Minsk 1980 Olympiad Commemorative Chessmen.
Offered here is a set of the Minsk 1980 Moscow Olympiad Chessmen. The King stands 4-0″ tall with a 1-1/2″ diameter base. The weighted and felted pieces are trimmed in a gold metal. These chess sets were produced around 1984 in Belarus and were offered as souvenirs to commemorate the 1980 Moscow Summer Chess Olympiad. This is one of the more pleasing of the ne of the Soviet designs. Often referred to as the “Holy Grail” of chess sets from the former USSR, these vintage chess pieces are fabricated from high-quality Carbolite and were adorned with golden metal accents. The plastic-like material is a phenol formaldehyde resin analogous to Bakelite and is commonly found in items made in the former Soviet Union. The chess pieces were produced in the Belarusian factory. The pieces are in like new condition.
Most collectors of Soviet chess sets understandably limit their acquisitions to wooden tournament sets. However, Soviet plastic sets like this one and the Soviet Amberoid set provide an aura of collectability of their own. There are actually three variations of the Minsk 1980 Moscow Olympiad Commemorative Chessmen. The first is Belarusian, while the other two are Ukrainian, made in the city of Severodonetsk. The second Ukrainian design had a much bulkier look, although similar in overall design. This particular set is most likely of Belarusian origin and, since the metal trim on both armies is gold. They were produced around 1984. Packaging can vary from a simple box containing only the chessmen toa plastic folding chessboard/box. Also, some boxes commemorate the 1980 Olympics; others can commemorate different events. In any event, the pieces are always referred to generally as the Olympiad set.