I’m not that into chess, and I never really have been. On the other hand, I am fairly fascinated by chess culture – the guys that sit around and play in parks for hours, the stores dedicated totally and completely to the game, and all of the amazing sets. I guess the true aficionados don’t really care what they play with (because they always seem to have pretty standard, boring boards), but if I were a chess player I would want to engage my opponents with none other than an austin cox modernist chess set.
In 1962 the Aluminum Company of America (ALCOA) launched a marketing program to advance the selling of their aluminum products.
Since everyone was obsessed with space in 1962, ALCOA figured what better marketing strategy than to make a really incredible, “space age” chess set. Seems like a bit of an odd idea to me, but designer Austin Cox created some really excellent chess sets. Each piece is cut from a formed bar of aluminum. From the face, the black and white pieces look the same, but the uncut sides of the black pieces are anodized black. Pretty slick…
Now, while these ALCOA sets are pretty incredible, they do tend to get a bit pricey. But if you are in the neighborhood for an upgrade from your standard old black and white plastic, go check out the Village Chess Shop on Thompson Street. They have nothing but cool chess stuff, and they even offer tournaments and a chess academy.
230 Thompson St
(between 3rd St & Bleecker St)
New York, NY 10012