In 1831, an ancient set of chess pieces was found in the Isle of Lewis, in Scotland. The most amazing fact about these chessmen—made of walrus ivory and whale teeth—is that they were the oldest figures showing a clear resemblance to modern pieces. Since then, it had been believed that the most important chess set of all time was handcrafted in Norway in the 12th century. But recently things have changed with the discovery of a little chess piece found in an excavation at Siglunes, Iceland. And guess what? Surprisingly, this Icelandic piece, handcrafted from fishbone, bears similarities to those Lewis Chessmen, but might be older. The plot thickens!
Einar S. Einarsson and Guðmundur G. Þórarinsson are the main advocates of the “Iceland theory” of the Lewis Chessmen. These chess aficionados believe that Iceland is the origin of the famous set of medieval pieces.
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