Though not as towering and majestic as the 4.5-inch, 1849-50 Leuchars Cook Staunton lacquered in ivory & crimson previously reviewed, the 3.75-inch, 1849 Jacques Cook Staunton in antiqued boxwood and ebony is no less a masterpiece. I don’t think any two woods go together better on the chessboard than antiqued boxwood emulating an aged patina and deep, black ebony.
Regarding individual pieces, of all of the sets I own it sports the most aesthetically pleasing knight with a traditional, lightly serrated mane and remarkably expressive muzzle. It is expertly carved by the artisans at Royal Chess Mall; I have seen none finer. Lathe turning from the king to the last pawn is first rate as well. The uniquely concave, curvilinear rook from base to turret I find particularly attractive compared to straight-stemmed versions.
In my opinion, this set is more practical for tournament play than a 4.5-inch set. Due to the wide bases, some players may opt for a 2.375-inch square board. However, my photo reveals the set fits nicely and looks great on this 2.25-inch square curly maple and walnut board. Unfortunately, this particular board with its wide frame cannot be purchased; it was made in 1981 by my best friend as a Christmas present.
Lastly, I must mention that this set was ordered through Amazon and arrived with seven (7) of the seventeen (17) boxwood pieces a dark yellow bordering on orange. In other words, it was an “imperfect” set not advertised as such by Amazon. However, Royal Chess Mall made replacement pieces after I returned the darker ones with a lighter control pawn, and they did so on their dime. As you can see from the photo, the antiqued boxwood pieces are beautifully matched. Excellent service by a business who makes things right for the customer.
Please note my next review will be on the same 1849 set but in boxwood and bud rosewood.
Five stars for this 1849 Jacques reproduction! Five stars for customer service!