Chess Collectors International
Vol. 2013 Issue 1

Prized and Played – Highlights from the Jon Crumiller Collection The Story Behind the Story Ancient Chessmen – An Exhibition in the Castle Mayenne, Bretagne, France Chess Collectors International 8th Western Hemisphere Meeting, Baltimore Maryland Man Ray - Artist, Photographer, Ardent Chess Player and Designer of Chess Sets



Chess Pieces
Swiss Chess Museum - Now Permanent Exhibition! Werner and Roland Rupp have finally managed to set up their Swiss Chess Museum in a permanent show housed in a large warehouse in Kriens near Luzern - until now it was a virtual Museum. This is the dream of almost every major collector to establish their collection as a publicly accessible physical exhibition! And these gentlemen from Switzerland - have done it! Bravo and hooray! This is therefore the second all-Chess Museum worldwide, the first being the Rotterdam Chessmen Museum. See the Museum section under Links! Over 3.000 chess sets are in the Lucerne Museum and generally visible on weekends between 10h00 and 16h00 local time. When in Switzerland, make a point of visiting Lucerne and the Swiss Chess Museum! To explore all of the 481 chess themed works of art in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Collections go to: If you weren’t able to visit the Lewis Chessmen at the Metropolitan, you can enjoy the related Lecture series on YouTube. To learn more about the exhibition: 11/the-game-of-kings-medieval... Submissions Wanted The CCI-USA Newsletter is always happy to accept submissions for future issues. Please see the Editors‘ Box on the last page for information on where to send submissions. The Editors would like to thank you in advance for your contributions. A Notice From Luke Honey: I am currently working on a new website for my antiques business "Luke Honey Ltd" which is expected to go "live" in January. I will be dealing in antique chess sets and games through the website - and will be sending out newsletters to chess collectors. I would be grateful if chess collectors could get in touch with me with their email addresses- and I will add them to my client mailing list for chess. Or if any chess collectors are interested in selling their chess sets through me, please can they contact me. My contact is: Luke Honey Ltd (Fine Art & Antiques) Email: Mobile: +44 (0) 7900 887054

On The Cover: EARLY WOOD CHESS SET Designer: Man Ray Material: Wood Circa: 1920 Do you have a picture you would like to see on the cover of the Newsletter? If so, please send a high resolution, uncropped, clear photograph to First priority will be given to those pictures that accompany an article submitted for publication - and used - within that particular issue. Every effort will be made to follow the principle of first come, first served, but the final decision will also depend on quality, subject matter, and other publication parameters that may ultimately dictate what can best be used.

Photograph © Bruce M. White, 2013

May3, 2013 – September 15, 2013
Prized and Played showcases over eighty beautiful, antique chess sets from across the centuries and around the world, as well as many interesting artifacts related to the history of chess.

Prized Intended to be shown as objects d’art rather than used in play, ornamental chess sets are testaments to the artistic skill of their creators, as well as the refinement of the wealthy patrons who commissioned them. Freed from the confines of practicality, artists created chess sets of great beauty and originality. Master carvers flaunted their expertise in manipulating luxury materials such as ivory, gold, silver, pearls and precious stones in these ornamental chess sets. Many

feature elaborate gilded decoration, delicate carving, and tall forms that made them less than ideal for playing, but perfect as demonstrations of wealth, or as a generous gift for a friend. Ornamental sets were also symbols of the erudition and sophistication of their owners. Several of the ornamental sets in this show have themes drawn from history, mythology, or religion. The Good Versus Evil set contains bishops holding copies of Dante Alighieri’s The Inferno, while another set

