buying a chess set

Buying a Chess Set: Checkmate with Style

Checkmate Opponents with Style: Guide to Buying a Chess Set


Introduction: The Art of Buying a Chess Set

Chess has been one of the most popular board games in the world for centuries, and its timeless appeal continues to draw players of all ages and levels. But there are a lot of things to consider when buying a chess set.

It’s a game that challenges your mind, hones your strategic thinking skills, and provides endless hours of entertainment.

However, what many people don’t realize is that choosing the right chess set can enhance your overall experience of the game.

The Importance of Choosing the Right Chess Set

When it comes to choosing a chess set, many people may not realize how much impact it can have on their playing experience.

A good chess set should not only look beautiful but also feel comfortable to play with – after all, you’ll be spending countless hours moving those pieces around!

The right set can also make a significant difference in terms of durability and practicality.

For example, if you plan on traveling with your chess set or playing outside in different weather conditions – you may want to choose something lightweight yet durable like plastic or silicone sets rather than heavy wooden ones that are more difficult to transport.

In short: investing in a high-quality chess set that meets your specific needs is well worth the investment.

Not only will it last for years to come, but it can also help you channel your inner grandmaster and enjoy the game to its fullest potential.

Consider the Material

When it comes to choosing a chess set, one of the most important things to think about is the material.

Different materials offer different advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to consider your needs and preferences before making a decision.

Wooden Chess Set: Classic and Traditional

Wooden chess sets are perhaps the most classic and traditional option available. They can be made from a variety of woods, including rosewood, ebony, and boxwood.

Wooden sets have a certain warmth and charm that many people find appealing, as well as a weight and feel that can make them easier to play with. One thing to keep in mind when shopping for wooden chess sets is that they can vary widely in quality.

Some inexpensive sets may be made from low-quality wood or have poorly crafted pieces that don’t fit together properly. On the other hand, high-end wooden sets can be incredibly beautiful and durable.

glass chess pieces
glass chess pieces

Glass Chess Set: Beautiful and Unique

A glass chess set can be a unique and beautiful choice for those looking for a unique set.

Glass chess sets come in a variety of styles and colors, allowing you to find one that perfectly fits your style.

One advantage to glass chess sets is that they are very light, making them easy to transport and play with.

However, this lightness also means that they can be fragile and easily break if not handled properly.

Glass chess sets can also be expensive, so they might not be the best choice for those on a budget.

With proper care, a glass chess set can be a stunning addition to any home.

Marble Chess Set: Luxurious and Durable

If you are looking for a luxurious chess set that will stand the test of time, a marble chess set is an excellent choice.

Marble chess sets are both beautiful and durable, making them a great investment.

Marble is a heavy material, giving the pieces a great weight and feel to them while they are being moved around the board.

They also come in a variety of styles and colors, so you can find one that fits your style perfectly.

They also make meaningful and unique gifts for those special occasions. With proper care, a marble chess set can last for generations.

Stone Chess Sets: Durable and Stylish

A stone chess set is an ideal choice for those looking for a set that is durable and stylish.

Stone chess sets come in a variety of styles and colors, ranging from traditional to modern.

Stone is a very heavy material, making it nearly impossible to knock over or break.

It also gives the pieces a unique feel when they are moved around the board.

Stone chess sets are often seen as a work of art and can be a great conversation piece.

They also make great gifts and can last for generations with proper care.

Plastic Chess Sets: Affordable

If you’re looking for something that’s budget-friendly but still offers good quality, plastic chess sets are an excellent choice.

They’re durable enough to withstand heavy use without chipping or cracking, making them ideal for children or beginners who might not treat their pieces delicately.

Plastic sets also come in a range of colors and styles beyond traditional black-and-white options. Some even have weighted pieces or features like roll-up boards for easy transport.

That being said, plastic pieces may not feel as substantial or satisfying to move around the board as their wooden counterparts. Plus, they may not hold up quite as well over time if subjected to frequent use.

metal chess pieces
metal chess pieces

Metal Chess Sets: Modern and Sleek

For those who want something truly unique or modern-looking, metal chess sets can be an excellent option. These come in different types of metal including pewter copper brass nickel plated zinc alloy or aluminum.

