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Your New Favorite Chess Set

HoldenArt ran a Kickstarter campaign through July 12th for its wooden chess set that features patented platforms that swing-out with the chess pieces attached. The platforms make for quick and easy setup and provide a place for captured pieces.

A locking mechanism locks the two halves of the set together flat. This makes it possible to play on uneven surfaces.

The chess pieces are silicone with strong magnets and felt that enables sliding.

A first-of-its-kind chess piece called the "Quawn" is also featured. It's a queen that fits over the top of a pawn and is used for pawn promotion. This provides extra queens without having loose pieces or taking-up valuable space on the platforms.

The set will retail for $125 after the campaign. The set is more complex with more moving parts than existing chess sets. Currently the set (with canvas bag) is available for $70 on the Kickstarter.



William Holden, the creator, feels that this set, in particular, with its unique features could make a difference in getting more kids playing chess and off electronics.

Imagine camping and breaking-out a chess set in the tent with sleeping bags, pillows, and pads strewn about. This set allows you to lock the two halves flat for an even surface. As pieces are captured they are placed back on the platforms, not to be lost in layers of bedding. More pieces accumulate on the platforms as the game progresses which makes for easy set up for the next game or easy put-away when finished.


The silicone pieces have strong magnets to keep them in place securely and felt to allow them to slide when moved. The pieces were designed from scratch to fit snugly on the platform. They have good weight and feel and won’t crack or break if dropped on the floor.


The pivoting locks that lock the two halves flat are designed to be easily controlled with a thumb and index finger. The feature makes it easier to manage getting the platforms in or out and also makes for a sturdy playing surface.

For clarity, arrows only reveal arrowheads pointing in one direction, the direction to be turned. Magnets are used so the locks snap into position.

An interesting detail is that the two halves of the set are the exact same (including all the components); they’re indistinguishable from each other. This was challenging in design particularly as it relates to the locking mechanism. By having both sides the same, production will be simpler with fewer assembly errors.

The Quawn pieces were created because the efficient use of space on the platform is critical. Quality sets come with two queens, but since extra queens are rarely needed they didn't warrant a place on the platforms.

A quality cotton canvas bag is provided to store and carry the chess set.

Brief History of why and how this product originated:

I was traveling in New Zealand many years ago and met Tom from New York at a hostel. Our first conversation was over a game of chess. We became good friends and had many adventures traveling together and met up in various places including SE Asia playing more chess as we went. I became focused on finding the ideal chess set for our games.

All of the travel sets had pieces with weak magnets and no place to put captured pieces. After the trip I was visiting family and showed my design to my oldest brother, Charlie. Without pause Charlie said, "You should make it so the pieces swing-out from underneath". I knew instantly that Charlie was right. It took a long time to get a good design nailed down and the design has evolved and gone through many iterations and revisions over the years.


More media files to pick and choose from:

Magnets on the pieces are strong, but felt allows pieces to slide when moved.

(Feel free to re-use images and copy for the purpose of promoting the chess set. Thank-you!)


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