Prized and Played
pits Venus and Bacchus, two figures from Roman mythology, against each other. Other artists turned to contemporary military conflicts for inspiration. The army of the British East India Company combats Indian military forces in John Company sets, while other sets celebrated the exploits of Emperor Napoleon. Ornamental sets could also show that a person was well-traveled. A set from Dieppe, France, where master carvers produced lovely ivory products could indicate the owners had traveled to the popular resort town. Swiss Charlemagne sets, produced in Brieze, Switzerland, were also marketed to tourists in catalogues. These sets were so prized by their owners that, despite their delicate nature and rich materials, they have survived centuries later as examples of the excellent craftsmanship of their makers. They continue to be valued, not only for their aesthetic qualities, but also for the fascinating stories they tell. Played In Prized and Played, superb examples of antique playing sets from across Europe and Asia illuminate the fascinating history of stylistic evolution of chess pieces. Though some of the sets in this half of the exhibition feature elaborate decoration, they were all intended for use in play. Their widely varied appearances testify to the imagination and stylistic preferences of the artisans who created them, as well as the artistic tastes of the players who used them over the centuries. They were made of durable materials like wood, ivory, bone, and metal so that players could regularly use them for play over many years. While the style of the simple, brightly colored, and dome-topped Islamic sets in the show stands in contrast to that of the European sets, diverse styles of playing sets were often manufactured within the same country. Some examples include the Directoire, Régence, and Lyon style sets produced in France, or the Barleycorn and Northern Upright style sets manufactured in England. The nineteenth century brought the rise of modern organized chess tournaments and clubs, which highlighted the need for standardized chess pieces. The regional styles that had proliferated in

previous centuries led to confusion and contention when the great players of numerous nations gathered to compete. Prominent chess manufacturers of the early-to-mid 19th century England began to stabilize the designs of playing sets into recognizable precursors of the sets we use today. John Calvert set up shop in 1791 at 189 Fleet Street, London, and mass-produced several designs that grew in popularity. These designs, as well as fancier playing sets imported and sold by James Leuchars and other retailers in the initial years of the 19th century, influenced subsequent well-known London chess manufacturers such as George Merrifield, Thomas Lund and his son William, and Charles Hastilow. Finally the iconic Staunton chess set, designed by architect Nathaniel Cooke and endorsed by the famous English player Howard Staunton, emerged during this period. The sets were first manufactured and sold in 1849 by John Jaques and Son, Ltd, of London, and later became the standard for tournament play. Philosophy of Collecting The guiding principles of a chess collector can evolve over time as the collection grows and takes shape. My initial acquisitions were driven by a lifelong love of the game itself. It was a thrill to purchase an antique playing set and touch the wellworn pieces from chess games of the distant past. One acquisition led to another, and eventually I had to admit – to myself and others – that these chess sets, which were now overflowing from one room to the next, formed a collection, which also meant that I had somehow become a collector. Nowadays things are different. My collection has expanded to include ornamental sets, which were created as objects of beauty rather than intended for use in actual play. I also collect antique chess boards, timers, publications, and chess miscellanea. Every collection must have boundaries, and mine is defined by two words: “chess” and “antique”. But even these concepts are not quite specific enough. Does “chess” include variants or similar games? For my collection, generally not, so I don’t collect xiang xi (better known as Chinese Chess).

However, I do have several antique Thai/Cambodian makrook sets. These sets and boards can be used for normal chess, even though the rules of makrook are somewhat different. “Antique” also has a boundary definition. Generally I collect items created prior to the 20th century. Victorian-era (roughly 19th century) sets have special importance to me, due to the extensive archival research I’ve done on the manufacturers and retailers of those sets. Earlier chess sets can be even more desirable because of their age, rarity, and often times superlative craftsmanship. Two other guidelines I have set for my collecting are “quality over quantity” and “seek the unique.” I am constantly searching for highquality sets with rare and beautiful features. This was not always the case; early on, my collection lacked some of the “must-have” types of antique sets: a Russian Kholmogory set, a Rajasthan canopy set, a Pulpit set, and so on. But as my collection has gradually matured, those gaps have been filled. So now I focus on rare, or even oneof-a-kind, antique sets. What about restoration for a damaged antique set? There are two schools of thought, equally valid, in my opinion. The first school says that damage is simply part of the history of a set, and should be left as-is. I have friends in the collecting world who follow that doctrine, and I respect them for it. But my own opinion is in line with the other viewpoint, that careful restoration can honor the intentions of the creators of the sets. One important corollary is that any restoration should be fully and accurately documented, so that the set’s historical provenance is complete. This last point is very important, and is worth stating in an even larger context: collectors have a solemn responsibility to the collecting community – and even to history itself – to accurately represent all aspects of the artifacts of antiquity. There is no place in the arts, sciences, or any other human discipline for historical items that not fully authentic or, even worse, misrepresented. It is a “higher calling” of the collector, as it would be for a historian or museum curator, to ensure that the relics of past eras are

passed on to future generations with confidence and valid provenance. With regards to the future, I don’t know where my collecting interests will take me next. Like the game of chess itself, my chess collecting experience has always been filled with new excitement and new discoveries. Wherever it chooses to take me, I’ll certainly go along for the ride. —Jon Crumiller

