Dubrovnik Sets and their Growing Popularity

Loosely modeled on the Staunton line of Chessmen, but with a distinctive allure of its own that transcends eras, the Dubrovnik style of Chessmen was first designed for use at the 9th Chess Olympiad, held in 1950 at Dubrovnik, Yugoslavia (modern-day Croatia) - from where it derives its name.
Dubrovnik Chess

The conception and evolution

Pocek, a Yoguslav painter and sculptor, was expressly tasked with the creation of a new design of Chessmen, for enhanced stability, playability, and ease-of-handling - specifically for the occasion.

With what later became known as the Dubrovnik set of Chessmen, Pocek not only met his brief but exceeded all expectations, by imbuing his design with understated elegance - devoid of any flowery ornamentation - that has enchanted generations of Chess enthusiasts.

Over the course of the last 70-odd years since its creation, the Dubrovnik design has been through several revisions, though its basic design grammar has remained largely unchanged.

One of the better-known variants, the more minimalist 1970 version of the Dubrovnik, is particularly noteworthy for the cleaner facial carvings on the Knights and the reduced number of notches in the Queen’s Coronet.

The endorsement 

One of the key factors behind the enduring popularity of the Dubrovnik set of Chessmen is the unreserved endorsement they received from one of the most iconic legends of the game - Bobby Fischer.

Fischer, the only American Chess World Champion in the modern era, was singularly responsible for the revival of Chess in popular culture - at least in the western hemisphere - after he beat Spassky in the 1972 World Chess Championship to snap an unbroken 24-year reign of Soviet domination of the game.

Fischer famously possessed and treasured an original 1950 Dubrovnik Chess set of his own. He is also reported to have specifically asked for the Dubrovnik Chessmen to be used for his 1992 rematch with Spassky.

Today, it is largely due to his personal ownership and his public endorsement, that the Dubrovnik Chessmen are widely perceived to be among the top five classic designs of all time.

The TQG Effect

The Dubrovnik set served as an inspiration for several other Chessmen designs - not least of which was the Zagreb - another well-known Croatian design, made even more famous by its prominent appearance in the phenomenally popular 2020 Netflix original mini-series, The Queen's Gambit, which enjoyed worldwide viewership of 60 million.

The Chess sets featured in the mini-series, along with their predecessors and variants, have been discussed and analyzed ad nauseam, by Chess enthusiasts the world over on social media, and other online fora.

A ripple effect of this has been that classic Chess sets, particularly those originating from the Soviet-Croatian region have been hogging the limelight, and flying off the shelves of leading Chess equipment retailers, around the world.

This has only added to the charm, the mystique, and the growing popularity of the Dubrovnik set of Chessmen.

Bag your own set

Faithful replicas of the 1970 Dubrovnik Chessmen, hand-carved to perfection by our master-craftsmen in triple- weighted Golden Rosewood, Bud Rosewood, or Ebony are now within your grasp at http://royalchessmall.com.

Dubrovnik Chess




Base diameter


3.8” (97 mm)

1.7” (44 mm)


3.3” (85 mm)

1.6” (40 mm)


3.0” (75 mm)

1.5” (37 mm)


2.8” (70 mm)

1.5” (37 mm)


2.2” (56 mm)

1.5” (37 mm)


2.0” (50 mm)

1.3” (33 mm)


Order your own magnificent Dubrovnik set here.