Monthly Archives: February 2015

A Review of the 1 x 23.6 Inch Gloss Black Anegre and Maple Chess Board (RCBC100) REGENCY CHESS (CANADA)

The Spanish made 1 x 23.6 Inch Gloss Black Anegre and Maple Chess Board (RCBC100)

The Spanish made 1 x 23.6 Inch Gloss Black Anegre and Maple Chess Board (RCBC100)

I haven’t seen too many reviews online referencing Regency Chess Canada so I thought I’d take the opportunity to do so here. Being Canadian, it was nice to see that luxury chess sets and boards could be purchased from within our national borders.

Admittedly, I was a bit nervous ordering from Regency as their service is for the mostpart unheralded. Their UK mother company has an impressive 4.5 star rating from trustpilot.uk  boasting well over 700 reviews but would their Canadian branch earn that kind of lofty status? I am very happy to announce that at least where I am concerned it certainly did.

I ordered the Spanish made 1 x 23.6 Inch Gloss Black Anegre and Maple Chess Board (RCBC100) last Sunday evening (February 1, 2015) and the board arrived just about 1pm Friday, February 6, 2015. Regency Chess Canada is based in Toronto, Ontario and I live on Vancouver Island so a 5 day delivery schedule was more than satisfactory.

The company did not appear to offer postal tracking other than a notice informing that the package had shipped. I always like to take advantage of postal tracking where available and this is my one and only quibble with Regency Chess Canada.

The chess board arrived packaged exceptionally well with plenty of bubble wrap inside 2 boxes! I was very happy with the care provided the chess board and this fact certainly reflected well on Regency Chess Canada.

Handled With Care

Handled With Care

Lots of Bubble Wrap

Lots of Bubble Wrap

The board is absolutely stunning and shows off my ebony &  boxwood Staunton chessmen to effect. It’s hard to do the board justice with regards to the camera belonging to my cellphone but it is without question the personification of what you might call chess eye-candy.

I had some concerns with regards to the high-gloss finish. I mean, sure it looked great on Regency’s website but would the gloss act as an unwanted distraction? Again, I am very happy to answer in the negative. The gloss finish represents a beautiful fusion of eye-catching design and fundamental playability. My back-up board, a matte finish roll-up green and white squared board can stay safely tucked away.

I married the board to a chess set featuring a 4″ King with a 1 3/4″ base. The board is well suited to the set in my opinion. It is hard to do the actual scale of this board justice. It is BIG!

THE BOTTOM LINE 

  • Cost: $275.00 Cdn., before taxes; $310.75 Cdn., total
  • No hidden costs
  • Fast efficient delivery
  • Paypal supported
  • Excellent packaging
  • Excellent quality
  • I would not hesitate to order from Regency Chess Canada again

Product Specifications:

  • Board Dimensions : 23-5/8 x 23-5/8 x 3/8 inches (60cm x 60cm x 1cm)
  • Square Size : 2-3/8 inches (6cm)
  • Item Weight : 8.8 lbs (4.0kg)
  • Materials Used: Stained Anegre, Maple

Regency’s Canadian Website: http://www.regencychess.ca/

* Note: the chess set featured in this review is from a competing company

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A Review of Jaques of London 4″ Reintroduction Chess Set in Mahogany Box

Jaques of London's eponymous Stamp of Approval

Jaques of London’s eponymous Stamp of Approval

I’ve been playing chess since I was 8 years old — a lifetime ago. I have played tournament chess and I am a paid subscriber to chess.com where I continue to play chess daily. Over the years, like so many players I have dreamt of owning an heirloom chess set. I finally obtained one in the form of the Jaques of London 4″ Reintroduction Chess Set in Mahogany Box. Here’s a link to the set as it appears on the Official Jaques of London website:

http://www.jaqueslondon.co.uk/reintroduction-chess-set.html

THE ORDERING PROCESS

I must confess this set was not my first choice. In fact, it was the Jaques of London: Simpsons in the Strand 3.5″ set that I had initially intended to purchase. I had gone some ways in the ordering process before being informed that the Simpsons (a set limited to 500 copies) was no longer available.

I was disappointed in the set’s non-availability but I adjusted quickly and decided on the slightly larger (and more expensive) 4″ Reintroduction set. I had the extremely good fortune of communicating with Jaques of London sales representative, Tracy Bateson. This woman is everything a sales representative should be; attentive, knowledgable, courteous, understanding, and proactive. Upon alerting me to the unavailability of the Simpson’s  set I was offered a choice of 3 other Jaques sets at the same price point or the option of a complete and full refund.

