It is a jigsaw puzzle. It is a chessboard. It is the Chess Baffler! and
it is here.
Handmade in Boulder, Colorado by master puzzlesmith Chris Yates,
every Chess Baffler! is made of MDF (reconstituted wood) and is painted
in your choice of colors and finishes. Each Chess Baffler! board
measures 13"x13"x.75", with 64 .25" inch puzzle pieces that fit snugly
into the board. The 32 chess pieces range from .50" square pawns to the
.75"x.75"x1.5" kings. The difficulty level of the puzzle ranges from
around 5 to 6 (out of 10).
Chris uses a scroll saw, a band saw, a table saw, various sanders, and
a lot of paint to make his puzzles in his home-based studio.
You have the option of just about any color scheme you'd like. You can
choose two colors for the pieces, and then one for the base. Below we
have listed our favorite colors to work with to try and make the
decision process a little easier. But if there's a certain color not
listed below you're looking for, we can probably make it happen.
There is also the option of choosing to have the puzzle pieces and the
base mottled, just the base mottled, and keeping everything plain.
Mottling is when instead of making the puzzle pieces two solid colors,
we use 2-3 other colors in the same hue range as each "main color" to
broaden the spectrum and texture a bit, through light spray and paint
drips. Sometimes when we mottle the bases, we use even more colors to
create more depth. But at the same time, plain puzzle pieces may add
more clarity when you play chess. That's why we leave it up to you!
And if you'd like a written or stenciled inscription on the back, that
is also on the house! Why not.
Every Chess Baffler! component is sprayed with a UV clear coat to
prevent scratches and fading, but chess players should try not be too
violent with the pieces.
Due to the handmade nature of the Chess Baffler!, each iteration will
be unique and a little different. Small abnormalities and
eccentricities may exist as Chris is a human being and not a walking
A card of basic care and chess rules comes with the Chess Baffler!, and
should you follow the basic care (keep it away from direct sunlight,
water, and dust every so often), it will be a heirloom that will last
and delight generations. If you have any questions, send them to
superyates (at) gmail (dot) com.