Rumenia  (Other European)

Rumenia. This is a well known Rumenian travel chess set with an ingenious system to fold the board, while keeping the pieces on it, when you close the box. There are some small variations in the sets I have seen. Although I do have only one, I could make a compilation picture of 3 different ones. It is the last picture in the gallery.

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  • Rumania
  • 20th century, possibly pre WW2
  • Wood K 2.0; p 1.6 (including pins)
  • Box 22.3×12.2×4.0 (closed)
  • Board 16.7×16.5

 

Below are 6 Rumanian sets from the period ca. 1950 till today. The sets were send to me by Radu Ciumara. We have given a name to the sets for reference, but it is not an official classification. Rumanian sets do have similarities with Austrian coffeehouse sets. Most obviously that is seen in the Knights and the Bishops with finials in opposite colour, but other pieces do have clear relations as well. Pawns are mostly big compared to the other pieces. Unfortunately it is not known how the Rumanian sets originated and evolved in the early days.

Rumanian names of the pieces are: Rege, Damă, Nebun, Cal, Turn, pion. This translates literally into: King, Queen, Fool, Horse, Tower, pawn. Remarkable is that the Bishop is called "Fool", as it is in France. "Tower" and "Horse" are, for instance, like in Dutch: "Toren" and "Paard". "pion" is even the same in Dutch.

Rumania, "1950ies-1960ies set” (mixed)
This set looks as if it has been merged pieces from 2 or more similar sets. Probably occurred while in use during competition or simultaneous chess games. The pieces bear clear signs of usage. They have simplified, stylized forms, reduced to the essentials. There are no religious expressions like crosses or mitres. King and Queen are very basic. Bishops have a top in opposite colour. They could simply turn sides! Knights are simple, but with eyes, mouths and nostrils?, but no manes. Moreover, the white and black Knights clearly differ. Rooks lack crenellations, but have a rim and their surface deepened. Pawns are robust with a large sphere. King, Queen and Bishops wear a collar, but the other pieces not. Bases have no felt but some pieces bear traces of glue and some remnants of felt.

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  • Rumania, "1950ies-1960ies set” (mixed)
  • 1950-1960
  • Wood K 8.0; p 4.5

Rumania, “King&Queen coils rolls-heads set”
This set was probably made in the 1970ies. There are no religious symbols like crosses or mitres. King and Queen have a top that can be described best as coils rolls or so. Bishops have an iconic rounded ball in the colour of the opponent. Knights, in style of Viennese coffeehouse sets, have manes on the right and barely sketched mouth, eyes and nostrils. Rooks lack crenellations, but have their surface deepened. Pawns are robust with a large sphere. Bishops and pawns wear a collar, Knights and Rooks not. King and Queen do, but at lower place. Bases have green felts.

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  • Rumania, “King&Queen coils rolls-heads set”
  • ca. 1970
  • Wood K 8.5; p 5.4

Rumania, “King with turban ‘Delicate’ set”
This delicate set was probably made in the 1970ies. There are no religious symbols like crosses or mitres. King looks like he is wearing a turban. Queen has a pointed tip as in the 'Competition' set. Interestingly and rare: the Queen is slightly larger. It would not surprise me when King and Queen were exchanged here often. The Bishops have an iconic rounded ball in the colour of the opponent. Knights, in style of Viennese coffeehouse sets, have manes on the right and barely sketched mouth, eyes and nostrils. Rooks lack crenellations, but have their surface deepened, rather deep this time. I do suspect that they are from another, similar, set. Pawns are robust with a large sphere. Only King and Bishops wear a collar. Bases have grey felts. The carton board is an old Rumanian one and probably of same period or older.

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  • Rumania, “King with turban ‘Delicate’ set”
  • ca. 1970
  • Wood K 7.5; p 4.5
  • Board 34.3×34.4

Rumania, “1980ies-2000ies ‘Competition’ set”
This well lacquered set was used in competitions from 1980ies into the 2000ies. King has a cross. Queen has a pointed top, as in the 'Turban' set, but here she is smaller than the king and confusion is virtually impossible. Bishops have an onion-shaped top in the colour of the opponent. The more German-like Knights have manes at the right, a very barely sketched mouth and no eyes nor nostrils. Rooks lack crenellations, but have their surface deepened. Pawns are robust with a large sphere. Only Bishops and pawns have a collar. King and Queen too, but at lower place. Bases have red felts. The carton board is a brand new Rumanian one and nowadays in use in competitions and clubs. It reads: "(Dear to) dream, you will get there!"

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  • Rumania, “1980ies-2000ies ‘Competition’ set”
  • Late 20th century
  • Wood K 8.9; p 5.4
  • Board 47.95×49.5

 

Modern sets, which come in a box with chess board outside and backgammon board inside, including disks and dices for checkers and backgammon, are very popular in Rumenia from the 1980ies till now. They are available in 6 different sizes: NR1=26cm, NR2=32cm, NR3=38cm, NR4=45cm, NR5=50cm, NR6=65cm

Rumania, “2019 ‘Popular' set (medium)”, NR3
This well lacquered medium sized (NR3) set was made in 2019. King has a cross. Queen has a pointed tip. Bishops have an onion-shaped top in their own colour, so not in those of the opponent. Knights, in style of Viennese coffeehouse sets, have manes on the right, but no other features. Rooks lack crenellations, but have their surface deepened, but only slightly this time. Pawns are robust with a large sphere. Only King, Queen and Bishops wear a collar. Bases have red felts.

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  • Rumania, “2019 ‘Popular' set (medium)”, NR3
  • 2019
  • Wood K 8.2; p 5.1
  • Box/board 38.4×19.3×5.5 (closed)

Rumania, “2019 ‘Popular' set (larger)”, NR4
This well lacquered larger sized (NR4) set was made in 2019. There are no religious symbols like crosses or mitres. The pieces are more aggressive and more solid formed. King has a button-shaped top. Note that Kings are a bite different. I suppose from factory because the set was never used. Queen has a pointed tip. The Bishops have an onion-shaped top in their own colour, so not in those of the opponent. Knights, in style of Viennese coffeehouse sets, have manes at the right, but no other features. Rooks lack crenellations and are simply flat, without deepening this time. Pawns are robust with a large sphere. Only King, Queen and Bishops wear a collar. Bases have red felts.

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  • Rumania, “2019 ‘Popular' set (larger)”, NR4
  • 2019
  • Wood K 8.6; p 5.6
  • Box/board 44.3×22.0×6.5 (closed)