The pieces are usually either cast or machined, and they can have a sleek, futuristic look that sets them apart from more traditional sets. One downside to metal chess sets is that they can be fairly expensive.

They’re also often heavier than wooden or plastic counterparts, which can make them less practical for travel or everyday use. However, if you’re looking for something truly eye-catching and distinctive, a metal set might be just the thing you need.

Size Matters

Standard size: 3.75 inches king height

When it comes to choosing a chess set, one of the most important things to consider is the size of the pieces. The standard size for tournament play is 3.75 inches for the height of the king piece. This size allows for pieces that are easy to handle and move around the board, while still being large enough to see clearly from across the table.

The standard size can also be a good choice for home use, especially if you plan on playing with friends and family who are familiar with tournament rules. It’s important to note that the size of the squares on your board should match the size of your pieces, so make sure you choose a board with appropriate square dimensions.

Travel size: compact and portable

If you’re someone who likes to take their chess game on-the-go, then a travel-size chess set might be just what you need. These sets are designed to be compact and portable, making them perfect for taking on trips or playing in small spaces like cars or airplanes.

Travel-sized sets often have smaller pieces and boards than standard sets but can still provide an enjoyable playing experience. Look for sets that come with a carrying case or pouch to keep everything organized and protected while in transit.

Giant size: for outdoor play or decorative purposes

For those who want to make a statement with their chess set, giant-sized options may be worth exploring. These larger-than-life sets can range from three feet tall pieces made out of marble or stone and used as decor in public places like parks, cities squares, resorts among others; or oversized wooden or plastic boards designed specifically for outdoor play (checkers or chess), which can measure up to four feet in length.

While these giant-sized sets may not be practical for everyday use, they can make for great conversation pieces or decorative items in your home. Just be sure to have a large enough space to accommodate them, and keep in mind that these sets can be quite heavy and difficult to move around.

modern chess graphic

Style & Design

Now that we’ve covered the material and size options for a chess set, let’s talk about style and design. The variety in this area is vast, but there are three main categories: Staunton chess sets, theme sets, and artistic sets.

Staunton Style: Standard Design for Tournament Play

The Staunton design is the standard for tournament play because of its simplicity and ease of use. The pieces are easily distinguishable from one another, with the king being the tallest piece on the board. The queen is slightly smaller than the king, and both have a cross on top.

The bishops have a pointed headgear while knights have a horse head without ears or mouth. Rooks resemble castles or towers while pawns are small and simple.

If you’re looking for a classic look that will never go out of style, you can’t go wrong with a Staunton chess set. They come in various materials such as wood, plastic or metal at different price points to fit your budget.

Theme Sets: Unique Designs Based on Popular Culture, History or Mythology

If you’re more interested in themed designs based on popular culture or historical events, consider getting a theme set. These sets come in various designs ranging from Harry Potter to Star Wars to ancient Greek mythology. A thematic chess set not only adds personality to your collection but also can be an excellent conversation starter among friends who share your interest in those subjects.

Artistic Sets: Handcrafted One-of-a-Kind Pieces

If you want something that truly stands out as unique and special then consider an artistic chess set. These sets are handcrafted by skilled artisans who put their unique spin on traditional pieces.

Artistic sets can be made from materials like glass, marble, metal or even bones of exotic animals. They can also be in various shapes and sizes that make them even more special.

A handcrafted set is not just a game, but it’s also an art piece that can be displayed proudly in your home. However, these sets come at a high price tag because of their uniqueness and craftsmanship.

Medieval Chess Set: Timeless Elegance on the Chessboard

There’s something captivating about embracing the rich history of chess through a medieval chess set! Stepping back in time, these sets evoke the spirit of the game’s origins while adding an aura of mystique and sophistication to every move you make on the board!

