Unicornis Tidae (Little Rhinoceroses); 32 weighted chessmen without board, light brown v. dark brown, Soviet (post-Stalin era), circa1960 – 1970.
Height: King 10.5, weight 35g, base width 4cm, Queen 9cm, wt. 30g, Bishop 7..2cm, Knight 7.5cm, Rook 6.5cm, Pawn 5.2cm; W: Antiqued soft orange bases B: same
These large, iconic sets are becoming quite collectable of late as they scream of the 1960s. The robust, chunky knights are particularly attractive and very distinctive – a chess friend likened them to ‘little rhinos’ a few years back, now this is all I see.
I have a similar set in my collection dated ‘1966’ (stamped inside the original box) stating that it was made in a “furniture factory” in Lviv Oblast “Karpaty” (Carpathians), a mountainous, densely forested area in Eastern Ukraine near the Polish border. Suggesting, of course, that it was made in the Gulag System (prisons) of the old Soviet Union.
For more on this see my ‘Chessay’ GULAG KNIGHTS on the ALL ABOUT CHESS page.
The pieces are UV resistant and ideal for display as well as casual play.
Both kings carry the hand-painted iridescent gold ‘power’ signature of the artist on their felt bases as the project began in 2019.
Ref code UT19