The first chess sets are around 1500 years old, making this board game a decoration and entertainment staple. We now have chess sets in a wide range of unique designs to add grandeur and more practical boards for everyday use. You can even find themed chess sets with your favourite movies like Harry Potter, Star Wars and Lord of the Rings, and luxury chess sets that will become a family heirloom!
Not to mention the many materials they're made of, such as plastic, wood, glass and even marble. You can feel spoilt for choice with so many options! That's why we've created our ultimate guide that will help you choose a chess set, whether you want a centrepiece or to start a new hobby. We've even put together a countdown of the Top 10 Best Chess Sets in the UK available from Argos, John Lewis and Amazon.
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Table of Contents
From weighted pieces to board size, there are a few things you should consider before you jump in and buy a chess set. Luckily, we've put together our top tips in this handy guide to help you through the process!
Are you looking for a centrepiece to spice up the decor? Themed chess sets have all sorts of designs, from Star Wars to the London Skyline. They look great, so they can be displayed on tables for a dinner party or make the game engaging for fans of a particular movie franchise.
On the other hand, classic boards are better for playing the game. The pieces are easily discernible for identifying chess pieces quickly. That makes the game run smoothly and is fairer when playing against other people, as they might not be familiar with a particular themed chess set.
Consider where you'll play or display your chessboard because they come in a variety of different sizes, and you'll want to pick one that'll fit your space. There's nothing worse than putting a chessboard on a table that's too small, as the pieces might get knocked off and lost.
Chess sets are also great for holidays, as they'll entertain you on rainy days. You should consider a travel-sized set for this purpose; a board under 30 cm is ideal as it'll be portable and fit inside a suitcase.
When you're looking at chessboard measurements, remember standard western chessboards are square, so the height and width will always be the same. So, no matter what your chess needs are, you're sure to find one in a suitable size.
Manufacturers use many materials to make chess sets, making it hard to tell which one is right for you. That's okay! We're going to tell you the benefits of each material, including what age and purpose it's best for.
Do you want to play chess daily? Plastic isn't the material you'd normally pick for high-quality. Yet, sets with plastic pieces are often the most durable, perfect for daily use or teaching children to play the game. It's a strong material, so the chess pieces will withstand more wear and are less likely to scratch or break.
These sets either come with a plastic or card chessboard, which each have their benefits. A plastic chessboard is strong but bulky, whereas card will be lightweight but can rip. Nevertheless, they're both still hardwearing choices that are inexpensive and great for beginners.
Wood and Plastic are the two materials that are best for playing chess. Plastic boards may be durable, but wooden sets look and feel better for more advanced players. The pieces will be comfortable to hold and move making for a pleasant experience.
Unfortunately, wood scratches and chips if you don't handle it with care. That makes these sets better for teenagers and adults who will take better care of the pieces. That's why you'll often see an older age recommendation for these sets.
Some chess sets use marble, glass, acrylic, resin and various metals to create a decorative product. These sets are best for adults and teenagers or to use for home decor. You can still use these boards and pieces to play chess, but they're less practical for daily chess use as they can be delicate.
These chess sets come with a luxury price tag and can cost anything from hundreds to thousands of pounds. They're a good investment, as they can become a family heirloom that will be passed down generations. They might even be worth a whole lot more in the future!
When you're buying chess pieces, you'll probably see the terms weighted and unweighted a lot. Weighted pieces contain a moulded weight that stops them from falling easily during a game and makes them easier to move. You should look for weighted chess pieces if you want to try speed chess, but unweighted will be fine for friendly family fun.
Whether the pieces are weighted is also something to consider when choosing a decorative chessboard. Unweighted chess pieces can blow over if you have the window open. At best, you'll end up spending time rearranging them, but they could break if they're particularly delicate.
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Chess Board Set Game
Magnetic Pieces on a Travel-Friendly Board
Historical Antique Chess Set
A Handmade Unique Hard-Wood Piece
Wooden Chess Set
A Classic Board Designed by a Chess Pro
The Noble Collection France
The Lord of the Rings Chess Set
Discernible Pieces to Stop Confusion
Wobble Wood Chess Set
A Chess Game With Edge, Or Rather Curve
Isle Of Lewis
Chess Travel Set
A Historic and Decorative Set Endorsed by National Museums Scotland
New York City Versus London Marble Board Chess Set
A Modern Stylish Monochrome City Skyline Set
Chinese Terracotta Warriors Chess Set
An Exquisite Ancient Looking Board, That's a Fantastic Talking Point
The Noble Collection
Harry Potter Wizard Chess Set
Become a Wizard With This Themed Board
Star Wars Chess Set
Pewter Pieces for a Low-Maintenance Luxury Piece
Do you want to play some chess? This inexpensive chess set is an ideal choice, with magnetic pieces that won't fall. They also move soundlessly, so they'll be no noisy distractions when playing. The chess pieces don't have a bottom seam, either. That'll stop them from irritating sensitive skin for a superior game.