Jonathan Crumiller Jon Crumiller‘s background as a tournament chess player and avid follower of the game inspired his passion for collecting antique playing sets. Over time, he has increased the scope of his chess collection, which now includes over 600 ornamental and playing sets, as well as chessboards, timers, books, and chess miscellanea, mainly from the 18th and 19th centuries. Ever inquisitive about the origins of these antique sets, Jon often conducts research projects about the evolution of chess set styles, usage, and manufacturing. He enthusiastically shares the results of this research with the wide community of collectors. Jon also maintains a website with photos of his exquisite collection at Jon‘s tournament experience stretches back to Fischer-boom years in the early 1970s, and includes a State Championship title (Delaware) and numerous other tournament victories. Along the way, he has earned the USCF National Master title in both over-the-board and correspondence chess. Still active via online chess, Jon credits much of his middle-age chess improvement to the outstanding teaching skills of his friend and chess teacher, Grandmaster Lev Alburt. Jon and his wife Jenny live in Princeton, New Jersey, and have three adult children and one grandchild. Jon is Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of Princeton Consultants Inc., a mid-size consulting firm that specializes in business optimization and operational efficiency. Jenny is an elected official on Princeton Council, the governing body of Princeton, NJ.

By John A. Mazzucco

I would like to share with you my secret discovery, With each venture to a yard sale, a flea market, an which I suspect that some of you, too, have been antique shop, a fellow chess collector’s house, or hiding – or may be unwilling to acknowledge. even a CCI chess fair, there was and is excitement in the air. Well, at least it is for me. But I suspect But before I do, let me quickly reintroduce myself. it is for you too. If not, then what are you doing in As some of you already know – or are about to CCI and what are you doing with those hoards of learn – this collector right here is as fond of displayed and packed-away chess sets? I am very Antique Staunton Jaques Chess Sets as he is of tempted here, to step onto my Sunday Soapbox and Modern (Puzzling) Puzzle Chess Sets, and an shout out, “When is enough enough?” But I will occasional cheap, Plastic Mass-produced Set from not. China. Yes, call me eclectically challenged. Eye me and think, “Curious Collector”. The words, When we are – either figuratively or in reality (and “weird” and strange may even have silently passed for one reason or another) at the end of our between the crevices of that gray matter above your collecting days, which (if any) chess sets are the eyes – or have even been evoked from between ones that that we will remember and cherish, your lips - when seeing my words in print. So be it. keeping closer to our hearts? If we were to choose I myself have seen more weird and strange (and one or two – or a handful of chess sets – to carry wonderful) chess sets – as well as a few chess with us to the grave – which ones would we choose collectors with similar traits in my days We are and why? indeed an interesting group, aren’t we? I may well be wrong. However, I believe that it is As the years of chess collecting fly by (20, this the one or ones - that connect us to something most coming May 2013), I think back on the sets I important in life. Connected to what? Well, think originally collected. My mind then travels in the about it. Is it the set, which is our rarest in terms of “tween” years as a symbolic teenager among chess numbers out there in Chessland, which also brings collectors. Now, I feel that I am approaching an us the most deep-down satisfaction? Is it our most early maturity(?) in the chess collecting field. expensive (economically speaking) set that we I have also strongly begun to have a taste for the clutch in a scrooge-like manner? nostalgia surrounding the early – and even middle years - of chess collecting. I suspect that for many - if not most – of us, the most memorable and appreciated chess set Now, what exactly do I mean? Well, I find myself, connections are made when there is special human in nearing my twilight years, thinking back to that significance behind the acquisition of the set. It very first chess set which I either received as a gift may be a connection with an earlier time of – or bought for myself in a moment of weakness - innocence (perhaps even with a tinge of eager shortly after I passed my magical and turning point anticipation – sitting around a decorated holiday age of 40. Don’t you, too, at least occasionally tree). It may be a connection to when a friend or think back? The set and the interest in it were relative – especially a son, daughter, spouse, or innocent enough. Little did we know, at the time, parent – found (what they thought was) that special that floodgates would open and a deluge was to chess set as a gift. It may be set that the loaning of follow. Although the deluge was essentially of our money – a kind and trusting gesture in itself – that own making, it was helped by those who elevates a particular set to such memorable status. essentially were and are in the “business” of selling It may be the special trip and time and effort that a chess sets. fellow chess collector took, when – knowing of a friend’s search for a particular chess set or item –



