5th wedding anniversary gifts for husband

5th wedding anniversary gifts for husband aren’t always easy to choose but luckily we’ve managed to put together a lovely selection of wooden gift ideas with a massive ‘wow’ factor. I know if you’re like me then you often rack your mind for hours trying to think of the ultimate wedding anniversary gift. You want something that has a good wow factor, something that shows you thought about it, and something that is going to last and create a long loving memory. If you’re buying a gift for him then a Luxury or mid range wooden chess, backgammon or mah jong set is the ideal present. It’ll be something that fits in perfectly with the fifth anniversary but will still be around on the 50th!

Below are some products that have been selected by myself (the owner of the business) that are the perfect solution for a fifth wedding anniversary gift for your husband. As it turns out, I am writing this just four days prior to my own fifth wedding anniversary.

 

The first chess set has to be the Sovereign Luxury Ebony and Walnut Chess Set

Sovereign luxury chess set - 5th wedding anniversary gifts for husband

This amazing chess set has an incredible wow factor. It’s not cheap, but if you’re looking for the perfect fifth wedding anniversary present and your man has an interest in chess, this set is certain to make him happy. The pieces are real ebony (for the dark side) and are expertly crafted in the classic traditional Staunton style. There is nothing too custom, fancy or outlandish about this set which means anyone who likes chess, will love this set.


 

If you’re budget is limited but you still want to make him smile there’s the Highclere Ebony and Walnut chess set

Highclear chess set - 5th wedding anniversary gifts for husband

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This lovely chess set is very similar to the first one, has a lower price point but still features real ebony chessmen and a stunning Italian dark walnut chess board. It’s slightly smaller than the first example but looks just as striking. A set of this quality will be around for your 5th wedding anniversary, and also your 50th.


 

The Dal Negro London Luxury Walnut Backgammon Set.  There simply is no better backgammon set than an Italian Dal Negro Set

Dal Negro Backgammon set

 

A stunning set from the master craftsmen at Dal Negro in Italy. A substantial product that will outlast both of you and be passed down for future generations. We are always delighted with the offerings from this company who have a history going back over one hundred years. We’ve sold many as wedding presents but given it’s made almost entirely from wood, it’s perfectly suited to a 5th anniversary.


 

Wood Anniversary gifts for him

Most of what we sell at The Regency Chess Company is made from wood, so there’s little surprise that we stock some ideal gifts for the 5th wedding anniversary. We supply products made from a variety of extremely high quality, and in some cases, rare hard woods. It’s also worth noting that many of the woods concerned, such as ebony, are constantly rising in price and becoming more and more scarce. So many of our sets represent excellent investments. The list of wedding anniversary gifts states that wood is the traditional gift material for both the UK and USA regions but does list silverware as the modern alternative. If you wanted to cover all bases you’d need a gift that was made from both wood and silver!

 

The Dal Negro Luxury Walnut Mah Jong Set

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Italian company Dal Negro have presented another superb luxury product to us in the form of this lovely Walnut Mah Jong set. The set has been crafted in Italy to an excellent standard. It’s a heavy and substantial set with very tactile game pieces and a very high quality of finish. It will make the ideal gift for that special someone and it has the benefit of being a great two player game as well as a few more if you’re that way inclined. An ideal gift for any wedding anniversary but highly appropriate for the fifth one.


The Old English Elite Chess Set in ebony and mahogany

5th wedding anniversary gifts for husband

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the ultimate and classic wedding anniversary present this chess set is by far one of the best we offer. It’s 100% traditional, no modern flamboyance at all, it’s essentially  a very accurate replica of the original Victorian Staunton Chessmen and even the woods used are authentic. The black pieces are real ebony wood and the white pieces are boxwood. The board is all wooden and made from Mahogany and birch. It comes with a hardwood storage case for the chessmen too. The real gem with this set is the pieces, they are extremely elegant, superbly made and of the finest quality, each one has been weighted for perfect balance.

5th Wedding Anniversary Gifts for Husband

There is little doubt that buying a suitable wedding anniversary gift isn’t easy. I hope that the range of all wooden gifts on this page have offered you some inspiration and demonstrated that some really lovely items are made from wood and that they make the perfect gift for him. For a choice of hundreds of lovely wooden gifts visit our website at The Regency Chess Company We offer extremely fast shipment all over the world and can deliver 7 days a week in the UK with next working day delivery available too. Treat your husband to something really special this year, get him something he’ll still be enjoying on his 50th wedding anniversary too!

