Collection chess pieces

collection chess pieces Some of the most popular collection items are chess pieces

Almost any object can become a collection item for a passionate collector.  In fact, there are as many collections as there are collectors. The first collectors were, naturally, people who could afford it: sovereigns, noble men, officers, tradesmen, explorers, clerics, and the first collections would usually include art objects and jewelry. Today, some of the the biggest collectors are museums around the world, which have inherited, bought or have been donated the collections they house today.


Some of the most popular collection items are chess pieces. The game of chess has long been one of the most respected games, described as a sport for the mind but used also as a metaphor to describe geostrategic, political and economic confrontations. So, check players are the big powers that rule the world, while the smaller countries are pieces on the board, moved backwards and forwards depending on the big players' interests.


From staging chess games with people, animals and props at kings' courts to virtual realities created by computers, chess is one of the most powerful images of confrontation. Beyond any metaphor, the objects used in the game of chess, the pieces and the two-colored board, which can be collected, can vary from the cheapest and most banal, to the most expensive and exclusivist, genuine works of art, accessible only to those who can afford them.


Florin Gheorghiu is an international chess master, one of the biggest Romanian chess players. One of his greatest performances is the draw in direct games with the great Bobby Fisher, considered by many the best chess player in history. We asked Florin Gheorghiu about the most impressive chess boards he's seen in his career.


"Usually, the most beautiful and most valuable pieces are those that collectors keep in their homes, be they politicians, businesspeople, actors, directors, officers or regular people. There are pieces made of ivory, silver, sometimes even gold. Some of them are diamonds. But these are not pieces to play with in a competition. They are there to account for something representative from a personal or historical point of view. The collector shows their collection to friends or wants to take advantage of the prices that change on the international market and therefore gain something out of it. So, it has nothing to do with chess playing as a competition."


There is evidence of important collections in the Romanian territories starting with the 19th century. One of the biggest collectors was engineer Constantin Orghidan (1874-1944), the one who created an impressive collection of coins, jewelry, documents and rare books. Another passionate collector was radiologist George Severeanu (1879-1939). He was passionate about history, and he collected coins and other artefacts which he donated to the Bucharest municipality. As regards chess pieces, they were mainly owned by nobility, who would order them from abroad. Collectors today have pieces that go back to the 18 hundred. They were sculpted in lacquered wood or ivory, others were cast in metal, all genuine objects of art.


Usually, collectors own chess pieces, as the chess boards are rather rare. The game of chess became officially a sports discipline in 1886, when the first world championship was documented. 37 years before that, though, the English journalist Nathaniel Cooke created standard pieces for the game and the producer of sports gear, Jaques of London, bought the manufacturing rights. However, history would brand Cooke's pieces as Staunton, after the name of the great chess master who appreciated Cooke's pieces describing them as easily identifiable, very stable and nice looking. They say that the first sets of Staunton originals were numbered and signed by the master himself. Florin Gheorghiu told us that he too owns a set of Staunton pieces, a gift from the former Cuban leader Fidel Castro:


 "I have never played with collection pieces, but for us, professional chess players, the most important have always been the Staunton chess boards. They are largely used in international competitions and world championships. I have a set myself, at home, which I received from Fidel Castro in 1966. He was probably impressed by my victory against Bobby Fisher, in Havana, and turned the event into a political achievement. So, he made me this surprise, to honour what, to him, was a victory of communism against capitalism." (MI)


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Publicat: 2021-06-05 12:26:00
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