Choosing the pieces
This chess set is all about Cambridge and Oxford: generous and powerful founders and benefactors, inspiring academics, stunning surroundings and an 800 year old university rivalry.
Both cities have thrived over the centuries, supported by benevolent clergy, nobility and civic benefactors. The resulting buildings, colleges, and churches that they supported can be seen across the cities. The courtyards and facades of these buildings are often graced by the statues of their founders. The King and Queen pieces were chosen from these benefactors:
Cambridge: King Henry VIII of England and Lady Margaret Beaufort
Oxford: William Herbert 3rd Earl of Pembroke and Queen Caroline of Ansbach
Inspiring academics laid the foundation for the reputation of both universities and continue to influence affairs both at home and abroad. The Bishop piece was chosen to represent research and teaching.
Cambridge: Sir Isaac Newton
Oxford: John Locke
Strolling around town and crossing one of the many bridges, the knight revealed himself: there he came down the river, the knight on his noble steed. Punting has been a pastime in both cities since the early 20th century. The movement of novice punters zigzagging down the river even resembles the movement of the knight on the chess board.
Both universities require students to live locally, stipulated as a distance from an historic church tower. These towers were chosen to represent the Rook piece.
Cambridge: Church of St Mary the Great
Oxford: Carfax Tower (Remnant of the 12th-century St Martin´s Church)
And last but not least: The Pawn. The quintessence of what both cities and universities are about: imparting knowledge to the next generation of students and being an inspiration for new ideas and solutions.