results in a delightful and surprising phone call or shapes, sizes, and forms. But I believe that the email. common root of all love can, perhaps, be found in the following words: acceptance, appreciation, and So, to answer the question, “Connected to what?”, I connection. submit to you that it is basically a connection to other people. As self-reliant as some of us may In the end, whether or not we want to admit it, I think we are; as focused as we may be on our vast believe that – as John Donne so eloquently phrased (or very selective) chess collection; as driven as we - “No man is an Island”. The chess sets and may be in filling the top of that half empty glass…. related chess items are just things that we find (or I think that is important to realize and remember make) on (what we think is) our solitary island. On that it is the connections to others that – in the end, this planet earth, each and every physical island is probably matters the most. It is a connection to a connected beneath the waves - and so too, are each time and place and an event (with others) which and every one of us! Some of us deny it, but we do brings us much further, deeper, and closer to “what need the human connection. As solitary as we may really matters” - than the mere possession of the feel at times – trapped even in our own shells of artifact. our human bodies – we are also social beings by nature. We are all connected - beneath what can be When looking at our own collection, may I suggest seen. that we think about – or remind ourselves – about the story behind the story. In some ways, it is The human connections are - indeed - not “perfect” similar to reading a book. The book may tell us a (whatever that means). Seldom –if ever –are our good story and provide entertainment. But it the chess sets “perfect”. It is the human connections connection to another person’s thoughts – in this that make our chess collections worthy of keeping particular venue, through the written word –that and maybe even still pursuing. underlies a deeper sense of satisfaction. It is the connection to the author, who happens to be So, the next time you see that particular, special another human being. . chess set displayed in your chess cabinet, or on a shelf, or maybe even still hidden in its shipped It is said that Freud focused on two human needs: cardboard box, think of the possible story behind 1.) the need to work and 2.) to be loved. Now, to the story. You just may be able to settle down a digress a tad, I believe that sometimes, the two can bit, rest, remember, and really appreciate this time be intertwined and the words can be used in a in life – at least for a little while. You can sleep on different, perhaps confusing fashion. I think that that. The old, gasoline guzzling motor, which one should consider themselves fortunate if they drives you (perhaps insane) in your endless, work because they love to work (and not merely salivating adventure of chess seeking, will likely because they are required to in order to survive - or start up again in the morning. But for right now, to acquire more money to acquire more chess sets.) you can stop and smell the human roses (even if they sometimes also emit an interesting, fertilizing To get back, in a manner of speaking, to the task at odor from below)! hand, I would, however, like to focus on the need for love. I think it could be said that the “connection”, which I have mentioned above, is actually a form of love. Love can come in many

ANCIENT CHESSMEN An Exhibition in the Castle Museum of Mayenne, Bretagne, France
Jean-François Goret (City Archeologist of the City of St. Denis) Matheu Grandet (Director of the Castle Museum of Mayenne) Chess and Tric-Trac – The Making of Medieval Games Pieces Mayenne Castle The main reason for organizing the show had to do with the hoard of chess and tric-trac men unearthed in the castle of Mayenne during excavations at the end of the 90s. Altogether, 35 chess pieces, two tric-trac boards and 51 tric-trac stones plus 7 nine mens morris (=merelle) stones were found during this campaign, making Mayenne the major find for gaming pieces in France – and one of the most important ones in Europe.

