Alkhinius Memorae (Remembering Alekhine); 32 lightly weighted chessmen without board, Soviet (Stalin Era), amber v. d. brown, c.1940-1955.
Height: King 8.5cm, wt 12g, base width 2.5cm, Queen 7cm 10g, Bishop 6.2cm, Knight 5.3cm, Rook 4.5cm, Pawn 4.2cm. W: antiqued light blue felt bases, B: same
There is REAL competition between the minor pieces in this set as to who takes the coveted prize of star of the show. While the Knights with their cocky grins are serious contenders, for me the Bishops just ever so slightly pip them to the post. The over-exaggerated tear-drop shaped mitres are colossal compared to similar sets of this era and are perched on top of a sleek hourglass stem sloping down onto a bottom heavy base, so typical of many Soviet sets of this era.
The Rooks are also quite unusual, as the turret is very shallow switching the emphasis to the handsomely tapered and solid looking barrel. The Royals are very traditional, except for the King’s finial which is larger than life! purposefully compensating for the exaggerated mitre of the Bishop. All in all, a very attractive and well balanced chess set all round.
The set is in excellent condition. I’ve added weight, but not too much as I wanted to retain the feel of these bell-bottomed sets. The original, however, was just a tad too light compared to what we are used to these days. I believe I have got the balance just right.
This is a medium sized set with a big heart, designed in the traditional fashion of post-Revolution Soviet sets but with a few unusual twists which first attracted me to this handsome set.
Lastly; Why the name ‘Remembering Alekhine?’ I’m not too sure to be perfectly honest, this set just reminds me of him – I just think it would have been HIS kind of set. He was often pictured dressed in full uniform with purely functional pieces in front of him, nothing too elaborate, nothing too fancy. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if he took a shine to this set – but then I’m just an old romantic…
The pieces are UV resistant and ideal for display as well as casual /blitz play.
Both kings carry the iridescent gold ‘power’ signature of the artist on their bases (as this set was completed in 2019).
Ref code: AD20