The Chess Set Central: A Guide to the Best Chess Sets

Expert Advice on Choosing the Perfect Chess Set

Chess sets are a collection of pieces used to play the game of chess. Each set consists of sixteen pieces, with eight pawns, two knights, two bishops, two rooks, one queen, and one king per side. 

Chess sets are made in a wide variety of styles, from abstract designs to highly figurative ones, and are often used for ornamental purposes as well as for playing the game.

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore everything you need to know about chess sets. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced player, we’re here to help you make an informed decision.

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Why Do You Need a Chess Set?

Intellectual Stimulation:

Chess is a game that challenges your strategic thinking, problem-solving skills, and foresight. By playing chess regularly, you can improve your cognitive abilities and keep your mind sharp. Having a chess set at home allows you to engage in this intellectually stimulating activity whenever you desire.

Skill Development:

Playing chess regularly helps improve critical thinking, concentration, patience, and decision-making abilities. These skills are valuable not only in chess but also in other areas of life, such as work, school, and personal relationships. A chess set is an essential tool for honing these skills and developing your chess prowess.

Bonding and Socialization:

Chess is a wonderful way to connect with friends, family, or fellow chess enthusiasts. A chess set provides a focal point for gathering and enjoying meaningful interactions. Whether you're playing a casual game with friends or participating in a tournament, chess is a great way to bond with others and build lasting relationships.

What to Look Out For in a Chess Set

The features you need in a chess set are as follows:


Felted Bottoms

Ensure that the chess pieces have felted bottoms to protect the board’s surface and allow for smooth movement during play. Felted bottoms also prevent the pieces from slipping and sliding during gameplay.


Quality Construction

Choose a chess set that is well-crafted and durable enough to withstand frequent use. Pay attention to the quality of the pieces, board, and storage case, if included.

A good chess set should last for years and be able to withstand the wear and tear of frequent use.


Chess Clock Compatibility

If you plan to play timed matches or participate in tournaments, check if the (electronic) chess set is compatible with a chess clock for an added level of challenge.

Staunton Pieces (subjective)


These pieces are the standard for chess sets worldwide and are well-balanced for optimal gameplay. They are named after Howard Staunton, an English chess player who was instrumental in popularizing the design in the mid-19th century.

What to Consider When Buying a Chess Set

When getting a chess set, there are several factors to consider. The following are some of the most important ones:

Chess sets come in a variety of materials, each with its own unique characteristics and aesthetic appeal. Some of the most common materials include wood, plastic, metal, and marble.Wooden sets are popular for their classic look and feel, while plastic sets are lightweight and durable. Metal and marble sets are more expensive but offer a luxurious look and feel. Consider your budget and personal preferences when choosing a material.
Chess sets come in a range of sizes, from mini travel sets to larger tournament-sized sets. The size you choose will depend on your needs and playing environment. If you plan to play on the go, a smaller travel set may be more convenient. If you have a dedicated playing area, a larger set may be more appropriate.
Chess sets come in a variety of designs, from classic Staunton sets to themed sets featuring historical figures, animals, or fantasy themes. Choose a design that resonates with your personal style and interests. If you're a history buff, a set featuring famous battles or historical figures may be a good choice. If you're an animal lover, a set featuring your favorite animals may be more appealing.
Weight and Portability
Consider whether you need a portable set for on-the-go play or a heavier set for stability during intense matches. Travel sets are typically lightweight and easy to carry, while larger sets may be more stable and less likely to tip over during play. Weighted pieces provide a more satisfying feel when moving the pieces around the board, but they may not be necessary for casual players.

Where to Buy a Chess Set

There are different ways to get your hands on chess sets. You can visit local stores that have a selection of chess sets tailored to your needs.

The popular option favored by millions around the world is to buy from online retailers and chess online stores such as Amazon, Chess House, House of Staunton, New In Chess, ChessUSA, Wholesale Chess, and many others. The good thing about most of these stores is that they offer a wide range of chess sets, boards, pieces, electronics, tables, books, and more for any occasion. 

They also have a unique selection of vetted products, safe packaging, worldwide shipping, a 100% satisfaction guarantee, and easy returns.

If you’re looking for unique or vintage chess sets at potentially lower prices, consider checking online auction sites or local secondhand markets. You may be able to find a one-of-a-kind chess set that’s not available anywhere else.

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