Last Updated on November 1, 2021
Chess is and always has been one of the world’s most popular games. It is played with two people and requires skilled reasoning, abstract thinking, and a lot of nerve. With 400 possible setups to begin with, nearly 200,000 possibilities after two moves each, and nearly 120 million possibilities after three moves each, your options as a player are infinite.
However, whether you are a master or a complete rookie, you need one thing, a chess set. Having a quality chess set makes playing a far more enjoyable experience. What this article looks to do is provide you with a host of chess sets that will serve as the perfect purchase. The sets will range in price and quality, but each of them is ideal for anyone looking to dip their feet in the chess set market and try something new.
What should a Chess Set Have?
When buying a specific set, you will need to know what you plan on using it for. If you are a regular player, then you may need something a little sturdier or heavy-duty. If you don’t want to play as much but want to keep the set for special occasions or as an ornament, perhaps a boutique glass set is for you. Regardless of what set you wish to buy, here are three things that you should never need to compromise on:
Ideally, the chess set that you buy is sturdy and can withstand the test of time. The most common type of board is the solid wood board, and they are ideal for home use. Some boards can be made of glass, however, and would require extra care. Most boards will be flat in their layout, and others may be fabric and will roll up as needed. Regardless of the set’s material, it is important to make sure that the quality is good and is coming from a reputable brand.
Having a board that weighs a good amount is ideal. With weight comes sturdiness, and with sturdiness comes the security that your set will survive many uses. Another important feature, especially if the board is heavy, is that it has feet on all corners to stay in place and won’t slide about the table when used.
Storage and Portability
If the set is too heavy, the trade-off is that it may not be very portable. If you plan to travel with your set, perhaps a lighter wooden board or a fabric board is ideal. Regarding storage, a good set will fold into a box and will store all of the pieces as such. Keep an eye on storage capabilities because you don’t want to lose any parts!
1. QuadPro Magnetic Travel Chess Set
Ideal for enjoying chess on the go, this sturdy magnetic chess set is inexpensive and of good quality build. The board itself is 10-inches x 10-inches, and there is a small storage area in the middle. On top of that, each magnetic piece is cushioned on the bottom to ensure that you won’t scratch your board when you play. The board is made of durable plastic, and with its compactness and light weight, it is perfect for those on the go, but it is also sturdy enough to use at home if needed.
2. No Stress Chess by Winning Moves
If you are new to chess, then this is the perfect set to get you started. The set guides you and helps you learn how to set up the board properly and a deck of 56 cards that show you how to use and move each piece. The game itself can be played at a few levels, and with it coming in at about $15, this plastic learner set is a bargain. Perhaps not a set that you will look to hang onto for life, but a great starting point. Also, its recommended age of use is 3-111 years, so if you know any 112-year-olds out there looking for a new chess set, I’m sorry, but you will have to look elsewhere.
3. Chess Armoury 15″ Wooden Chess Set
The first real heavy hitter on the list, this Chess Armory set is ideal for players of all calibre. The 15″ x15″ board comes with a beautifully lined interior case that can hold all of your pieces, and its wooden board with inlaid walnut is the height of affordable luxury. The board is foldable and is secured by metallic hinges that will look to keep your board secure. The hand-crafted pieces are felt-tipped at the bottom and are nicely sized, with the king piece coming in at about 3-inches tall. The set costs about $40, which is an excellent deal considering the sterling reputation that Chess Armoury has. Certainly, one to consider.
4. Roman Gladiators 3D Chess Set
Let’s be real for a minute; I dare you to try and find a chess set that looks as badass as this one. I think I’ll be waiting for quite a while because this 16.25-inch 3D chess set is unbelievable. It is the perfect ornamentation set and will set you back about $300 but hear me out. The glass board is suspended over a solid resin colosseum-like dome. The gold and silver pieces are meticulously made with pewter and are stunningly detailed figurines as opposed to regular pieces. It is not ideal for use if you travel and play, but this set is just amazing if kept at home.
5. Umbra Wobble Chess Set
It is important to include a little diversity and mix up the sets a little bit, which is exactly why I have included this set by Umbra. What makes this 16″ x16″ setup so unique is its design. Made with natural maple wood and finished with walnut, the board is uniquely shaped to accommodate the wobbly pieces.
The pieces themselves have rounded steel bottoms that give them a wobbling motion at the slightest movement. Winner of How Magazines International Design Award in 2008, this incredible set is completely different to anything else on the market. For $200, it is a little expensive, and some players may find that the design is not for them, but as a whole, the set is excellent and looks like a lot of fun to use.
6. Classic Game Collection Metal Chess Set with Storage
Let’s keep it classy for the final set on the list. This 12″ x12″ board is beautifully inlaid with handcrafted wood and is raised about 2.5 inches to give the board height and allow for the pieces to be stored underneath. The pieces themselves are made of metal and are vintage and elegant in design, and even though the set itself costs $70, it looks far more expensive than that.
With over 2,100 reviews on Amazon and a 4.6-star rating, you just now that when you but this set, you are buying quality. In terms of design, portability and longevity, this set has to take the W over all others. To get such quality at such a reasonable price is outstanding.