Semetius; 32 decorative folk-art ‘Semetei’ chess pieces with original board; wood, weighted, white vs black, artistically restored, Soviet Kirghizia, 1974-1978
Height: King 92mm, weight 25g, base width 35mm, Queen 75mm wt. 20g, Bishop 75mm 12g, Knight 75mm 16g, Rook 68mm 18g, Pawns 70mm 10g
White: Lush green felt pads; B: same
Folding board dimensions: 45cm x 45cm with 5cm squares. Inner lined with black velvet. Signs of wear, but in very good vintage condition.
In Kyrgyz folklore, Semetei (or Semytey), was the first-born son of their legendary leader, Khan Manas, who united the 40 nomadic and fractious tribes of Kyrgyzstan to form the modern day Republic. The tall, conical ‘kaplak’ of the king is a symbol of power, and likewise, the queen dons a tall, decorated elichek worn only by women of noble birth. The bishops and pawns represent the Khan’s army while the rooks reflect the teardrop-shaped domes of the old Soviet Union.
As mentioned above, the set has been artistically restored. There was severe damage to the surface of some pieces on arrival due to the original finish coat, which remained tacky, even decades after it was applied. This tackiness caused the felt pads and inner lining of the board to adhere to the pieces and had to be painstakingly removed in order to preserve the detailed artwork beneath. Whilst doing this the decision was made to ‘elevate’ the pieces in general, replacing the rather harsh greens and mud-brown with fine gold and bronze, bring the set together and eliminating the confusing concoction of colours over the board!
One white pawn shield was AWOL and has been replaced (the right of the two front pawns in the gallery). It isn’t absolutely perfect, but on close examination all the shield motifs vary ever so slightly anyway. Also, one of the black shields has a chip, or a battle-scar as I call them. I think this adds character and have left the old wound be (if you’d like it restored I can do that for you at no extra cost – live with it for a while first though!).
The extent of the ‘artistic’ restoration can be seen more clearly over at our HQ, thechessschach.com where photos aren’t limited to 10, so we’ve included several ‘before’ shots.
Lastly, much needed weight has been added to the set. If purchasing a Central Asian set from anywhere else other than The Chess Schach the first thing you’ll notice is how light these pieces are. The added weight makes them so much more enjoyable to play with – believe me!
Both kings carry the hand-painted iridescent copper ‘Power’ signature on their bases and are UV protected, making them great for display or over the board play. Semetius is also accompanied by one of our unique Certificates of Authenticity, which are posted off at the end of the year once we tally up how many sets passed through our galleries in 2022. See the Jan. 2022 Chessay on our ALL ABOUT CHESS page for more info on these CoAs.
And likewise, for more info on these Central Asian chess pieces please visit our ALL ABOUT CHESS page @ thechessschach.com and glance an eye over our March 2021 Chessay, Manas, The Kyrgyz and The Great Silk Road.
Etsy Set Price: $950.00
thechessschach.com Set Price: $850.00
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