The Red Wolves (Lupus Rufae); Soviet GM1 ‘Wolf-Eared’ Knights Tournament Chess Set, c.1965
Lupus Rufae (The Red Wolves); 32 tournament chessmen without board, original weights, wood, Soviet, translucent cadmium red vs. black, artistically restored, c.1960-1970
Height: King 12.5cm, weight 35g, base width 4cm; Queen 10.5cm 32g, Bishop 8.5cm 24g, Knight 9cm 35g, Rook 7.5cm 27g, Pawns 7cm 15g
W: Lush Prussian Blue felt pads, B: same
This iconic Soviet set (our first listing of 2023!) has been part of my reference collection for a number of years. The black patina is gorgeous and therefore has been kept in its original condition with only a few very minor touch-ups. The white side (that wasn’t in such good shape) I have artistically reimagined with the classic Soviet ‘red vs black’ set-up front of mind. They mirror the patina of the dark pieces exactly (in all but colour) and are finished in a multi-layered, oil -based patinating varnish that not only looks stunning now, but will age beautifully over time.
As mentioned, rather than one thick, heavily applied coat I’ve employed a complex layering technique, building up the translucent, fiery-red hue with multiple coats of wafer-thin tinted shellac, aging and deepening each layer with every pass to meticulously replicate the sheen and – just as importantly – the ‘feel’ of the original dark pieces in every way.
The name ‘Red Wolves’ is a play on the recently adopted moniker for this GM1 ‘Wolf-Eared Knights’ pattern, which originates from one of our own Chess Schach silver signature sets from 2020 (see ‘Lupus Auribus Milities’ in our Archive Gallery), now part of the Austin Collection in California, USA. The knight’s over-sized, wolf-like ‘V-cut’ ears and the hanging lower jaw being a particular trademark of this set. To read more on the GM1 family I’d recommend you swing by the U.S. collector, Chuck Grau’s wonderfully informative website (sovietchesssets.com) that has its finger firmly on the pulse of all matters concerning these Soviet and Tsarist Era chess patterns.
Apart from the unique opposing colours of the two armies (traditionally presented in natural wood vs black) I’ve decided to keep the queen’s ball finial to suite and only the king finials are of opposing colours. Not only do I think it ‘looks’ right for this particular project, but also helps distinguish the two royals more easily over the board – and as you know, I’m not one for sticking with traditions! ‘Dare to be Different’ is the Chess Schach motto!!
Both kings carry the BRAND NEW hand-painted 2023 IRIDESCENT PEARL ‘Power’ signature of the artist on their bases and are accompanied by our unique ‘Certificates of Artistry’ which are posted out separately, once we tally up how many sets passed through our galleries in 2023.
“All good things…” as the old saying goes.
Etsy Set Price: $1250.00
thechessschach.com Set Price: $1000.00
Ref code: LR23