A fascinating exhibition on medieval gaming pieces was on display last summer at the Castle Museum in Mayenne, Brittany. The show – whose catalyst were the numerous chessmen and games counters found during archeological excavations in the castle cellars – contrived to exhibit the games treasure found and set it off with numerous chess and tric-trac men recovered in digs all over France. I was lucky enough to pass through shortly before The pieces all date from the 10th to the 12th century the end of the show, and here is my report. – when the castle was owned by the Mayenne family – and most them are carved in stag antler



horn, a material in abundance and much used in those days for all kinds of household utensils. The Mayenne treasure is supplemented and set off with pieces found in other parts of France or preserved in museums. Additionally, the curators have managed to show the earliest known European trictrac board – the Gloucester board – and even some From Underwater – Wooden Bishop and antler Rook, games pieces from Germany. Only the grandiose part of a handful of chessmen and altogether 7400 objects miraculously preserved on an underwater site in collection of the Museum de Cluny ahd the Lake Paladru. This material seems to have been left still Bibliotheque Nationale are conspicuously absent in the 11th century when the lake level suddenly rose, from this show – but then, this is a gallery of forcing the inhabitants of the houses to flee! archeological discoveries.

Villejoubert Finds – Found in the fortress of Andone, established by the Dukes of Angouleme around 980 – a Rook in typical crenellation form, Pawns and a few bone dice. Chess pieces were usually found in the company of tric-trac and merelle counters as well as dice . . . .

A Traveling Chess Piece Carver What makes the Mayenne find so interesting is the Staghorn Chessmen – 2 Kings and a Queen, probably material side of the treasure, mainly made from from the mid of the XI Century, found together with eight antler horn. Since many of the pieces are of similar other pieces at the bottom of a well beyond the ancient design, it seems that at one time a sizeable city wall of Noyon (Oise dep.). production must have taken place inside the castle, possibly by an itinerant craftsman. Several shards and partly cut or otherwise worked pieces of stag horn corroborate the point. And chess seems to have been an important part of court life in the Mayenne household – the fascinating glass windows showing chess and tric-trac gamesters in the cathedral of close by Le Mans were donated by Isabel de Mayenne, daughter of the last Lord of Mayenne, Juhel lll. She is also represented in the window! The workshop, as well as the pieces – most of the chess pieces are pawns, permit us to also verify - which tools were most likely used by the craftsmen - and how the antler sections served for different pieces

Staghorn Pawns, Rock Crystal Pawn, Boves

Ancient Chessmen

and the ribs were ideal for producing the barbs to make a tric-trac board. Figural vz. Symbolic The wide canopy of chessmen shown reveal how chess in Western Europe was influenced by arab-oriental traditions. On one hand, the typical symbolic forms of chessmen transmitted from the Muslim world abound, on the other hand, some of the fugrative tradition of Saracen Sicily and thereby Salerno do occur (as in the pieces of la Motte de

LeMans Cathedral Windows Two of the window sections show a game of chess and a game of tric-trac – the donators‘ likenesses are shown. This copy was produced especially for the Museum show.

Chess pawns, knights and bishops are generally made from the massive tips, tric-trac counters from the bases or crosscuts at the base, kings and queens from middle parts of the main antler branch. Antlers have a hard outer carpace, with massive tips, while the interior is mainly made of a spongy material which later hardens after the growth has ended. Some of the Mayenne tric-trac counters actually were carved in stag horn and then composed into a sandwich with two carved sides, a central copper disk, and metal nails to hold the counter together – quite a complicated process of manufacture.

Loisy). And while the process must have been slow, the chess men in their arab forms start to develop facial features, slight figurative alterations and additions, on their way to more recognizable forms. The antler horn pieces of Mayenne reflect the change – the light decorations with chisel and drill (occelli_eyelets) on the simple pawns contrast with the heads of kings, and the simple and crude facial development of other pawns – possibly from a goodly few years later!