Cool Chess Sets – Some of our coolest chess sets

We are often asked, what is your coolest chess set. It’s a difficult question to answer, we have hundreds of products on our chess retail website and it’s sometimes hard to determine which ones stand out as being particularly cool. Below is a list of our top three coolest chess sets (in our humble opinion).

  1. The Black Sovereign Luxury Chess Set

This set is one of our firm favourites. It’s a classic Staunton design and just looks absolutely stunning.

Luxury cool chess set

What makes it cool?

The main attraction to this set is the board. It’s Italian (enough said) and has been crafted to an extreme level. It’s high gloss and features stunning rich wood grains, lovely deep chocolate brown tones. The high gloss surface of the board reflects the stunning ebony chessmen which adds another dimension to it. The pieces themselves are classic Staunton, made to exacting standards of perfection. Ebony is a rare and valuable wood that constantly rises in price as it becomes more scarce, so this set will always retain a high value. There’s two additional queens, so when you reach that stage of the game when you can add a second queen to your army, there’s no need to improvise.


 

2. The Blue Metropolis chess set

This ultra cool set comes from Italy and aside from being amazing quality is also a design classic. We’ve been selling this set for years and it’s always been a firm favourite.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What makes it so cool?

Firstly the board is blue, a lovely deep rich blue with stunning grains and figuring. Blue might not be to everyone’s taste, but it’s certainly striking. Secondly, it’s Italian, and pretty much everything that’s Italian is cool! The pieces are old school futuristic, they are based on a vision of the future that people had in the 1950s. The metal pieces have been expertly turned (lathed) rather than cast, which gives them a very cool precision engineered look.

 


 

3. The Alghero Onyx and marble chess set

This lovely chess set come from our friends in Italy is is certainly a very cool chess set

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What makes it so cool?

What makes this set cool is the material. Onyx is a stunning natural mineral that has been adored by people for years. Every set is unique, the patterns in the onyx are naturally formed so you’ll never get two sets the same. It’s heavy, looks beautiful and will make for a real head turning centre piece in your home. Need we also mention that this set is also Italian. It comes from Italfama who are one of the worlds most established producers of luxury chess products.

 

The Staunton Chess Design – Laying the myths to rest once and for all

The confusion surrounding the Staunton Chess Set

Back in 2006, before The Regency Chess Company had been born, I sold a fairly cheap nasty Chinese made chess set on ebay. It was a classic Staunton pattern set of pieces with a board. A few days later I received a call from the buyer. A fairly stern middle-aged man who was furious that he’d been diddled. He thought I’d sold him a dud, a fake, a cheap knock off; that he’d become one of the thousands of people who’d been ripped off on ebay. His complaint was that I’d not sold him a ‘Staunton’ chess set. He wanted to see ‘Staunton’ branding on the box and believed that there was a company somewhere that made chess sets and above the door was a sign that read ‘Staunton’.

Things have certainly moved on a lot since those days of Chinese imports and ebay, but the misconception is still there among many, and you’d be easily forgiven for assuming the same as the angry middle-aged man did back in 2006. The reality however is that there isn’t any company called Staunton who make chess sets, there never was and probably never will be.

The Staunton Olive Oil Company

The Staunton Olive Oil Company

The Story of Staunton

The story of the Staunton Chess Set is a fascinating one. This website goes into more detail about how the pieces originated and the amazing story behind it. The key points are as follows

  • The set is alleged to have been designed by Nathaniel Cook in the mid 1800s
  • It was manufactured by Jaques Games in London
  • It was endorsed by the champion chess player Howard Staunton
  • Its amazing design lead it to become universally accepted very quickly
  • The copyright for the design ran out in the first half of the 20th century

The name ‘Staunton’ came about due to the endorsement that set received from the chess champion Howard Staunton. He loved the set, put his name to it, but never manufactured a single one.

