The Chess-Master Table is an iconic chess computer. The table itself is beautifully crafted, sturdily built and the chess computer components are well integrated, all accomplished with great skill and attention to detail. Without doubt an exceptional luxury product and a joy to play at chess. However what helps lift ‘The Table’ to iconic status is its rarity and history.
In Computer Schach & Spiele October/November 1999 Karsten Bauermeister told the story like this (my translation) :-
“But the real jewel among the chess computers [of the GDR] was the Chessmaster chess table! Only about ten copies of this device were produced and they were mainly issued as state gifts.
For example, Cuba's revolutionary leader, Fidel Castro, was handed a copy out of socialist brotherly love by Erich Honecker [Head of State of the German Democratic Republic from 1976 to 1989]. He [Castro] should have been happy. Beside the beautiful wooden table there were hand carved figures and the technical interior life and the program of the old Chessmaster (not the Diamond).
Surely this Chessmaster Table is one of the rarest and most eye-catching computers ever built.
The rest of the story is known: After the accession of the GDR to the Federal Republic of Germany, all of the former state-owned enterprises were first managed by the Treuhand [privatization agency?] and, in the end, often shut down. The former VEB Microelektronik Karl Marx also went this way, which meant the end of the Chessmaster and it's siblings.”