Artistic Evidence The game pieces are, of course, the main attraction, still the show makes a major effort to put the games into perspective, via multiple reproductions of games as depicted in glass windows, sculpture, book illumination and frescoes. This permits the Less effort was spent on how pieces were carved general and non-specialized public to have a slight from morse ivory – only three stones are idea of the ambiance in which games flourished in represented, although the very first time in public. the middle ages – mainly court and clerical life. As for bone, the catalogue notes that certain parts of cow skeletons were used in preference. The jaw One facet that this show brings to the fore is the bone, because of its strong consistency, served well simultaneous occurrence of chess pieces with tricfor turning counters, the tibia bones for chessmen, trac stones and other games in most archeological finds. This may have to do with the sites – deserted houses, trash heaps – but simply with the fact that

these games were played by the same people, were part of the gamut of diversions in general, and that in some versions of chess dice were used in the middle ages, a custom imported from the arab countries. Another detail that becomes clear is how the old minimalistic chessmen, inherited from the arabs, slowly become, and gain, figurative character in Europe – the kings are topped with heads, the knights with faces, and even the pawns are imbues with figurative traits. The Show Will Go On! The excavations in the castle were part of a project of restoring and adapting the building in order to establish the town museum in it – and the main achievement was to clear the former Carolingian Main Hall from later additions and to restore it to its ancient form. In fact, the oldest part of the building later included in the enlarged fortress is one of the few early medieval palace buildings preserved, and quite sensational on its own. It is this hall which housed the main, Mayenne, part of the exhibit and where the these gaming pieces will also be shown in the future, creating, therefore, a permanent exhibit! It is absolutely worth any traveler’s time to pass by and visit this collection, as well as the other notable artifacts and objects shown and illustrated in the Museum. For the rest, I would just like to present the photos taken –


Unfortunately, not a very clear photo – An antler horn king from Mayenne

Figurative pawns – most of the Mayenne pawns were of the simple type, though . . .

Ancient Chessmen


Bishop – In staghorn, again not a very clear photo . . the typical two protuberances, reminiscent of the ancient elephant teeth

King or Queen? – Walrus ivory piece from the late 11th century, found in the chateau of Crevecoeur near Lisieux, already in the 19th century during excavations! Today in a private collection, shown for the first time in public

Rook, King, Pawn

Rook – Staghorn – the photo does not permit us to see the capillary surface of the horn – only the tips are massive, the rest of the horns are composed of many capillary ducts

Rook and Queen – in stag antler horn



Two Knights

One Knight and two Bishops, with the two ―globes‖ in the front. Please check the underside of the Bishop on the perspex stand . . . this piece has been made into a whistle!

Rook from the find of Loisy, in the form of a war chariot

A Knight from the rich find of the former fort of Loisy, Bresse – a figure kneeling on one knee!

Various Pieces – from left, Knight, Pawn, King and Rook

Ancient Chessmen


Staghorn Pawns, with the interior removed Walrus ivory Knight with rudimentary face, XIII Century

King and Lady, both in staghorn

Antler Pieces – A Rook, a King or Queen and a Pawn. The spongy capillary mass of the antler core is well in evidence! Two knights, one Bishop

Conclusions From the show, it is most notable that the Mayenne find is both important in terms of quantity as well as the quality, and the occurrence of numerous leftovers indicating the - albeit temporary – existence of a workshop in the castle. Since the Mayenne part, and some additions, will stay in the newly adapted Carolingian Hall inside the Museum, it is very likely that chess and games fans, as well as the numerous academic games fraternity, will have to fix Mayenne on their personal landmap!


Game Pieces Galore – View of one of the vitrines – the numerous reflections and strobe lights are partly accountable for the quality of the pictures

Jean-François Goret, chief archeologist of the city of St. Denis, and Mathieu Grandet, Director of the Museum of Mayenne, are to be lauded and congratulated for assembling and launching this unique exhibition. Many of the over 150 pieces are being shown to the public for the first time. It is to be hoped and expected that, from the point of view of exploring medieval gaming habits, there will be a follow-up in some way – say symposiums, say further excavations, say publications – or even an international exhibition on medieval gaming, including some of the highlights shown in the castle of Mayenne!

