Chess is widely known and played throughout the world. Even though it seems that it is a set game with set rules, there are in fact many variations. All the variations follow a pattern – the game is one of movement and capture played on a symmetrical playing surface. Different shaped playing pieces move in different ways. Winning is achieved by the capture of a particular playing piece, usually the king or commander.
Chess originated in India around the 7th century, became popular in Persia (now Iran) soon afterwards and made its way to Europe in the 10th century. Here it continued in a medieval form until the end of the 15th century when some changes developed the game into the modern version played today.
The Alice chess set uses the colour variation of red and white as opposed to the more usual black and white. Red and white is in fact more traditional – the Museum also has an ivory Chinese set from the mid-19th century in red and white. The Alice game features characters from the book Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll, a story which itself is based on a game of chess. This set was made by toy makers, Robin and Nell Dale.