"chess set", "chess sets", "chess pieces", "chess museum", "schaak"

Russia  (Europe)

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Russia. This "Siberian Souvenir" chess set, with graceful figures in the old Soviet style, was produced in Divnogorsk in Siberia, by a low-voltage equipment plant that opened in 1973, in a limited series as a souvenir gift. This set is probably from the early 80's. The plastic - once wrongly described as noble kind of natural stone! - is often said to be Bakelite, but actually pieces are made of Carbolite (imitation of ivory) and brass, while the board is made of Carbolite and aluminium. The felted pieces, as well as the board, are very heavy, due to the heavy plastic and the metal which holds them together. Carbolite is a phenol formaldehyde resin analogous to Bakelite used in the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union. In Soviet times, the cost was 80 rubles with an average salary of 120 rubles.

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  • Russia, Divnogorsk in Siberia
  • ca. 1980
  • Carbolite+brass K 11.0; p 6.7
  • Box/board 47.0×23.5×6.2

Russia. ШАХМАТЫ СУВЕНИРНЬІЕ means CHESS SOUVENIR as far as I can decipher. It is seen on the cover at front printing and backside label. The label, not in very good shape, probably tells much more, and I suspect that "199026" is a production date. Probably is the maker mentioned, at least a styled "63" logo is seen among some other details like Балтийский зав... (Baltic zav...) and part of Ленинград (Leningrad). There are a lot of numbers too. While not perfect we are happy to have the cover, because it is not present most of the time.

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  • Russia, "Chess souvenir"
  • 1980-1990
  • Wood K 9.1; p 5.0
  • Box/board 45.0×23.0×5.9
  • Original cover

Russia. This Gzhel (or Ghzel/Gshel/Gschel/Schgel/...) porcelain chess set, with its typical blue glaze, is one of at least a dozen known different designs. That is not counting the variations we see as well. Juri Garanin did design these sets of which some bear his name, like this one. If he did all chess sets designs is uncertain: Gzhel refers not to a single village or factory, but to about 30 villages located southeast of Moscow with several porcelain manufacturers. We see different marks on the sets. Maybe there are unmarked copies by others as well. We know small, medium, average and large sets with boards of about 19, 31.5, 37.5 and 45 cm. The set here is medium and it is named "Souvenir" (I think), but if that is for the design or just a general award is unknown to me. Figures are based on stories from history with Russian and Tatar motifs. Under the board a "Gzhel" logo and the number 2 (see 3rd picture in the gallery). What the number means is not known to me, but could refer to the size. On top of the board it says, if I decipher well: ААТ. ГарАниню (AAT. Garanin) and расп. ЛаринA (rasp. Larina). See last 2 pictures in the galley. I do not know Russian and I do not know if I have interpreted the characters well, but I think it means designed by Garanin and painted by Larina.

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  • Russia, Gzhel
  • 1986
  • Porcelain K 7.2; p 4.3
  • Board 31.8×31.3×4.1

Russia. This Gardner Verbilky porcelain chess set is very well known. It looks as if the pieces are still in the original packaging and never used. Not sure if the board is in the original packaging, but that could well be the case.

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  • Russia, Moskou - Gardner Verbilky
  • 1986
  • Porcelain K 8.9; p 7.6
  • Board 43.6×38.0