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Oftentimes, as a puzzle collector, I like to deviate a little from the classic mechanical puzzle and see what else is out there that deserves a place in my collection. Recently, I discovered these 3D jigsaw puzzles that depicted chess pieces and was fascinated by them. You can get any of the six pieces standard pieces, from the King to the Pawn. The one that I'm reviewing today is the Queen.
The puzzles are handcrafted from Chinese Rosewood and can range from 7 to 11 different pieces - The Queen is made from 7 pieces. I was pleasantly surprised by the actual size of the puzzle, which is bigger than I was expecting. At the Brilliant Puzzles website, from where I got the puzzle, it states that it measures 7.75"H x 2.75"D. Since I don't pay much attention to the dimensions of the puzzles when I'm looking at them, and on top of that, Inches are not Europe's measuring unit, no wonder I was surprised by its size. By the way, for your reference, the puzzle measures about 18 x 7.5cm.
The Chess 3D Jigsaw puzzles are produced by Bits and Pieces, so in terms of overall quality, it leaves much to be desired. The pieces could have used a bit more polishing around the edges and a coating of glaze would have made a world of difference. I understand this is an affordable product, but cheap is not synonym of low quality craftsmanship.
Difficulty-wise, the Queen piece is rated as a 3/5 level of difficulty, but as far as I'm concerned, it's no more than a 2/5 at best. Taking the pieces apart is rather easy: You have to start at the top and remove the pieces one by one by sliding them from one side to another. For a first timer, it might take a minute or so to discover how to disassemble it, but once you take off the first piece, the others offer no challenge. Assembling it back is even easier. The only thing you have to take into consideration is that the pieces will only slide into slot from one of the sides, so you may have to try it from both sides.
Side Note: In order to take it apart, you need to remove the pieces from top to bottom. Reassembling it is the exact opposite: you have to start from the bottom and work your way up. The wood grain in the pieces can give you a direct hint as to how they match.
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The "Chess 3D Jigsaw - Queen" is not what I would recommend to an experienced puzzler, but I don't think it was built to be extremely challenging. It's a great collection item and decorative object, and makes for a perfect gift to a chess aficionado. My only gripe with this puzzle is the lack of quality to the finishes. Nevertheless, it's a nice puzzle and I look forward to get another chess piece.
Availability: You can get the Queen Chess piece at Brilliant Puzzles, as well as the other five in the collection - Just search for "chess" at the main page.