Am wondering if this will affect professional players or other strong
club players at all. Do designs of chess pieces affect them at all?
The short answer is "No" for the simple reason that they will never play any tournament chess with anything other than the standard Staunton design. The reason for that is given in the FIDE document Standards of Chess Equipment, venue for FIDE Tournaments, rate of play and tie-break regulations
According to the introduction -
This document defines the general standards for chess equipment and
conditions of play, rate of play and tie-break regulations to be used
in FIDE competitions.
On the subject of chess equipment it says this:
1. Chess Equipment
1.1 The chess equipment offered by the organisers (hosts) of a FIDE or Continental Championship, Olympiad and other FIDE registered
tournaments shall conform with the standards mentioned below, and
shall be approved by the Chief Organiser and the Chief Arbiter.
1.1.1. It is recommended, that the chess pieces, boards and clocks, used in the World or Continental top level competitions be
approved by participating players. Their approval shall be obtained
for other equipment the table, chairs etc. In case either side
disagrees, the equipment to be used shall be decided by the Chief
Organiser or the Chief Arbiter of the event, bearing in mind the
standards for its size and form as mentioned below.
1.1.2. It is highly recommended that the chess equipment used in a competition is the same for all participants and all games.
On the design of the pieces it says:
2.3 Form, style of pieces
Recommended for use in FIDE competitions are pieces of Staunton style.
The pieces should be shaped so as to be clearly distinguishable from
one another. In particular the top of the King should distinctly
differ from that of the Queen. The top of the Bishop may bear a notch
or be of a special colour clearly distinguishing it from that of the
Note that in the US lower level tournaments often require players to bring their own equipment. The USCF has its own regulations regarding equipment detailed in Chapter 4 of their US Chess Rulebook. Chapters 1, 2 and 11 are available free online but the USCF sees fit to charge for the rest of their rulebook. I would be slightly surprised if this allows non-standard designs.