Finding a good chess chess set may not be a rocket science but it might take a lot of perseverance and be very time consuming since there are so many type of chess sets out there. Especially, if you are an avid player and have that knack for intricate details, then you would definitely be seeking a set that flatters your taste and flamboyance.
Let’s explore all the different types of chess sets, to help you choose from a wide range of options available, depending on your preferences and fondness.
Wood has proven to be the first choice that people usually like to buy due to its durability and intricate design. Wooden chess pieces are exquisite pieces to be admired even if they are only for decoration purposes, sets carved out of walnut, boxwood or rosewood, ebony, maple, and sandalwood when polished to bring out the grain of the wood, enhance the beauty of those finely crafted boards and pieces.
Some boards might be paired with pieces made of different materials like glass, marble or steel to give it a contrasting look. Prices may vary from 10 to over 1000 pounds. Since the prices invariably depend upon the material used, type of wood has a vital impact on the prices plus the amount of precise and meticulous craftsmanship that goes into every chess piece.
Wood is considered as the most traditional material for making chess boards and pieces, some date back centuries and are still a testament to their durability. Whilst some are custom made having an emotional value to it, others are mass produced in same sizes and designs. If you are a professional player, then a large 21 inches board is advisable for you, while a 16 inches board is recommended for kids.
Staunton Chess Sets
Staunton chess set is considered to be the most precious belonging of a player. This chess set is used in formal competitions, and the chess pieces are also specific ones used for the game. In order to make it easier for understanding universally, Staunton chess set was designated to be a standard set in order to understand the meaning of every move that the pieces made on the board.
The Staunton chess pieces are also very finely designed to impress even the choosiest person. Staunton chess sets come in variable sizes, where the pawn is the smallest and features a king being 3 and a quarter inches tall to over 4.5 inches. These pieces are hand carved, having a broader base than any of the other chess pieces might have. These chess boards, chess pieces, and chess sets are handcrafted out of luxurious materials like walnut burl, porcelain, genuine ebony and fossilized 40,000 years old wooly mammoth ivory. The combination of wooden boards with metal pieces is extremely alluring.
Again, the prices vary according to the material the set is made of, and it also depends on the size of the king. The taller the king in inches, the greater is the price.
Unique & Cool Chess Sets
There lies a world of chess board sets that are distinctive and extremely appealing to the eyes. Nothing says sophistication quite like owning an exquisite and impeccable chess set. The wide variety available often leaves you much in the confusion that which one to go for, as all of them lure you into buying more than one. If you are an ardent and a professional player, then, it is a must to have a unique and glamorous chess set that is as mighty as your chess maneuvers.
These unique chess sets are usually high in prices since the design and material used in manufacturing them are high quality. It is all about your taste and choice that which one you want to actually represent you publically.
You can come up with an exclusive combination of the chess board with the pieces of your own choice, for example, you may grab a chess board made of marble or stone complimenting it with matching or contrasting metal/brass pieces or ceramic chess pieces set out on an intriguing plywood board. Having an exceptional out of the box chess set leaves you a class apart.
Luxury Chess Sets
As the word itself defines, that this set can be used as a luxurious decorative piece at home. They serve the purpose of the most thoughtful gift one can think of. These luxury sets are the symbol of perfection for the player who wants to enjoy his game in the whole new light. Luxury chess sets are the most intriguing ones as there is a whole lot of choice lying ahead to choose from. It may be a marble set which turns out to be highly durable while having lesser maintenance; they do not tarnish like other metals and are also not breakable like glass sets. The shiny polished surface can be very mesmerizing to look at.
Plastic Chess Sets
To most of the people, this idea of buying a plastic chess set might appear very repulsive, thinking that how tacky it would look. But there are people who want the board to serve the purpose of a game only, and not as an attractive decorative item. For them, a plastic chess set is an ideal choice.
The highlight of plastic chess sets is that they are extremely affordable and may be available in as low as $10 or maybe even in $5 in some cases. But before buying such low priced chess sets you need to seriously think again as the board and the pieces too, may not carry enough weight to be used for a decent game. Unlike other classic and expensive sets, these plastic chess sets are available easily anywhere at all. Be it the toys section of the departmental store or a stationary shop in the neighborhood, you are most likely to come across plastic chess sets in variable sizes, colors and cheap prices.
Themed Chess Sets
Apart from the standard chess pieces- the kings and queens, the bishops, the knights, the rocks and the pawns, have you come across a chess set where the king and the queen are the images of Homer and Marge Simpson while the miniature Bart serves as the pawns?
Or one where you are taken to the wizarding world of Harry Potter with the chess pieces from the famous movie scene involving Ron, Harry, and Hermione with the Harry Potter’s Wizarding Wolrd chess set.
You can choose from many of the novelty themed chess sets available these days. Although not challenging the preeminence of the standard chess sets, these themed sets have their own charm and uniqueness giving a personalized touch to it, and anything personalized can win the hearts any day.
These themed sets are bound to be expensive due to their exclusivity and being available in limited editions. While on the other hand the exclusivity of themed chess sets might wear off quickly as you may not feel as excited about that particular themed a few years down the road. Whereas it may not be the case always, the classic themed sets get even better and precious as they age.
