360° Chess Symbols & Counter Pieces

360° Wooden Chess Counters by Jepps
These 360° Chess Counters by Simon Jepps are made from wooden base discs for craft models, which were then hand painted freely with Indian ink. They are only the simplest improvised creation, yet so easy to replace and make again.
This is a personal project I undertook in order to remedy the Chess industry’s apparent inability to manufacture sensible, useable counter Chess pieces.

This project is also a secondary hobby to accompany my Chess variant creation, Genie Of The Lamp.

There are many Chess sets featuring counter pieces, yet for some unknown reason they are always designed featuring standard Chess symbols.

Of course you would ask, “Why, whatever else?”

Aye, if studying a Chess problem, or correspondence position, or indeed teaching strategies to a classroom, of course you would make sure a universally accepted symbol is employed.

However, a problem is encountered when employing the universal symbols into a face to face match, over a real board.

This problem is the inevitable fact that standard Chess symbols are only recognisable if they only face one direction.

Granted, people can play with these symbols, but in reality they are very disorientating and “counter-productive” when trying to study a position… upside down.

It occured to me that since nobody has yet decided to design specific “360 degree” symbols for counter piece Chess sets, that I should publish a public template for such a concept.

360° Chess Symbols

360° Chess Symbols By Simon Jepps
360° Jepps Standard
Here then are my designs for a standard of Chess symbols that would make counter piece Chess more playable.

The diagram on the right shows my 360° symbol for each piece, including the Genie.

Whilst the Genie is purely pictured as a circle, I included it here since this project is also an accompaniment to Genie Of The Lamp.

The first thing you will notice, is how easily recognisable these symbols continue to be, even whence reversed, or if rotated at different angles.

The only anomaly is the Knight.

However firstly, since there is only one piece which art not completely 360°, then that only makes it even more recognisable in comparison to the others.

Secondly, the Knight’s symbol is actually reversible, since its opposite is merely a left facing crescent as opposed to a right facing crescent.

I personally find these 360° symbols exceptionally easy to identify with, regardless of their orientation.

I felt it appropriate to incorporate some kind of “theme” into their design and so the decisive placement of “dots” which all relate back to the Pawn and thus each other, seems to work well.


The counter pieces I created, which you can see in the topmost image, were created from little wooden modelling bases usually used for stabilising figurines.

You can find these literally everywhere since figurine modelling for strategy games or pure recreational pursuit is extremely popular.

They are very cheap also, mine were acquired at about 5 pence each. So having bought fifty as a precaution, my entire Chess set totalled £2.50.

If you enlarge the image or look more closely, you will see each piece has an encirclement of even more dots about their edges.

This design feature is important whence playing Genie Of The Lamp, since apart from the red or blue ink, all counters are the same colour.

Thus when you turn them over, you will find another encirclement of dots about the edges of their undersides also.

The hand painted symbols are by no means “exquisite”, but they were not intended to be so. Permanent, yes, but at the end of the day these pieces were created purely as an expression of simplicity and minimalistic contentment.

Imagine losing a grandiose Knight from your professionally manufactured set of Chess figurines… what a nightmare!

Yet, these blessed counters can be resurrected again and again, anytime I feel the creative urge to grab some Indian ink.

Thank you for reading and following my blog!

Blogroll : Chess

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