Chess - Play & Learn


FREE - In Google Play

FREE - in Win Phone Store


Argentina 1978 Olympic Chess Pieces

  • #1

    First, I’m sorry for my bad English.

    I want to share some information about the Argentinian Olympic chess pieces:

    Some countries that held the Olympic games of chess chose to make their own “special” chess pieces instead of just buying them on the market. (Dubrovnik 1950, Havana 1966, Buenos Aires 1978. I don’t know if there are more)

    The argentinian Olympic chess pieces (and tables) were made especially for that tournament held in 1978, they were used also in another tournaments like the Clarín International Tournaments.

    Sixty six teams from sixty five countries played in the 23rd Chess Olympiad (Argentina placed two teams). At the same time, also in Argentina, the 8th women chess Olympiad was having place too; there were 32 teams (every women’s team was composed for three boards and one replacement). The manufacturers had to make enough sets of pieces for both tournaments. We are talking about 180 sets to fulfill the need of both tournaments (33x4 + 16x3 = 180), but they could have made some extra sets just in case. Perhaps 200 sets? Who knows.

    Unlike what they did after the Olympiad of Havana 66, where the organizers gave the sets as a gift to the players, in Argentina (at that time under military rule) the sets and tables were given to chess clubs of all over the country (The Buenos Aires’ big  chess clubs got the most sets, they supported the organization of international tournaments, like the Clarìn ones). So these sets never were sold in stores: they were used by the clubs members and just sometimes they were given as prizes in tournaments organized by those clubs, or they were sold to club members or collectors in order to buy new equipment for the clubs or to pay their bills. Some clubs still have some of these old sets (some incompletes or in bad shape), and their members can play with them on their competitions.


    I have been talking about the 1978 ‘original’ Olympic Argentinian sets. Because there are some other sets of pieces that are also called ‘Olympic’, and are very similar to the original ones, being the knight the main difference.

    Now some pictures:

    Miles vs Spassky

    Walter Browne

    Spanenberg (Argentinian) becomes GM. Year 1996. Look at the black queen.

    Recent tournament in a chess club of Buenos Aires

    PS. Sorry for posting some big pictures. I did it on purpose so you could see better the chess pieces.

  • #2

    Great post, Info. I'd love to get a set like that. Any suggestions?

  • #3

    An argentinian friend is helping me to locate a set for sale.

    So far he only went to the Club Argentino de Ajedrez (the biggest and oldest), but there was no luck. They had sets for sale, but none of them was an olympic one.

    He said some friends gave him an idea of where to look for some old sets and clocks. 

    Perhaps during the week he lets me know how is the search going.

    Do you want me to keep you posted by PM?

  • #4

    Well, now here is some information about another "Olympic" chess pieces made in Argentina:

    Two years after the chess olympiad of Buenos Aires, in 1980, "La Nación" newspaper sponsored the match between Polugaievsky and Korchnoi, who were looking to challenge Anatoly Karpov for the World chess championship.

    Again, the organizers decided to have a special set of pieces for this event. They appointed, as in 1978, Casa Campo Hermanos to create it.

    According to an article published on Chessbase, three sets were made: one was given as a gift to each player and the other one was used for the match.

    Here is a picture of one of those sets:

    As you can see, the main difference is the knight, and I'd say also that the number of  turrets of the rooks. This set is supposed to be heavier than the Olímpico of 1978.

    I don't know if more sets were made to be sold to the public. 

    Below some pictures of that match. The argentinian fans crowded the Teatro Premier to see the games. Both players were supported by a lot of fans. They used to throw small pieces of paper (papel picado) to celebrate the victories of their favorite one. 


    After a hard fought match, with the score tied until the last game, Korchnoi prevailed.

  • #5

    There was actually a set on the etail site offerup. But I was a year too late. I too would love to find one. Here is a link to that sale I missed Cry  https://offerupnow.com/item/detail/6863936/chess-set-pieces-only-in-box-vintage-1980s-argentina-wood

  • #6

    More great info, Manuel! Those large collars--amazing! The knights on the later set remind me of those in the Brazilian Braganca sets that Arlindo, Ronbo, and I have posted about.

  • #7

    Great stuff thanks for sharing.

  • #8

    Thanks Chuck and Strangemover!!

    Large collars seem to be a common feature in South American sets. Mostly in the old ones.

  • #9
  • #10

    There is still another argentinian Olympic model, the "Olímpico King".

    Again, the main difference is the knight.

  • #11

    On this video, argentinian ches collector Julio Refay and GM Ariel Sorín talk a little about the argentinian olympic chess pieces. 

    And if you want to see those pieces in action (and to see the chess tables and chess clocks made for that tournament) , during the 1978 chess Olympic games, use this link.

    By the way, chess tables were made by Hermanos Campo, the same ones that made the chess pieces, while the clocks were made by Roa.

  • #12

    Another gorgeous set! Great pics!!

  • #13

    If you prefer newer sets, this is the most used these days in argentinian tournaments. The name is ajedrez "Jaque Mate". It can be bought online at Casa Zanzi.

  • #14
    cgrau wrote:

    Another gorgeous set! Great pics!!

    Thanks Chuck!

    Sadly, none of them was taken by me Smile

  • #15

    Well at least you found and posted them. For $150 US, that Casa Zanzi set is very nice.

  • #16

    Another set from Argentina, the height of the king is 3.75". A beautiful set indeed.

  • #17
  • #18
  • #19
    phpC9xD73.jpegphpycH3sK.jpegphpRe3Q9P.jpeg Alv-maria wrote:
    Alv-maria wrote:

    My father was captain of Uruguay in the 1966 Havana olympiada tournament. He received a table/marble board and chess set. Unfortunately i no longer have the table but still have the board and chess set. I am looking to get an appraisal. alvmaria@videotron.ca 



  • #20
    Alv-maria wrote:
    Alv-maria wrote:
    Alv-maria wrote:

    My father was captain of Uruguay in the 1966 Havana olympiada tournament. He received a table/marble board and chess set. Unfortunately i no longer have the table but still have the board and chess set. I am looking to get an appraisal. alvmaria@videotron.ca 



    Such a Beautiful piece of history. Congratulations !!!


Online Now