Inherited Chess Set

Discuss anything you like about chess related matters in this forum.
mikehough
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Jan 22, 2021 12:25 pm

Inherited Chess Set

Post by mikehough » Sat Jan 23, 2021 3:53 pm

Good afternoon,
I would be grateful for any opinions on the chess set I inherited around the mid 1970's. I've attached a few photos which may be of some help.
I assume the set is a 'Staunton style' but know little else about it. There are no markings on any piece to indicate any make and so I'm assuming it is simply a general reproduction and not of any value. To help, the white king (although lost his cross) would have been around 4.25" high. The Knight and rook are approximately the same height. The knight is in two parts that screw together with a wooden thread. The black pieces are either ebonised or stained, and there is remnant of laqueur, the underlying wood being light in colour. The black king is strangely slightly shorter than the white and appears to have warped as he has a slight lean.

I've also shown a box, also inherited separately, which may have been connected. I was wondering if the brass inlay was of any significance. The board came with the pieces and is around 20" square. I'm thinking of crafting a new cross for the white king but do not want to start meddling until I know what I'm meddling with!

Many thanks in advance for any guidance.
MikeImage
IMG_20210122_121755.jpg
IMG_20210122_121755.jpg (105.02 KiB) Viewed 1170 times
IMG_20210122_121825_BURST001_COVER.jpg
IMG_20210122_121825_BURST001_COVER.jpg (105.43 KiB) Viewed 1170 times
IMG_20210122_121702.jpg
IMG_20210122_121702.jpg (113.93 KiB) Viewed 1170 times
IMG_20210122_122104.jpg
IMG_20210122_122104.jpg (100.92 KiB) Viewed 1170 times

Roger de Coverly
Posts: 19339
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 2:51 pm

Re: Inherited Chess Set

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sat Jan 23, 2021 4:18 pm

It looks well used. The White King has lost the crown and the Black pieces show signs of wear.

Such boards and sets would have been mainstays of club, county and Congress chess until the plastic sets swept all before them in the 1970s boom.

NickFaulks
Posts: 6264
Joined: Sat Jan 02, 2010 1:28 pm

Re: Inherited Chess Set

Post by NickFaulks » Sat Jan 23, 2021 4:29 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Sat Jan 23, 2021 4:18 pm
Such boards and sets would have been mainstays of club, county and Congress chess until the plastic sets swept all before them in the 1970s boom.
I still like playing with them, provided the sets don't get mixed up and are the right size for the board.
If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever.

Ian Thompson
Posts: 2716
Joined: Wed Jul 02, 2008 4:31 pm
Location: Awbridge, Hampshire

Re: Inherited Chess Set

Post by Ian Thompson » Sat Jan 23, 2021 5:24 pm

To me, it looks like a typical, old, chess set that would be of little value in its present condition. You can look on eBay to see how much old chess sets sell for. I doubt it would be worth the effort of restoring it unless it's something you would enjoy doing anyway.

You haven't said whether the pieces are weighted or not. I'd guess they are, because it looks like it would have been a good quality set when new.

You also haven't mentioned felt on the bottom of the pieces. I'd expect they do/did have felt, but what condition is it in?

mikehough
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Jan 22, 2021 12:25 pm

Re: Inherited Chess Set

Post by mikehough » Sat Jan 23, 2021 5:35 pm

Thanks for the comments, yes, the pieces are weighted with what appears to be lead. Felt is in place, green and in good comparable condition.
Thanks again

User avatar
John Clarke
Posts: 516
Joined: Sat Apr 30, 2011 1:07 pm

Re: Inherited Chess Set

Post by John Clarke » Sat Jan 23, 2021 6:58 pm

In a real top-quality set, the black pieces would have been made from polished ebony and thus black all the way through. (And, ebony being a very dense wood, I don't think the warping would have happened either.)

I note the rooks have six crenellations instead of what's now the more usual four, which may give some clue to age. I don't know when they stopped making them this way.

The spiky brass motif on top of the box is vaguely suggestive of chess. Is there anything engraved on that little brass strip just under the keyhole?
"The chess-board is the world ..... the player on the other side is hidden from us ..... he never overlooks a mistake, or makes the smallest allowance for ignorance."
(He doesn't let you resign and start again, either.)

User avatar
MJMcCready
Posts: 1990
Joined: Mon Jun 24, 2013 2:30 pm

Re: Inherited Chess Set

Post by MJMcCready » Sat Jan 23, 2021 7:23 pm

It's better to inherit a set like that than the one in the picture below I think as the king is likely to go for walkies at some point.
csdfapture.png
csdfapture.png (603.23 KiB) Viewed 1012 times

mikehough
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Jan 22, 2021 12:25 pm

Re: Inherited Chess Set

Post by mikehough » Sat Jan 23, 2021 9:29 pm

The plaque has an engraving presenting to an ancestor in 1897. Whether the chess set was ever connected is unknown

Geoff Chandler
Posts: 2466
Joined: Mon Jul 06, 2009 1:36 pm
Location: Under Cover
Contact:

