Averbakii Aeternum (The Eternal Averbakh), 32 lightly-weighted chessmen without board, wood, white v. black, Soviet (Stalin era) ‘Averbakh II’ Chess Set, circa 1945 – 1953.
Height: King 11.5cm, weight 13g, base width 3.5cm, Queen 9.2cm, Bishop 8.3cm, Knight 6.2cm, Rook 5.5cm, Pawn 4.7cm. W: blue felt bases B: same
An iconic Soviet set favoured by the prolific endgame theorist and Russian grandmaster Yuri Averbakh. Standing tall and dignified, much like their namesake, this set is on almost every entry-level and serious chess collectors bucket list. Manufactured shortly after the end of Russia’s Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945 this set is a particularly fine example of an Averbakh – and here I’m talking about the ‘bones’ of the set. The so-called ‘antiqueness’ (a dope word for ‘in slight disrepair’), i.e. the thick lead paint that once engulfed the black pieces and the excessive layers of tacky shellac that coddled the white pieces has been carefully removed to reveal the fine wood-grain beneath. And after the drips, chips and griminess of time were carefully removed (believe me, it was not the ‘perfect patina’ that we all dream of!) the true beauty of the original set could finally be revealed.
Most importantly, however, after this essential cleansing procedure, the original look and feel of this historic set has been faithfully restored. And with the use of a few intricate finishing techniques, such as washing, antiquing, distressing, buffing – and triple buffing! (Just for badness!) – the essential ‘old-timey’ feel of the set remains intact for player and observer alike. Or, as the affable German chess collector, Holger Langer lately remarked; “Alan miraculously recreates these old sets and gives them a new set feel.” Old sets with a New Set Feel! I love that line! Permission to use Mr Langer?! 😀
But back to business: the pieces are UV resistant and ideal for display, as well as casual play and both kings carry the hand-painted signature of the artist on their felt bases.
Ref code AA1
See Holger’s Antique Chess Collection @ www.chess-collection.de for some truly beautiful antique sets and historical insights.