Chess Set Selection

Chess sets come in different styles and types. They could be at times thematic, depicting the pieces as popular historical characters or characters from movies or television shows. Other times, a chess set could comprise tiny pieces that may render it difficult to differentiate between a pawn and a bishop. The hand-me-down chess sets that you grew up with are probably the most basic chess board varieties you may get your hands on. If you are out in the market to buy the best chess sets for the money, the myriad options can make your head spin. Therefore, it’s imperative to learn more about chess boards or sets and the variety on offer before you buy a chess set.

Chess Set Selection

Choose Board Color

A chess board is not always black and white. Chess boards come in white and green too. In fact, these two colors are becoming quite the standard. At the end of the day, chess board color comes down to individual preferences. The roll-up or vinyl boards sold come in green, black or blue. If you don’t mind unusual combinations, consider trying red, brown or pink boards so that things are a lot more colorful.

Easily Distinguishable Pieces

The pieces and pawns must be easily distinguishable. Small chess sets are usually devoid of details, making it difficult to differentiate between bishops and pawns at first glance. Other pieces in the set, such as the queen and king, would be confusing to identify too. Good sets invariably have well designed pieces and variable heights.

Get the Material Right

The material the pieces and pawns are made of is another factor to look into. There are some excellent wooden sets available, which may set you back by several hundred dollars. Though these sets are aesthetically pleasing, they may not be the most durable – depending on the type of wood being used.

A better option is a plastic set. It is inexpensive and also used quite commonly in chess tournaments at different levels. The pieces and pawns are made using highly durable plastic that renders them almost unbreakable. If you have kids at home who might use your chess set, this durability would come in helpful.

Consider Portability

Wooden chess boards are great, but they aren’t the most portable and are quite expensive too. Plastic boards, in comparison, are much easier to lug around. However, if portability is priority, look at the roll-up boards made from vinyl. These are easy to carry and spill-proof too. There are also foldable silicone boards that you may crumple or wipe clean when something gets spilled on them. These boards would always lay flat despite their designs.

If you want a portable board that doesn’t roll up, consider the nostalgia-evoking PVC chess boards. These boards are available in different colors and much easier to store compared to standard rigid chess boards. When laid out flat, these boards may not look or feel any different from the more traditional chess boards.

Start with Tournament-Level Boards

Even if you are a beginner chess player or buying your first chess set, go with a tournament set as they are the real deal. These sets usually get used in chess tournaments and clubs across the globe. Besides, there are a few other reasons to use these chess sets.

Thanks to the board and piece size, moving the pieces around would become easy without knocking over nearby pieces accidentally. The alpha-numeric signs on the edges of the board make it easier for amateurs to record their games. This also helps chess novices learn more about chess notations. While a seasoned player would not have any problem doing this on boards that come without the alpha-numeric symbols, beginners usually find this task tough and could write down the incorrect square with no visual aid. The right equipment would also make you look like a serious player.


Wooden chess sets might be tempting, but it’s highly advised you resist the lure. These wooden sets are on the pricier side. The money saved when buying a high-quality plastic chess board could be spent on chess training equipment or materials. Top-level players may use wooden chess boards, but that doesn’t mean you should too. Remember, there is little to no correlation between owning the best chess equipment and playing solid chess.