Special Projects

Featured Chess Sets
January 1, 2014 - December 31, 2014
Featured Chess Sets Featured Chess Sets
January 2014-Green and White Onyx Chess Set, c 1999February 2014-French Limoges Set, c 1980sMarch 2014-Russian Leaders Set, 1992April 2014-Cantonese Puzzle Ball Set, c 1820s - 1840sMay 2014-Game Compendium, c 1850sJune 2014-Dani Coronado, The Sexes (detail), 2012July 2014-Studio Anne Carlton, American War of Independence Chess Set, 1980 

January 2014-Green and White Onyx Chess Set, c 1999

February 2014-French Limoges Set, c 1980s

March 2014-Russian Leaders Set, 1992

April 2014-Cantonese Puzzle Ball Set, c 1820s - 1840s

May 2014-Game Compendium, c 1850s

June 2014-Dani Coronado, The Sexes (detail), 2012

July 2014-Studio Anne Carlton, American War of Independence Chess Set, 1980 

The World Chess Hall of Fame features a variety of chess sets throughout the year. These will highlight different chess sets in our own collection as well as chess sets owned by “friends” and chess lovers who have special stories to accompany their sets.

Do you live in the Saint Louis metropolitan area and have a chess set with a great story? Submit it for inclusion in our Featured Chess Set project! This program highlights chess sets with interesting backgrounds borrowed from chess lovers and fans of the Hall of Fame. Featured chess sets are displayed for a period of one month at the World Chess Hall of Fame.

If you would like to participate in the program, send a photo and the story of the set to Emily Allred, Assistant Curator, at emily.allred@worldchesshof.org.

 

January

onyx677Green and White Onyx Chess Set
Mali, c 1999
Onyx
King size: 2 ¾ in.
Board size: 12 x 12 x ½ in.
Collection of Callie Pitt, Saint Louis

January’s Featured Chess Set has been loaned to the World Chess Hall of Fame by Callie Pitt. She purchased it as a gift for her father, an occasional chess player, in 1999. She says, “I had no idea at the time how much chess would be a part of my life now.” Her son is enthusiastic about chess and currently takes classes and participates in tournaments at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis.

Purchased at an open air market in Mali, this set is a treasured memento of Callie’s study abroad program in West Africa. She bought the set at the beginning of her trip. Consequently, Callie carried the heavy board and the fragile pieces wrapped in cloth in her backpack until her return to the United States at the end of the summer. Her father enjoyed the gorgeous hand-carved set’s decorative qualities, displaying it in his home.

 

February

limoges677-2French Limoges Set
France, c 1980s
Porcelain King size: 2 7/8 in.
Collection of the World Chess Hall of Fame, gift of Bernice and Floyd Sarisohn

Bernice and Floyd Sarisohn donated February’s featured set to the World Chess Hall of Fame. The Sarisohns share a passion for collecting chess sets, which began when Bernice gave one to Floyd as an engagement gift. In the years since, their devotion led them to be active members of Chess Collectors International, an organization founded in 1984 that brings together lovers of artistic chess sets and chess memorabilia. Their generous loans and donations have allowed the World Chess Hall of Fame to share a variety of wonderful sets with our patrons.

In this set, the kings bear scepters topped by the “hand of justice,” or a hand shown in a gesture of blessing, and the queens hold a scepter adorned with the fleur-de-lis, both symbols of the French monarchy. The pawns delicately hold roses, symbols of courtly love. Though made in the twentieth century, the set has stylistic features that date to eighteenth-century France—the substitution of fous (fools) for the bishop. The set was created in Limoges, France, a city known for its manufacture of hard-paste porcelain.

 

March

russian9004677Abtop A. Mepkyaob Russian Leaders Set
Russia, 1992
Painted Wood
King size: 4 ½ x 1 ¾ in.
Collection of the World Chess Hall of Fame, gift of Bernice and Floyd Sarisohn

Bernice and Floyd Sarisohn donated March’s featured set to the World Chess Hall of Fame. The Sarisohns share a passion for collecting chess sets, which began when Bernice gave one to Floyd as an engagement gift. In the years since, their devotion led them to be active members of Chess Collectors International, an organization founded in 1984 that brings together lovers of artistic chess sets and chess memorabilia. Their generous loans and donations have allowed the World Chess Hall of Fame to share a variety of wonderful sets with our patrons.