Readers of this report interested in getting a more detailed picture – a catalog with several interesting essays by Mathieu Grandet, Luck Bourgeois and Lucien Davy, as well as dozens of excellent photos can be obtained directly from the Museum. Museum du Chateau de Mayenne Place Juhel F-53100 Mayenne FRANCE Email: Mathieu.grandet@museeduchateaudemayennelfr Or from the Publisher Catalogue Echecs et Trictrac ed. Errance 160 pp, format DINB A4, over 180 photos and drawings ISBN: 978-2-87772-503-3

Chess Collectors International’s (CCI) 8th Western Hemisphere Meeting is now scheduled for Baltimore, Maryland (USA) from Thursday, May 23 to Sunday, May 26, 2013. The Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace Hotel at 202 East Pratt Street will be the site for seminars, “show & tell”, a Chess Fair sets for sale), dinners and farewell brunch. The proposed schedule for the meeting includes: THURSDAY, May 23rd - Optional Welcome Dinner at hotel, time open, not included in fee. FRIDAY, May 24th - 9 AM - Registration and set up sets for “Show & Tell” 10 AM to Noon Seminars and “Show & Tell” Coffee Break & Lunch (included in registration) “Show & Tell” - This will be the time to show your “favorite set”, “Tell” the story of why it’s your favorite, where you purchased it, etc. Send picture(s) of set to Bill Fordney before May 10 to have it included in printed program. 2 PM to 4 PM Seminars and “Show & Tell” program continues Evening - Inner Harbor Dinner Cruise- (optional, not included in registration) SATURDAY, May 25th - 9:30 AM to 12 Noon - Chess Fair, (rental of tables @$50 each for members & $100 each for non-members). Be sure to reserve your table with your registration. 10 to 12 Noon Possible Simul with Chess Master Afternoon - “on your own to explore Baltimore’s Fascinating Inner Harbor: USS Constellation & Historic Ships; National Aquarium; Maryland Science Center; Fort McHenry, (birthplace of Star Spangled Banner); Baltimore Museum of Art and Walters Art Museum; Camden Yards, Little Italy etc. 7 PM - Banquet Dinner - at hotel (included) SUNDAY, May 26th - 9:30 AM - Farewell Brunch - at hotel (included). The registration fee for attendance and participation at this meeting is $195 per person registered by May 1, 2013. Registration fees after May 1 will be $215 each. Non CCI Members registration fee is $250 to May 1, or $275 thereafter. Our special Hotel per night rates of $159 per room plus tax, are guaranteed until May 1st. Normal rates are $199 plus tax. Be sure to call the hotel directly to reserve your room, 410-547 1300, and tell them you should receive the special “Chess Collectors International” rate of $159. If you are interested in selling chess items at our Chess Fair on Saturday, May 25th, include a fee of $50 with your enclosed CCI registration form and mail to Bill Fordney If you have any additional program ideas, please contact us. Hope to hear from you soon Floyd & Bernice Sarisohn PO Box 166, Commack, NY 11725 Phone: 631-543-1330 Email: Bill Fordney 106 East Greenbriar Dr., York, PA, 17407 Phone: 717-741-0957 Email:

[Editor‘s Note: The last issue of the CCI-USA contained a noteworthy article by Larry List on a rare chess set designed by Man Ray that is to be offered in a new edition by the Man Ray Trust. By sheer coincidence, while looking for information to include in this issue of the Newsletter, I stumbled upon an article on the chess sets of Man Ray in the CCI-USA NEWS of January 12, 1994. While it does include some of the same information as the article by Larry List, it also adds some insight into the evolution of Man Ray‘s designs – plus, I attempted to update the pictures. As a result, it seemed this article could serve as a perfect addition/fit to the article already presented by Larry List. I hope you agree.]

