Disc sets  (Symbols & Figurines)

Symbols are used in sets that are composed of discs on which the symbol is printed or, also often, is cut out. Chinese disc sets can be very high standard and beautifully carved. Chinese disc sets for normal use, including those to play XiangQi, are mostly not that elaborate. Well known are pocket sets like "Schach im Felde" or the "Feldpost" sets and alike, who all have discs, of cardboard or wood, with symbols printed on or cut out. Bakelite disc sets with cut out symbols are also well known. Finally, wallboards with magnetic discs having representative icons, not for normal play but for decoration or as demonstration board. There are also wallets with disks, see Wallets page and stud sets with disks, see Stud-sets page.

This Chinese disc set is exceptionally well carved.

Does anyone has the missing bishop ?

  • China, "Disc set"
  • 19th century
  • Ivory Ø 4.0 and 1.0 high

Sets below are all of WW1 period. “Schach im Felde” may have been given to soldiers. I have it in 3 variants. One variant has a Halma game and another has softboard discs. “Dame-Muhle-Schach” is a common combination. This example is very similar to the "Schach im Felde". All sets have wooden discs with a cut-out symbol, except the one with softboard discs having a printed symbol on an attached paper.

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  • Germany, "Schach im Felde"
  • 1914
  • Beech pieces Ø 2.4 and 0.7 high
  • Box 10.8×10.8×2.3
  • Cardboard board 20.0×20.0

Variant 1/3
On the back of the box it says "Mr. Voigt" and "8 K O.J.R. 91". The latter means 8th Kompagnie, Oldenburger Infantry Regiment No. 91. M. Voigt was not in the history book of this regiment. He will have survived the war.

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  • Germany, "Schach im Felde"
  • 1914
  • Beech pieces Ø 2.4 and 0.7 high
  • Box 15.4×10.8×3.2
  • Cardboard board 20.1×20.1

Variant 2/3
This one has a "Halma" game with own board as well. There is a Traumaplast advert inside the lid. There exist also a "Halma" only version, but I do not have that.

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  • Germany, "Schach im Felde"
  • 1914
  • Softboard pieces Ø 2.5 and 0.7 high
  • Box 11.1×11.1×2.7
  • Cardboard board 19.9×20.1

Variant 3/3
This one bought in Austria and looks like a cheaper variant (although box is exactly same as variant 1).
Note that the manual is different from version 1 as well.

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  • Germany
  • ca. 1914
  • Beech pieces Ø 2.5 and 0.7 high
  • Box 14.6×10.9×2.4
  • Cardboard board 19.7×19.7

"Schach im Felde" alike

Set called "Tobis". The elongated box has a wrapper explaining which chess pieces the different drawings represent. It also contains all kinds of other text such as sizes and price. In "Tijdschrift van den Nederlandschen Schaakbond", jrg 44, 1936, no 3, 01-03-1936 is an article about the game that shows that it was intended to be sold as study material to schools and clubs. It also explains that the images are made as on playing cards, readable from both sides. However, this does not apply to the pawns. It is an interesting piece of chess history in the Netherlands in the period that there was a kind of hype after Euwe became world champion.

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  • Netherlands, Nederlandse Schaakschijvenfabriek, Hilversum, "Tobis"
  • 1936
  • Cardboard pieces 3.4×3.4×0.3
  • Box 16.8×8.8×1.7
  • Paper board 45×45 cm (as stated on box)

An interesting pocket set called "Play kit" with small pieces with symbols.

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  • USA, "Play Kit"
  • ca. 1940
  • Plastic pieces Ø 1.5 and 0.3 high
  • Genuine leather case ca 13.8×10.3×3.6
  • Board 17.2×17.2

Following sets are all cardboard disc sets from the WW2 period in Germany. "Feldpost" could be send to the soldiers at the front. 

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  • Germany, "Feldpost"
  • ca. 1942
  • Cardboard pieces Ø 2.5
  • Box 23.3×12.4×1.9
  • Cardboard board 22.5×22.7
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  • Germany, "Schach- Dame und Mühle"
  • ca. 1942
  • Cardboard pieces Ø 2.6
  • Box 24.1×12.7×1.4
  • Cardboard board 23.0×23.0
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  • Germany?
  • ca. 1942 or older?
  • Cardboard pieces Ø 1.9
  • Box 18.2×9.6×1.4
  • Cardboard board 16.7×16.7

Below 2 examples of Bakelite disc sets. The right is called the "Services" set and was given to English soldiers in WW2. They were made by Chad Valley and I have seen these sets in 1 or 2 other boxes as well.

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  • England
  • ca. 1940
  • Bakelite pieces Ø 3.0
  • Box 14.7×7.5×4.7
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  • England
  • ca. 1940
  • Bakelite pieces Ø 3.0
  • Box 14.7×7.8×4.6

The set in CD box is more a curiosity and not that handy to play with, because it is so small. There is a whole series of different games made in a CD box.

  • Netherlands, by Epini
  • 1980
  • CD boxes with chess set pieces Ø 1.0
  • Box/board 14.1×12.5×1.0

Some modern Chinese and Vietnamese disc sets for International chess (this is our normal chess) and Chinese chess (XiangQi).

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  • China
  • 1979
  • Birch pieces Ø 3.0; 1.2 high
  • Cardboard box 12.9×12.9×2.7
  • Paper board 31.9×26.9
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  • China
  • 1981
  • Wood pieces Ø 2.5; 0.9 high
  • Cardboard box 10.9×10.9×2.8
  • Paper board for chess and one for XiangQi
  • China, "XiangQi" (chinese chess)
  • 2003
  • Lime pieces Ø 3.3 and 1.3 high
  • Box/board 34.3×19.9×2.1
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  • Vietnam, "XiangQi" (chinese chess)
  • 2015
  • Wood? pieces Ø 3.3 and 1.3 high
  • Box 14.2×14.2×2.7
  • Board 33.0×36.5
« 1 of 2 »
  • Vietnam, "XiangQi" (chinese chess)
  • 2015
  • Plastic pieces Ø 2.8 and 1.0 high
  • Box/board 32.8×18.5×1.9

Two wallboards having magnetic discs with representative icons. Both from the same magnets factory in the Netherlands.

  • Netherlands, by BM magneten, a Dutch factory making magnets
  • 1993
  • Plastic with magnets pieces Ø 3.0
  • Black board with plastic frame 51.1×41.0×2.3
  • Netherlands, by BM magneten, a Dutch factory making magnets
  • 1993
  • Plastic with magnets pieces Ø 3.0
  • White board with aluminium frame 51.1×41.0×2.3