Howard Staunton

An orginal Staunton Set

An orginal Jaques Staunton chess set

Staunton Today

The Staunton chess set is now produced by a huge number of independent companies. There have been literally thousands of variations created, some that are very true to the original, others that have added huge detail and flamboyance to the design. There are taller ones, thinner ones, fatter ones, shorter ones, different colours, wider bases, narrower bases. It seems there is no end to the myriad of variations when it comes to this design.

The Jaques games company do actually still exist and more remarkably are still owned by descendants of the original founders. They still bring many Staunton sets to the market and even sell precise replicas of the early sets from the 1800s. It is worth noting however that they no longer manufacture any sets themselves – like most other chess retailers and wholesalers they are using factories in Asia to produce the sets. There is little doubt that the vintage re issue sets they sell are of excellent quality, easily comparable to the old British made ones. But they all come from a handful of skilled manufacturers abroad who also sell to the other reputable online chess retailers.

 

Want to buy a Staunton Chess Set?

My advice would be to choose the design you like the most, buy the best materials you can afford (ebony is best) and buy from which ever retailer you feel most comfortable using. There is no right place or wrong place to get the real deal when it comes to ‘genuine’ Staunton sets today.

The Cuban Chess Scene

Cuba – photograph by Michael Petit.

Chess and Cuba have a long history, one that began with the Spanish colonisation of the island from the late 15th century – at a time when chess took on the general form we know today – and has remained constant in Cuban life. It boasts one of the greatest players of all time, was favoured by Fidel Castro and his Argentinian ally, Che Guevara, and is part of the country’s national education program. In 2004, Cuba broke its own world record for “the most people playing chess simultaneously”(1), when close to 13,000 people came together to play in the city of Santa Clara, including Castro himself. In many ways, with its sub-tropical climate and old world vibe, the Caribbean island is an ideal setting for outdoor games off chess, and games are not an uncommon sight on the streets of Havana and other cities.

José Raúl Capablanca

Chess, which to me, far more than a game, is an art.”

José Raúl Capablanca

José Raúl Capablanca (1888 – 1942)

Cuba’s chess scene is perhaps best known for producing José Raúl Capablanca (1888 – 1942), who held the title of world chess champion from 1921 to 1927. Capablanca proved himself a true chess prodigy at an early age. In 1901, at just thirteen, he beat reigning Cuban chess champion Juan Corzo (shortly thereafter he played his only Cuban championship), and, in 1909, beat U.S champion Frank Marshall.

He took the world champion title from Emanuel Lasker in 1920, who chose to resign it, citing Capablanca’s “brilliant mastery”. The decision to confer the title, rather than for it to be contested in a game, was unpopular, and Capablanca wished to secure the title by means of competition, rather than bestowal. A match between the two was scheduled to be played in Havana in 1921, under the stipulation that Lasker was now the challenger for the title. He stated that no matter the outcome of his participation he “[shall] no more be champion. Should I win the title in the contest at Havana, it will be only to surrender it to the competition of the young masters.” (2) After much back-and-forth, the match took place and Capablanca won, securing his place as champion for the next several years by play, rather than by Lasker’s resignation.

Indeed, it is partly through these events that the World Chess Federation was born, citing the need for organisation and the enforcement of consistent rules regarding the championship. Soon after, Capablanca drew up what begin known as the “London Rules”, which stipulated financial commitments for players ($10,000 at the time), a cap on the amount of games played, a time-limit for said games, among others.(3)

 

17th Chess Olympiad

The 17th Chess Olympiad Poster

The 17th Chess Olympiad Poster

In 1966 Cuba hosted the 17th Chess Olympiad, a biennial event in the chess world in which teams from across the globe come to play against one another. The event was hosted by Castro himself – who even participated – in the famous Habana Hilton, renamed Hotel Habana Libre after its nationalisation in 1960. However, the event was inevitably tainted by the unfolding politics of the Cold War, and the tournament was as much an ideological showdown as a chess competition. Whilst West Germany boycotted the event, the U.S team, including Bobby Fischer, was still in attendance, undoubtedly eager to face down the Soviet Union over the chess board.

