The Sicilian series chessmen with Rosewood board that has been presented to me for review has been done so extremely well. The chessmen come in a white box with the recognisable branding on the front. There is no doubt that this is a Regency Chess Company product. The Rosewood board is also presented very nicely in it’s branded white card packaging.
The Chessmen themselves have been made from rosewood and boxwood, one of the first things that strikes me is just how good quality the wood is. The boxwood is all clean and free of dirty grey blemishes and the rosewood is rich in grain and uniform in shade. Naturally my attention is drawn straight to the Knights and I was pleased to see that both halves are well matched in colour and grain.
The design of these chessmen is classic Staunton. Make no mistake, we are not looking at a direct replica of a set from the 1800s but instead a modern interpretation that takes the design to a new level of beauty. The proportions of the set are excellent, there is no doubt that they have been designed with active chess playing in mind. The chess pieces are chunky around their bases, and very bottom heavy with a very good balance and center of gravity.
The King encompasses all of the classic Staunton design elements. I am pleased to say that there are no ornate or strange aspects to him, just smooth curves and classic lines. He feels heavy and solid with a great finish.
Like the king she has all the classic Staunton design elements, a slightly thicker shank relative to the rest of her but a very open crown, like a flower in full bloom. The ball on the top is very well detailed indeed, It’s been turned with such a fine tolerance as to potentially make this part of her quite fragile. Thankfully in my review set a total of four queens were included. I might be needing them!
This is the piece that in lower quality sets one expects to see the production issues. Thankfully there are no problems here. The lines and recesses are perfect. It begs the question ‘Just how many of these did they have to throw away to get each one so perfect?’ The size of the rook is quite large in scale to the rest of the set but not enough to raise any eyebrows. There are authentic castle slanting bevels which add a very nice touch indeed.
The bishop is fairly plain and functional, the slot in it’s hat is a plain cut with no advanced bevelling, I guess that would be just too much to ask for the price! Very well proportioned and with a lovely deep curve to it’s shank.
When reviewing pawns I like to line up all 8 of a colour and check for uniformity. These are all completely identical in height, width and proportion. They have very round balls that have been finished perfectly. They are clearly very functional in that the shank is quite thick, which means snapping the balls off won’t be easy.
Saving the best til last of course, the Knights are excellent, some of the best I have ever seen on a set in this price bracket. We are looking at a well toned horse here with good muscle definition. Each tooth is carved to perfection, we have deep nostrils and a very good sense of character. Being the hardest piece to keep consistent I am pleased to say I didn’t notice any differences among the four Knights in this set.
The chessmen can be bought alone or as a set with a rosewood veneer board. I reviewed the whole set and while the board is nothing spectacular to look at it is very well made, has a zero defect level and uses very fine materials indeed. It’s an ideal partner for these fine chess pieces and makes for a lovely set. You could opt for a more expensive solid board but I personally wouldn’t.