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Friday, May 20, 2011

Fantastic Design of the Isle of Lewis Chessmen

The original Isle of Lewis Chessmen
(image © National Museums Scotland)

Hello everybody!

Today I got an email from my chess friend James from England about his new site which is all about the wonderful Isle of Lewis Chessmen.

These chess pieces have become legends since they were discovered on the Isle of Lewis (Scotland, UK) in 1831. The exact history of the chessmen is often disputed but the conventional theory is that they were hand carved around 1150 -1200 AD in Norway. In 1831 they were re discovered when a sand bank collapsed and revealed a chest that had been buried years earlier. In the chest was ninety three figures which are now known as the Lewis Chessmen.

Isle of Lewis King figure
(image © National Museums Scotland)

Arguments and battles rage on today about the chessmen, often about where they should be exhibited. Currently they reside in museums in the UK. There is also a theory that they were not in fact chess pieces, but figures from a totally different game. Today however they have become accepted as iconic chessmen and reproduction commercial sets adorn chess boards the world over. The Lewis chessmen have become a tourist attraction for the Isle of Lewis, there is even a huge model of the king near the place where the chessmen were found all those years ago.

Isle of Lewis Queen figure
(image © National Museums Scotland)

That's me holding a wooden reproduction of a Lewis Knight
See all the photos in this series ©

Posted by Chess Queen™ Alexandra Kosteniuk
12th Women's World Chess Chapion



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