One of the best design agencies in the world just reinvented chess

The world of chess has a new official playing field, and it’s the newly reimagined World Chess Set by Pentagram designer Daniel Weil. Weil was commissioned to reinterpret the traditional Neoclassical Staunton set to inject new energy and drama into the old design with a focus on style and visual clarity. The new redesign, introduced at the World Chess Candidates Tournament in London, was so well received that the World Chess Federation (known internationally as FIDE) has announced that it will be used in the 2014 World Championships in Sochi, Russia.

While the game of chess has a history that goes back into the Middle Ages, the well-recognized chess board and pieces that we know today weren’t codified until the mid-1840’s. The game has long since been recognized as an international competitive sport, yet there has been little evolution of the actual chess pieces since Victorian times. The aim of this redesign was to draw players back to chess as a game and a competitive environment. Says Weil, “The biggest hurdle is in keeping it engaging. That’s the first step.”

Weil is best known for his work redesigning everyday objects with an eye for making them more interesting and energetic. His design was created so the pieces when first placed in position on the board mirror the exact height of the Parthenon’s pediment. Each piece is also modeled to reflect greek column proportions even more than before. The new set will be used by current world champion Magnus Carlsen as he defends his title against challenger Viswanathan Anand in November.