Staunton Chess Set - Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

AutorFernando Raventós
− 333 −
Anuario Andino de Derechos Intelectuales.
Año X - N.º 10. Lima, 2014
Staunton Chess Set
Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity
Culture is the social use
of human intelligence
Gabriel García Márquez
Contents: Introduction. 1. ORIGIN OF STAUNTON CHESS SET. 1.1. Novelty of the Registered
Design. 1.2. Authorship and Place of Origin. 1.3. Importance of the Name. 1.4. Signature Guarantee.
and Formality. 3.3. Potential Advantages. 4. CHARACTERISTICS OF STAUNTON CHESS SET
4.1. Form and Function. 4.2. Special Features. 5. CURRENT SITUATION. Appendix: Brief list of
major museums, private collections, and shops in Internet.
Classic Staunton Chess Set
1 Lawyer, graduate from Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, (Pontifical Catholic University of Peru).
He was Vice-President of the Copyright Commission of the Instituto Nacional de Defensa de la Compe-
tencia y de la Protección de la Propiedad Intelectual (National Institute for the Defense of Competition
and Protection of Intellectual Property) – INDECOPI.
− 334 −
As surprising as this may seem, not all the chess sets have been designed to play,
hence, we find:
- Functional pieces, designed to play, and
- Ornamental pieces, designed to decorate2
This article focuses on the best known functional pieces, called Staunton, which are
widely accepted by casual and professionals players around the world.
The Staunton chessmen were created in London in 1849, during the Victorian Era,
over 160 years ago. They are masterpieces of functionality and elegance, so they have
become the unique and unmistakable classic chess game pieces. Many players cannot
imagine the game with other pieces.
In 1924, these pieces were selected as the official set by the World Chess Federa-
tion; presently, for about 600 million players in over 120 countries, Stauton pieces are
the choice of set.
Since such pieces fully meet the needs that motivated them, they have become one of
the most successful designs in history, to the point that they are considered timeless pieces,
neither old nor new, and nobody is seriously planning on improving or changing them.
But such pieces were not created easily or spontaneously; they are the outcome of
a slow process of trial and error that lasted more than half a century, resulting in various
designs that are now known under the generic name of Pre-Staunton.
Given their antiqueness, importance and continued relevance, such pieces are already
a part of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
For this reason, it would be desirable for the United Kingdom, its home country, to
formally request UNESCO to include them in the Representative List of the Intangible
Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Unfortunately this is not possible at the moment because
the United Kingdom, despite being a member of UNESCO, is not a party to the Convention
for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage. We hope that sooner than later, the
United Kingdom adheres to such Convention and with legitimate pride claim to the world,
as English, the traditional Staunton chess set.
Fortunately, the Internet and the ubiquitous electronic commerce are developing a
growing interest in quality Staunton pieces, mainly made of wood, even in sophisticated
luxury versions. UNESCO’s official recognition would strongly support this positive trend.
2 Ornamental pieces are not usually used to play because, although they are often attractive appearance, for
example, they represent miniature armies, they are not practical because they are difficult to hold, they
can be damaged with use and it is not always easy to identify which is which, and this is even worse if
confusion arises in the middle of a game. They are exhibition pieces designed to be displayed and admired.
This is where their value begins and ends.

Para continuar leyendo

Solicita tu prueba

VLEX utiliza cookies de inicio de sesión para aportarte una mejor experiencia de navegación. Si haces click en 'Aceptar' o continúas navegando por esta web consideramos que aceptas nuestra política de cookies. ACEPTAR