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28 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on November 1, 2001
I bought this book, hoping it would contain detailed information on particular technical aspects of individual chess pieces. The only measured diagram is on the cover. The rest of the book consists of bits of chess trivia and continuous anecdotal descriptions of chess pieces throughout history interspersed with photographs and paintings of different styles of pieces. While the illustrations are nice, I would have liked to see more details about the chess "architecture" and less fluff. All we have here are objects. No effort is made to describe in detail the size or proportions of the pieces or to compare or contrast sets and styles beyond the photographic presentations of them. The most we are told is what material they are made from.
The book is a nice brief pice of art history. If this is what you are looking for, then it is the book for you. Perhaps a second volume could be published to accompany this one that actually speaks at length about the "architecture" of the pieces. They would make a nice set.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on March 4, 2001
This is an excellent book for anyone even remotely interested in Chess. Not only does it describe the evolution of the design of chess pieces and boards, but it also provides many interesting historical tidbits. The book explains in detail why, where, and when changes were brought about in chess. I highly recommend this book to all people who enjoy chess or even just design.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on March 4, 2001
This is an excellent book for anyone even remotely interested in Chess. Not only does it describe the evolution of the design of chess pieces and boards, but it also provides many interesting historical tidbits. The book explains in detail why, where, and when changes were brought about in chess. I highly recommend this book to all people who enjoy chess or even just design.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on September 12, 2009
This is a fine, 158-page book on the artistry of chess from its beginnings in 600 AD all the way up to the year 2000. The author is the British historian Gareth Williams. Many color and black-and-white photos and illustrations are used throughout to add to the narrative. Even movie stills are included showing how chess has been used as a dramatic aid to story development. Actors include Marlon Brando, George C. Scott, Woody Allen, Sir John Gielgud, Frank Sinatra, Douglas Fairbanks, and even John Wayne. Wayne was apparently a "speed chess" addict and would use the game to kill boredom on movie sets. Interesting.

Since the book is out-of-print, I got my copy in the second-hand market. The book was lacking a dust jacket but otherwise was in great shape. The previous owner or owners must have treated the book with respect which is encouraging to me.

Anyone interested in chess history or chess art should own this book. Although it's small in size (8" high by 6" wide), it's full of intriguing facts and vignettes. Furthermore, I would have enjoyed reading more about the Staunton design variations, like the Zagreb-59 and Reykjavik-72. Those will have to wait for another book. Mr. Williams, are you listening?
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on November 5, 2001
I just finished reading Master Pieces and I found it highly enjoyable.There are many beautiful pictures of Chess Pieces from around the world from ancient to modern.It is very informative and easy to read.I thank my friend (EP) for giving it to me.If you love Chess, this book is for you.
(VLS)
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on March 16, 2010
Since I play chess, I am happy to have found this book. It gives an interesting account of the development of chess pieces and the history around them. Not only is the game beautiful but also the different sets that have been used over the centuries.
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on February 2, 2013
Belas imagens, ótimo texto e material histórico de grande interesse do aficionado. Vale a pena ler e conhecer a história do desenvolvimento das peças de xadrez, tanto em formato, material usado e arte empregada.
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on June 14, 2015
One of my favorite books on chess, and my very favorite on cheese pieces. Went under a lot of radars so it makes a great gift for anyone with an interest in chess and/or design.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on May 17, 2008
interesting enough standard chess history but nothing on actual chess piece architecture or chess piece design or manufacturing. nothing on turning or different sets that could be turned on a lathe. mostly either ancient hand-carved sets or very ornate antique sets.
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