How to Choose the Perfect Chess Set

by Michelle Roy

Chess sets have long been found in homes for recreation. Additionally, they are frequently displayed as beautiful decorative pieces that will make a statement in any room. Whatever the reasons for having one, homes are just not complete unless there is a chess set there somewhere!

There are many different purposes for a beautiful chess set, from beginner play to professional play, not to mention, for ornamental benefit. But the best reason to own one is that everyone, at almost any age, can play the historically royal, aristocratic game of chess.

Chess sets for beginner play and highly skilled play do not have to differ much. Selecting one is strictly a question of individual preference and the choice typically comes down to four elements: size, style, material, and budget.

Chess pieces and chess boards come in an assortment of materials, including wood, stone, or metal. Chess pieces, or "chessmen," can be created in a number of distinct designs, from a classic Staunton set to a more modern style, with many styles in between. Chess pieces should be purchased in a size that will be well suited for the main participants of the game. Small-scale pieces may be a good choice for children and for transportability, while larger pieces may be more suitable to an adult. It genuinely is personal--What "feels" best to you? The bases of the chessmen chosen ought to dictate the dimensions of the chess board. The board squares ought to be roughly 1.25 - 1.3 times the measurement of the king base to ensure adequate space and fit.

Chess equipment is generally made from three primary types of materials. Let's examine these materials now

WOOD:

Wood is, undoubtedly, the most popular resource used to make chess products. Chess boards and chessmen can both be manufactured of wood. There are numerous wonderful sets, created from a variety of woods and finishes which will last for decades. Wooden chess sets are sturdy and strong and they will add a eye-catching and sophisticated feel to your chess play and your space. A few of the more popular varieties of woods used for chess sets these days are rosewood, sheesham, ebony, and boxwood.

Rosewood is a wonderful, rich-colored wood that is certainly durable and generally heavier than other woods used in chess sets. It's natural color ranges from deep rose to a dark brownish-red. Rosewood has natural grains that provide a handsome, natural look to any wooden chess set.

Sheesham, which happens to be grown on government plantations in India, is also sometimes known as "golden rosewood." It's organic color ranges from golden to light brown. Sheesham is plentiful and sturdy, and offers a good economic value if you are searching for a top quality wooden chess set at a sensible price tag.

Ebony is a strong, very dense, hard wood which has a striking, rich black coloring. It is one of the priciest woods used to make chess sets, but may also be one of the most magnificent choices one can make.

Boxwood is yet another hard and dense wood used in the crafting of wooden chessmen. It is most commonly used for the "white" pieces in a chess set, thanks to its naturally white, or light coloring.

METAL:

There are numerous styles of metal chess pieces starting from traditional Staunton pieces to non conventional, yet equally stunning, metal chessmen in unique styles like Persian, Roman Bust or Renaissance. Metal chessmen are commonly made of brass or nickel. They're typically more costly when compared to a wooden chess set, but they are a fabulous choice if you are considering a long-lasting, sturdy, and highly durable set.

STONE:

Stone is another favored material for chess sets worldwide. Marble and alabaster are two widely used materials used in crafting stone chess sets. Alabaster and marble sets are excellent choices, not just for chess enthusiasts but for those who would like a stunning decorative centerpiece. They are sturdy and heavily weighted, and designed to take center stage in any room! These sets will last for generations.

Last but not least, one non-traditional, option in the game of chess that is available today, is electronic chess. In order to have a partner at all times, you would be smart to check out some electronic chess options. These sets will allow you to either play alone against the computer or with a partner. Some are made for beginners--to help them gain an understanding of the basics of the game. And many are designed to challenge the highly developed skills of the expert player. The right choice for you will ultimately depend on your style and level of play.

Whether you choose a wooden chess set or a stone, metal, or electronic chess game, you would be well served to purchase the best quality set that you can afford. The challenges of the game will be there, regardless of the type of set you choose, as you will certainly discover when you make your first move!