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The Kid Should See This

How are chess pieces made by hand?

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Amritsar, northwest India: Home to the Golden Temple, the most important site of Sikhism. But a thousand years before the first Golden Temple was built, people in ancient India were already scheming and plotting their next move playing chess. Back then, the game was played with a roll of the dice.

“By the tenth century, it had spread to Persia and onwards to the middle east and Europe. Today in India, the game is riding high thanks to the success of grandmaster and former world champion Viswanathan Anand. And here in the unassuming back streets of Amritsar is The Chess Empire, the world’s oldest maker of handmade chessboards and pieces.”

chess empire
How Are Hand-Made Chess Pieces Made? This Discovery UK video, featuring third-generation CEO Rishi Sharma, shares how this family business handmakes chess sets for enthusiasts and professional players around the globe.

See how artisans use handmade metal cutters with distinct profiles to ensure that their chess pieces—cut from giant Rosewood and Sheesham tree trunks—are identically shaped on the lathe.


And for that one special piece, the knight, chess piece artisans hand carve the stallions’ majestic manes, fierce muzzles, raised cheekbones, and alert ears with a small metal burr rotating at 1,400 revolutions per minute.

hand carved knight
Each piece is completed with a small weight in its base and a felt bottom for soft placement on the board.

adding felt bottoms
Watch these related chess and lathe videos next on TKSST:
A Brief History of Chess
• The Magic of Chess
• Making colorful textured spinning tops on a lathe
Turning a brick of melted crayons on the lathe
Making a traditional Japanese wooden Kokeshi Doll

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