What Drueke set am I looking for?

Bronco70 wrote:

@wickawack WOW! That is a sharp looking set!

I'd sign up for that one (but I'm a fan of red sets).

naturalproduct wrote:

YOu are quite lucky with that set mldavis. A nice collectable. I wonder how they compare to our modern sets in terms of quality, weight, balance, etc..?

Back on one of the earlier posts (maybe another thread) I mentioned that I had asked Chess House for a set that was as close to the Drueke #35 as possible and they said their Paladin set was nearly identical.  The Paladin set is triple weighted (in fact the pawns are actually a bit heavier than the Drueke #35 pawns) and dimensionally very close.  The main difference is the knights which are more rounded in the Drueke set (which I prefer).  I'll post a side-by-side comparison photo.

The Drueke knight is on the left.  Note the more rounded head, more detail especially the mouth and teeth, and a beveled base.  The Drueke knight also has new felt which is slightly thicker than the original.  Since the size is virtually identical and the weights are gram for gram within one of each other (except pawns), the feel and stability is essentially the same.  Unless you don't like the Paladin knights, it's a very close copy.


Thanks for this discussion. I'm getting back into chess after stopping in the seventies. I ordered the standard tournament set from the USCF and discovered that, although it's durable and inexpensive, it looks and feels crummy.

I searched for the set I used when I was young and couldn't find it for sale, or even find photos of it, even though back when I played, that set was everywhere -- at least 2/3 of the sets I saw at tournaments.

The I remembered the name "Drueke" printed on the top of the rook, googled on that and it led me here, which cleared up the mystery.

It's a shame that such a great set is no more.


It was also a trip to see the "Newell Banks" linen folding board I used to have mentioned -- including an image of the advertisement. I loved that board. There's no getting around the practicality of the vinyl boards but the linen board was so flat and solid that it felt classier.

I liked the colors better too. Instead of forest green and buff, the "Newell Banks" squares were dark-olive and creamy light-yellow.


FYI there is a Drueke #35 set for sale on e-bay at the moment. I believe the seller, GoodnightMike, is a member here on chess.com.


FireBrandX: OMG -- I had that Drueke wood board! I had forgotten all about it.

I lost it, along with my Drueke set, MCO 10, clock and a vintage Exakta 35mm camera when I stored my belongings in a friend's basement one summer and they rented to some unreliable people.

You've got a real beauty there. Use it in good health.


What's a good plastic set these days on par with the Drueke Player's Choice?

Someone mentioned the Paladin set, but I can't find it in black and tan.

At USCF the closest seem to be the Marshall and Reykjavik sets. The Marshall looks like my grandfather's set. I find the Reykjavik attractive for its stripped-down basic look -- I don't like fragile, fancy detailing -- and of course for its historic reference.

Any thoughts?


I just remembered how I got that Drueke wood board. I wasn't quite a starving student in those days, though close, but it was more costly than I would have paid and it was too nice to take to tournaments or for my footloose life at the time.

It was a present along with a nice wooden set that I chose and my mother, sister and I paid for, that we gave to my grandfather one Christmas. Sadly, my grandfather died a couple years later and my grandmother gave it to me, as the only chess player in the family.

I had completely forgotten this entire episode.

Thanks FirebrandX.


Hmm... It looks like the store, ChessUSA, where FirebrandX purchased the Drueke board, does sell the Paladin set in black and tan, though it only lists it as "3 5/8" Weighted Deluxe Professional Black and Natural Tournament Chess Pieces." (Link here.)

Great store.


American Chess Equipment has the Paladin set (only in Black/Ivory) on sale for $6.95. At that price I figured I couldn't go too wrong, so I gave it a shot.

The set arrived today and was disappointing. It is the Drueke design with some small differences -- the queen's crown is smaller and flares outward unpleasantly sharp to the touch, the bishop is bigger, the bases of all the pieces are a smidge larger, and the detailing on the knight is different as mentioned earlier.

