Nazi Chess

Sep 16, 2010, 12:12 PM |
A fellow North Carolinian brought my attention to the chess equivalent of the Volkswagen.. The prototype of the Volkswagen had been commissioned during the Third Reich as a durable, affordable and practical car for the masses. The same can be said for the Deutsche Bundesform style of chesspieces.  Erhardt Post, Geschäftsführer of the GSB (Grossdeutscher Schachbund) took a personal involvement in the design which was to be introduced in the 1936 Munich Olympiad.

The idea behind the design was to mass produce chess pieces that were inexpensive, durable and practical.  Chess pieces were predominately made from wood, not molds, so each piece had to be turned on a lathe or carved.  The Bundesform design greatly simplified both these processes.

Though they never really caught on as hoped and seemed to have been used primarily because they were required, even after the war these sets continued to be used, if for no other reason, simply because of the scarcity of any type of goods in Germany. However, these sets were produced until 1990. It's possible that the economical production, the main attraction to these sets, was superceded by the use of modern plastics.
Wehrschach, or Military Chess, also called Tak Tik, is a chess variant created by Bernhard Lehnert in 1938.  Some games say "Verlag die Wehrmacht" published by the  the Wehrmacht.
The board is 121 squares (11x11) and each side has 18 war-related pieces with 5 basic figures: Infantrie,  Hauptfigur, Panzerkampfwagen;  Artillerie,  Flieger.
Wehrschach Handbuch
 An promotion for Tak-Tik