Militae Vita (Army Life); 32 weighted wooden chessmen without board, Soviet, red vs. black, antiqued/distressed, post-Revolution, circa 1925-1945
Height; King 8.5cm, wt 22g, base width 3.2cm, Queen 7.5cm 22g bw 3.4cm, Bishop 5.5cm 16g, Knight 5.8cm 11g, Rook 4cm 16g, Pawn 4.3cm 8g. W: black felt bases B: same
This elegantly turned post-Revolution Soviet design pops up on the market only every so often, and most often they are in poor condition or incomplete, as was the case with these well-used warriors, which were missing two dark bishops and two dark rooks. The two rooks being of a simple, rustic design I turned and colour-matched myself, the two bishops, being of a more delicate pattern were matched to the light side, turned in the workshop of the master craftsman, Alan Dewey. They are not absolutely identical, a conscious decision, so as to blend in with the rest of the set that has individual characters all of their own – as you could discover yourself after playing through a few games with these historic, antique chessmen.
An almost identical set is exhibited at the Russian Chess Federation Museum in Moscow.
Both kings carry the hand-painted iridescent silver ‘Power’ signature of the artist on their bases and are UV resistant making them ideal for display as well as casual play.
‘Army Life’ black and white image courtesy of Chuck Grau’s excellent Facebook group, Shakmatnyye Kollektsioner (Soviet and Russian Chess Sets).
Militae Vita also comes with a ‘Certificate of Artistry’ which will be posted separately once we tally up how many listings passed through our galleries in 2021 – “All good things …” as the wise man once said.
Ref code: MV20
📸 credit: Alex Chelnokov (final two images of set exhibited at the Russian Chess Federation Museum)
Visit our Gallery for more artistically restored vintage chess sets.