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.
May’s Featured Set is on loan to the World Chess Hall of Fame (WCHOF) from Duncan Pohl. Pohl is the author of Vintage Chess Sets of the United States, which includes extensive research about a wide variety of American chess sets and the companies that created them. He also lent artifacts to the WCHOF’s current exhibition The Staunton Standard: Evolution of the Modern Chess Set. The exhibition includes Staunton-style and Staunton chessmen from 1849 to the present day.
Simplified silhouettes of Staunton chessmen appear to float on clear plastic pieces in this inventive set. Hasbro’s advertising hailed the set as “The Game of ages! But in a design no older than ‘now’. This Mars-like planetary set reveres the tradition; has all ‘men’ in one shape, opponent colors identify the pieces. Men are prismatic. A really new interpretation of chessmen—for collector and beginner alike.” The board has alternating brown and blue squares decorated with heraldic symbols: fleur de lis and lions standing on their hind legs. Hasbro, the world’s largest toy manufacturer, created the set.