Braille Chess Set

 Braille chess set

Donated to the collection in 1972 by the American Foundation For The Blind, the photograph at the left is of a very special version of the game of chess.

The wooden board is 30cm square x 2.7cm high. The frame around the board stands 1.5cm higher. The black squares on the board are raised .5cm higher than the light squares. Each square has a hole .4cm in diameter in the center of the square which holds the playing pieces in place. As in a standard chess board, this is an 8x8 matrix with 32 black squares and 32 light squares.

Overview of Braille chess board

The wooden playing pieces for this set are typical of the 32 standard chess pieces, except there are some important differences. All of the light colored pieces have smooth, flat tops, while the black pieces have pointed, spherical tops. Each piece has a steel peg attached to its bottom, and these pegs fit into the holes on the board.

Thus a person without sight, using touch can feel the matrix on the board, feel the difference in each of the pieces by their top and overall shape, and can move and place a pieces using the peg and hole arrangement on the board. The color contrast of the squares on the board, and the color of each piece enables a partially sighted person to more easily use this set to play the game. In addition, because of the peg and hole arrangement, players with certain tactile limitations and/or muscular control in their hands have found that this set also enables them to play chess.

Last update February 6, 2010