I learned to play, and grew up playing on my dad's chess set, which my mother bought him as a gift when they were dating back in the 60s. It was a nice Drueke set. I'm not sure of the dimensions, as I'm not looking at it now (is at his house). I'm not really looking for the board, although I would love to find one. It had a plastic / formica like top, about an 1/8 inch thick. The sides were wooden, about 3" high, and if I remember right the bottom was the same as the top. Inside was hollow. The two opposite corners (inside the board) would swivel out in a quarter circle, allowing for storage of the pieces inside. I've never seen another like it. I don't think I'll ever forget the sound of those heavily weighed Drueke pieces as they would thump down on that hollow plastic topped board, muffled by the wood sides.
The peices are really what I am looking for. They were a hard plastic Staunton design. I'm not 100% sure of the hight, but am sure they were at least 4", if not 4.4. The whites were more of an off yellow, and if one looked Closely enough, there was a bit of marbling in the with a lighter color. The black ones were just that, black. The plastic was much harder than the cheap plastic we see in today's market. The rooks had Drueke written on the top (which is the only way I know that they were Drueke).
I have seen similar pieces, only one with the marbled type light side, but even those were smaller (probably 3 3/4) at a chess tourney about 13 years ago. Usually when I see similar pieces, they are the of white/ color without the marbling, and of the smaller size.
Since Drueke is no longer in business, I'm sure finding these peices will be difficult, but if anyone can help me with the model/style or number, it will really help me in my search. Maybe someone has a link to a sight that has photos of different styles? Maybe someone even has a set?
My dads set is missing a couple of pawns. Also, about 20 years ago, I attempted to refelt some pawnsn and the nail polish remover I stupidly used on a couple of pieces marred the plastic on a couple of pawns.
Ideally, I would like to replace the damaged and missing pawns. Of course, if a full set could be found somewhere, I would probably be interested in purchasing them, even at 3 3/4 hight, for my own tournament set ...since I am gearing up for OTB play again.
Thanks all, for any help that can be had!!
Do these pieces look familiar?
Yes, although I cannot see the marbling, and I remember the knights with more detail. I have been searching ebay, and have notbseen these, so they must have just recently popped up, or I was looking in the wrong place. I'm not sure of the hight on these, but just glanced at the add.
P.S. I'm unaware of any Player's Choice sets other than the usual 3.5" one. Drueke made larger plastic sets but not in the Player's Choice style.
It looks like these are 3 1/2 inch kings, a bit short for my a 2 1/4 square board. But we are on the right track I think. Thanks.
For most, a 2-1/4" board is a great fit for those pieces.
Is "Players Choice" the designation for the marbled pieces I'm speaking of?
The sets, varying solely by weight and *always in ebony/maple, were what resulted from the molds. Just that one set of molds.
Offhand I don't recall any obvious patterns in the light pieces but I never owned one and mainly handled my friends' sets on occasion.
They sure sell for a premium these days, with the molds broken and the older crowd seeking to recapture a piece of their younger days.
* I remember now a single example of the Player's Choice in red, from a photo from the old HOS site. Part of Frank's collection. Can't find the picture now though. So, I guess it was possible to find a color different from the ebony.
In what little research I have done since your posting, I have found two sets of the simulated wood Drueke pieces. Nos. 35 &36. However I have not discovered the difference in them. They are both listed as 3 1/2 inch kings, however one completed listing on ebay shows a tape measure next to the king, and it shows at least 3 5/8 possibly 3 3/4. I really need to get over to dad's and measure. Photos too. The bases are a bit wider on these, if I remember right, so a 3 1/2 might be better for a 2 1/4 square. I need to double check the uscf rules, as I want to make sure they are technically legal. In my limited experience, I roughly assume a 3 1/2King for 2" squares, 3 3/4 or 4 for 2 1/4 squares, and 4 - 4.4 for 2.5 inch squares, although I know it is base that is the determining factor, with hight based on base width. At my level of play, it is unlikely one would gripe to much, as long as things are relatively close.
I have the #35 set which I just re-felted. I also bought a set of the Paladin pieces from Chesshouse that are very nearly identical. The main difference I see is that the knights on the Paladin set are flatter on top of the nose and the mouth opening is slightly different. Otherwise the remaining pieces are virtually identical. That is probably the closest match to the old Drueke #35 that you will find. King on the #35 is 3-5/8" disregarding the felt thickness.
I have the #35 set which I just re-felted.
Do you see "grain" in your light pieces, as per op's memory?
I don't think I'd call it "grain." You can see a very faint marble-like effect in the bases of the light pieces if you look carefully, but unless you really look closely it appears as one-color. I don't see any such grain in the black pieces. The pieces are molded in halves as you can see from the seams, but the seams have been very carefully smoothed and are not at all apparent. They are triple-weighted with three metal slugs in each piece. The finish is very slightly matt and not as shiny as most molded plastic. Light pieces are "natural" or a light beige color (camel?).
Well it definitely sounds as if these are the type I'm looking for, although I am still thinking these were taller. It will take a little time, but I can get a measurement. So what are the differences in the 35 and 36? I've seen 35, 36, and 35H (heavy). I've also seen a 32 which was shorter and included a folding board. On one search, I ran across a guy looking for these in 5", and they were older post. No info on if he ever found them. I've also seen what appears to be the same style called luxury line, but am unsure if they are simulated wood as well. It anyone has more specific info on Dreuke peices styles and numbers, I would appreciate the info. I also am thankful for those who have already posted.
I have the No. 32 pieces, 2.5" king.
Goes well with the homemade board.
The normal size one, with folding linen board:
For the hell of it, a small Drueke peg set I have:
And an older Drueke peg set before they switched over to the new plastic:
I also had a big Drueke peg set with the newer plastic but traded it away (for the 2.5" Drueke, actually). I still have a magnetic folding set with the newer pieces and a walnut cased board, but the dark pieces are a deep chocolate brown. I use them with a bigger folding board:
If I don't chase after a No. 35 you can guess why. These are just a few of my sets. I have plenty!
Ok silly question time. Were the drueke sets top of the line plastic sets back in the day? Did they become more collectible because they were high quality or not many produced? What years are we talking about?
This is very interesting guys. Keep it up
The Drueke Player's Choice was the best plastic set on the scene. Better than the much larger and more brittle Cavalier Deluxe (which I owned).
Many were sold over the decades and are desired by the older crowd for their quality and air of nostalgia.
My HOS plastic Collector is better, I think (old batch--I hear of issues w/ later ones), and there's also the Marshall and Hastings to pick from, as well as other manufacturers.
That the more recent generation might not see the point to hunting down a nice Drueke, I get. They see great current pieces out there.
Is this the same Drueke?
Is this the same Drueke?
Same guy, same company.
Looks like Carrom bought them and there still in Michigan .
Mmm looks like I might make a road trip across the state ( maybe not..unless they have a small museum. They have pics of old games the made in the past )
I have heard that Carrom does not manufacture plastic sets, just tables and wood sets. Chesshouse, as noted above in my post, advised me that their Paladin set is the closest thing to the Dreuke #35. It is very good, well weighted but I think slightly more shiny than the original #35, although that's a bit difficult to tell on a well worn set polished by many games. The molding seams are fairly well polished but not as nicely as the #35, and the knights have a flatter head as I mentioned which doesn't give them quite the "smooth" character as the originals. The other pieces are virtually identical and you could easily mix them up in a bag and have trouble separating them without very careful inspection. The set of Player's Choice in @goldendog's picture above looks to be identical to my #35 set except that my set came in a smaller box. 3-5/8" king without the felt thickness.