The famous sequel of the not less famous “Alice in Wonderland” called “Through the Looking Glass, and What Alice Found There” by Lewis Carroll has a very detailed description of a chess game with unique pieces which are rather to be called separate characters. One Ukrainian ivorycutting master was inspired to create a special table and a set of chess pieces for this particular game by his daughter’s interest to Carroll’s tales.
This curious and indisputable very talented guy is design engineer of nonstandard equipment by his background so the first thing he decided to create was a unique mechanism of opening of the table and appearance of the board itself. It was decided that this should be driven solely by mechanical power with no electric motors. The mechanism appeared to be extremely out of date but still hand-made with the same carefulness as the unique chess pieces. The stunning impression is caused with a 40-second show starting when you turn a flamingo-head-shaped handle. First of all beautiful woodcurved hatch is slowly opened and then a plate-glass board with chessmen comes up. After the game is finished all the stuff moves inversely.
After woodcutting works are finished on it, the table will be decorated with exclusive jewelry.
The main concept of the game played on this unique chessboard was decided to be at variance with plot of the Carroll’s books – the whites are the characters of the “Through the Looking Glass” and the blacks are from the “Wonderland”. But really there’s no any confrontation between the characters of these two books. What were copied from the original editions of the Alice’s adventures are the great illustrations by John Tanniel which became a classic. They were decided to be used as a template for ivory pieces for them to be easily recognizable.
So here are the white pieces. White king – Lewis Carroll himself, sitting on a chair made of water and writing down Alice’s adventures in his famous notebook.
White queen – Alice, sitting in a chair-tree created by the writer’s imagination. She’s trying on a queen’s crown.
White bishops – White Knight in full armor, holding a helmet and a sword and Somebody who reported that fish got into the bed standing at attention with a postman bag and a pillow with two kissing fish.
Knights – Lion in boxing gloves and shorts preparing for a battle with Unicorn.
Rooks – Humpty Dumpty sitting on a wall but not sleeping yet and a Mutton hock standing on its plate.
And here are pawns. A kitten playing with a clew on a pillow.
The Sheep sitting in a ram-shaped chair and knitting.
Tweedledum wrapped up with blanket having a pan, a cooker and a holed basin as armor. His wooden sword is painted with bronze paint.
Walrus feeling very sorry for oysters. He eats them and wipes his tears with a napkin.