The circumstances of Fischer’s attendance are intriguing, given only a year prior to the Olympiad he was denied entry to Cuba to participate in the 4th annual tournament of the Capablanca Memorial in 1965. The State Department allowed only journalists to travel to barred countries, but even though Fischer had secured a writing assignment for the Saturday Review, the State Department didn’t buy it and were steadfast in their refusal. This led to Fischer famously participating via telex, a text-based communications device! Interestingly, the text was relayed by the son of José Raúl Capablanca himself.

Ultimately, the Soviet team won, with the U.S coming in second. The Soviets would retain their superior position until 1972, when Bobby Fischer defeated Boris Spassky in the World Championship, making him the first American to achieve the title.

Images courtesy of the wealth of media forum user Macrinus dug up over at Chess.com – it’s well worth checking out, with shots of Castro, Spassky, Fischer, among others.
Bobby Fischer and Fidel Castro

Bobby Fischer and Fidel Castro

The Olympiad was arguably a great success for Cuba. It was grand in scale, and Castro, however one may view the man and his legacy, could rightly claim it as a success for the country. For a full review of the event, see Olimpbase’s excellent write-up.

That chess has taken on such a prominent role in mainstream Cuban life is to its credit, and it continues to pay off. In the case of Thalía Cervantes, who now lives in the U.S, and was recently selected “as one of the 10 best female chess players under the age of 21”, it was the chess games played out in the streets of Havana that spurred her interest and skill. As she says in an interview with the Miami Herald, “I grew up playing chess on the streets of Havana with older men, smokers. They were always bragging and saying, ‘No girl can beat me.” (4)

Cuba has one of the highest literacy rates in the world, and it’s heartening to think of chess as prominent educational tool used to sharpen children’s minds. Indeed, in Cuba, chess is promoted as something everyone can get involved in and be part of – where anyone might be the next Capablanca.

For those interested in the 17th Olympiad, there’s also some great silent footage of the event here: 

(1) Novinite

(2) Chess History

(3) Chess History

(4) Miami Herald

Queen of Katwe – The Ugandan Chess Prodigy

In Katwe, Uganda, two children sit restlessly on a bench, watching their peers play a game of football. Their coach, Robert Katende, spots their reticence, and offers them an alternative. 

“There is another game you can play.” he suggests.

He refers to a board-game – chess. At first, the boys scoff at the suggestion – they’re not interested. That is until Katende describes an anecdote in which he defeated his more privileged peers at university. For these children, the prospect of proving themselves against such opponents – the “city boys” – is too good to pass up, and so they join Katende’s small chess academy – the Pioneers.

To be Born in Katwe

Katwe is the largest slum in a district of Kampala, Uganda. Impoverished and devoid of sanitation, its streets run with sewage, layered with mud and debris. To say many of its overcrowded citizens struggle to survive would be a gross understatement; they must scavenge food and water, live within often roofless shanties at risk of flooding, and endure the torment of a high crime rate born out of desperation and poverty. Although there are small signs of change, that change is slow in coming, and will likely take a very, very long time to reach the lowest echelons of Katwe’s poor.

Enter Phiona Mutesi. Born within Katwe, she lost her father to AIDS at around the age of three, and lived, often homeless, with her tenacious mother and family, selling maize in the streets. Like many of Katwe, opportunities to transform her life were few if almost non-existent – she had to drop out of school at age nine – and she seemed locked into a life of destitution and hardship. “We had become hopeless”, Mutesi said of their situation. The chance to change it for the better came with the arrival of chess.

Meeting the Pioneers

Phiona Mutesi

Phiona Mutesi’s introduction to chess came through Katende, an engineering graduate who created the Katwe Chess Academy – part of the Sports Outreach program – for the impoverished children of the district. Mutesi joined Katende’s group and quickly distinguished herself as his best player. Katende recognised that he had in his midst a true prodigy; Mutesi was smart, quick-thinking, and able to see several moves ahead. But whilst she came to enjoy the strategy and depth chess offered, it started off as something far more than just a game: it was a means of survival. In the beginning, Mutesi attended Katende’s chess program for the food offered to those who played. “[I] kept going back because there was something to eat.”

In time, the idea of chess as a survival tool would come to mean so much more to Mutesi, as it took her from contests in Uganda and Sudan, to an Olympiad in Russia. Chess developed her intellect and confidence, giving her the chance to escape the trappings of her origins. Her story is an extraordinary one – so extraordinary that in 2016 Disney released a film of Mutesi’s rise, titled after the book on which it was based:

Queen of Katwe.

