Not everybody knows how to play the game, but almost anyone can appreciate the quality of a good chess set. The smoothness of the pieces, the feel of the metal – it makes you wonder how some of the most expensive sports equipment is used on a tabletop “board” game.

But not New York designer Jimmy DiResta. In a collaboration with fellow designers Mark Dolan, Brian McCauley, Brandon Fischer, Kip Vanover, and Sean Rubino, Jimmy aims to bring out the uniqueness of the sport in a chess set he crafted from blueprints he devised of from the back of his mind.

YouTube video

This chess set is unique because unlike most designers who start with a sketch, Jimmy made these pieces free hand. This means he had no point of reference and simply “felt” the pieces along the brass as they were being cut. While you never do this unless you’re either a complete novice or a master carver, Jimmy is the later.

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From the pawns to the more special rooks, bishops, knights, queen, and king, each piece looks like it was made by a high tech machine instead of some designer “feeling” his way through the carving process. He may have cheated a tiny bit with the knight by sketching on the brass, but you try carving a miniature horse head from memory!

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After making enough brass pieces, he creates molds for the parts out of what looks like resin. These cheaper pieces are then painted and cut before Jimmy takes them to a good chess game!

DiResta Chess Set

It’s a bit of a bummer he didn’t use the actual brass pieces, but I guess Jimmy didn’t think he was that much of a chess buff to make 32 chess pieces out of brass. Jimmy DiResta has another video detailing how he made the one integral part missing in his chess set: the chessboard. You can find both videos, as well as more of his designs, over on his YouTube channel.


Carlos wrestles gators, and by gators, we mean words. He also loves good design, good books, and good coffee.