Ruthenorum Albii (White Russians); 32 weighted chessmen without board, l. brown vs. d. brown, Soviet, circa 1940-1960
Height: King 10.3cm/4”, wt 18g, Base diameter 3.5cm, Queen 9.5cm wt 17g, Bishop 7.7cm, Knight 7.5cm, Rook 5.2cm, Pawn 4.5cm. W: light yellow antiqued felt bases, B: same
Here we offer a unique Soviet set dating from the period just after WWII. It is unusual in that every individual piece is carved/turned from a single blank of wood. While this is common with minor pieces such as the Rook and Bishop it is rare that the finials of the King and Queen and the upper torso of the knight are made from one piece – a design element that certainly helped in retaining the original finials of these sets!
The Knights are particularly well carved and exude an air of strength with their square jaws, accentuated cheek-bones and a mischievous grin. In fact, this is the second of five sets we will be listing in 2020 under the banner of THE LAUGHING KNIGHTS SERIES, all dating from roughly the same time period, circa 1930-1960. These five sets will be the subject of a future Chessay on the ALL ABOUT CHESS page at our main site
www.thechessschach.com towards the end of the year.
What’s in the name? It’s simply the name of a famous cocktail, the main ingredients of which are vodka, coffee liqueur and cream. The dark royals in particular we’re inspired by this punchy beverage invented in 1949, around about the same time this set was first introduced to the chess playing citizens of the former Soviet Union.
The pieces are all in very good condition considering their age – I think the layers of paint coddled them through the tumultuous decades they’ve lived through! The finish has been kept traditional, but with a twist that I am sure you can spot. In my mind, I’m sure some Soviet artisan of yesteryear would have had exactly the same idea, but unfortunately artistic creativity wasn’t looked on as an asset back in those bleak times.
Ref code: RA20