Logici d’Ferro (The Iron Logician); 32 Botvinnik-Flohr (BF II) tournament chess pieces without board, caramel v. black, wood, original weights, distressed/antiqued, Soviet, c.1958
Height: King 10.7cm or 4 1/4”, weight 38g, base width 4.4cm; Queen 9.5cm, wt 33g, Bishop 8.5cm 32g, Knight 7.5cm 36g, Rook 6.2cm 30g, Pawns 6cm 25g
W: deep Russian blue felt bases B: same
A truly classic Soviet tournament set that gained its sobriquet from the Moscow International Tournament of 1935 where the ‘Iron Logician’ Mikhail Botvinnik and Salo Flohr tied for 1st place, just ahead of the great Emanuel Lasker and the Cuban legend, Capablanca, who placed 3rd and 4th respectively. Several variations of these distinctive chessmen (characterized by the ‘flat’ mitres of the bishops) were widely used throughout the USSR between 1930 and 1970 and are considered in chess collecting circles to be one of “the most iconic Soviet designs ever produced” (qu. Chuck Grau: ‘Soviet and Russian Chess Sets’ Facebook group). Included in the gallery is also a well-circulated photograph of this very same set snapped at the Moscow Central Chess Club in 1958 when a 15-year-old Bobby Fischer was invited to play a few games of blitz with the future World Champion (1963-69) Tigran Petrosian – and who knows? These may be the same pieces!? An official clash between the two in the same year was nicknamed ‘The Bear Hug” and is the third game featured in Fischer’s 60 Memorable Games should you have a copy in your library.
This unique artistic recreation of a weathered, time-worn finish was achieved by delicately layering many different custom-tinted earthy hues and various types of varnishes (dead flat, matte, satin, semi-gloss and shellac) sandwiched one over the other to reproduce the feel of a peeling, well-worn patina. The finish looks quite wonderful (in my unbiased opinion) now, but like a good wine, will also gain more depth of beauty with the gradual passing of time – an important factor which is taken into account with all my work. There are some ‘battle-scars’ here and there, some natural, some not, but none are unpleasant on the eye and add to the overall character of the pieces as a whole. The original lead weights were protruding from almost all of the bottoms of the pieces. These have been ground flat and a little weight has been added to compensate for the loss and in every respect should feel like those used in tournament play in the 50s.
All of our chess pieces are UV resistant and ideal for display as well as casual/blitz play and both kings carry the hand-painted iridescent bronze ‘Power’ signature of the artist on their bases
The Iron Logician also comes with a ‘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.
Ref code: LF21
Visit our Gallery for more artistically restored vintage chess sets.