When you’re ready to buy a chess set, make sure you get one you will be happy with. A chess set is a special kind of purchase. You should never go cheap. Having a chess set that you can be proud of and that you feel good about will add to your enjoyment as you play. It really makes you feel connected with all the grand traditions of the game of chess.
Here are a few things to consider when buying a chess set.
Looks are important
Chess sets are available in a wide range of styles and quality levels. You can buy anything from a very cheap plastic set to a stunningly beautiful set carved from pewter, rosewood, onyx, camel bone, and many other materials. Whether you are looking for a future family heirloom, a personal set for yourself, a set to start the kids playing or a gift for that chess enthusiast in your life, look for something you are impressed with, something you will be honored to use or give as a gift.
When looking for the quality of the carving, look closely at the Knight. The Knight is the piece that allows craftsmen to best show their skill. After you compare Knights from a few different sets you’ll realize that the better sets have Knights that show detailed eyes, nostrils, teeth and manes.
Weighting is important too
A well made chess piece is properly balanced so it acts and feels right when you move it, or as it is sitting on the board. Chess pieces should move with elegance, and they should not be easily knocked over. Accidental spills happen. But proper weighting can avoid ruining a game over a simple nudge of the board. Double and even triple weighted pieces are available.
Get the right size board
Choosing the right size board takes a bit more thought than you might realize. First, it must fit the space where you most often intend to use it. Second, it has to work with the size of your chess set. Third the colors and materials of the board should complement your chess set. And fourth, it should be large enough to allow some room for putting down your captured pieces.
Start by measuring the diameter of the base of your King. Make sure the squares on your board are a bit larger than this diameter. Say, for instance, the base of your King is 1 7/8″. Then make sure your board squares are at least 2″ square.
Since the board has 8 squares across, that means your board will have to be 8 x 2″= 16″. Then add about 2″ all around to give you some space for placing captured pieces. That means to accommodate your pieces you would need a board that is at least 20″ square.
Put a bit of thought into your chess set purchase and it will give you many years of enjoyment.