In Soviet times, our factory was one of three enterprises engaged in the manufacture of chess. In addition to Orlov (then Khalturin), chess production was established in St. Petersburg and Vyborg. To date, they have ceased to function and the only specialized plant for the production of this industry, this is the Oryol Rook. The history of our plant has nearly 90 years, and during this time the production concept has not changed much. All equipment and personnel work only on the manufacture of chess.
How it all began
What is now proudly called the Oryol Rook enterprise, in the 30s of the last century was just a small artel. It was located in the Kirov region in the ancient city of Orlov on the left bank of the Vyatka. The city is located only 50 kilometers from Kirov, therefore pipes, caskets and cigarette cases made of burl and wood, namely, the “ancestor” of our enterprise produced them, began to be delivered to the regional center. Chess production was established by the end of the 30s.
30 years later, after the merger of the two cooperatives, a rather large enterprise appears, called the Khalturinsky Cultural Goods Factory. Products manufactured at the factory were sold not only domestically, but were also in demand abroad. Of course, the largest volumes reached the production of board games, namely chess – the release of more than 60,000 sets in those years was considered the norm
Fidelity to tradition
The machines of our factory were developed by a local engineer in the 40s of the twentieth century. They are unique in their kind and have been working smoothly for over 70 years! We also remain faithful to production technologies, making only precise adjustments, for example, new saws are installed on the machines, which made it possible to modernize and accelerate production.
Our manager, like all employees of the factory, has a clear opinion – the production should be completely wooden. No compromises in the form of plastic products, we use only environmentally friendly raw materials. This is the only way to maintain authenticity, and not “get lost” among many modern enterprises. We ourselves produce and harvest wood, after which we completely control the production process – no steps on the side! The result is not long in coming by going to our pavilion during various festivals and exhibitions, you will smell the wood, which can not be said about foreign products, where all natural has long been replaced by plastic.
Decoration with colored straws
Ever since the foundation of the Khalturinsky factory, Oryol production has included two popular Vyatka crafts, this is straw incrustation M and turning craft. Moreover, Vyatka turners have always been famous for their skill in the manufacture of toys. The modern products of our company use aspen, birch, linden and alder wood. It is distinguished by its uniform structure, noble color and pliability. And the development of turning equipment contributes to the rapid manufacture of blanks for further design.
The most common way of decorating at our enterprise is inlaid with colored straws. Since the Soviet period of the existence of our plant, the production of backgammon, caskets and chess has been going “hand in hand” with incrustation with straws. This method of decoration has been known in our area since the end of the 19th century and has been honed every year, allowing you to create more and more elaborate drawings. Today we use rye straws, giving it various shapes and colors.
The ambitious plans of the new leadership
Like many factories in the country, our company experienced a difficult period in the 90s. The work was practically stopped, and the management structure was undergoing constant changes. In connection with the crisis, demand for products was sharply reduced, which threatened the complete disappearance of the plant. Fortunately, the new management has developed an effective plan for the rescue and development of the factory, adhering to which, we managed to survive in a modern competitive environment. The main concept of the plan is the preservation of production traditions with a splash of new style forms.
The main sales market is domestic consumers.
Today our factory produces about 60 varieties of products, including several types of chess (office, everyday, hiking, tournament, etc.), various backgammon and checkers, as well as souvenir products (chests, caskets, gift chess). We also make souvenir tables for board games and Russian lotto. All products, as before, are made of wood.
About 30,000 products are produced per month. An important point is that Orlov chess occupies about 80% of the modern market in the Russian Federation. The head of the plant, Anton Karavaev, is proud that our art workshop has been working in Kirov since 2017. Vyatka artists work in it, who paint products in Russian folk motifs (Dymka, Zhostovo, Gzhel, Mezen, etc.).
To regain lost ground in the international market
Our products are presented in many domestic stores, in addition, they can be ordered in Internet resources and in wholesale markets. Today, Oryol Rook is the largest wooden chess manufacturer in the Russian Federation. But the leadership’s ambitions are not limited to this, and our plans are the successful sale of goods abroad. We hope for a speedy adoption of the law by the State Duma of the Russian Federation on the introduction of optional chess lessons in high and high school, and compulsory in primary. This will allow children from an early age to learn to anticipate events and develop their logical thinking.
The main holiday in the city
For six consecutive years, the inhabitants of Orlov have been gathering at the stadium to celebrate for the “Oryol Rook”. From the very first festival, they accepted and loved this holiday, becoming fans of the game of chess.
During the festival, various master classes, a fashion show in chess outfits and entertainment concerts are held. Everyone can take part in the blitz. This allows many chess players to show their skills. Thanks to the holiday, we have discovered many talented players, even among preschool children. All participants of the festival “Oryol Rook” can make their proposals for the event. For example, by popular demand, the organizers thought about holding an annual regional rapid chess tournament.
All this suggests that the interest in chess in our country has not gone away, having switched to a different format. Increasingly, young people are choosing gadgets as a platform for the game, however, employees of our plant are confident that no smartphone can replace the “live” rivalry and reproduce the surroundings that are created only thanks to wooden chess!