a dialogue plateform for chess makers and dealers

About Natraja Project

Early 2008, Mandeep Saggu, came to see me from Amritsar, he had made an appointment to see Carl Miceli of Chess Maze International, a company based in Shropshire. Mandeep asked me to drive him to meet Carl who lived about 40 miles away.

I knew about Mandeep's father a known wood carver, but I had no interest in Chess game or its making; but when I saw the beautifully carved chess pieces especially the knights, I admired the carving, as a sculptor who had also carved wood.

This was the first time I met Carl Miceli, a friendly man, during the discussions, idea developed that Mandeep to make limited edition chess sets for Carl. Carl also suggested all four names, 'Sir Lancelot', 'Mark Anthony', 'Sea Horse' and Gallant names of the sets except 'King Arthur' I chose.. 

Carl had other contacts in Amritsar; another supplier told Carl that he would be paying too much money for Limited Edition sets. Since Mandeep’s father always supplied locally to a dealer, who was not happy that Mandeep starts exporting directly to Europe and the US. So dealer was doing his best to undercut Mandeep. By the time 5 new designs arrived Carl was having second thoughts about the idea of Limited Editions. One can’t blame Carl for having second thoughts; it is the chess makers and dealers in Amritsar, who always make illegal copies of other people’s sets.

Since I loved Mandeep’s special edition sets, I discussed with Carl, who agreed to sell these sets for me, if I buy these sets from Mandeep. This is the time I created Natraja.com to sell only these 5 Limited Editions sets under Natraja name. Thanks to Carl, he sold few sets for me before Christmas last year. Carl also introduced me to Chess & Bridge in London who is one of the outlets for these Limited Edition sets.

I must add I had no interest in Chess or chess-sets leave aside getting involved with selling these sets. Yes after seeing the situation of chess industry I was interested only to discuss the problems of the industry on my newly created site www.natraja.org.

This year to promote these Limited editions sets; I have offered these sets to Chess Baron in UK and House Staunton in the US. Natraja sets do come with a signed and stamped Certificate of Authenticity and a signed copy of book ‘Avtarjeet Dhanjal’ published by Institute of International Visual Arts, London. So buyer is not only buying a LIMITED EDITION CHESS SET, but a signed copy of the artist’s book. You can search the name of the artist ‘Avtarjeet Dhanjal’ on ww.google.com, you will find over thousand entries in the search results.

I have just heard that a chess dealer in Amritsar has already made copies of Natraja Limited Edition sets with the possibility to supplying these copies to UK market.

Natraja Limited Edition sets has already been copyrighted in UK, so anyone making copies of these sets, dealing or selling will be doing it illegally and committing a crime.

Plus these illegal copies will not have my signed and stamped certificate of authenticity.

Natraja Limited will announce the names of the outlets on www.natraja.com, that anyone can always check.




Natraja  raised the profile of chess  making to works of art, as several artists has done so in the past, continued with the tradition of issuing Limited Editions, which only the creative artists has the right to do in graphic prints and other objects of Art. Where artist signs and numbers the print or a certificate.

Mandeep Saggu was very happy when I agreed to commission a first 50 sets 10 of each in the series, with a promise to not offer these sets to anyone else under any conditions; in return I paid him the asking price around 50% above his normal.

Mandeep Saggu begged me introduce him to House of Staunton, which I accompanied him to Huntsville and introduced him and recommended him as a good craftsman and supplier.

Mandeep Saggu has not kept his promise one he was introduced to HOS, he offered the same sets he agreed to supply me only and accepted the higher price, to House of Staunton.

This was total selfishness on his part; I shall not recommend to trust his word. I paid him Rs.100,000 from my bank in India against the next order, that supplied directly to HOS and had not refunded my advance money. (I have the full account of all the monies paid to him, and can supply a copy of account anyone is doubt.)

I consider this was also wrong on part Shawn of HOS to accept these set sets without checking with me. Mandeep has a very bad habit of back-biting, he talked against everyone else in Amritsar to me, tried to prove that he is most honest man in the industry. His actions tell a different story.

Mandeep promised to replace any faulty pieces under the agreement of supply, I have requested him replace a pawn for buyer in Dubai, I have sent several requests, and no response.

I have problem to add that his father is very good craftsman, but Mandeep is good business man. HOS has occasionally sent me copies of his silly/rude emails, but has no etiquettes or ethic business requires. Well someone will teach him one a lesson one day.

Since I know his family, as a result I delayed such damming report for full year, hoping he would look at his dealings; finally I had to expose his deeds.

One of his buyers in Europe, knowing that I was in India, he asked me give a strong slap for him, I shall leave this task for someone to do.

I also hope thart he will refund the over payment of Rs.100,000  


This project will continue to help chess-makers and dealers in the chaotic situation that at present exists among the chess sets makers in Amritsar. According to our reports that each maker is trying to under eachother, origional designs are being pirated. As a result the buyer in the UK and US mainly are being given conflicting reports and offered pirated products.

It is chaotic situation where no none wins and might is right.

natraja.org is working with WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organistion) Geneva. This world organisation was set up under UN to protect the creative works all over the world, whether registered or not.

WIPO clearly spells out copyrights of each creator and in each member state there is a system of enforcement. More info at WIPO.

Development work undertaken by natraja.org has following aims:

1. Help to protect the copyrights of all creators of new designs in Chess Sets Industry and related items in the first phase of the development. Later this programme will extend to other produces/creators also.

2. Mediate between parties in dispute over copyright issues.

3. Help to bring the court cases to beneficial conclusions to the creators.

4. Provide an assurance to buyers that the chess-sets they are buying, has been produced/sold ethically giving credit to the origional designers and giving a fair wage to the workers in the industry.

5. Helping established chess companies such as House of Staunton, Jakes of London English Chess Company and others to protect their original designs from piracy and exploitation.

6. Helping makers, buyers and seller to establish guidelines what are the original designs and what constitutes a new creation, when it is modeled upon the existing designs.

7. Help to develop guidelines when a buyer commissions a maker to produce copy/copies of a set or design provided by the buyer. There have been examples of malpractices in this areas and confusion among the makers.

It has come to our attention that one of the oldest wood carvers’ family in Amritsar, which has been creating designs for decades. They haven’t been careful in protecting their creations, as a result these designs has been copied and sold without any royalty or even consent obtained from the creators.

This project is developed to protect the interest of all creators, buyers and resellers. So we are looking for cooperation and active support from all in the field of creating/making, buying and selling chess sets.

We would like to hear your views on the matter. CONTACT US

Natraja.org - an ethical project aims to protect copyrights & to secure fair price to makers/creators
Service by IMP Technologies