Cy Endfield's Chess Set

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"Cy Enfield was a film director, magician and inventor. Among his many achievements he created a unique chess set which he patented in 1974 in the US (3,806,128). This chess set, which allows one to interlock all back row pieces into a tube for easy storage, was the official FIDE commemorative chess set for the legendary 1972 chess battle between the American chess genius Bobby Fischer and the Russian protege Boris Spassky.

The set was originally made from silver and gilded silver in a limited edition. Original sets, if they become available, are sold around $2,000-$3,000. The front page of the patent show the basic design of the tubular stack. In the illustration we see the way Cy Endfield assembled one color. The most inner part was formed by a tube (fig.4) onto which the pawns were stacked (fig.3). Over the pawns came another tube to prevent pawns from rubbing against the other pieces." Writeup taken from

Pictures include author's rendition of original design which has these changes:

  • The bishop has three triangles representing the bishop's hat rather than two. This prevents the bishop-queen and bishop-king joint ot separate radially. Now all pieces have to be separated axially which leads to a much more robust other tube formed by the back row pieces.
  • The pawns haveĀ  been completely redesigned to interlock into a long rod. Together with two additional end-pieces the pawns lock the tube of back row pieces firmly together. Storage therefore does not need an additional container. The best way is to roll a soft board around as seen in the pictures.
  • Some of the back row pieces, in particular knight, bishop and king, are printed in two parts which are linked together by screwing one piece into the other. Both parts have threads printed on their ends which allow the screw connection without any additional hardware.
  • The details of the knight's head were changed to create a design with less overhangs, which prints better on a printer without support material.

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