I am a fan of the Bauhaus philosophy and design. And I really do like the 1922 Josef Hartwig design of this chess set. The simplicity and clean lines of its geometric shapes indicating the movement of the pieces still feels refreshing 100 years after its introduction.
I also appreciate Naef must have followed the original design templates of Hartwig's design - though it's still a surprise to realise how small and light the pieces are 'in the flesh'. A light sneeze would have them tumbling all over the board - they are obviously un-weighted. No felt on the pieces either (as per the original spec I imagine). So, compared to the equally iconic Man Ray chess set they feel very light, cheap and flimsy in the hand and on the board. They do come with an ingenious wooden storage case though.
I suppose why I feel disappointed is because of the expectations I had after reading the reviews .. “this beautiful wooden chess set is handcrafted with the highest precision and extreme care” … “it is the outstanding quality of the workmanship, which makes this Bauhaus Chess Set so special” etc. etc. therefore I was obviously expecting something a bit more special, having never seen this chess set up close before.
But it is the outrageous cost that forces me give it only 3 stars out of 5. The Bauhaus school tenets were that an object must be practical, durable, inexpensive and beautiful. Inexpensive!!! It is impossible to justify the over £450 for this chess set and board. The woodwork quality of this chess set and board is pretty basic if we are being honest and they are certainly not objects of high precision or outstanding workmanship. Without the Bauhaus name attached they would struggle to justify a price tag of one fifth of this asking price, especially when compared to the many beautiful chess sets and boards available for £450 which genuinely are made with outstanding workmanship and precision.