How the Noble Set is created. Masters and technology

In its final form, the Noble set of Belarusian chess is a highly artistic piece of handwork made of fine wood, leather and white clay, worthy of private collections.

Wood. It took some eight years of constant experimentation with form, image and technology to bring the idea to fruition. The chessboard was raised and lowered in floors, the box was improved and acquired Baroque features. All this time master woodcarver Yauhen Rydzieuski worked on their appearance.

Wood carver Evgeniy Rydevskiy, next to the board he is currently working o
Wood carver Yauhen Rydzieuski, next to the board he is currently working on

It was he who came up with the idea of using inlays of bog oak in the decoration of the Throne, as well as the design of the box in which the figures are kept. But before inlaying the Throne, Yauhen takes on the task of choosing the wood for the chessboard. In the different versions of Noble set it can consist of either plain oak for the white squares and bog oak for the black squares, or ash for the white squares and plain oak for the black squares.

Once the wood has been chosen, the complex process of preparing the material, cutting it into squares and gluing the strips together in a specially designed mechanism goes on. The strips are then glued together to form a board.

Gluing the board from squares of stained oak and alder
Gluing the board from squares of bog oak and alder

Fire. The next step after making the base of the board is to laser burn the throne in the shape of the traditional Belarusian star and the numbers and letters on its outline. The throne is later inlaid with bog oak, a wood that has been in swamp for thousands of years, acquiring its characteristic black colour and the strength of stone. Thousands of years old art objects made of bog oak are now known to look as good as new - such is the strength of the material.

Launching a laser for burning out a Throne.
Laser engraving of the Throne for future inlays of bog oak

Additionally, the logo of the game is burned into the lid, the location of the masters and the name and pattern of the princes on the back of the box are tried out and burned. The whole process is computer-controlled, so modifications can be made while burning to achieve the best result.

The computer monitors the quality of the images of the princes engraved on the underside of the chest
The computer monitors the quality of the images of the princes engraved on the underside of the box.

Clay. Pieces are created in parallel with the work on the board and the box. The sculptor developed the image of each one, taking into account not only the design that matches the appearance of the troops of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Teutonic Order, but also ensuring easy recognition on the board: a kniaź and a ratnik cannot be confused.

Artist Tatiana Rublevskaya and figurine sculptor Oleg Skola
Decorative artist Tatsiana Rubleuskaia and figurine sculptor Aleh Shkola

The sculptor Michal Latyshau made single copies of each piece, then they were cast into moulds for casting in white clay. The casting itself and further refinement of the pieces is being done by the decorative artists Tatsiana Rubleuskaia and Aleh Shkola. 

The mould in which each piece is hand-cast
Hand-applying of details on a piece

Once the details have been applied to the pieces and they were fired, Tatsiana takes over - giving each set a different colour and shade. Thanks to the handiwork, all the sets differ from each other - in one set the box may be light and the pieces are the same colour as ordinary clay and charcoal, in the other - a dark box and figures are of ivory and bronze colour.

Brick-coloured figures
Brick-coloured pieces

Leather. Next the board and pieces wait to be varnished and stained, for greater durability and aesthetics. A further step is to laminate the lower part of the pieces and the feet of the box with natural leather, for a pleasant tactile sensation of moving the Kniaź to the Throne.

Additionally, each set comes with a paper rulebook and the box itself is packed in a specially designed cardboard box. Even in cardboard, the set evokes a sense of nobility and fully lives up to its name - a "Noble set".

Cardboard box for transporting chess
Cardboard box for transporting chess

The Noble set of Belarusian chess includes:

  • a box and a chessboard made of fine wood;
  • a set of ceramic pieces;
  • rules of the game;
  • designer packaging for easy transportation.

The project has been developed for 10 years in order to recreate the political and military traditions of Belarus and all Eastern Europe. The result is Belarusian and Litvin chess or simply Belarusian chess - a new type of intellectual games presented in three formats - a gift set, a noble set and a computer version.

So why wait? Take the throne now!

The project is in three dimensions

"Belarusian Chess" exists in digital, noble and gift versions. Get to know them.