Original Black & White 1940 Soviet Era Carbolite chess set ...

Ronbo710

Hi All - Perhaps the rarest of all my sets joined the collection yesterday (Thanks to GoodKnightMike happy.png  ). The Ultra Rare original early 1940's Carbolite Black & White chess men. So named for their photo op used in the 1940 U.S.S.R. Championships in Moscow of that year. Though this set was definitely used in later tournament and not for show. Most notably the 1946 U.S.S.R vs. U.S.A tournament in Moscow. These pieces are VERY heavy because they are a solid material (similar to bakelite) except for a small hole in the center.  There were several variations of this set with same color and opposite color finials in different sets. I also have a brown and black version which doesn't have domes on top of the queens. A couple signs of damage but with an 80 year old composite set I can live with it. Enjoy happy.png ...










MCH818

Wow! That's an original! I have been admiring the reproduction from Chessbazaar. I love those knights. Were the original sets made in wood also or were they all some variation of bakelite?

crusaderwabbet

Do any of the pieces have felt or leather?

Ronbo710
crusaderwabbet wrote:

Do any of the pieces have felt or leather?

a few of the pieces had glue residue from former covering on their bottoms. But my other brown and black Carbolite set of the same vintage had some of its original black cloth pads. So i covered the black and white set with black felt on the bottoms. Here's my other set in black and mottled reddish brown (aftermarket King's finials) . You can see the different queen tops. More like some of the tournament pics. ...

Ronbo710
MCH818 wrote:

Wow! That's an original! I have been admiring the reproduction from Chessbazaar. I love those knights. Were the original sets made in wood also or were they all some variation of bakelite?

Thanks happy.png . The original sets were made of an early form of plastic similar to Bakelite called Carbolite. Described as "phenol formaldehyde resin analogous to Bakelite used in the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union" . They are very thick and have a nice cold feel to them.  The knights are the most pleasing of all to handle. VERY well designed. Nice large bishop miters are also easy to pick up. I actually sent some of the pieces from this black and red/brown set to a gentleman in Hawai'i who is making me an exact replica of this 1940 set in urethane. He has already made an amazing 7" King Cavalier set of the same material and uses seamless glove molds. 

MCH818

Thanks for the info! That's very interesting. Just curious why urethane?

magictwanger

WOW! That is a superb set.....I have the C.B. pieces,which are really nice,but yours is the "penultimate" !

Good luck.

Ronbo710
MCH818 wrote:

Thanks for the info! That's very interesting. Just curious why urethane?

Durability more than anything. Here's a link to his Cavalier copy. https://www.etsy.com/listing/585853927/7-cavaliers-staunton-classic-chess-set?ref=shop_home_active_18&frs=1

Ronbo710
magictwanger wrote:

WOW! That is a superb set.....I have the C.B. pieces,which are really nice,but yours is the "penultimate" !

Good luck.

Thanks happy.png . Yes I was incredibly fortunate Mike chose me to "adopt" the set. It truly is a rare part of Soviet era chess history. 

MCH818

Man! that 7" set is very nice. The durability part makes sense.

 

Ronbo710
MCH818 wrote:

Man! that 7" set is very nice. The durability part makes sense.

 

Yes his sets look amazing. He is working on my copy of the 1940 set now. He uses glove molds so the pieces are seamless. Similar to the originals.

Ronbo710
MCH818 wrote:

Wow! That's an original! I have been admiring the reproduction from Chessbazaar. I love those knights. Were the original sets made in wood also or were they all some variation of bakelite?

About the knights I agree happy.png. One of the most beautiful designs I have ever seen ...

magictwanger

Sheesh! How can one "not" call that art? Just stunning in every way.-happy.png

MCH818

I know! That is just so beautiful in every way. 

MCH818

I just realized the knights in @Ronbo710's set is slightly different than the Chessbazaar repro. I am not sure which I like better. Both are really beautiful. I do prefer the queens in @Ronbo710's set better because it has a single uniform color for ball and finial. 

Ronbo710
MCH818 wrote:

I just realized the knights in @Ronbo710's set is slightly different than the Chessbazaar repro. I am not sure which I like better. Both are really beautiful. I do prefer the queens in @Ronbo710's set better because it has a single uniform color for ball and finial. 

I think the domed queen like mine above are extremely rare as the only place I have seen them was the 1940 U.S.S.R. Championship photo op . Here is the urethane reproduction copy molded from my original red/brown & black pieces I am having made. Note the flat top queens more like those in the vintage black and white tournament pics. They are enroute now and I will take better pics of the repros when they arrive ...

MCH818

Very nice! The Chessbazaar one has queens where the domed portion is a different color which I do not like. I prefer the one you have with the uniform color. Now that I see a photo of it I actually prefer the flat queens in the urethane set more than the domed queens. 

Ronbo710
MCH818 wrote:

Very nice! The Chessbazaar one has queens where the domed portion is a different color which I do not like. I prefer the one you have with the uniform color. Now that I see a photo of it I actually prefer the flat queens in the urethane set more than the domed queens. 

Yes I think the CB set was copying the 1940 Photo op set of the U.S.S.R. Championships. That's the only one I have seen with the queen's finial domes being the  opposite colors. There are so many variations of this set and so little is known. Here's another version with even the King's finials being the same color.

MCH818

I like this one too, but it would be 3rd behind the originally you posted which would be number two and the first would be the urethane one. The flat queen is pretty cool!

magictwanger

What's not to like?-happy.png