25 July 2021

Historical Chess Sets

You might think that chess sets would be an important component in The Sociology of Chess (November 2016), but the facts say otherwise. I scrolled through the relevant posts from last few years of this blog and could't find a single example.

Gulag chess set (1:00) • '[Published on] Jun 27, 2021'

The description of the video said only,

Series of videos about the CFR Chess Museum's exhibits.

The acronym CFR stands for 'Chess Federation of Russia' and we find related videos on the YouTube channel, CFR Chess Federation of Russia. A snippet of that is shown here:-

The relevant videos are duplicated -- once with Russian text, once with English text -- and the English language Gulag clip is shown in the last thumbnail in the top row. The five videos shown are:-

  • Space chess set
  • Chess set of the besieged Leningrad
  • Gulag chess set
  • "Victrix" chess set
  • "Fish tooth" chess set

There are more after these, all lasting about a minute. Why were these sets chosen? The title page of the Gulag video says,

A special page of chess history belongs to chess sets made in prisons and camps, the Gulag institutions among them.

My guess is that the sets were chosen because of their importance to chess history. Russian chess history alone would be reason enough.

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