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Things to Consider When Buying a Chess Set

11:46 Mon 19th Apr 2021 |

Chess is a demanding and intellectual game that requires concentration and strategic thinking. It is one of those board games that should be enjoyed to the fullest. Therefore, if you want to play chess for fun or dive into it professionally, you must have all the tools, or… the tool, a chess set.

When you go to buy chess sets the adventure may prove to be somewhat difficult due to the wide variety of models, sizes, prices, and materials. That's why, when purchasing one you must consider the use you will make of it, your budget, and your taste to make the best choice.

Modern brands offer hundreds of various chess sets. The number of options could be overwhelming if patience is not your forte, which makes the process of finding the best ones to buy a very time-consuming activity. We hope that, after reading this, you are better equipped once you go out on the market to make the right decision.

Dozens of brands compete with each other for customer money. They release hundreds of new chess sets every year, which makes it hard to choose one.

In order to buy chess sets, you may either go to a local store or take a look at online stores devoted to chess items, where they have a lot of variety to choose from and they have it delivered to you fast. Also, they usually have good offers and discounts.

Choose the right chess store. To do so, do your research to find the best chess store that sells high-quality products. Read the reviews, see the experiences and product list, how the store supports the different teams and academies.

If you are into chess for the long haul, be sure to buy from a brand with a customer-friendly warranty policy. Trusted manufacturers selling chess “gear” offer a warranty period of two years or even more. You will have no problems in case of breakdowns: simply take a broken product to the service centre for replacement or repair.

Companies offer all kinds of guarantees for any pocket. Low budget models usually come with a warranty for more than 5 months or no warranty. Average users recommend choosing one with a two-year warranty, but the five-year warranty is much better and secure. At the same time, be aware of the fact that the vast majority of the models with a lifetime guarantee are excessively expensive. So, forget about pocket… we are talking about money suitcase.

Now you may wonder; are new chess sets supposed to be expensive? If you want to buy a reliable chess set, then you need to remember that they cost a decent amount of money. Of course, there are many cheap models, but their durability could be questionable.

Are you going to play daily or just occasionally? How much are you willing to pay? Do you want it for decoration? What are you looking for in terms of colour, material and size? What model is more suitable for you? You must ask yourself these and other questions when the time comes to buy chess sets.

Chess boards can be classified into three models: traditional, portable, and electronic (digital). Each type has particular characteristics that differentiate them.

Traditional chess sets the most common chess ones, which are found in very varied designs and sizes. They usually come with boards that measure between 40 and 50 cm and are made of wood with very good finishes. These are usually rooms or competition sets.

Portable chess sets consist of a board with a structure designed so that they can be transported from one side to another in a backpack, bag or travel suitcase comfortably and without taking up much space.

These are generally models in which the tabletop can be folded on itself with a hinge. At the same time, pieces and other items are stored inside as if it were a drawer or a small suitcase.

You can also find portable models with a flexible plastic or rubber board that can be folded and stored in a case along with the chips. Their chips are usually made of plastic or wood so they are light.

The third kind of chess sets is the electronic (or digital) one. They are impossible to ignore in this day and age. The usually composed of a mini digital device (computer of sorts). They usually store chess libraries of movements, openings and gambits to learn and play, with approximately, more than 50 000 positions and game variations. They usually have a screen and keyboard for you to play, modern versions use touch screen devices, like a tablet or a phone with a comfortable menu system for easy system configuration and multilingual user guidance.

In general, if you want to buy chess sets built to last, you should choose the best one you can afford. This is usually a hand-made wooden one, built with high-quality wood and with great finishes. However, playing chess is usually not expensive.

Chessboards can be made of various materials like plastic, wood, glass, porcelain, marble, steel, etc. A plastic board is cheaper and is also the best choice if what you want to do is start playing. They are less fancy than wooden boards but are the best choice for daily play since they don't break easily. For that same reason, they are also better for children, chess clubs or schools.

If you play occasionally, you may want to buy chess sets with a wooden board. Chess players prefer wooden sets as they are more pleasing to the eye. Moreover, the weight and feel of the pieces are much more comfortable. A wooden board can also be used for daily play but you will have to take good care of it because it will wear out over time.

On the other hand, if you want to buy chess as a decoration, you can buy one made of brass, fine wood, glass, porcelain, marble, steel, plastic, and even silver and gold.

The choice of one material or another will depend on your taste, the use that you are going to give to it and above all your budget.

They may also have special designs with a touch of antiquity. But if it is not intended for decoration, your chess pieces must be well-shaped and well-designed to avoid confusion. This means that you must be able to clearly distinguish the queen from the king from the other pieces. Choose a chessboard with well-designed pieces, each of which has a well-defined shape. This is not only useful for distinguishing the pieces from each other but it is also easy on the eye.

When it comes to size, a medium-sized set is best for everyday use. A chessboard and its pieces can vary greatly in size. And you can find from very small pocket models to very large boards that exceed 52 cm long. In small boards, it can be difficult to move the pieces. They are not recommended unless you are on a trip and plan to take your chess. In that case, you can use folding, rolling, magnetic sets.

There are boards with very practical features like drawers to store the pieces after you finish playing. There are also magnetized boards to prevent the pieces from falling off easily.

In terms of colour, to choose between glossy or matte boards will depend on your taste. The colour of the squares will be another aspect to consider. Although most boards are black and white, it is also possible to find wood-coloured boards of different shades, and even others may be of a different shade.

If you are learning to play you may need a board with coordinates (letters and numbers printed on the side to facilitate square location). Coordinates are especially important when noting the games on the scoresheet.

Still not sure what to do? Staunton model is the answer (I had one growing up, there, I said it). That is the most recommended model by learners, professionals and connoisseurs of the game. These come in 6-size scales to accommodate different chessboard sizes.

Staunton pieces are classified according to the height of the king expressed in millimetres. The largest model is the Staunton 8 with a king height of 150 mm, followed by the Staunton 7 that measure between 130 and 150 mm and so on they decrease in size until they reach the Staunton 3 where the king measures less than 70 mm.

Staunton chess pieces or Staunton pieces for short are a particular type of chess pieces. The chess rule book dictates that this chess model is the one used in competitions. Its design is attributed to the Englishman Nathaniel Cook, and the pieces are named after the 19th-century chess master, also English, named Howard Staunton.

This is the one usually recommended, you can find the high end or cheap copies of it but this model and brand are officially used in chess tournaments and is generally the standard design that everyone uses.

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