The House of Staunton is proud to offer the Grandmaster II Bronstein Series Chess Pieces and features a 4.4'' King with a 1.75'' diameter base. Originally classified “Grandmaster 2” as one of four “Grandmaster” sets by Portuguese collector and historian Arlindo Vieira, the “Bronstein” name was added by American collector Mike John Ladzinski based on a 1968 photo of Bronstein and Tal playing with such pieces.
The Grandmaster II sets were mass produced to meet an immense demand for sets among the vast chess-playing Soviet public. Shakhmaty v SSSR, 9/1962, at 278-279. Their design is quintessentially Soviet. It incorporates large, bulbous bases, curving up to concave stems, which trumpet into the pedestals upon which the crowns and miters perch. The bulbous bases are echoed in the large, rounded bases of the king’s crown and bishop’s onion-shaped miter, which itself reflects the shape of orthodox church domes. Large proletarian pawns reflect the importance of the working class to socialist ideology. CV-shaped Knights are carved in the distinct manner of the sixties. The following 1950s-early 1960s version has 105 mm kings and original dark blue cloth bottoms.
The Grandmaster II Bronstein chess set served Soviet chess for decades. It was mass produced for a chess-playing public in need of thousands and thousands of sets. Its curvaceous design was quintessentially Soviet, even as it evolved to incorporate plastic parts and discard some detail in an effort to economize its production and make it more accessible to a Soviet public hungry for playing sets.
The Chessmen are new and each set consists of 34 Chessmen, including four Queens, a standard that was introduced by The House of Staunton in 1993.