Lot #645. Jaques Status Quo Chess Set Owned by British “Roughrider”.
Jaques Type 1 Status Quo Chess Set.
A Jaques Ivory Type 1 Status Quo Chess set, or more correctly “In Statu Quo.” This Type 1 Status Quo Chess Set measures 9-1/8″ x 9-1/8″ with red-stained and natural bone chessmen having a King height of 5/8″ by 7/8″ in diameter. The chessmen are housed in an off-white canvas carrying case case. Jaques patented the In Statu Quo Travel Chess Set in 1853. The chessmen have a metal peg inserted into each of their bases to enable the locking system to operate. The Jaques Type 1 Status Quo Chess Set features a hinged folding board with an ingenious patented locking system. By depressing two white buttons located at each half of the chess board, the pieces are locked in place so the game can be halted midway and stored for a later date with the position kept in tact. An additional inside button unlocks the pieces. There is a brass slide on either side which locks the chessboard in the open position. This particular Type 1 Status Quo Chess Set was most likely produced around 1910.
The name “In Statu Quo Chessboard ” is imprinted along one edge of the frame, and “Jaques Patentees London” printed on the opposite side. The Rosewood and Holly chessboard is housed within the Mahogany frame. The chess set has a replacement off-white canvas carrying case. The chess set is in excellent condition, although the red stain is somewhat worn consistent with age and usage.
Some Interesting History About This Set.
The following information accompanied this particular Jaques ISQ chess set. “The ‘chessboard’ was last used by my father in 1913 – 1915 when he was in the Roughriders, a London regiment that was in one of the last camel charges of the British army. He would play chess with a fellow officer on camel-back until the order was given to charge. The board was then locked and, when the dust had settled, unlocked and play resumed, on the assumption that both had survived. My father then switched to the Royal Flying Corps, where the opportunities for playing chess in the air were somewhat limited !”
The Jaques patent application is dated 1st July 1853 and was submitted on 2nd July. The patent was granted on 16th August 1853. Jaques produced In Statu Quo portable chess sets in four basic sizes. These were available in either Red-stained and natural Bone or African ivory. Each chess set came housed in a Black leather carrying case with a lockable flap covering the small end of the case. The lockable outside of the flap had a gold embossed Jaques manufacturer’s emblem. To facilitate remembering which side had the move when the game was paused, there was a slider on the underside of the flap which would show either a red or a white swatch. Each case originally had a pull-ribbon to aid removal of the chess set. Few of these ribbons survived.
- The most common of the In Statu Quo chess sets, measured 9-1/8″ x 9-1/8″ with bone or ivory chessmen. They had a King height of 5/8″ by 7/8″ in diameter. These came in two black leather case configurations. One was a rather typical parallelepiped, (Type 1A). The second had a rounded spine with a small flap atop the spine to insert the captured chessmen (Type 1B).
- The next size, and probably the most practical, is the Type II. It measured 11-1/2″ x 9-1/8″ and used the same bone or ivory pieces as the smaller In Statu Quo sets. The major difference between this and the smaller sets was the extra field at each end to store and secure the captured chessmen. It had only one case configuration. That was a black leather parallelepiped with a lockable flap.
- There were two larger size In Statu Quo portable chess sets. One measured 12-5/8″ x 12-5/8″ with bone or ivory chessmen having a King height of 3/4″ by 1″ in diameter. This was the Type III In Statu Quo. There was only one black leather carrying case configuration.
- The largest of the In Statu Quo Travel Chess sets measured 16-5/8″ x 12-5/8″ with the same bone or ivory chessmen as the set above. This was the Type IV In Statu Quo. These came in a rather distinctive leather case configuration. It was a typical parallelepiped, but with its lockable flap covering the long face of the case. This is the set pictured in the “Death Photo” of Alexander Alekhine.