The are so many chess sets on the market today that it can be very confusing when you are trying to buy one. Chess sets are either used in playing or as a decoration in the living room or den. Chess sets are even used as centerpieces for libraries and studies. Some chess sets are even considered as heirlooms and are valued for their collectible quality.
1. Determine Your Reasons
Are you going to play with it or you going to use it for decorative purposes only? If you are going to play with it then look for a practical looking set. It should also fit your personal taste in the style.
It is advisable to buy the best quality chess set that your budget can afford. A good chess set can last a lifetime and can even become an heirloom. You will definitely be admired by your friends when you take out a beautiful chess set. Of course, a finely crafted chess set can enhance every chess players’ playing experience.
3. Tournament Guidelines
Unless you are using the chess set for official tournament use, you can do away with considering the size of the chess pieces in relation to the board. Nevertheless, the general guideline is that the King’s base should be 78% of the width of a square. To get this, divide the King's base diameter by 0.78 and you get the proper square size. You can increase the square size by 1/8, but the square size should not be any smaller. This info is valuable if you are buying the pieces separate from the board.
Choose an extremely durable chess set if you are planning to use your chess set daily and take it to tournaments and clubs. A weighted plastic chess set would be a good choice. If you need a handy chess set that you could carry anywhere then it is advisable that you get a travel chess set which are small and compact. These kind of chess is usually magnetic or pegged to protect against bumps and jolts. The boards can be folded and the pieces and pawns can be kept inside. Travel chess sets ara available for for somewhere around $20 A very basic one can even be had for $10 or less. You may even find miniature ones sold in most dollar stores.
6. Special Considerations For Wooden Sets
If you are buying a chess set that is made from wood then choose good quality wood. Wood is definitely a good material for a chess set. They are very impressive to look at and the pieces feel very solid. The only disadvantage is that they can be really heavy and are therefore not ideal for traveling. Wood chess sets will definitely be a great addition to your home or office. Wood sets and the prices can range from 50$ to as high as $5,000. In general, ebony is more expensive than rosewood, which is, in turn, more expensive than boxwood, etc. Exotic woods are more expensive still. There are less expensive sets that are made from oak, pine or walnut. In buying a wooden chess set let your budget be your guide.
7. Check For Uniformity
When buying a chess set check out the pieces, particularly the knights which can represent up to 50% of the total cost of all the chess pieces. The quality of the turnings, the finish and the uniformity also add to cost of the set. You must also check the craftsmanship of the King's crown that is usually decorative. Keep in mind that the King and the Knight are two of the most important pieces of a chess set.
8. Decorative Sets
Chess sets that are made from crystal or bone china are generally termed as Glass. These sets are commonly used for decorative purposes but you can also find glass sets that are practical. Crystal pieces are generally heavy while china pieces will feel a bit light unless they have weighted bases. These kinds of chess sets are definitely nice to look at but they are very fragile and will break once they are dropped. They are also easily dirtied by dust and fingerprints. Although beautiful to look at, the pieces will break if dropped and fingerprints can become a problem on some models. They're dust collectors too. Many people keep a glass set for looks and another type for actual play. Glass chess sets average in the $300 to $2,000 range.
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