The Jackals (Draconis); 32 lightly weighted chess pieces without board, wood, natural v. black, Soviet, Stalin Era, c.1940-1953
Height: King 4” or 10.2cm, weight 15g, base width 3.2cm; Queen 9.5cm, wt. 15g, bw 3.4cm; Bishop 8cm 12g, Knight 7.3cm 16g, Rook 5cm 16g, Pawns 4.8cm 9g.
W: lush black felt pads, B: same
Here we offer a unique Soviet set dating from the period just before WWII. It is unusual in two ways; the first is the rare occurrence that the finials of the royals aren’t reversed in colour and for this project I’ve decided to go with the flow and keep them traditional – I know! It’s not often that I abide by the rules, but it just seemed right with this project.
The second unique factor is that each piece is carved/turned from a single piece of wood (plainly put, nothing is detachable). While this is common with other pieces like the rooks, bishops and pawns, it is rare that the finials of the royals and the base and torso of the knights are made from one piece – a distinct 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 jawline and mischievous grin, reminiscent of the Soviet Laughing Knights chessmen of the 1930s.
The set has been in my possession for some years, but was relegated to the storage room as the original deep chestnut-red varnish of the ‘light’ pieces was too similar to the black pieces, making for a confusing middle game – especially in the evening. Therefore, I decided to bite the bullet and sac the original varnish and rework the set to how I imagined it may have looked before the decades of dirt and finger-slime took their toll. Once this was peeled back the wonderfully carved knights really blossomed and I’ve attempted to retain an ‘old feel’ to the set with a subtle antiquing effect, nicely complimenting the original patina of the dark pieces (with just a few ‘invisible’ repairs here and there. 1 pawn collar, 1 bishop collar).
What’s in the name? Well, quite simply, when I first clapped eyes on this pattern they reminded me of a dingo or a jackal with their large erect ears, bared teeth and aggressive countenance…making for quite a menacing-looking set overall, but who’s friendly over the 64 squares anyhow?
The Jackals are UV resistant and ideal for display as well as casual /blitz play and both kings carry the hand-painted iridescent copper ‘Power’ signature of the artist on their bases
Each set also comes with a ‘Certificate of Artistry’ which will be posted separately once we tally up how many listings passed through our galleries in 2022. “All good things …” as the wise man said.
For more info on the CoA please see our Jan. 2022 Chessay on the ALL ABOUT CHESS page.
Etsy Set Price: $850.00
thechessschach.com Set Price: $800.00
Ref code: TJ22