Review: GM Pavasovic chess set by Noj Slovenia

rcmacmillan

I have been a chess player for 45 years, and a book and set collector for almost as long. When I joined this board, I was intrigued by some of the sets that others were enthusiastic about, and bought several, including two different versions of the Dubrovnik set, both from Chess Bazaar, and the tournament set of the Best Chessmen Ever from Izmet. They are nice sets, and very playable, but no sooner had I bought them than I discovered the REAL Dubrovnik and BCE sets, and kicked myself.  I was no longer in the market for either of those sets, at least for a while, so how could I patronize the company that makes the originals, Noj Slovenia? I looked at the other sets on their website for weeks, and gradually fell in love with the looks of one of their other sets, the GM Pavasovic.

 

According to the Chess Museum, this set is a version of the Subozan Subotica Novi Sad chess set, improved in conjunction with the Slovenian GM Dusko Pavasovic. I was not able to find a Subozan set that was comparable, so I cannot verify this information. Maybe Izmet can help me out. I ordered the set, and after consultation with Gregor Novak, accepted one that they had in stock without the extra queens. It would have been a five-month wait for another! I decided that I would like to change the colors on the King’s formeé crosses to match the bishops, but that only took a day or two. The set was in my hands within a week.

 

 When I received the set, I was somewhat taken aback at its lightness. Perhaps years of exposure to heavily weighted sets from Jaques and the House of Staunton have led me to expect that a “quality” set will be heavily weighted. That is not the case here. The set is of superb quality, made of hard maple and walnut. What I found disconcerting at first was that the weights are not proportional – Noj uses consistent 20 gram weights in all their pieces, so a pawn actually feels proportionately heavier than a rook, queen or king. When I started to play, I came to appreciate the weighting – it just seems easier to play a subtle or sneaky move!  

 

The finish on the set is silky smooth, and the pieces fit the hand beautifully. It’s technically a small club set, with a 4”  (100mm) king. Unlike most of the sets coming out of India today, these are not turned on a computerized lathe, but hand turned, polished and finished.  The knights, although they look almost flat from the side, are nicely shaped, with pointed ears and a short mane. The thing to remember when looking at the knight is that maple is a harder wood than boxwood, with not as fine a grain, and therefore fine detail is harder to accomplish. Beautiful none-the-less.

 

The rooks are suitably stout, 2” high with the 5 crenellations that are Noj’s trademark.The crenellations are also fairly low, and thick, so they should be quite strong and resistant to breakage. One nice detail is the extra ring around the rook before it widens into the base. It sets off the rook from the other pieces without detraction, and reflects the lower double ring collar of the king, queen and bishop.

 

The bishops are Eastern in style, with an opposite colored detail on top instead of a miter. Unlike the Dubrovnik, it cap is pointed in shape rather than a ball. It looks sort of like a flame.The pawns also show their Eastern heritage with their “fat-bottomed” bases.

 

The set was sent in an Old Continent red card box, with trays for the pieces (opt for a locking box instead), certificate signed by Gregor, and an unexpected gift… a maple fountain pen engraved with my name.   

 In conclusion, while expensive by some standards, the exceptional craftsmanship of the handwork on this set makes it worth every penny that the manufacturer asks.  After seeing the care that Gregor takes to satisfy his customers, I’m going to place an order this fall for the Portoroz set.

goodknightmike

Thanks Robert for the wonderful pics of your beautiful set. Noj does make some wonderful sets.

Robert_New_Alekhine

You are welcome.

rcmacmillan
Robert0905 wrote:

You are welcome.

Go hijack someone else's thread. Don't confuse people!

goodknightmike
Robert0905 wrote:

You are welcome.

Imposter!!

wiscmike

Georgeous set.  The beauty of chess collecting.  

cgrau

Excellent review. Beautiful set, perfect for your board. I love the work NOJ does.

informaticacobach29

That's a beautiful set, love those rooks!

MSC157

Awesome! Simply that. Personally not a fan of different sets, but these 2 are lovely.

Jonas, kje si? Nekdo te tukaj rabi. :)

D2_To_D8

A very elegant set with great photos.

rcmacmillan

Thank you all. Izmet did get back to me to say that the Chess Museum's info was wrong. I presume he got the info from Gregor Novak:

"Pavasović set was inspired by the Dubrovnik (pawns are almost identical) but with the cross on the king and a richer (Stauntonlike) crown on the queen. GM Pavasović also wanted and liked a more fierce knight." 

Izmet went on to state: 

"Subozan was a very high volume producer of sets, they specialized in cheapest of the cheap, austrian coffeehouse style sets. Only later they produced some very simplified Dubrovniks, but I don't really know what kind of set "Novi Sad" refers to. Noj Portorož is basically a Staunton pattern set. Staunton design was pretty much never done in Yugoslavia before Noj."

I guess I should email the Chess Museum and see if they want to clarify their remarks. I've seen sets similar to the Portoroz before, but never the GM Pavasovic. SOMEBODY had to make them... but who?

Eyechess

Thank you for sharing this wonderful set with us.

I have looked at the non-Dubrovnik models they make but never this close and personal.

I like the rooks and bishops, especially.

kenardi

that set is a work of art.

Crappov

The wood is just gorgeous and goes well with the board (Drueke?).  

rcmacmillan

Yep. It's A Drueke 2.25." It's the first board I ever bought, back in 1972, with the earnings from my paper route. It's now in dire need of refinishing.

9kick9

Thanks for posting the great pics of this fine set.! The Knights are very nice looking & different from whats being offered on the mainstream market.

Chicken_Monster

Possibly the best looking chess set I have seen in my life. They also have one with red pieces.

UpcountryRain

Beautiful. I want one.

goodknightmike
UpcountryRain wrote:

Beautiful. I want one.

Here's the link to Noj: https://www.noj.si/?mod=catalog&action=productDetails&ID=50

UpcountryRain
goodknightmike wrote:
UpcountryRain wrote:

Beautiful. I want one.

Here's the link to Noj: https://www.noj.si/?mod=catalog&action=productDetails&ID=50

Thanks, goodknightmike, but I've already been looking, and looking, and looking. And looking.