I don’t play chess. Rather, I can’t play chess. I’ve tried to learn, I really have. But it’s one of those things, like learning to play the piano or speak Mandarin, that is well nigh impossible to pick up once you reach a certain age.

Or maybe I’m just saying that because I prefer Uno. Sue me.

But that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate the sublime beauty of this subtly rendered chess set designed by Daniel Weil, a London partner at the highly esteemed design firm Pentagram. The company was originally commissioned to create a new identity for the World Chess Championship to bring the game back to its glory-filled heyday when the likes of Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky ruled the boards. Giving the chess pieces a makeover was the next step in the process.

Weil looked to the Staunton chess set, first sold by Jaques of London in 1849, for inspiration for his redesign. To a casual observer (or barbarian like myself), Weil’s set doesn’t look all that different from Staunton’s. But, as so often is the case, it’s the details that matter. The pieces are arranged in height to resemble the façade of the Parthenon. Their bases also vary in size according to their relative hierarchy in the game. (The knight, which is such an awkward piece due to its diagonal movement — see, I remember something about the game! — has been given a hooflike base.) Even more elegant is the way Weil has crafted the silhouette of each piece, designing them in such a way that they can be picked up either from the top or between the fingers of an upturned hand — giving off, as Weil says, “theatrical disdain.”

And disdain is something I can get behind. Maybe I’ll give this chess thing another go.

£300 (about $455) at sac-games.com