Types of Medieval Chess Sets Available to Buy:

              Wooden Replicas: These wooden chess sets are crafted with intricate detailing. Wooden replicas of medieval chess sets take you back to the era when chess was first introduced in Europe during the 10th century. These sets typically feature hand-carved chess pieces resembling medieval characters, such as knights, kings, queens, and soldiers, while the chessboard showcases ornate patterns and designs reflective of the period.

              Metallic Marvels: Some medieval chess sets incorporate metallic elements, combining the charm of the Middle Ages with the durability of modern craftsmanship. Cast in materials like pewter, brass, or bronze, these sets exude an air of timeless elegance while maintaining their functionality as a playable chess set.

              Marble Mastery: Chess sets made from marble were popular during medieval times among the nobility and royalty. Even today, you can find exquisite marble chess sets that pay homage to the aesthetics of that era. These sets often feature finely carved pieces, polished to a gleaming finish, and paired with a marble chessboard that complements their regal appearance.

Why Buy a Medieval Chess Set?

              Nostalgic Appeal: Owning a medieval chess set allows you to immerse yourself in the historical roots of the game. The intricate craftsmanship and design transport you to an era of chivalry and courtly intrigue, providing a unique and immersive chess experience.

              Aesthetic Statement: Beyond the game itself, a medieval chess set can serve as a striking piece of decor in your living space. The elegance and timelessness of these sets can add a touch of sophistication to any room, becoming a conversation starter and a source of admiration for guests.

              Collector’s Item: For chess enthusiasts who also enjoy collecting memorabilia, a medieval chess set holds significant value. These sets are often considered heirloom pieces that can be cherished and passed down through generations, carrying with them not only the game but also the history and sentiment behind it.

              Gift of Distinction: If you’re looking for a memorable and thoughtful gift for a chess-loving friend or family member, a medieval chess set is an excellent choice. It demonstrates a keen understanding of their passion for the game and showcases your appreciation for their interests.

              Unique Playing Experience: The design and style of medieval chess pieces might differ from the standard Staunton pieces used in most modern sets. Playing with medieval-inspired chessmen offers a fresh and captivating playing experience, adding excitement and novelty to each game.

In conclusion, a medieval chess set captures the essence of history and brings it to life on the chessboard. On a personal note my first chess set was a classical medieval style. It was a cheap plastic set but as a child the pieces really came alive which played a part in my growing love for the game.

So whether you are a seasoned chess player, an avid collector, or simply a lover of art and craftsmanship, a medieval chess set is a timeless investment that adds a touch of elegance and wonder to your chess-playing journey. So, embrace the allure of the Middle Ages and checkmate your opponents with style and grace!

Weight & Balance

Balanced pieces for easy movement

When considering the weight and balance of a chess set, it’s important to think about how easily the pieces will move across the board. Balanced pieces have an equal weight distribution, making them easy to maneuver with one hand. This is especially important if you plan on playing speed chess or blitz games where quick moves are necessary.

Look for sets with evenly weighted pieces that feel comfortable in your hand. However, keep in mind that overly balanced pieces can also make the game too easy and take away from the strategic elements of chess.

The ideal balance depends on personal preference and playing style. Some players prefer slightly heavier pieces for added control during play.

Weighted pieces for stability during play

On the other hand, if you’re looking for stability during play, weighted pieces may be a better choice. Weighted sets have a heavier base which keeps them firmly in place on the board, preventing them from tipping over or wobbling during gameplay.

Weighted sets are also ideal for outdoor play where wind or uneven surfaces can affect the stability of lighter sets. They provide more resistance to external factors and ensure that your game remains unaffected by environmental conditions.

Overall, whether you choose balanced or weighted pieces will depend on your individual needs and preferences as a player. It’s important to try out different options before making a final decision to find what works best for you.

chess post separator

Budget Considerations

When it comes to purchasing a chess set, one of the most important factors to consider is your budget. Chess sets can range in price from less than $10 to well over $1,000. The price you pay will depend on a variety of factors, including the materials used, the size of the set, the style and design of the pieces, and – perhaps most importantly – the level of craftsmanship involved.

