Championship Chess Sets Are Expensive Because Less Than 10 People in the World Are Trusted To Carve Knights For them

Hand-carved championship wooden chess sets can cost in the neighborhood of $5,000. Of the 32 pieces, much of the value comes down to how well the knight is made. With every shaving and small incision, the chunks of wood are turned into valuable chess pieces. In fact, there are less than 10 people in the world who are trusted to carve the knights for the the official World Chess Championship sets. The factory that produces them only makes 250 sets a year. While most pieces can be carved relatively quickly, the knight takes an average of two hours to carve. Artisans spend around 5-6 years learning how to master the carving. Compare that to the 4-5 months it takes an artisan to learn how to carve the other chess pieces. It's very difficult to find good-quality, skilled carvers for manufacturing chessmen. Without enough experienced carvers, these sets could become more difficult to produce, and it's a fair assumption that hand-carved sets could get even pricier in the future.