Traditional chess gets a makeover


The game of chess has always given me an impression that is best summed up in one word – boring. My lack of interest in this game manifested itself early in my childhood when I quit the chess class that my parents signed me up for after the first lesson. When the word “chess” is mentioned, a picture of the typical chess board and pieces come to mind – a flat square piece of wood with alternating dark and light squares to form a checker pattern with wooden pieces – king, queen, rooks, bishops, knights and pawns – that sit flat on the chess board, motionless.  

Ironically enough, when I walked into the Umbra showroom this past weekend, the WOBBLE chess set immediately caught my attention. Almost everything about this design was different from my classical image of the typical chess set. To start, the chessboard was not flat – each square block was concaved in.  In addition, the bottom of each chess piece was made of metal, round in shape, and was weighted, making each chess piece its own roly-poly toy. Every time a chess piece is placed on a concave block, it wobbles for a while within the block before settling down – the chess pieces were no longer motionless! Even the minimalist and modern design of each chess piece marked a distinct difference with their classical image.

In my opinion, this design really gave the classical game of chess a beautiful and refreshing makeover. If this were the chess set that I was introduced to in my first chess class, maybe I would’ve loved the game after all.

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