The first travel set is the weirdest thing in my collection. Quite unique I think, because I have never seen another. This is "M. KÜRSCHNER'S IMPROVED POCKET-CHESS-SET WITH BONE PIECES". Although improved, it is hard, if possible at all, to play with. The idea is that the cupper bases do fit in the grooves holding the pieces in place. However that doesn't work well and, because the pieces are so small, you hit them easily and ruin your position as you try to make a move. If you try to find information on M.Kürschner then you find a chess player/problem composer under that name in the late 19th century. Chessbase lists 38 games of Max Kuerschner from 1887 to 1910. I don't know if he is also the creator of the set.
The 2 travel sets with pegged bone pieces, which can be stored in the board that acts as a little box, are rather common and widely spread. I have seen them in Germany, Netherlands and England to name a few countries. The first set listed was bought in Prague and the other on Ebay in England. Reason he latter was put on the England page on my site at first. However, I was told it is probably German, and have both sets now listed on my German page. You can play with these sets, but it is not easy to handle the small pieces.
- Germany, "M. Kürschner's verbessertes Taschen-Schachbrett"
- Late 19th century
- Pieces bone on cupper plates which fit in the grooves between the fields
K 1.7; p 1.1
- Board wood with leatherette 17.2×9.5×2.0 (closed)
- Germany or Czech
- ca. 1900
- Bone K 4.0; p 2.4
- Box/board 13.6×6.7×3.0 (closed)
- ca. 1900
- Bone K 3.3; p 1.9
- Board 13.0×6.4×2.5 (closed)
The small set with glass lid was bought on a CCI meeting and seller thought it was English, because Kings are in a Calvert style. Another collector, however, suggested it is German. Without prove I tend to believe the latter, so moved it from my England page to the German page. You can play with this set, but it is very hard to handle the small pieces and you have to press firmly to get them in the holes as well.
The small set in the plastic box has tiny nails as pieces that differ only slightly by small indentations, concave and convex curves or dents and flat, curved or cylindrical spikes. It is meant to be used as a travel set, however it is hard to carry it with you because the pieces fit only loosely into the holes provided for them in the board and will fall out. Quite apart from the fact that these little nails are difficult to handle.
The wooden travel set was a present for my 50st birthday. Pieces are according to Staunton and have pins. The special feature of this set is the two linked sliding drawers. When you move one drawer then the other drawer extends in the opposite direction. The drawers can be extended to both sides. The bottom of the box says "Made in GDR", so it has been made in former East Germany before the wall dropped.
I don't know why I keep things like the Nivea pocket chess set. These things are only meant for advertising and have no value or use for the practical chess player or collector.
It even has cracks in the box!
The last travel set was a gift and therefore got a place in the collection. It is useable as travel set, but I do not find it so convenient.
- Early 20th century
- Bone pieces K 2.4; p 1.6 (with pin)
- Box 11.1×11.0×2.2
- Cardboard board 9.5times;9.7
- Germany, Bonn
- Metal K 1.9; p 1.4
- Box/board 8.0×8.0×2.9
- See "Schachspiel, Kulturspiel - Weltspiel" by Rousselot 1989: pag 52-53
- Germany, "Staunton"
- Boxwood K 2.9; p 1.6
- Box 13.3×12.1×2.7
- Germany, by Nivea (advertising)
- Late 20th century
- Plastic K 1.2; p 1.2
- Box/Board 10.3×7.6×3.0
- Boxwood K 2.0; p 2.0
- Box/board 12.9×12.9×3.2