House of Staunton Reykjavik II chess set, white pieces
Updated 2016-04-25

Reykjavik II Chess Set

from The House of Staunton

House of Staunton Reykjavik II wooden chess set, white king

This set commemorates the 1972 World Chess Championship match between Bobby Fischer from the United States and then-world champion Boris Spassky from Russia. You can read about the famous "Match of the Century" on Wikipedia, or in one of several books on the subject available at Jaques of London created the sets actually used in the tournament, and they sell reproductions of that set today.

House of Staunton Reykjavik II wooden chess set, white queen

The House of Staunton have produced a few different versions of this under different but similar monikers. They first listed it under the "Reykjavik '72" moniker in early 2002. It was 38 oz. set and the 3.75" king has a 1.625" base. They retired that series in January 2003, replacing it with the slightly heavier (54 oz. on average) "Reykavik II" series in which the king had a 1.75" base. In 2008, they released a "Fischer Timeless" series which looked liked a slightly modified version of this and on which they based their "2008 US Chess Championship Commemorative" chessmen. Now, they have both a Reykjavik II series and a Fischer Spassky Commemorative chess set. They look essentially the same, but you can see the differences when you compare them on the website. Suffice it to say that if you see a set with a title related to Reykjavik or Fischer/Spassky, it most likely a version based on the 1972 match.

House of Staunton Reykjavik II wooden chess set, white rook

If not for the attachment to such an historical chess event, this set probably would not be of much note. There is nothing overly stunning or exceptional about this set. The cross finial of the king is sharp, as are the points on the queen's crown. Those are nice design points. And the knight, compared to a German knight or a French knight is a bit more detailed and nicely contoured, although it seems the muzzle is actually a tad short. I like the height of the rook's parapets but think they are cut a bit too deeply. The bishop's head is rather bulbous with a very simple and very straight miter cut.

The Latest Version

In the latest design of the Reyjavik series, the king's cross finial is now more oddly shaped. You'll have to compare it to this one to see what I mean. The queen's crown is slightly duller and top dome slightly taller. The rooks and bishops are mostly unchanged, but the bishop's miter cut is shallower. The knights feel like they've straightened up a bit more: the backs have less of an "S" shape to them, the manes at the top of the head are slightly shorter, and the muzzles are more level. Lastly, the collar of the pawns have a steeper angle to them. Overall, I like the new design less. But I don't hate it. One thing I do like is that they now make a good, weighted plastic version of it. The knight doesn't quite look the same as the wooden counterpart, so it's a bit peculiar. But it is kind of growing on me, and I might actually make this my next plastic chess set purchase. Or perhaps I'll opt for the Fischer Series plastic chess set. Despite the strong similarity of its knight to the knight of the Collector Series set, the rook parapets are slightly taller than the Collector and the bishop's miter cut is more normal.