October’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.
Dorothy and many of the denizens of Oz appear in this chess set with the theme of the beloved children’s book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Author L. Frank Baum published the book in 1900, and according to his introduction, the book aspired to be, “a modernized fairy tale, in which the wonderment and joy are retained and the heartaches and nightmares are left out.” W.W. Denslow’s illustrations for the original printing provide the inspiration for these whimsical pieces.