12 July 2016

Chess Champion Trading Cards

In Mystery Card Series, I wrote,

The card shown on the left [Korchnoi] is one of a series. How many different cards were produced? When and why were they produced?

In my image archive I located 12 cards in addition to the Korchnoi card. These are shown below (along with my image reference).

The players on the cards are a mixture of historical World Champions, current (circa 1981) World Champions & top contenders, and Yugoslav Champions. They are identified as:-

1st row: Karpov, Ljubojevic, Gligoric, Capablanca
2nd: Alekhine, Steinitz, Spassky, Ivkov
3rd: Lazarevic, Velimirovic, Nemet, Ivanovic

That last card is titled 'Chess Champions'. The four players in the last row are less well known than the others, but are important enough to have Wikipedia pages:-

I've enlarged the header of the Milunka Lazarevic card to show the various symbols used on the cards. As for the card series, one description mentioned,

Edition: "Enigmatsko drustvo CVOR" Bjelovar, 1981. This is very limited edition which covers just 380 different sports cards, among them 13 chess cards

The most comprehensive description I found was,

A very rare Svijet Sporta card from Yugoslavia in 1980-1981. 'Svijet Sporta' translates to 'Sports World' in English. The card is from Bosnia / Croatia / Serbia which was formerly known as Yugoslavia and has a bio of the athlete in the Bosnian / Croatian / Serbian language on the back.

This card certainly was inspired by the Sportscaster cards that were sold around the world judging by the color band and logos at the top of the card. The card is slightly smaller than a Sportscaster card and as far as scarcity it does not compare.

Cards were un-numbered from 1-54 and the rest are numbered 55 to 385, this was a 385 card set released in subscription form just like Sportscasters in 1980 and 1981. Higher numbered cards are supposed to be short printed but all cards from this set are extremely rare in comparison to any other subscription cards.

Copyright: 1981 Svijet Sporta (Enigmatsko udruzenje, Cvor Bjelovar); Measures: 5 7/8 x 3 15/16 inches (15 x 10 cm)

The 'Mystery Card Series' is no longer a mystery.

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