Feature London

What Did You Buy at the World Chess Championship


Here at World Chess, we believe that chess is very much about design. We believe that buying and owning a chess set (and using it!) should spark instant joy. Therefore we paid a lot of attention to the design of the 2018 World Chess Championship Match experience. You have probably heard about the ‘pawnagraphic’ logo. Well, that was us. 

For the Championship Match, we have partnered with our long-term collaborators, Pentagram and Shuka Design, to produce a range of merchandise with the idea that the range should be the best chess merchandise in history. 

We are sharing the designs and sale numbers hoping to receive your feedback and be able to further develop chess merchandising program that you will enjoy.


Official merchandise range for the World Chess Championship was designed mindful of the UK audience and collectors.

2018 merchandise is available exclusively at the World Chess Online Shop.
Here the model wears the official sweatshirt with the alternative ‘sexy’ key visual. The Championship Match employed very bold imagery to promote the Match across different generations and media consumption patterns. Many people loved the image which was, of course, edgy and non-traditional, and some people believed that chess should be as classic as it can be. In the end, UK visitors preferred the classic key visual, and visitors from the US and continental Europe by far preferred the ‘pawnagraphic’ version. The model also wears a enlarged version of the chess pattern wrapping paper that we produced for the Championship Match.

World Chess Championship Sweatshirts were produced with the logo, title and dates of the event. The product gets dated, but this way it also instantly becomes a meaningful collectible item. The sweatshirts and other apparel was produced in four sizes, S, M, L, and xL, Medium being slightly more popular. 
Official sweatshirts were produced in two colors, black and white (just like chess itself!). White was slightly more popular at the venue, and black — online. 

712 sweatshirts and t-shirts sold during the World Chess Championship Match. Prices range from $22 to $45.

Paper coffee cups were used in the onsite cafe in London. They are designed with a signature ‘unboxing’ pattern. 10,000 cups were produced for the Championship Match and the cafe ran out of them on the very last day.

10,000 paper cups were produced for the World Chess Championship Match

The Official World Chess Championship board is the exact version of the board used at the Championship, sans the electronics (the players at the Championship Match use the electronic board equipped by sensors by DGT). The board is made of sycamore with hexagon logo in white and black inlaid  on the sides. Square size is 50 mm. It’s quite heavy, over 2 kilos, but was one of the most popular products in the onsite pop-up shop. Closer to the end of the Match, visitors were rushing to buy the boards and asked both Magnus and Fabiano to sign them. 

Official World Chess Championship set is the only chess set that has been approved by FIDE for top events since 2012. Daniel Weil of Pentagram developed his own version of Staunton. It has unique features and is much more elegant than the old version. Weil tested the pieces with top players and made adjustments based on their comments. World Chess is the exclusive producer of the set and owner of the IP. The set is produced in limited quantity from boxwood and rosewood. 
Pentagram also developed a box for the chess set. Pieces sit vertically in a foam encasting and can be shipped and stored in the same box. 
Special large canvas bags were designed and produced for the Championship. The bags are supposed to fit a chess board, which is very convenient as the board is quite heavy. We noticed these bags all around London during the Match. 

34 official chess boards ($220) and 44 official chess sets were sold during the Championship 

It’s London, so we had to produce umbrellas. Designed with the signature pattern and the official logo, they came very handy when it was raining and we needed to give them out to visitors who were waitning in line. Because of very limited quantities, they turned out to be very expensive and we decided no to offer them for sale but rather use for visitors and players. 

Umbrellas. Not offered for sale.

Official prints were produced in three versions: black and white featuring the official logo, and white — with the alternative key visual. All prints featured the date and name of the event, players’ names and venue details. Size 24 x 36′. They were sold and also shipped in cardboard tubes decorated with the logo. We asked Fabiano and Magnus to sign some of them, so some of the lucky guests and online buyers received their prints with signatures of the World Champion and the runner-up. 

452 official prints and postcards were sold

For the Championship, Pentagram developed the official Studio Chess set — exactly the same as the Championship set, but slightly smaller and shipped in a custom-designed travel pouch. It’s 87% of the Championship size, also hand-made and finished, from the same materials — boxwood and rosewood.  

54 Studio Chess Sets ($170) were sold during the Championship

A collaboration between World Chess and Biblioteka Aromatov, a custom parfume-maker was what we believe the first ever scent design for a chess event. The set features two distinctive scents with wooden and tar notes that remind of the smell of the new chess board (it actually smells very good). The boxes are designed in line with the overall Championship guidelines and each box is numbered. There was a limited edition of 400. The sets were offered at the Championship and also a limited batch was produced to be sold at the World Chess Club Moscow. The set of two parfumes was priced at xxx.

 100 solid perfumes ($17) were sold during the Championship

Enamel pins (featuring the alternative logo and the official key visual) in two colors were produced for the Championship and were a popular ‘smaller’ gift. The pins are placed on the paper stock featuring the name of the event and venue details. They were wrapped in plastic. We see rising interest and demand for pins and try to produce them for every major event. 

799 assorted pins ($6-10) were sold during the Championship

World Chess Team that worked on the Merchandising Program:

Kate Chalykh, Event Director

Arthur Salikhov, designer

Polina Ostasheva, management  

Ksenia Stelnikova, management

Word Chess would like to thank Shuka Design and Pentagram for collaborating on this project.

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