Russian plastic chess set

A fairly recent purchase on Ebay – (// , this Ebay seller has been offering some Russian sets, and this one is rather nice in my opinion. The set is moulded plastic, and is correctly not described as ‘Bakelite’. The set may date from the 60’s or 70’s – who knows?! – the original box shown in the photo is a nothing special. Buying Russian plastic sets can be more costly due to the ‘Titanic first class shipping charges’ – a pity, as these can be DK’s (Deal Killers), yet it is worth keeping a lookout for any UK sellers offering these Russian sets.

With an 8 cms king, the plastic feels good in the hand. The knights, rooks and pawns have some artistic merit, but in my view are at least the equal of American plastic sets. The pieces being unweighted are hollow holes covered with paper felts. Some Russian sellers are describing some plastic sets as ‘Carbolite’, a supposedly Soviet Bakelite?! Over here and there, many plastics are being described as ‘possibly Bakelite/probably Bakelite’, so I guess collectors will have to make up their own minds on the highly optimistic descriptions!

Plastic as a material is being assaulted big time as a material due to uncaring human behaviour, so here is a set of views offered to collectors by the chess museum:- Plastic Chess Sets – Welcome to the Chess Museum (, it is well worth a look.

The board from Vietnam displaying the pieces is a lacquered wood, with mother of pearl inlay, which does a grand job in showing off the set. For some odd reason these quality boards are close to being given away by some sellers, perhaps choosing a suitable set to use on them and the horn sets being sold with them are maybe a little too small for the boards – who cares, I like them, so that is all that matters.



Posted on

January 21, 2021

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