Mexican sets

Spanish influence

It is said that before he was killed by the Spanish conquistadores, the hapless king Montezuma, king of the Aztecs, passed time of his captivity mastering and playing chess. Thus, the game is said to have come to Mexico. Source: Keats Chessmen for Collectors (1985).

One type of Mexican sets, obviously influenced by the so-called Spanish pulpit style, is still being made today. These sets are usually made from bone. The pieces are slightly bulbous in shape.

French influence

Given the significant French influence upon Mexican modern history, traces can be found in chessmen as well. in the 19th century, the ill-fated Emperor Maximilian was established on the Mexican throne with French support in 1864, only to be court-martialled and executed three years later, as a result of Napoleon III withdrawing his French troops from the country. Some fine modern porcelain sets with busts of Maximilian and his troops are extant. 

Indigenous chess sets 

Chess sets were made until about 1944 by Tarascan Indians. A characteristic of many Mexican chessemn is the use of combined bone and wood decoration in attractive well-formed designs. Such sets are often produced by home industries for the tourist market.