Skopje 1972 Olympiad Chessmen Reproduction
The House of Staunton has reproduced this legendary chess set from the 1972 Chess Olympiad held in Skopje, Macedonia (formerly Yugoslavia). The King stands 4.4” tall with a 1.85” base. The original chessmen were Lacquered Natural and Brown-stained Boxwood. Our set of chessmen includes an extra pair of Queens to assist in Pawn Promotion, a feature pioneered by us in 1995. The 20th Olympiad is now just a memory – and these Skopje 1972 Olympiad reproduction chessmen are a fitting tribute to that memorable event. The chessmen play and display best on a chessboard with 2.25 – 2.375″ squares.
The jubilee of 20th anniversary of the Chess Olympiad was celebrated in Skopje, Yugoslavia (today’s capital of FYR, Macedonia). The event took place between 18th September – 13th October 1972. Skopje was totally devastated by huge earthquake that struck the city in 1963 and was subsequently totally rebuilt. For the first time, extraordinary precautions were taken at a chess Olympiad because of Munich tragedy in which Palestinian terrorists killed nine Israeli athletes taking part in the Summer Olympic Games.
Most of the World’s leading players came to Skopje, but there were some notable no-shows. The USSR team was missing Spassky, who had just lost the World Champion title. The new World Champion, Bobby Fischer, refused to participate without concessions. As was his want, Fischer demanded special accommodations, including a separate game hall. The organizers refused and so did Fischer. The USA team was further weakened since Reshevsky, Evans and Lombardy also refused to attend. Denmark played without Larsen and West Germany was missing Unzicker and Schmid.
Soviet’s 11th consecutive gold medal was not achieved easily. Their score was well below expectations based on the team’s ELO ratings. Savon was out of form and lost 2 games. However, Anatoly Karpov’s debut was highly promising and Tal scored heavily for them. The Soviet Team won three individual gold medals.
Based on the pre-tournament ratings, the USSR team was a big favorite with average rating of 2626, followed by Yugoslavia 2528, Hungary 2509, Czechoslovakia 2481 and East Germany 2458. Hungary had excellent kick off beating the Soviets 2½-1½, second victory against USSR in their history this time earned thanks to Bilek who defeated Korchnoi. Yugoslavia lost to Czechoslovakia on the next day and although USSR beat West Germany we have seen first and only Petrosian’s Olympic loss.