Re: Inherited Chess Set

Post by Geoff Chandler » Sat Jan 23, 2021 11:51 pm

Hi Mike,

Is it possible to get the engraved name on the box.
It may have been presented to a chess club president/treasurer for a long term of office.
With a name the history buffs here may unearth something.

mikehough
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Jan 22, 2021 12:25 pm

Re: Inherited Chess Set

Post by mikehough » Sun Jan 24, 2021 9:10 am

The box was presented to B P Copleston, my great grandfather on his leaving Wrexham. I have no evidence that he was a chess player but his step brother was the captain, and one of the leading players of the Wrexham club, and therefore chess was in the family, and B P may well have been a member. The chess set, however, was inherited from his son's brother in law, 70 years later. Its a bit of a stretch to link the box with the set, and that is why I was wondering if the set could be dated by design, with the screw together knights, 6 crenellated rooks etc

Geoff Chandler
Posts: 2466
Joined: Mon Jul 06, 2009 1:36 pm
Location: Under Cover
Contact:

Re: Inherited Chess Set

Post by Geoff Chandler » Sun Jan 24, 2021 12:06 pm

Hi Mike,

I did find a newspaper cutting from 1897 with mention of a Copleston (H)

https://papuraunewydd.llyfrgell.cymru/v ... 3861661/50

Was looking to perhaps see if news of a chess presentation round about that time.

If you are sure the box does not go with the set then you have to do some family research on B.P.
find out where he worked etc. (It may be a clock box).

Regarding the set, if it's family heirloom I'd get it repaired. For more info maybe some other pictures of
the pieces next to a ruler and the Knight in two bits showing the screw threads.

Years ago I picked up a good wooden weighted felted set very cheap because a black pawn was missing.
I sent another pawn to the CHESS and BRIDGE shop in London. They sent back a match from their spares box.
Maybe send them a Rook (with return postage) they may be able to tell you what set it is from. (maybe send a pic first.)

Long shot...a very long shot.
1897 was also the the first ladies tournament - see pic. (a boxed Staunton - the label inside the lid - I have one.)

Image

Was thinking (hoping) one of the lades was married to a Copleston (and B.P. stood for Beatrice or Belinda etc...)
Not beyond reasoning that each player was presented with a chess set. Alas no.

To help the backroom boys (the historians) a pic of the engraving and D.O.B' and D.O.D. for B.P. would help.

mikehough
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Jan 22, 2021 12:25 pm

Re: Inherited Chess Set

Post by mikehough » Sun Jan 24, 2021 5:01 pm

Hi Geoff,

Many, many thanks for the suggestions and research.
The box was presented to 'Benjamin' aged 17 when he left to become a grocers assistant 20 miles away and so it is unlikely to be a work related gift. It was either from his 57 year old father, perhaps containing some sort of male 'essentials' kit, or perhaps from his 34 year old step brother Henry, captain of the chess club. Henry is the H Copleston you have unearthed in the newspaper. I have a few references to him including a couple of photos as he was one of the founding members of one of the earliest chess clubs in 1886 in Wrexham.

Very interesting photo of the ladies tournament. I have a report regarding the Wrexham club who had a great debate in its early days when a lady applied to join. Much consternation led to a decision not to allow it!

With regard to the Chess and Bridge shop in London, I will explore this further to see if there is any possibility of them dating the set.
Finally, the white king would be 4.25" high if crowned and a photo of the detached knight is below.
Many thanks again
Mike
Attachments
IMG_20210122_121726.jpg
IMG_20210122_121726.jpg (1.9 MiB) Viewed 686 times

User avatar
Gerard Killoran
Posts: 570
Joined: Sun Oct 04, 2009 11:51 am
Contact:

Re: Inherited Chess Set

Post by Gerard Killoran » Sun Jan 24, 2021 8:26 pm

Could this be your relative?

Western Morning News - Tuesday 29 April 1947.png
Western Morning News - Tuesday 29 April 1947.png (351.8 KiB) Viewed 621 times

User avatar
JustinHorton
Posts: 8383
Joined: Mon Aug 04, 2008 10:06 am
Location: Somewhere you're not

Re: Inherited Chess Set

Post by JustinHorton » Sun Jan 24, 2021 8:34 pm

I am guessing the Miss Passmore on board four was Christine/Katie, referred to here.
"Do you play chess?"
"Yes, but I prefer a game with a better chance of cheating."

lostontime.blogspot.com

Geoff Chandler
Posts: 2466
Joined: Mon Jul 06, 2009 1:36 pm
Location: Under Cover
Contact:

Re: Inherited Chess Set

Post by Geoff Chandler » Sun Jan 24, 2021 10:40 pm

Hi Mike,

The more details have worked. Expect a few more researchers to appear.

I'm sure that fairly unique picture of the Knight will help to identify the set.

Interesting bit about that lady being refused entry to the club.
I wish they had that ruling in the Edinburgh chess league, I was regular cannon fodder for the girls.
The score Chandler v players of the Scottish Women Olympiad team reads something like 2 wins and 8 losses.

Post Reply