But the real problem is that it looks and feels cheap. The felt is thin and skimpy and usually not centered on the bottom of the piece. The plastic feels plasticky. The black pieces aren't black so much as a dull dark charcoal.

It's better than the current USCF tournament set, but not much better. It's a set I won't mind for blitz with strangers in the park. It's not a set I can love. At least I didn't pay full price.


Still in search of a decent plastic set for tournament play to use instead of  my Drueke set which is now too expensive to replace, I ordered the Reykjavik Set from the USCF. It arrived today.

The Reykjavik is a definite improvement over the regular USCF set and the Paladin, but still not in the territory of the Drueke. I like the design of the pieces and they are well produced. The mold lines are noticeable but not too much so.

But again the problem is the look of the plastic. Instead of possessing a satin sheen as with the Drueke, the pieces look flat and dull, as though they were milled from soap. The colors seem off too. The "Natural" color for white is the color of weak milky tea. (No wonder the USCF catalog displays the Ivory set!) The black is a dark charcoal.

So the Reykjavik is not inspiring but will serve as a working tournament set. Maybe someday I'll get a better one.


I recently picked up a HOS Marshall Tournament set as a 'beater' set. I like the weight, feel, and overall appearance of these pieces.


I am pleased with the Paladin set I obtained from Chess House.  Since "Paladin" is a design and not necessarily a single source set from one manufacturer, I would be surprised if a bargain priced set might not be the same as one higher priced.  I have no such issues as felt and off-center with my set which is my current tournament set.  The Drueke #35 is for home study only now.


mldavis: Glad you're pleased with your Paladin set. I have my doubts that there is more than one manufacturer of the Paladin, since it's not a popular set and not many companies are in the chess set business.

Possibly my set is a second from an off-batch, which would explain its imperfections and low-price. When I get around to tournaments, I'll have a look-see for Paladins and check. I'm also curious about the Marshall.

Considering how many different chess sets are around, I'm somewhat surprised at how few choices there are for quality plastic sets.


As an off-topic comment regarding felt bases:

My original Drueke #35 triple weighted set has green felt which is nice and soft and slides nicely on my wood-fiber painted surface board, and works fine on vinyl roll up surfaces as well.  My set lay unused for several decades until I regained my chess interest so it is not worn.

However, in working with another set of lesser quality, I found it had the paper "felt" bottoms.  I went to WalMart and found squares of the same color green synthetic (plastic) felt (also can be found at hobby stores in the U.S. such as Hobby Lobby, Michaels, etc.).  A single square (actually more of a rectangle) can cover an entire set if cut carefully.  It has a very slightly different "feel" from real felt but is nice and soft, durable and is a very suitable replacement for worn felt or cheap felt paper.  I use a double-glue technique of first covering the felt with a light coat of Elmer's glue, letting it become tacky (non-runny), then gluing the felt on the bottom of the pieces with a thin coating on each surface.  Turn the pieces upside down so the glue doesn't soak into the felt and render the bottoms hard with glue.  This is a cheap way to make a cheap set feel like a much better set or to rejuvenate an old set with worn felt bases.


Marshall set from House of Staunton/USCF Sales Maple-Walnut board by Dreuke 2.25" squares (no longer available, Dreuke closed shop).



A very nice, smooth, classic set.  Hopefully those aren't paper felt bases.

mldavis617 wrote:

A very nice, smooth, classic set.  Hopefully those aren't paper felt bases.

No, real felt, heavily weighted and HOS quality. Cheers, John C.


My impression is that Drueke hasn't "closed shop" but is basically having all its inventory liquidated by the holding company, Carrom.  Guess Carrom doesn't seem to think Drueke could be profitable.  :(


I think you can still buy a Drueke board but not sets.

I take a pessimestic view of the situation.  As with so very many corporate buy-outs, Carrom bought the good Drueke name and probably some unsold inventory, seeking to capitalize on the Drueke reputation.  Once the inventory is gone, they could care less and substitute the nice Drueke sets with cheap Chinese or sweat-shop knock-offs, making a nice profit.  The idea is short term profit, not long term reputation.