Marble Chess Sets
Marble is naturally gifted with that flair of emitting radiance and glow. It looks appealing to the eyes, simultaneously, makes its presence felt with dominant colors running throughout the marble. It is considered to be highly durable and low maintenance, withstanding extreme weather conditions and temperatures. They have the capacity of surviving under rain, sunshine and even snow, so they can be the best choice for playing an outdoor match rather than being confined indoors all the time.
Marble chess sets vary in prices on the basis of sizes, the size of the chessmen and the finish. Some sets are polished to perfection which brings out an immaculate shine in it while others are poorly crafted and shined. There can be a visible difference in quality seen when both are kept together.
Custom Chess Sets
Opting for custom made chess sets is like bringing your aesthetic self to work. When you put in this kind of devotion, of carving and creating your chess set all by yourself, it makes the future game even more interesting and intense for you as well as your opponent. No matter, who gets to say “checkmate”, but a personalized set is always overwhelming and gives you an unknown energy and vigor while playing the game.
Either you decide to fashion the chess set by yourself or you opt for different retailers who give you the option of customizing the boards and pieces as per your requirements and demands. They have ready to pick combinations as well as you can brief your idea and get it made.
Your aesthetic sense comes into action when you decide for the material; either you wish to go for a combination of material for the board and the pieces or you want the material to be similar for both. For example: you may choose a wooden board with crystal pieces or a metal board with metal pieces.
The prices, of course, vary with respect to the amount of work that is required to design the set, also on the material being used.
There is a very famous phrase that is trending these days “LESS IS MORE”, glass chess sets are a true example of this saying. The minimal effect that these glass sets produce is more captivating than any other fancy and luxurious boards and pieces.
There are two types of glass sets: one is made of hand blown glass which is hollow and very fragile, while the other is solid glass and is durable. These may come in a variety of colors depending on the type of glass used. It is usually paired with a glass or mirrored board which enhances the beauty of the set to many folds. Glass sets are the most common ones after wooden sets; they are mass produced as well as custom made.
Glass chess sets even bring a twist to the game. There are sets which have pieces of shot glasses. Each chess piece has a shot glass built into it, which contain different kinds of liquids/drinks in it. The player has to drink that liquid each time their piece is taken by the opponent.
Travel Chess Sets
Travel chess sets also come in a large variety and are extremely feasible and travel friendly. Be it a long car ride or an airplane trip, travel chess kits are your best bet.
Travel chess sets may be electronic, Velcro or magnetic. All serve the same purpose of retaining the pieces from going missing, being handy and compact as well.
Electronic chess sets are relatively a new sensation in the market. It has the options of either two human players or one human player against the computer. Electronic chess sets have two categories: three dimensional and touchscreen. In three dimensional there are pegs on the bottom in the indentions on the chessboard attached underneath each piece in electronic sets; while the indentions have sensors attached which communicate with the computer that which piece is being placed there. The computer puts forward move suggestions as well. Touchscreen sets are quite similar, only they are touch sensitive and the moves are being made using the fingers.
Velcro and magnetic sets are also travel friendly. In Velcro, the pieces are fastened to the board with the using a Velcro patch on the board which restraints the pieces from dangling here and there while on the move, whereas the magnetic pieces rely on magnetic forces to stick to the board. All these travel sets are compact and handheld, allowing them to nearly fit anywhere.
Metal Chess Sets
Metal chess sets are being witnessed as irresistibly refined, shiny and portray historical and imaginative landscapes on the chess board. Their presence on the table automatically invites you to start playing with these fine weighty figures. They give you a confidence of that of a winner already.
It goes without saying that these sets top the list as far as durability and portability are concerned. It is one of the most ethereal and splendid decorative items one can have around in the house. Its presence speaks a thousand words of flamboyance and would earn you quite a lot of compliments for your aesthetic sense.
The price may vary from the type of metal used. It can be balanced by using a combination of chess boards and pieces and not going all metal.
Electronic Chess Sets
With the advancement in technology, there had to be a progression in the game of chess as well. Electronic chess sets provide the luxury of player flexibility; either it can be human vs human or human vs computer. These types of chess sets give the players an option of playing at an increased difficulty level in order to sharpen their skills.
Electronic sets come in two types: tabletop sets and handheld sets.
Players who like to have the traditional feel of the game, tabletop sets are the best for them. This allows the players to have either a human as an opponent or the computer. Electronic chess sets have more features as compared to handheld chess sets as they have a greater capacity for powerful computers. Game recording, pre-programmed openings and attacks for practice purposes, analysis and suggestions for the next move are some of the advanced features offered by tabletop chess sets.
Handheld sets have a number of advantages like they are highly portable and can be carried anywhere at all. While being small in size they may not offer all the advanced options as tabletop chess sets but do have options for game recording, game feedback and playing with another human rather than the computer only.
No matter which chess set you may choose, an avid player will definitely benefit from the learning opportunities and several features in order to enhance their skills.
After going through all the categories, you must have gained a lot of knowledge about the chess sets available in the market. But your deciding factor should be based on your need, usage, taste, and budget. You will need to prioritize these factors and get the best one after a little deliberation.