Female-led with an all-black cast – and with chess as its sport of choice! – Queen of Katwe is a biographical sports drama that sees Disney moving away from its comfort zone of white, Western narratives, and giving Phiona Mutesi’s (Madina Nalwanga) story the mainstream, crowd-pleasing treatment it deserves. Even spotted with the occasional sports drama cliché, the film is nonetheless a heart-warming triumph. Director Mina Nair never shies away from the realities of life in Katwe, but she equally revels in its rich, colourful culture, creating a film as beautiful and vibrant as it is stark and desperate.

Chess: A Way Out

In the film as in life, Katende (David Oyelowo) seized upon the idea of sports as a means of social mobility; chess, he would instruct his students, is much like life itself. Its movements required planning, forethought, and strategy – skills that would equally serve the lives of the young children outside of the game itself. As he teaches the children how to perform certain manoeuvres, Katende uses metaphor to explain the situations they might find themselves in within the game. “When you fetch water for your mother, do you just go any time of the day, or do you think a bit first?” he asks his tutees. He uses chess to teach them their situation is not hopeless, that its applications are broad and universal, and that through it they can reach even greater heights.

Katende teaches his “Pioneers”.

As much as the film focuses on personal and communal triumph in the face of staggering odds, of kindness and determination enduring in even the most squalid of habitats, it is Mutesi’s idea of her “place” that I kept thinking about, kept coming back to. In his original article for ESPN – later the spark for his book that brought Mutesi’s story to the world – Tim Crothers describes her position as “the ultimate underdog.”

“Phiona Mutesi is the ultimate underdog. To be African is to be an underdog in the world. To be Ugandan is to be an underdog in Africa. To be from Katwe is to be an underdog in Uganda. And finally, to be female is to be an underdog in Katwe.”

The film emphasises this point throughout, exploring Mutesi’s doubt and fear at simply not belonging in the place she has earned for herself. Mutesi sells maize, has no real education to speak of (she cannot read or write), and is at first rejected by the chess academy because of the way she smells – later for being a girl beating boys. This is a world in which she has been led to believe she cannot aspire for more than the life she’s been given – after all, to her mind, what else is there for a girl from the slums of Katwe? Initially, apart from her her mother (Lupita Nyong’o), she has only her sister Night (Taryn “Kay” Kyaze) as an example – a young woman who has become a prostitute to avoid destitution. And even as her achievements grow, Mutesi continues to question her self-worth – to question her place in the world that’s developing around her. Does she deserve this place? Is there something she has missed, something wrong? Is it all just a fluke?

You Belong Here

In the film’s first contest, a tournament at the prestigious King’s College, Katende struggles to admit his “slum children” to, he pairs Mutesi with the school’s best player. The competition organiser slyly whispers in Katende’s ear that it was “good strategy, putting your weakest player on the champion’s board”, laced with all the attendant sexism that comes with it. And yet, in spite of her opponent’s goading, Mutesi triumphs, winning the Board One Gold Medal. And yet, in spite of her victory, Mutesi still questions her accomplishment “Did that boy let me win? [How] could I win a boy who goes to school here?” Even in spite of the disbelief on the boy’s face, that he snapped his pencil and toppled the pieces with a petulant swipe of his hand, Mutesi still doubts herself and her abilities.

Of course, he did no such thing, but the film’s Mutesi, and presumably her real life counterpart, would continue to struggle with the question of whether or not she deserved her place in the world that was opening up for her. In the film’s final contest, as Mutesi struggles against her opponent, Katende breaks in, and shouts, “You belong here! You belong here!” rooting her in the moment and reminding her that everything she has, everything she has earned, is right there inside her.

Now, Phiona Mutesi is the three time winner of the Ugandan Women’s Chess Championship, has been awarded a Woman’s Candidate Master Title in chess, and is currently enrolled at an American university in Washington. This young girl of formidable intelligence and, like her mother, of considerable tenacity, has more than proven her place as a master of chess, earning herself, and her family, a life beyond the deprivation of the worst of Katwe. 

Although the trailer’s heavy on the corny side, the film offers far more – see it.