Chess sets do not have to contain the boring, run of the mill pieces that everyone understands chess pieces to look like nowadays. Throughout history, the shapes and styles of chess pieces have changed dramatically, only becoming standardized in the 1920s for tournaments. Non-tournament pieces may still be constructed in any fashion, and themed sets have recently become popular.
Themed chess sets are not a new invention. In the early 1100s, an ivory chess set was presented as a gift to the king of France, depicting the famous ruler Charlemagne and his forces readying for battle. Chess sets depicting the king and queen pieces as the current ruler of a country were common presents to royalty in many European countries. In the 1700s, chess sets featuring popular literary characters or mythical creatures were created.
Wizard Chess Set Themes
Wizards are a theme that has carried throughout history. Wizards of some form exist in the earliest tales, including the Odyssey. Tales from history frequently portray wizards as chief agents in both good and evil roles, often with godlike abilities. One common theme about the wizard's powers says that they are learned, which means that anyone could, with enough training, become a wizard. The popularity of wizards persists to the current day.
What makes wizards so fascinating are their powers. Whether good or evil, wizards are often shown to have command over animals, people, and nature. From conjuring storms to fighting demons, the power wielded by wizards is awe-inspiring. In traditional literature, a wizard's presence tips the scales in favor of the wizard's side. The wizards in the oldest tales often represented minor gods. This role has little changed today.
Modern wizards are commonly shown to be not only powerful but also all-knowing. They sometimes play an advising role to the commander of whichever side they represent, and occasionally are the commander. Modern special effects have brought the wizard myth out of our imaginations and onto the screen, bringing popular wizards to life for the first time.
Different styles of chess sets can portray wizards in various roles. Some sets have wizards only filling a single slot on the chess board, usually the bishop, where the wizard works alongside mounted knights and lowly peasants. Other set styles use wizards of various positions to fill their entire ranks. In these sets, students often represent the pawns, and legendary wizards normally fill the king and queen slots.
The wizard concept is one easily translated onto the chess board. Modern wizard costumes are usually shown as flowing robes in an array of bright colors. This traditional costume allows for endless customization of different pieces for the wizard chess set. The wizard captures the imagination so easily that its inclusion on a chess board seems logical to fantasy lovers world-wide.
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