibe from them.

  19. I wonder, a set of Chess is expensive. Is a set of Go game expensive as well? If you hadn't done a video on it (and if it is expensive) me and I'm sure others would find it interesting!

  20. I know it’s tedious work but I don’t understand how it would affect the outcome of a game.

  21. This episode was especially fun to make after watching “The Queen’s Gambit”. One thing we didn’t have time to include is that the board alone for the full set (worth $500) costs $220. Thanks for watching this episode! What other expensive things do you think we should cover?

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