Home Chess Gear My fascination with wooden chess sets – part 1

My fascination with wooden chess sets – part 1


I have from the beginning loved wooden chess pieces.  There has just been a nice feeling to play with a wooden chess set rather than the boring tournament chess sets that you find at all events.

Now I have to count how many wooden sets I have………………..12 wooden sets. Why have so many?  I agree it is madness but what do you do.  Which one do I use the most? Well today I will introduce you to my family.

This set was bought many years ago from a second hand shop which was in Uniafric House on Koinange Street, Nairobi.  The shop was run by a nice friendly Goan chap (cannot remember his name – perhaps Dominic?). He used to sell second hand sports stuff.

This set is cute because it is small and very nice to use to analyse.  The King is about 2 inches high. The only problem that I have with this set is that the black pieces have their blackness fading.  It has no felt.

TSL used to also make the set with the 3 inch King but I have not seen any in Kenya for a long long time.

I have decided that I will get one TSL set with the 3 inch King for myself and checked with www.ebay.com.  There are some available for around STG 15.  The amazing thing is that I found another wooden set made by K&C Ltd in London.  When I saw that photo it took me back 35 years ago to the Physics Lab at Highway Secondary School where we used to play chess and our teacher was a certain Mr Young who drove a white Ford Escort. We used to play using these type of chess sets. I have no idea where he is now but he must have gone back to the UK.

I still remember that he arranged a match between Highway Secondary School and Upper Hill School.  Was I in the team. Heck no.  I was included in the team by Mr Young but some bully (he is a well known Managing Director in Kenya now so will not mention names) went to see him and told him that he should be in the team.  Mr Young asked him why? He turned round to me and said that he was stronger than me and we played a match or game (cannot remember) and I lost and that is how I was out of the Highway Chess Team.

Upper Hill have a long history of chess in Kenya which I will cover in future posts.  Here is the photo of the chess set from K&C (OK – I had to do some gymnastics as the photo on ebay was just not working out).