August’s Featured Chess Set is from the collection of the World Chess Hall of Fame. Since its creation in 1986, the World Chess Hall of Fame (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. This month’s featured chess set is part of a collection amassed by David Roderer, which is now part of the permanent collection of the World Chess Hall of Fame. Roderer obtained chess sets as gifts and while traveling around the world with his wife Nancy.
This cardboard chess set features the psychedelic art of graphic designer Peter Max. He rose to fame during the 1960s, when his colorful artwork appeared in advertisements and on magazine covers and posters. The Peter Max Chesset appeared in 1971, just one year before American grandmaster Bobby Fischer won the World Chess Championship. His victory led many periodicals to produce guides to buying chess sets for aspiring players. According to the New York Times’ article “Fischer Furor Sparks Big Run on Chess Sets,” the Peter Max set was a bestseller and sold for $10 (about $60 today).