Lot #939. Baruch Harold Wood Chessmen, Sutton-Coldfield


An original set of Baruch Harold Wood Chessmen, Varnished and stained Beechwood. The King, 3-1/2″ by 1-3/4″. Housed in an older wooden slide-top box. This is set #5C shown in the original Chess advertisement. Sold through SuSutton-Coldfield, England, circa 1938.

In stock


Baruch Harold Wood Chessmen, Sutton-Coldfield.

Offered here is an original set of Baruch Harold Wood Chessmen, varnished and stained Beechwood, in excellent condition. The felt base pads have been replaced. The King stands 3-1/2″ tall with a 1-3/4″ diameter base. These vintage chessmen have very broad bases to enhance their stability during play.  The chessmen are housed in an older replacement slide-top box. This is set #5C shown in the original Chess advertisement. The chessmen were designed by Baruch H. Wood and offered for sale to the general public in the Fall of 1937. Several pieces from one such set of Baruch Harold Wood Chessmen graces the cover of How to Play the Endgame in Chess by Leonard Barden. The chessmen offered here are in excellent condition and have the same wood tone as the set shown on the accompanying cover photograph. The chessmen were manufactured in France and imported by Sutton-Coldfield. These sets were also available in ivory. The chess pieces play and display best on a chessboard with 2-1/4″ squares. The antique chess clock and chessboard shown are not included, but a suitable clock and chessboard can be found here.

Baruch Harold Wood Chessmen
Baruch Wood Chessmen
Baruch Harold Wood Chessmen
 Sept. 1937 “Chess” Advertisement

In the September and October 1937 issue of Baruch Howard Wood’s publication “Chess”, there appeared advertisements for a new, high quality, Staunton chessmen. Shortly thereafter, on May 16, 1939, The Jaques Company issued an injunction to restrain “Chess” from passing off sets of chessmen not of Jaques’ manufacture as “Genuine Staunton Chessmen” or as simply “Staunton Chessmen”. The suit was actually more about using the words “Staunton” and “Genuine Staunton” than it was about using the words “Staunton pattern”. Jaques claimed that the words “Staunton” and “Genuine Staunton” meant that the sets were, in fact, made by them. There is some validity to that claim. In the UK, even today, Staunton chessmen were understood to be Jaques chessmen. All others were Staunton type chessmen. The lawsuit concluded with Jaques having sole right to use “Genuine Staunton” but anyone could use “Staunton” or “Staunton Pattern”. The lawsuit was originally found in Jaques favor, but “Chess” won on appeal. This became known as The Chess lawsuit of a Century.


Baruch Harold Wood Chessmen

In 1935, Wood founded the magazine CHESS, which became one of the two leading chess magazines in Great Britain. He edited it until 1988, when it was taken over by Pergamon Press. Wood was the chess correspondent for the Daily Telegraph and The Illustrated London News. From 1948 to    February 1967, he was responsible for the chess column of the Birmingham Daily Post. He also wrote a popular and often reprinted book Easy Guide to Chess (Sutton Coldfield 1942), described by Grandmaster Nigel Davies as “one of the best beginner’s books on the market”. His other books include World Championship Candidates Tournament 1953 (Sutton Coldfield 1954) and 100 Victorian Chess Problems (1972).

From 1946 to 1951 B. H. Wood was president of the ICCA, a forerunner organization of the International Correspondence Chess Federation. Wood was a FIDE Judge, an international chess arbiter, and the joint founder of the Sutton Coldfield Chess Club. Wood represented England when it joined FIDE, the world chess federation. He was longtime President of the British Schools Chess Association and also of the British Universities Chess Association.

Between 1938 and 1957, Wood won the championship of Warwickshire eight times. In 1939 he represented England at the Chess Olympiad in Buenos Aires. He won the tournaments at Baarn (1947), Paignton (1954), Whitby (1963), Tórshavn (1967) and Jersey (1975). He tied for 4th–6th, scoring 5 points out of 9 games, at the 1948–49 Hastings Christmas Chess Congress, 1.5 points behind winner Nicolas Rossolimo. In 1948, he tied for second place at the British Chess Championship held in London. He won the British correspondence chess championship in 1944–45.


Additional information

Weight5 lbs
Dimensions14 × 12 × 10 in

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