I instead opted for the 4″ Reintroduction set. Ms. Bateson, true-to-form, informed me that there would be no charge afforded the two extra queens I had desired when ordering the Simpsons  3.5″ set and had also requested for the 4″ set.  I should note that the extra queens retail at a not insignificant  £ 49.99 each (before taxes). The savings, needless to say, were much appreciated.

I should note that as a Canadian customer, I was unable to take advantage of Jaques’ automated online e-commerce store. Jaques has a USA branch but they also are not set-up electronically to serve Canadian customers. I suspect the same holds true for Australian and New Zealand based consumers as well.

Despite the 8 hr difference between my home on British Columbia’s west coast and Kent in south-east England, I was able to interact and exchange phone calls and emails with Ms. Bateson in timely and efficient fashion.

The set was delivered by UPS and Jaques of London provided full delivery tracking. Therefore, I was glued to UPS’ website like a 1960s era kid to Saturday morning cartoons. Delivery was quick and problem free. I made initial contact with Tracy by email on January 21st and my set arrived on February 2. However, the actual delivery schedule of the 4″ set from date of payment received to my front door delivery was an impressive 7 days!

Of course, living in Canada and suffering a free-falling dollar as we currently are, the added costs of Canadian duties and taxes apart from the approx. £40.00  plus shipping costs included at Jaques end amounted to $199.31 which I paid to the UPS driver upon receipt of the set.

The set came extremely well packaged and I am confident no damage occurred in the actual shipping process. Bubble wrap, packing paper and 5 boxes! were afforded this set’s protection. I was suitably  impressed.

Packaged with Care

Packaged with Care

MY ONLY ISSUE

My one and only issue with this entire process focuses on the issue of quality control. In my opinion, Jaques of London is the gold standard when it comes to chess sets. The company has a storied past quite literally being synonymous with the game of chess itself; Insomuch as Jaques of London had, in the words of Wikipedia:

“…exclusive manufacturing rights for a chess set designed by Nathaniel Cook in 1849 and named the Staunton chess set after Howard Staunton. This set later became the official international standard.”

Jaques were also commissioned with producing the set used by Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky in the 1972 World Chess Championship. Dubbed the “Match of the Century” it is unlikely that the sheer social and cultural impact of the match and the universal  coverage the contest generated should ever be repeated.

So with all this behind it I was still disappointed to discover that 2 of my chess pieces fell far short of “Jaques of London” standards of excellence . One of the black pawns had suffered a broken collar (despite 5 boxes of packaging!)  I could understand a piece potentially suffering damage in a voyage travelling half-way across the globe. However, the damage was clearly done prior to shipping as the shredded remnants of what had been packing paper bore no evidence of any ebony shards. A white bishop also arrived in less than pristine condition bearing a couple of nicks near the piece’s base and suffering a rather too liberal application of lacquer.

I hasten to add that following a quick email to Jaques of London and once more connecting with Ms. Bateson I was immediately assuaged with news that 2 black pawns and 2 white bishops (free of charge sans shipping) would be dispatched post-haste to replace the 2 pieces that had arrived in less than satisfactory condition.

A broken pawn and a wounded bishop

A broken pawn and a wounded bishop

A CHESS SET TO BE PROUD OF

Jaques of London 4″ Reintroduction set not only serves as an impressive display item but is beyond doubt a set to be played. The pieces both black & white chessmen have the knights and rooks stamped with a kingside crown. The knights are richly detailed and true to the original Staunton design. I could not be happier.

It's in the Details!

It’s in the Details!

The 4″ Reintroduction set also features my preferred Staunton bishop with a narrow gap in the mitre and a full button on top. I am not a fan of the gaping mitre but such may be to your own liking. The bishops accompanying this set represent aesthetic perfection.

A narrow mitre and full button punctuating the top

A narrow mitre and full button punctuating the top

 

 

 

THE DETAILS

The 4″ Reintroduction set features the following:

  • Reissue of the original Jaques Staunton early 1890s design
  • Limited Edition (500)
  • Signed certificate authenticity
  • Gloss finished Mahogany box
  • Woods: Ebony (NOT ebonized) and Boxwood
  • White King’s base stamped “Jaques London”
  • B&W Rooks and Knights stamped with kingside crown
  • 4″ King with 1 3/4″ base
  • Heavily weighted (presumably triple weighted)
  • NO Extra Queens
  • Board NOT included
  • Retails for £ 999.00 before taxes (does not include shipping)

IN SUMMARY

Historic! English! Quality! Satisfaction guaranteed! But this is not a budget set. It really is heirloom quality with all the trimmings. A set to proud of, displayed, played with, and handed down the generations. Personally, it represents a prized possession and the cumulation of a lifelong love affair with the game of chess.

Jaques of London 4" 1890s Reintroduction Set with mahogany box

Jaques of London 4″ 1890s Reintroduction Set with mahogany box

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