I had been casually collecting chess sets over the years, albeit cheap, barely playable sets made with coarse design and cheap materials. Recently, I've found my interest in collecting chess sets renewed, but now for the more elegant pieces crafted from finer materials — the sorts of chess sets that one can proudly gift to a younger enthusiast or bequeath as a family heirloom. This Dubrovnik set is no exception, and just the unboxing experience earlier this evening made me feel as though a part of chess history had reached forward from the past to touch me in the present. My hope of acquiring an original 1950 Dubrovnik set are beyond remote, yet having even a facsimile like this set allows me to experience what the original pieces might have felt like (but for the extra weight incorporated in these modern pieces, which is an attribute modern players have come to expect).
I purchased the Mahogany-stained boxwood and Natural boxwood pieces. These pieces are elegant, yet possess a substantial heft which makes them more stable on the chessboard. Their finish is polished to a gleaming satin without any distracting glare. The green felted base pads ensure that as the pieces come down onto a chessboard, no abrasion or other aggressive contact mars either the pieces or the board. I find myself continually admiring the craftsmanship in the knights, which capture just enough realism to be recognised as the iconic horse in appearance without emulating the complex visual nuance of a living horse. The execution of the 1950 Dubrovnik knight was a fine balance of simple geometry for ease of production against the aesthetic demands for a familiar equine profile.
All in all, I would highly recommend this set for anyone whose collection lacks a Dubrovnik representative. Surely not everyone will play it as their go-to set, but I believe that everyone can admire the innovation of the design while still reading it as a Staunton set with a healthy Slavic variation.