A low-priced chess set can be purchased for as little as $20, but a handcrafted wooden set certified for use in the World Chess Championship can cost as much as $500.
A significant portion of the set’s worth is concentrated in a single piece: the knight. Each knight must be carved by hand to be identical to the others. A single piece like this takes two hours to carve, and only about ten persons are trained to carve knights for the championship chess sets. And one knight carver appears in an interview to explain that it took him five or six years to learn the craft, as opposed to the four or five months it took him to perfect carve the other pieces of armor and armor pieces. So, how exactly are these chessmen constructed? And why are they so pricey to begin with?