Storage Chess Sets for use and display
There are an amazing assortment of different styles of chess boards and chess pieces, and everyone is looking for something just a little bit different. One popular type that brings many questions – and perhaps consternation – are storage chess sets. These sets are an all inclusive package where the chessmen have a built in option to put them away when not in use. Some of these take the form of portable chess boards that fold up, but many others are large chessboards with a storage drawer built in.
This article is meant to be a quick review on the different styles of chess piece sets that have the storage included. I’m going to keep away from the really small magnetic and portable sets, nor will I be writing about the folding set options (I’ve already taken a look at those in a previous blog post!) and will instead focus primarily on the larger sets that do not fold up that would be expected to be left out as a display unit.
Non-Folding Storage Chess Sets
Often, someone is looking for a nice chess set to leave out on display at all times as a conversation or art piece – but they require storage for the chess pieces. If you’ve spent any time looking through the huge assortment of Staunton chessmen and matching chessboards, you would be quickly dismayed to find many of them are flat boards only.
Generally speaking, the expectation from the high-end manufacturers has long been that you would leave your chess pieces out on the board and that only adds to the attraction of the set. Storage within is not ideal, so the higher end boards are almost invariably flat as well. Of course, if you have little people or little animals around, this is not always practical. Further, many will want a safe and secure place to put away captured chess pieces as the game goes on. When storage is needed, the high end sets usually offer chess boxes as a storage solution.
These boxes range in price and design, but it is best to think of them in the same way you might think of a cigar humidor (indeed, many chess piece storage boxes are converted humidors, so the comparison makes a great deal of sense!). They become part of the presentation and the art. You can leave the pieces on your board or you can put them in the box depending upon the situation. This is absolutely the best option for the high end sets as it allows storage as well as showing off your great pieces. The best part is you just look for a chess set normally – most will have a chess storage box as an option you can add on.
Now, when I started this article, I mentioned that I would be writing about items with the storage built in. These absolutely do exist – in fact we have a fairly large assortment. However, there are some things to consider before you purchase a storage chess set, and I wanted to make sure the other options, such as the chess boxes were on the table first.
Flat chess sets with storage built in generally not going to be the same quality of chess board or chess pieces as what you’d find when combining a board with pieces. Most of these sort of sets are manufactured over in Asia and come to the US by way of distributors. This is not to say that storage chess sets are necessarily bad, or of bad quality over all – but the carving will not be as detailed as the chessmen you can purchase separately on your own.
You may be looking for individual slot storage when you are getting a storage chess set and will find that you are often going to experience disappointment. While it is not uncommon to have the individual slots in a folding chess set, you are much more likely to empty drawers for these sorts of sets. Again, you should not think of this as a problem – the chess pieces in these sets are made for those drawers, and wooden chess pieces can bounce around and in to each other without much of a concern. As these pieces will not have the intricate detail you’d see elsewhere, there is much less risk of a cross or knight’s ear chipping off. Remember, this is a flat set meant to be left out on a table anyway, so the amount of bouncing should be quite limited!
A final option would be to build your own storage chess set. This would involve picking out pieces and a storage board separately – there are a few storage boards that you can purchase in this manner, but it is important to make sure the pieces you have would fit within (indeed, many of those style of chessboards appear to be more suited for thematic chess pieces, but I’ve seen many people make a great set by combining some nice french Staunton chessmen with a large storage chess board. Just consider the same issues as discussed above – there will not be individual slot storage, and you need to be very sure the pieces you choose will fit within the drawers!
If you’re looking for storage chess sets, you can find them in the “Flat Chess Set” category of our website. We mix both flat sets and storage designs together. You get there via the “Chess Sets and Pieces” category on our website or at the link below.
See our Storage Chess Sets and flat chess sets.
See our Chess Sets of all types.