Through the Featured Chess Set project, the World Chess Hall of Fame showcases a variety of chess sets throughout the year. These include highlights from our own collection as well as chess sets owned by friends and chess lovers who have special stories to accompany their sets. For more information about how to participate in the Featured Chess Set project, please inquire at the front desk or email Assistant Curator Emily Allred.
April’s Featured Chess Set is part of the collection of the World Chess Hall of Fame (WCHOF). Since its creation in 1986, the WCHOF has endeavored to highlight the history and cultural significance of the game of chess. The WCHOF’s collection is diverse and includes sets once owned by legendary players, mass-produced sets with lively pop culture themes, antique ivory sets, travel sets, as well as chess computers. Through these artifacts, the WCHOF illustrates how chess has evolved through its over 1500-year history.
This simple chess set once belonged to Edward Lasker, the newest inductee to the U.S. Chess Hall of Fame. In 1914, Edward Lasker emigrated from Germany to the United States, where he soon became one of America’s top early 20th-century players. Lasker won five U.S. Open Chess Championships (1916, 1917, 1919, 1920, 1921), which were then known as the Western Open. In 1923, he challenged Frank Marshall to a match for the U.S. Chess Championship and narrowly lost, 8.5-9.5. Lasker also popularized chess through his books, which included Chess for Fun & Chess for Blood (1942).