Mordovian (aka ‘Latvian’) ‘Queen’s Gambit’ Style Soviet Analysis Chess Set with Vintage Board, c.1960
Moldovian Pattern: 32 unweighted analysis chess pieces with a folding vintage board, wood, Soviet Era, c.1960
Height; King 7.5cm, weight 6g, base width 2.8cm; Queen 6.2cm wt.7g, Bishop 5.6cm 4g, Knight 5cm 6g, Rook 4.2cm 6g, Pawns 3.7cm 3g.
W: original off-white cloth pads; B: same
Board Size: 35cm x 35cm. Squares are 4.2cm. The board is hand-painted (artist unknown and most probably deceased) and is in vintage condition, but carries a great deal of character. I doubt the board is original to the set, if anything, older, but certainly appeals to the eye. A perfect lightweight travel companion and a great gift for a young student of the game or budding collector.
This famous Soviet design was once said to be “a favourite” of the legendary ‘magician from Riga’ – Mikhail Tal – which is why the set is sometimes confusingly called the ‘Latvian’ set. I make use of the term ‘famous’ because just recently a slightly larger version of this timeless Cold War pattern was used in the hit mini-series, THE QUEEN’S GAMBIT, although this particular design appeared a few decades earlier than the 1980s version used by Beth Harmon in the nail-biting finale of episode seven.
The trademark ‘elbow’ or ‘S’ shape of the Moldovian knights have a stark simplicity about them and the equally simple ‘tear-drop’ dome of the bishop can only be inspired by Moscow’s Saint Basil’s Cathedral, erected during the reign of Ivan the Terrible in the 16th century, “…its towering domes shaped like the flames of a bonfire rising into the sky” (A. Ivanov, The Tsars p.100). The queen’s trademark finial or ‘bonnet’ is also unique to these medium-sized analysis chessmen.
The set also comes with our unique ‘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…
Visit our Gallery for more artistically restored vintage chess sets.