September’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.
Chosen for display in connection with the school year beginning, Chessword is one of many chess variants in the collection of the World Chess Hall of Fame. Like the 4th Dimensional Games set on view in Open Files II: Celebrating Five Years of Collecting, this chess-inspired game was sold in 1972, the year that American Grandmaster Bobby Fischer (U.S. Chess Hall of Fame, 1986; World Chess Hall of Fame, 2001) won the World Chess Championship. His victory popularized chess in the United States, leading many companies to produce unique variations on the game. Chessword features a game board with squares with letters. Players must move their pieces to different squares to get letters to spell a word to end the game rather than trapping the king in checkmate.