The Impact of Materials on Price

The materials used in a chess set can have a significant impact on its price. Wooden sets tend to be some of the more expensive options because they’re often made by hand from quality hardwoods like ebony or rosewood. Meanwhile, plastic sets are often more affordable because they’re mass-produced and made from cheaper materials.

If you’re looking for something that’s both affordable and good quality, consider investing in a metal chess set. These sets are typically priced somewhere in between wooden and plastic options but offer their own unique aesthetic appeal that may make them worth the investment.

Size Matters for Your Wallet

Another factor that can affect how much you pay for a chess set is its size. Standard-sized sets with 3.75-inch king pieces tend to be less expensive than larger giant-size sets meant for outdoor play or decorative purposes.

You may want to go with something smaller if you’re shopping on a tight budget. Travel-sized sets are often very affordable since they’re small and compact enough for easy transport but still have all of the necessary features needed for gameplay.

Craftsmanship & Style Can Drive Up Expense

The level of craftsmanship involved in creating a chess set can also dramatically impact its price tag. Handcrafted pieces with intricate designs will almost always cost more than mass-produced sets. Similarly, sets with unique themes, such as those based on popular culture or mythology, can be more expensive because they require more time and effort to create.

Ultimately, the price you pay for a chess set will depend on the features that are most important to you. By understanding the factors that affect cost – including materials, size, style and design, and craftsmanship – you can make an informed decision and choose a chess set that’s perfect for your needs and budget.


Buying a chess set can be an exciting and rewarding experience. Whether you’re a seasoned player or just starting out, the right set can make all the difference in your enjoyment of the game. In this article, we’ve covered some key points to consider when choosing a chess set that will meet your needs and preferences.

The Material Matters

There are several materials to choose from when it comes to chess sets. Wooden sets are traditional and classic, while plastic sets are durable and affordable.

Metal sets offer a modern and sleek look that is perfect for contemporary spaces. Consider which material will suit your needs best based on style, durability, and budget.

Size & Style

The size of your chess set matters as well. Standard size sets with 3.75-inch king height are great for tournament play or serious players. Travel-sized sets are compact and easy to take anywhere you go. Giant-sized sets can be great for outdoor play or as decorative pieces in your home or office space.

When it comes to style, Staunton-style pieces are standard for tournament play while theme-based pieces like Harry Potter or Star Wars themed boards may be more suitable if you’re looking for something unique and personalized. Artistic pieces may also be handcrafted, one-of-a-kind items which double both as game equipment and artistic display piece.

Budget Considerations

Last but not least – consider your budget! Prices range from less than $10 to over $1,000 depending on the material used, size of the pieces, style chosen and craftsmanship required. Spending more money doesn’t necessarily mean better quality either – there are many affordable options available that offer a great balance between quality of product features versus cost savings.

The best chess set is one that meets your needs, budget, and preferences. There are many factors to consider when buying a chess set! They include size, material, style, weight and balance – but always remember to have fun when playing the game of chess!



Beginners in a family setting may benefit from chess sets that have larger, more easily identifiable pieces, and a board with clear markings to help them learn the game.
Chess sets can be made from a variety of materials, including wood, marble, stone, plastic, glass, and metal. The best material for a family depends on their preferences, budget, and how often the set will be used.
The cost of a quality chess set can vary depending on the materials used, the size of the set, and the brand. A family can expect to spend anywhere from $20 to $200 for a quality chess set.
Some popular brands of chess sets that are recommended for families include Chess Armory, US Chess Federation, and The House of Staunton.
The design and aesthetic appeal of a chess set can be important for families who want to display the set in their home or enjoy playing with a visually appealing set. However, it's not the most important factor when choosing a set.
Parents should be cautious when choosing a chess set for young children, as some sets may have small pieces that pose a choking hazard. It's important to choose a set that is appropriate for the child's age and skill level.
Families can learn how to play chess together by reading instructional books or watching videos, attending classes or workshops, or by playing with other families who are also learning the game. It's important to start with the basics and practice regularly to improve.