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Chess is one of the most-played strategy games in the world, and it has been around for more than a thousand years and is continuing to grow in popularity in contemporary times. A primary factor that has made chess a favorite among millions is its uncomplicated rules. 

Despite being a complex game, the basic rules and regulations that govern chess can be understood by a child. It only gets more complicated once someone starts climbing the ladder of the professional chess circuit. Here, only the very experienced and skillful players stand a chance to win big tournaments. 

The chessboard is the place where all the action of a chess game takes place. It is a simple checkerboard having 64 squares or tiles divided into black and white colours. Anyone can purchase a chessboard from any local shop that sells toys and such things.

But over the years, chess aficionados have produced exquisite chess boards that completely take the breath away. If you can get a chessboard set for a meagre sum of money, there exist others that go up to the millions.

As they are usually referred to, these ‘works of art’ attract the wealthiest on the planet and are generally sold at auctions. When we think of the most expensive chess set, we naturally tend to picture chess boards fitted with the choicest gemstones and jewels in our minds. And that is indeed the case with these unique boards. They simply capture the imagination of the rich and the famous.

In the following section of this Square Off article, we shall look at the luxury chess sets categorised as the most pricey and the most beautiful chess sets in the world.

The Art of War Chess Set

Many of you may have heard about the ancient Chinese philosopher named Sun Tzu. His celebrated work, ‘The Art of War’, is an all-time classic work on statecraft and warfare. Taking a leaf out of this book, the creator of ‘The Art of War Chess Set’ has made this stunning chess set out of solid gold and precious stones.

Designed by Victor F. Scharstein, every single chess piece on this board has been handmade out of solid gold. The surface of the parts has been detailed with a flurry of gems such as sapphires, rubies, and emeralds. This Asian-influenced chess set comes with a price tag of USD 750,000.

Game of Kings Chess Set

The second chess set that we have put on our list is known as the ‘Game of Kings’ chess set. One of the most unique chess boards ever to have been produced, this Aztec and Maya-inspired board took a couple of years to be completed. A plethora of artists from around the world contributed to giving life to this lifelike set.

Weighing more than a ton and containing a mind-boggling 110 pounds of silver, Game of Kings has human-like figures in place of chess pieces. These figurines have been made in the likeness of Aztec and Maya warriors. This stellar piece of art has been priced at USD 3 million.

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Pearle Royale Chess Set

For long holding on to the title of the ‘most expensive chess set’, the Pearle Royale chess set is a 4 million dollar chess set designed by the Australian jeweller Colin Burns. Accepted across the globe as the most beautiful chess set ever to be made, the Pearle Royale was crafted from solid 18-carat white gold and more than 510 carats of certified diamonds.

The manner in which the artist cum designer has blended the diamonds and gold into chess piece figurines is beyond comprehension. Except for those of the king and the queen, the rest of the heads of the chess pieces have been made from pearls. Mr. Burns used Ceylon blue sapphires to prepare the base of the heads of the kings and the queens.

J. Grahl Chess Set

The J. Grahl chess set, completed in 1972, stands out as one of the top luxury chess sets on the planet. Made out of solid gold and silver, this set was produced for the Cole family. The idea behind the J. Grahl chess set came from the iconography of 14th-century Europe. The designer took special care in making sure the chess pieces were modelled after the visual aesthetics of mediaeval Europe.

The observer will notice that all the chess pieces on this board have been carved with impressive detail and precision. Not only the board but the material that has been used to create the chessboard is also pure ebony wood. This wooden base has been topped with glittering silver to give the structure a stunning appearance. This handcrafted piece of art comes at a price of USD 450,000.

Jewel Royale Chess Set

The frontrunner for the tag of the ‘most expensive chess set’ is currently in the grip of the Jewel Royale chess set. This most impressive, fully jewel-based chess set is not yet complete and is going through the final rounds of development. Once done, the Jewel Royale is believed to make chess observers go berserk, beholding its beauty.

The idea behind the production of this chess set came from the jewellery-making organisation Boodles and Jewel Royale. Their combined effort at producing the world’s most expensive is steadily gaining traction, and they have already stunned the world with their release of pictures of the first chess piece that they have finished – a king. This was done to kill rumours that the project is, in fact, a hoax. The first chess piece of this set, the king, is said to be priced at USD 59,742 and is made of 18-carat solid gold.

Several chess columnists and observers have commented on this project in various media channels. They are of the view that the Jewel Royale will astonish people to a whole different level and will be nothing like anything that has been done to date. Analysts have made the prediction that the Jewel Royale will be priced at almost 9.8 million dollars once the whole set is finished and released for market valuation.

Learn More about the Game on the Square Off Website

So, that concludes our list of the world’s most expensive chess sets. If you are interested to know more about the chess game and how it has evolved over the centuries, check out our blog titled ‘Learn the Rich History and Origin of Chess’.
While browsing through our blog section, do remember to peek at our store, where you will find top deals and offers on our award-winning AI-powered, fully automated chess boards.