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hi all, looking into getting a new chess set. I currently have a small 2.5 inch (king) set. I am looking at reasonably priced tournament sized wooden chess sets. I saw the USCF website has a Fischer Spassky 1972 replica set on sale. Looks great to me and I like the historical significance, but it's only a 3.25 inch king. Is this a problem? I don't know enough about chessmen, but this seems a little short. They also sell a 3.75 inch set, but its more than double the price. Anyone have any details on the original Fischer Spassky set? Was it 3.25 inches or was it taller? Is there a noticable difference when playing with this size vs. a 3.75 inch set? Also, is there a standard tournament size that I should be using? Also found a Fischer Spassky replica set on ebay (looks generic). Anyone have luck with these generic sets? I can't tell if the quality is there. I don't want to be disappointed. OK, one more Fischer/Spassky question - can anyone direct me to some info on the original set? I'd love to see a photo and read the dimensions. OK... final question and then I'm done (I promise!) What about boards - is there a standard size? Thanks for the help!
I believe they played on a 3.75" Jaques set.
What HOS offers is as close as you'll get for a good price. More money won't get you closer unless you buy the original set.
Often HOS offers such sets for a considerable discount on eBay.
A board with 2-1/4" squares would be standard (i.e. tournament legal as well as aesthetically pleasing) for such a 3.75" set.
As well as the most commonly seen dimensions at US tournaments.
You can't get any better info than from goldendog IMO
You might also want to consider one of the HOS combinations like these two.
Aside from HOS, are there other websites that offer quality & durable chessmen at a reasonable price?
Wholesale chess has these. They are probably not the same quality as HOS but they look ok to me for a knock around set.
So, I took a close look at this set, but noticed the knight is really big - bigger than normal. Isn't a knight normally the height of the rook? this one is as tall as the bishop. Is that odd, or a normal variation in chess sets? Anybody have the actual dimensions or a good photo of the 1972 fischer spassky pieces? All I could find is located on This site, which would suggest the knight is more similar in height to the rook.
On a side note, if i'm going for the 3 3/4 king, are there specific official dimensions of the other pieces? I really like the set I mentioned above, but would it be strange to play with these big knights? Would other players have a problem with this? I don't get much OTB time, so thanks in advance for your help and opinions.
Finally, if you have a set you really like please send me a link. I'm looking for something with good astetics, durable, 3 3/4 King, under $100 & made of wood.
Yeah, that knight really bangs the eye.
HOS' Reykjavik corresponds (probably a virtual duplicate, as Frank is a stickler) to the original Jaques set once it showed on the market.
FWIW, knight size is all over the place even in the great antique Jaques sets, though I've never seen a knight with such a growth disorder.
It's a case of bad aesthetics in the case you cite. If I somehow came up with that design I'd rip it up on the spot. The rook is also too dinky.
If only HOS were on an eBay jag you'd probably get your set at or near your price.
Yeah, there's a number of things not accurate about that Wholesalechess set. The knight's too big, the rook's too skinny, the top of the bishop is too bulbous, and the pawn doesn't look right either. Here's one of the original sets made for the match:
Good views of that original set, EscherehcsE.
P.S. The black side looks ebonized to me.
Thank you both for your replies. If you have a set you'd recommend I'm all ears. It does not have to be a Reykjavik set, just any quality wood set with a 3.75 King and under $100. I'm thinking HOS discounted sets will be my best best. I see they have a classic set that looks nice and is quite affordable.
What do you intend for this set?
Sunday analysis? Games with a good chess friend?
Pretty light (and safe) duty there, but do you want to play in the park? Take to a tournament?
A nice set wouldn't stay nice long in such hazard duty.
Like lots of other players, I have a variety of sets, one for every occasion. In fact I have more sets that occasions these days.
Some small travel sets.
2.5 plastic analysis set.
3" Library sized (ebony/boxwood, not too bad)
3.75 solid plastic USCF Special (durable and cheap)
3.75" plastic Collector (great design, heavily weighted, pretty durable)
3,75" inexpensive wood knockoff of USCF Special (ebonized, med. weighted)
Fine 4" sets (restricted to the safe zone i.e. analysis and play w/ careful friends)
You seem attracted to the Fischer-Spassky set. I'd say bide your time until you get a deal on the HOS version. That'll be one of your sets. Aim perhaps to fill the slot for casual use with an inexpensive wood or plastic set. Like the one you linked above.
Did you known that the plastic Ultimate Set is basically the Fischer-Spassky set in plastic, with changes to the pawn?
My HOS Club Wooden is plenty nice and practical as well:
Your problem is having to pick among many good sets. There are many out there.
What kind of slot do you want to fill?
good advice. I'm primarily using this set at home for games with friends and eventually my kids (they're a little young right now for fragile things - but have an interest in the game). I have a small cheap wood set I use for bang'n around w/ the toddlers. I would like to get into tournaments down the road, but could always spring for a plastic set when that day comes. Speaking of tournaments, would a 4" king be acceptable or do they have to be 3.75?
4" is still in the sweet spot. USCF allows for a fairly broad range actually.
If I went with 4" I'd want at least a 2-3/8" board.
One advantage of a 3.75" set is that the complementary 2-1/4" boards are easier to find.
I have in my back issues of Chess Life an October 1978 copy which contains a catalog offering of the Jaques Fischer-Spassky style set. Identical, it says, and with a 3.5" king. Well that makes sense if the Ultimate in plastic is a knockoff at 3-5/8", as the molds made of an original size up each generation.
The pieces match up with the original pieces that were up for auction.
That's a very nice chess set
Also, so far as I can tell, and as of when I last talked to member computojon who has researched Jaques offerings, this 1972 set basically sprang from Jaques all of a sudden. Not as a set they pulled off their shelves but one made especially for Fischer-Spassky, who requested a Jaques set.
From the time the Jaques factory was bombed in WWII until the 1972 match, Jaques made no high quality chess sets. At least I've never seen an ad for such a set in any of my US mags, which stretch from 1946 to the 50s and the 60s and onwards.
I wonder why the players would request a Jaques set if they hadn't been using them before? Fischer's match with Petrosian looks like an antique Jaques, or can pass for one, but apart from that GMs just weren't using Jaques pieces.
Oh well. Too late to ask Fischer.
$800 in 1978 dollars is an expensive crack in the wall, but the wall did come down; 25 years later you could get the set for $100 on eBay.
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