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The Worst, Best, and Weirdest Chess Sets

The Lewis Chessmen

In the 12th century, someone somewhere in Scandinavia carved the Lewis Chessmen, a collection of nearly 100 chess pieces of a particularly unique and expressive style. It wasn't the first ornate chess set, but it's certainly a strange and unique set with its shield-biting berzerkers and worried looking royalty. Since the Lewis chess set, the Western world has continued to make stranger and stranger chess sets. Perhaps this speaks to the power of the game, and it's captivating metaphorical nature. More likely it speaks to the human desire to spend stupendous amounts of money. Regardless, chess set making has come to the point where it's no longer about the game but about whatever weird twist you can put on it. And trust us, they've come a long way from simple walrus ivory carvings. So whether your covet these gameboards, or laugh at those that do, please enjoy this humble collection of the least humble chess sets the Internet has to offer.

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