Howard Staunton title
“Staunton was the organizer of the first international Chess tournament”

  Howard Staunton (April, 1810 – 22 June, 1874) was an English Chess master who is generally regarded as having been the world's strongest player from 1843 to 1851. He promoted a Chess set of clearly distinguishable pieces of standardized shape: the Staunton pattern.

  Traditional Chess sets have varied enormously down the ages from the exquisitely carved ivory pieces of the Chinese sets made in the 1850s to the inlaid wooden chessboards and delicate pieces from the late 17th century belonging to the diarist Samuel Pepys.

Howard Staunton

  In the 20th century many amusing sets were created. The traditional Chess pieces became standardized in the 19th century. Howard Staunton commissioned Nathaniel Cook in 1849 to design the Chess set which is used in all international traditional Chess competitions.

  The height of the King in the Staunton set is usually about 9.5 cm (3.75 inches) and the boards have 5.5 cm, (2.25 inch) cells. The Staunton Chess pieces are manufactured objects which have been promoted to the dignity of art and function today as a decisive comment on Chess tradition and dogma.

  As an icon, logo or trademark, the Staunton set is likely to be remembered for very many years to come.  The boards themselves are made from various materials including cloth, wood, rigid and roll-up plastic and even paper-boards are common. Folding chessboards are a convenient type produced and suitable for hand-carry aboard modern airliners.

  Other sets are produced including larger models for public parks and pocket portable Chess sets. Demonstration boards are used to exhibit the moves of important competitions, and for giving lectures to large audiences in auditoriums. Sets for blind Chess players are also available. Timing devices, special stationery, score sheets and adjournment envelopes are also produced.

  Since the mid 19th century slight variations on the original Staunton pattern have been manufactured in many countries and plastic pieces produced in Hong Kong are used the world over. Yugoslavia designed a special variant of the Staunton Chess set for the Dubrovnik 1950 Olympiad and Olga Kazic produced a design for the 1972 Skopje Olympiad.

  Although traditional Chess is centuries old, there were no official unified rules until 50 years ago. How the pieces move in traditional Chess basically assumed their present day form by the end of the 15th century.

  A hodge-podge of various regulations existed in different countries concerning castling, stalemate, en passant, promotion of pieces and many of these rules went through a complicated evolution before becoming generally accepted.

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