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Published on Apr 6, 2012
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A discussion of the chess sets made for tourists, often by non-chess playing cultures.
Making & selling chess sets to tourists is a phenomenon that dates well back into the 1800s, and here I discuss various tourist sets, including the "high end" Killarney and Bears of Berne sets, but also Russian chochloma sets, modern sets from Mexico with hand-turned plastic instead of bone that vaguely resemble European pulpit sets, and African sets, both the modern ones that frequently feature animals and the probably-earlier ones that have busts of Europeans. Interestingly, modern Mongolian sets often have automobiles...
This is an area for more research, as the accepted reference works on the subject by Ned Munger are too centered on sets that he commissioned and sometimes even designed, which somewhat defeats the point of attempting to assess such sets in their cultural milieu.