Ferrum Caballinus (Iron Horse), 32 medium weighted chessmen without board, mixed-media; metal/wood, silver v. bronze, Vintage Latvian Chessmen, circa 1950 – 1965. Height: King 9cm, weight 32g, base width 3.2cm, Queen 8cm (wt. 31g), Bishop 7.5cm (wt. 22g), Knight 5.2cm (wt. 34g), Rook 5cm (wt. av.45g), Pawn 4.7cm (wt. 10g). W: black felt base B: same.
Without doubt, an eye-catcher of a set, modeled after the classic wooden Latvian design once favoured by the 1960 World Chess Champion, Mikhail Tal, with their trademark ‘elbow-shaped’ Knights and minimal facial features. In fact, as mentioned above, this is not a ‘complete’ original set but a hybrid of two similar Latvian sets – one made of metal, the other of wood! From the original metal set, several of the pawns were missing/broken and the Bishops were damaged beyond repair. Having a similarly damaged wooden set (luckily with pawns and bishops fully intact) the decision was made to meld the two together, adding weight and finishing the wooden pieces to replicate and feel – in every which way – like a complete set, which, to the best of my abilities, I believe has been accomplished here.
And just to be clear (as the two mediums are hard to distinguish), the four bishops and the sixteen pawns are from an original WOODEN Latvian set from c.1955. These pieces are all finished to match the rarer original METAL pieces. Have some fun! Play against a friend without revealing the set’s secrets (I have, more than once!) – and unless you’re playing against an eagle-eyed opponent such as the seasoned collector, Holger Langer, you should have no difficulty with your swindle! There are not too many sets like this around! For a more detailed description of the various techniques used to achieve this challenging finish (and tips on many other techniques) please visit our website, thechessschach.com – where space is less of an issue and enjoy a general poke around the various pages.
As usual, the pieces are UV resistant and ideal for display, as well as casual/blitz play. Both Kings carry the hand-painted signature of the artist on their felt bases.
Ref code FC11