Monday, November 3, 2014


Time to dust off my chess collectible playing sets, so why not parade them?

The above is the Swedish Tavling's model set that was widely used in Scandinavia during the time I was there during 1989. Its uniqueness lies in the pawns which have a wide base,very stable but hard to execute captures, so not very blitz friendly. The Knights' necks  are angled and gives a nice touch to hold. Not weighted.

I have quite a few of these sets which I bought from a warehouse in River Valley Rd when they were closing in 1981. Only $15 a set as they were clearing their warehouse! The laquer is coming off but otherwise still playworthy. These were the top-range French sets made before the Chavet line and were used mainly in the 70's and early 80s. Gave several of them as gifts and only 3 remained. 

My Chavet set is not with me but the German Staunton (currently the model used with most DGT boards) is now the de-facto tourament standard. These I got rather cheaply from a sportshop in Peninsula Plaza but they have stopped importing, so the owner says because there is no demand. Sad..

My Russian friend took this from his apartment in Moscow and give it to me ! Thanks again Leonid! This is a GM3 Soviet set used in tournaments in USSR back in the 60s to 70s but now no longer in production. Though I had the GM2 set before (bought in 1992 from a player at the Manila Olympiad), I lost that during my move to my current place. That had a plastic Knight's head instead so I wasn't too fond of it.

The Indonesians are great craftsmen and it shows in their attention to detail in their Staunton design. The Knights are intricately crafted. Though the wood is not so good but the crafting made up for it. Bought this from a vendor displaying them at the last World Amateur Championships in April this year.

When I was returning to Singapore in 1989, I stopped over London for the Candidates match then played at Sadler Well's theatre. Karpov was on the ropes against Yusupov, Speelman was battling Timman. While I was there I visited Peter Morrish at Edgeware who persuaded to me to take his last 2 wooden sets for a bargain of 30 pounds a set. Later I was to know that they were the replica of the Reykjavik 1972 set used in the Fischer - Spassky match! A gem.

I came across this Zagreb set on going for USD40 and couldn't resist. Managed to get my childhood friend to bring it on his visit to Singapore. The Knights looked drooping (typical of the old Russian design) and   there were crosses on the Kings (which were evidently absent from the Dubrovnik set). 

Still short of the Spanish, Hungarian playing sets and I believe I should have completed my personal collection of playing sets. Working on it..