If you're beginning to question the newsworthiness of 3D printing stories that amount to little more than the addition of yet another 3D object that someone has thought to 3D print, then believe me, I share your cynicism. Though Joseph Larson's chess set is designed to be 3D printed, this isn't the most notable feature of its design. No; the pieces of this chess set join together to form what Larson describes as "the ultimate chess fighting robot" - two of them, actually, with inverted knights for feet and bishops for hands.
In fact, Larson doesn't yet own a 3D printer. But that hasn't stopped him designing several 3D-printable chess sets using online CAD and 3D printing service, Tinkercad, including two versions of the robot chess sets, dubbed Action #Chess. The Action #Chess set was entered into a Tinkercad/Makerbot competition to design a chess set. The prize? A Makerbot Replicator 3D printer.
Not owning a 3D printer with which to test his design proved something of a stumbling block to Larson, but thanks to feedback from the Thingverse community with which he shared his designs, he was able to fix the fiddly problems hiding in the details. In fact that may be the most interesting aspect of this story: the evidence of burgeoning online communities forming around 3D printing and its practitioners.