One of my little hobbies is to design geeky chess games in which the pieces can be put together in such a way that they form a solid block and the board can be folded into a box. There are three designs so far (photo credit goes to Felix Sewing).

Design II

The most beautiful version exists of design II:


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This game made of walnut and maple was produced by Lucas Kannenberg from the workshop Monath + Menzel. It’s certainly the most elegant woodwork I have ever held in my hand. Here are the pieces. Note that apart from the king all pieces are made of a single block of wood!!


There is also a 3D printed version. Here you can also see the folding mechanism.


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Design III

This is chronologically the most recent design. For this one, I gave up on the idea of making the board the box and instead focussed on an easy-to-produce design, and also designed the folding in such a way that both teams together form a single cube. For the board, it is all magnetic and also has a relief. My flatmate Emii produced a beautiful case for the folded board and pieces. This version I built from beechwood and mahogany (I hope that maybe someday Monath+Menzel will produce a version of that one as well!)

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Again, the individual pieces:


Design I

The first game I built in 2010 when I lived in Turkey: I wanted to make use of the wood workshop of the foundation that I lived in and so came up with the idea of building a foldable chess game. I was mainly driven by the idea that, by designing the pieces in such a way that they would exactly fit into another and form a solid block. The challenge was then to design the board and pieces in such a way that the resulting shapes could still be recognized as the corresponding pieces. The result of this effort was this little chess game here.

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Even though it’s a cute little thing (built from a Euro-plaquette!), I was never quite happy with it because it didn’t fulfil the challenge I had set myself: Neither did the pieces actually form a solid block, also the pieces themselves had to be put together from smaller bits. Moreover, the folded box didn’t actually keep the pieces from falling out on the side…this bugged me, hence I recently (on a very hungover weekend) decided (apart from never drinking alcohol again) to put some more effort into this problem, leading to the second design.



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