Artist, Photographer, Ardent Chess Player and Designer of Chess Sets
[Article originally appeared in the January 12, 1994 issue of The CCI-USA News] A checkered pattern of a chess board appeared in Man Ray’s very first assemblage. In 1920, Man Ray planned his first chess set, and the pieces he so lovingly designed on paper inspired the shapes of the chess pieces. His chessmen were made from the items scattered around his studio – simple geometric wooden shapes used as draughtsman’s models and broken violins. A pyramid was used for the King, a cone for the Queen, a cube for the Rook, a bottle for the Bishop and a sphere, glued to a button that served as a base, for the Pawn. Taking the Egyptian symbol of Kingship as the Pyramid, he used it for the King. The Queen, a more feminine form, was suggested by the conical headdress of ladies in medieval times. The flagon for the Bishop originated in the clergy’s love of good cheer and their skill in concocting rare and famous liquors. The scroll of a violin bearing resemblance to a horse head, served for the Knight, whose movement on the board is more erratic than the geometrical moves of the other pieces. The Rook was reduced to the simplest possible geometric form – the cube or blockhouse. The sphere for the Pawns was the most simple interpretation of these less powerful pieces, but their augmented size was in keeping with the importance the Pawn has assumed in modern chess. In 1926, while living in Paris, Man Ray was commissioned by an Indian Prince to execute the set in silver and three sets were made.

Man Ray showing his chess set design

Man Ray Wood Chess Set (1920 – 1924)

In 1945, Man Ray designed a new set, issued in limited edition of six wooden numbered and signed sets, which in 1947 were produced in aluminum. Here the influence of geometrical industrial design can be observed as chance yields to the rational” the Rook was a cylinder; the Knight a segment of a circle creating the profile of the arched horse’s neck; the Bishop a bottle; the Queen more feminine with the pointed end of the earlier cone replaced by a sphere; the King, mellowed with age, the pointed edges of the pyramid softened into a circular pyramidal shape surmounting a truncated cone with a central hole. The Pawns were almost identical to those of the 1920 set except for a slight modification of the base to facilitate handling.

In 1962, 17 years later, Man Ray designed his third chess set by making slight modifications to the 1945 design. Only one piece, the Bishop, changed radically; the bottle shape being abandoned in favor of a more conventional approach derived from the Bishop of the standard Staunton set. Man Ray’s Bishop was, however, more harmonious. The eight different planes of the Staunton model melted into one long flowing S-shaped curve derived from the Bishop’s head in the standard model. The Queen and Pawn remained unchanged. The top section of the Rook and the King was cut by a cross-shaped indentation while the Knight’s eye, a simple point in the 1945 set, was enlarged to a circular hole. In addition to these three main chess sets, Man Ray produced several variations in which the pieces of the various sets are somewhat mixed. Sometimes slight changes were introduced into the basic design of the three sets.

Man Ray Aluminum Chess Set

Man Ray Chess Set and Chess Board The board was signed by Man Ray and dated 1962 This was also one of only a few photos I could find of the 1962 chess set designed by Man Ray

Man Ray Chess Sets
Man Ray designed a chess table (1930) and a chess board (1962). In both cases the sides of the chess board are inscribed with a prose poem based on alliteration and puns that humorously characterize the chess pieces of the game.

they were intended for play. Marshall proposed a game and took about 10 minutes to beat Man Ray. Man Ray asked Marshall if his design was practical and might be accepted by players. Marshall replied that the pieces did not matter, he could play with buttons or even without pieces – chess players were not susceptible to form unless they were also artists. Man Ray continued to direct his efforts toward designing new forms for chess pieces.

Le Roi est à moi, la Reine est la tienne
[The King is mine, the Queen is yours]

La Tour fait un four, le Fou est comme vous
[The Rook is a flop, the Bishop is a fool like you]

Le Cavalier déraille, le Pion fait l‘espion comme toute canaille
[The Knight talks nonsense, the Pawn is a spy like every scoundrel]

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Man Ray Chess Set, 1971, note where this later design varies from the 1962 set, in particular the King does not have the cross-shaped indentation that is seen in the Rook. Also the Pawns have evolved from spheres on bases to cylinders with indented tops. The design of the Bishops appears to have ‗married‘ the tra ditional visor cut to the top with the vase shape of the early Man Ray chess set designs.

Man Ray harbored illusions that his chess set might become as popular as the standard Staunton set in tournament play. In 1919, the reaction of a chess master, Marshall, decided. Man Ray displayed his chess pieces to Marshall who asked if

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