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Thursday, 20 January 2011

All Hail The King

This is All Hail The King, designed by Marcel Gillen and reproduced in a larger quantity by Eureka:

And here is the King with the Queen by his side:

The King is one in a series of chess themed pieces from puzzle designer Marcel Gillen, and they are all pretty hard to find now days, some more than others. The other chess themed puzzles are the Queen (obviously), the Pawn and the Rook. I have also heard that there may have been a Bishop produced as well, but I have yet to see one, so please put in a comment if you can confirm or deny that for me.
As I said before, these are Eureka reproductions of Gillen's original pieces, which although does make them affordable by the likes of myself it also means that the quality was never going to be as good. The mechanism sometimes requires a little bit of coaxing to work as well.

Even though I knew that the King is larger than a normal chess piece before it was delivered, I was still surprised when I first held it. It stands at around 6 inches in height and it is primarily made (I believe) from cast aluminium. The only noticable moving part is the 'head' which you can depress and turn 180 degrees. Even though it is cast (and as such has cast lines on both sides) I still think that it's a great looking puzzle which deserves a place in most collections.

The puzzle itself is pretty easy. Your goal is to find the coin that is hidden within the King, and I managed this within a couple of minutes. The main thing that disappoints me is that the coin is made of painted plastic rather than metal, which really is a shame.

All-in-all I'm pretty happy that I managed to get hold of one of these pieces as I feel that it is pretty collectible, however I'm not going to hold my breath with regards to finding the others in the chess 'set'. I would say that you should only look to buy one of these if you really want one in your collection, not if you are just after a great puzzle. You can find plenty of other puzzles that are more challenging (and cheaper) than this one.

I bought All Hail The King from: Sloyd (FI) And they are a great company to deal with.

Also, you might like to read my review of All Hail The Queen here: LINK


  1. Hello Oli, Great puzzle blog!!! I have seen a bishop puzzle, but don't know if it was ever mass produced. Here is a link to Jerry Slocum's puzzle museum, it's a java tour of some of his collection. If you enter his study look around near the window, there is the Queen puzzle and the Bishop puzzle side by side. If you click the Bishop puzzle it will give you a close up view of the puzzle Hope this helps! Peter Wiltshire

  2. Hi Peter, thank you very much for that! So there does indeed seem to be a Bishop puzzle! Although it seems unlikely that it was ever reproduced in large numbers as they're so hard to find.

  3. I have this puzzle. I was dissapointed with the cheap coin as well. I have a silver half-dollar that I've placed in mine.

  4. Funnily enough I've also replaced mine with an old style Chinese coin and put the plastic one away for safe keeping.

  5. Hi Oli (and anybody else who's interested),
    I stumbled across a collection of good images of the Marcel Gillen chess pieces here (about halfway down the page):
    There's also a nice image of the rook here:


  6. There are some great images on that first link Chris! Thanks for pointing them out.

  7. I got my King piece to open but can reassemble it.

    Is there a trick to doing this, or do I have a faulty piece?


    1. I've never heard of anyone locking their King open before. I'd say that if you managed to open it then you should be able to close it again. Remember it's just a matter of doing the opening steps in reverse.


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