This humorous chess set presents caricatures of well-known twentieth-century Russian leaders including Joseph Stalin and Vladimir Lenin, and alludes to the establishment of the Russian Federation after the Soviet Union’s fall. Each of the figures, which are shaped like Russian nesting dolls, carries a symbol of his identity. Mikhail Gorbachev, as the queen, holds the coat of arms of the Soviet Union, while Boris Yeltsin, the first president of the Russian Federation, bears a double-headed eagle, which he established as the new symbol of the nation.

 

April

puzzle-ball9417677-thjCantonese Puzzle Ball Set
Canton Province, China c 1820s–1840s
Ivory
King size: 5 3/4 in.
Collection of the World Chess Hall of Fame, gift of Dr. George and Vivian Dean

This month’s featured chess set was donated to the World Chess Hall of Fame by Dr. George and Vivian Dean. The Deans have been collecting chess sets together for over fifty years. Numbering over 1000, the collection contains sets from many of the countries they have visited in their travels. The World Chess Hall of Fame showed many of the exquisite pieces from their collection in the exhibition Chess Masterpieces: Highlights from the Dr. George and Vivian Dean Collection, which was on view from September 9, 2011–February 12, 2012.

Showing beautiful decoration and delicate weapons, this chess set depicts Chinese forces (in red) battling British forces led by King George III and Queen Charlotte. Manufactured in China for export to Great Britain, the creation of the set highlights the trade connections that developed between the nations in the early nineteenth century. The kings and queens stand atop elaborate puzzle balls, which feature concentric spheres carved in lacy openwork patterns.

 

May

compendium03677Game Compendium
England, c 1850s
Ivory and wood
10 ¼ x 13 inches
Collection of the World Chess Hall of Fame
Photo © Austin Fuller

May’s Featured Chess Set is part of the collection of the World Chess Hall of Fame. Since its creation in 1986, the World Chess Hall of Fame has endeavored to highlight the history and cultural significance of the game of chess. Our collection includes a number of antique and contemporary chess sets.

This game compendium, which is housed in a handsome wooden case, contains all of the materials for an afternoon of fun. Chess pieces, dominos, draughts, and playing cards are arrayed in a series of shelves and trays, ready for use in play. This compendium originally contained a board and now features some replacement pieces, evidence of its being a well-loved game set.

 

June 

doll677Dani Coronado, The Sexes, 2012
Painted plaster
King size: 2 in.
Collection of Mario Coronado

Mario Coronado loaned June’s Featured Chess Set to the World Chess Hall of Fame. A member of the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis, Mario learned to play chess when he was a child. His sister Dani, who is studying art education at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, created this plaster chess set for him as a Christmas gift in 2012. 

Cast in plaster from molds of familiar  dolls and action figures, this chess set features the head of Luke Skywalker as the king and that of a Bratz doll as the queen. Other pieces are cast from the bodies of the toys, including a baby doll’s torso as the bishop and a chest as the rook. The pieces are pink and blue, the colors stereotypically associated with girls and boys. The artist’s memories of making her dolls date her brother’s action figures against his wishes inspired the theme for this playful set.

 

July

revwar677Studio Anne Carlton, American War of Independence Chess Set, 1980
Metal alloy on aluminum bases
Collection of the World Chess Hall of Fame, gift of Bernice and Floyd Sarisohn

Representing the Revolutionary War battles of Lexington, Concord, and Yorktown, this set features Major General Lord Cornwallis leading British forces against those of the Americans, led by George Washington. Its creator, Studio Anne Carlton, was established in 1969 and is a well-known producer of a variety of themed chess sets. These include other battles, such as Waterloo, but also literary themes like Shakespeare and Sherlock Holmes. 

 

Stay tuned for future featured chess sets!