Octobris Rubem (Red October), 32 lightly-weighted chessmen with matching board, Soviet, wood, burgundy v. black, antiqued, post-WWII era, circa 1945-1960
Height: King 9.5cm, weight 17g, base width 3.7cm, Queen 8.5cm 16g, Bishop 7.1cm 10g, Knight 6.1cm 16g, Rook 5cm 15g, Pawn 4.3cm 5g.
W: burgundy felt bases B: same
The prolific Portuguese collector, Arlindo Vieira, in his blog Xadrez Memoria (Memories Of Chess) refers to this classic Soviet design as “Tal’s favourite” and if I were forced to choose just one Soviet set to take with me to the afterlife this would certainly be a main contender. Vieira, of course, refers to the late World Champion Mikhail Tal, or “Misha” as he was fondly called, the famous ‘Magician of Riga’.’ And one can see why he favoured this particular design as just to glance at them sparks a sudden urge to play some chess!
The iconic ‘elbow-shaped’ knights have a stark simplicity about them and are very comfortable in hand – even more so with this set, which has been lightly weighted lending them added substance on the field. Likewise, the simple tear-drop mitre of the bishop can only be inspired by Moscow’s Saint Basil’s Cathedral and it’s famous “…towering domes shaped like the flames of a bonfire rising into the sky” (A. Ivanov, The Tsars, 2018). A vivid image I bore in mind when layering the fiery blood- red/burgundy hues over the lighter side of this set – and if it catches your eye, I hope you will enjoy some ‘fireworks’ over the board with it too!
The light side has been kept true to its original colours, antiqued and gently distressed. The dark side has a very subtle antiqued ebony finish.
The board has also been artistically matched to compliment the pieces
The pieces are UV resistant and ideal for display as well as casual play.
Both Kings carry the hand-painted iridescent silver ‘power’ signature of the artist on their felt bases.