Being an avid aviator and loving all all things flying, at least in the fixed-wing realm, because helicopters have too many moving parts for my comfort, I naturally think of a project or product in terms of will it “get off the ground” or “will it fly?”
Such is the case with this radical chessboard concept sketched over a coffee with my Swiss friend a few years ago.
In the flying world, “will it get off the ground” and more importantly “will it fly” are answered by the science of aerodynamics supported by air density.
In the world of business, “will it fly?” answers to one a single un-profound question. “Do people want this?” If you don’t want it, it ain’t going to sell. Clear and simple.
Now, I could call myself and artist, produce one, and enjoy it. And many people may have the opportunity to admire it. But there are families to support, a small business to run, people to serve, and I can’t dink around too much.
However, being artful at heart and having spent more than 20 years helping people find chess sets and equipment for their varied purposes, I threw caution to the wind and decided to make something that I could personally enjoy. I decided that even if people didn’t want to buy it, I would still enjoy making it, and making it well.
If I had started on this project as a teenager, it wouldn’t have flown.
They say, when you’ve spent 10,000 hours at something, you become somewhat of a subject matter expert. So this timing was right.
I’m not trying to brag here, but I am proud of how this chessboard turned out. Ah, that’s bragging – I get it.
At Chess House, there’s nothing that irks me more than when I find products that are made carelessly and released by manufacturers for you to buy. It seems that for every great product on the market there are three more competing for attention that should never reach a buyer. But they do because that’s how the Internet works.
So the adventure in drawing the design for this unusual chessboard and perfecting it over 2 years was also an outlet to make something great and kind of say, “There, take that! you shabby products that shouldn’t hit shelves”.
When people sit down to enjoy chess in a quiet time alone, or with a spouse or friend, given the option, they should enjoy it with a well made chess board.
This magnetic, stacking chessboard – called the STACK, for lack of a fancy name – isn’t mass produced and I slowly introduced it. Since it was launched in the past year and a half, 71 happy people now possess one.
It’s my favorite product at Chess House and one I’m am pleased to share with you.
Let me tell you more about it in a no-hypey, friendly sort of way.
The STACK when stacked was so slick to the finish that I wanted an attractive way to display and protect it at the same time without the layers sliding all around. That’s why the suede. Suede has the degree of softness and yet feel of raw material to complement the solid block construction combining maple and walnut woods.
What makes STACK fly and sets it apart is the completely seamless design that audibly snaps together hardwood quadrants with a dull clack thanks to the embedded strong magnets. On a smooth table surface the wood blocks slide very easily into place to transform into a perfect chess board for display or actual play. This design is no easy task to produce to perfection and we’ve had just a few that didn’t meet my standards.
How to re-stack it is not so obvious at first. The correct and easy way is to lift the front edge by pressing the A1 and H1 squares towards each other and then moving one quadrant up further than the other. From here, they are stacked in a rotational fashion to create the pattern seen in the photos.
Notice how the Suede wrap has embedded magnets that not only help maintain the STACK structure, but keep the suede wrap in place for that put-together look.
I’m very pleased that the balance between art and function was achieved with this design. Anyone who appreciates the visual appeal of the game, the unique object, and the small 8×8 space it occupies will be attracted to this piece.
At the price range of $350 to $450 it’s not for everyone. I have found that those with a knowledge of expert woodworking appreciate it the most, along with retirees, and those seeking something completely unique for a loved one.
There are many pieces that can be paired with it, but my two favorites are the Championship Series chessmen.
There were some “will it fly?” moments along the way, but this idea has taken off.
When we reach our 100th unit purchased, my team and I plan to give away five of them to exemplary customers. We will select customers who were simply pleasant, respectful, and positively memorable and reach out when it’s time.
Get your own STACK with Rosewood Championship Chessmen as shown.