With this chessboard, you put the pieces inside the board and fold it in half, which makes it ideal for travel. The chess pieces and board are also made of durable plastic, too, which makes it the best for everyday use.
Are you looking for a truly unique chess set? This chessboard is handmade and painted, making it a special product with individual flair. It's also solid hardwood, which makes it a sturdy, high-quality product. You'll want to pass this one down to your children!
The pieces are heavily detailed to look like British Army figures, making it an ideal purchase for someone who loves history. It's also a beautiful piece that comes with a carry case for easy storage.
Would you like a set designed by a chess professional? Well, now you can as this board was created with the help of Garry Kasparov. A former world chess champion, so you know the board will be authentic. It also contains a detailed guide that will help beginners learn chess basics!
It's a nicely sized board, which makes it easier for playing matches. It's even portable as it can be folded and comes with a handy carry case. You can take it on holiday or to a chess club for fun on the go.
Are you worried you won't be able to tell what each piece is? They'll be no confusion during this game, as it lists what each chess piece is on the base of the characters. They're also clearly different from each other to tell them apart easily when playing the game.
With its Lord of the Rings theme, it's a definite must for anyone who's a fan of the films, as you can bring your favourite characters into your home. It's even a well-sized board, which makes it easier to play.
Here's a game of chess with a twist! This chessboard has rounded pieces, and each square is curved inwards. This feature turns it into an exciting, high-stakes game with chess pieces they'll be in constant motion. Don't worry, it won't be impossible to play, as each piece is weighted, which will keep them anchored so they won't fall over.
Alternatively, this board will also make a great centrepiece thanks to the stylish walnut and maple wood finish. That gives this set a traditional yet modern look, and it's nicely sized to make a statement.
This chessboard comes with a compartment underneath for storing the pieces. That'll allow you to keep it safe if you only bring it out for special occasions. Plus, the chess set is also endorsed by National Museums Scotland, so it's historically accurate.
Sadly, this chess set is fairly small for a decorative piece, which won't make a huge statement. However, the chess pieces are pretty heavy, so you know it'll be a sturdy, high-quality purchase that can be passed down generations.
You no longer need to travel to see your favourite landmarks, as this chessboard both depicts the London and New York skylines. The detailed black and white chess pieces are stunning, which would look beautiful in a home with modern monochrome decor. It's a must-have centrepiece!
You'll need to be careful with this chess set as the board is marble, which can chip or crack. But each piece comes with a felt base, which will stop it from scratching the board if you want to play chess.
Here's a vibrant chess set that uses bold reds and beautiful gold detailing, that'll make it stand out and match a room that has a unique decor. Plus, the Terracotta army theme makes it especially good for anyone interested in history.
It's a little hard to see some of the detailing on the darker pieces, so you might have to paint them before displaying the set. Although, it is a great price for a decorative chess piece, as other options are much more expensive.
All Harry Potter fans will be familiar with wizard's chess. Well, now you can enjoy the game too with this fun themed board that every Harry Potter fan needs. It's also suitable for young children 5+, as it has a card chessboard and durable plastic pieces. The whole family will be able to join in this game!
The pieces are a little tricky to tell apart when playing the game, making it slightly difficult when first using it. However, it comes with bags to store the chess pieces once the box is open so none will get lost.
This unique chess set is pewter, which doesn't require lots of maintenance because it won't tarnish. This is ideal as it'll stay in good condition for years to come. The pieces depict classic Star Wars characters from the first three episodes, like Darth Vader, Princess Leia and C-3PO. It's a great collectable for any Star Wars fan and will only increase in worth over time.
Unfortunately, this chess set is quite expensive, which won't be in everyone's price range, but it's worth every penny. The chess set is visually pleasing, with a glass board that looks modern and luxurious, making it the perfect centrepiece.
New games are exciting, but you can't beat a classic game of chess. It's an entertaining brain workout for people of all ages. We hope our tips have given you some key things to consider, and you've found a chess set you can enjoy for years!
Author: Rosa Fairfield
No. 1: Peradix｜Chess Board Set Game
No. 2: GiftHome｜Historical Antique Chess Set
No. 3: Garry Kasparov｜Wooden Chess Set
No. 4: The Noble Collection France｜The Lord of the Rings Chess Set
No. 5: Umbra｜Wobble Wood Chess Set
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