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ChessUSA 2023 Chess and Games Buying Guide

If you have a friend or family member looking for a chess gift or are looking for the perfect gift for yourself, finding the perfect chess set can be extremely difficult. There are so many options it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Leading up to the holidays this year we have a full buying guide to help you through the process as well as brief descriptions of some of the main types of chess equipment and how to find the perfect gift.

Traditional Staunton Chess Sets. Often someone is looking for a full set of chess pieces on a board that is both art for them home decor as well as the game of chess. You might hear terms like “Staunton” – this refers to traditional looking chess pieces; the king has a cross, the knight is the bust of a horse, and the rook looks like the top of a castle. We have a great selection of luxury chess sets for both display and play with a variety of features including size, storage, material, and more. If you’re looking for a classic heirloom chess set, this is the place to start.

There are many reasons a full-size chess board might not be practical. Not everyone can leave a full chess set on display. Some families have furry friends that love to interfere with a chess set leading to frustration. There are lot of options for a portable set with features such as magnetic, folding, and other sets with storage. These are great for not just travel but analysis play, and many are still handsome enough that can easily be left out when possible.

Before staunton design became normalized, every set looked different. Today not everyone wants a classic style ches set. One beauty of chess is that there are many other options, from brave knights to ferocious animals and fantastical beasts or historical battles. Truly there are thematic chess sets for virtually anything you can think of. If you’re looking for a unique chess item to suit your personal interests, theme chess sets offer a fantastic opportunity.

Finding the correct board for those theme pieces can be tricky – sometimes you want a full package where it all just ‘goes’. If you’re not interested in just thematic chess pieces, we have a fantastic array of theme sets combined with boards, there are also unique metal theme sets on raised chessboards over thematic backdrops, making the chess board become an actual battlefield!

If you are looking for a chess set for a club or school,or have a chess player that wants to play in tournaments, there is a specific style of chess often used. The ideal chess set includes large, plastic pieces (often weighted) with a roll up (or folding) chess board and bag. In chess, green and white is the standard color – this makes it easy to see the black and white chessmen – the black pieces cannot get lost on their own squares. We have several extremely affordable options of these chess sets in our tournament section. We also have other accessories such as scorebooks, demonstration boards, and chess clocks.

Just starting out or looking to get someone interested in the game? Instructional chess sets are great for someone just learning or wanting to freshen up on all the rules of chess. Several of these include rules in the form of easy to read books or actual images on the chess pieces themselves as an aid to help learn the rules of the game.

Chess computers are ideal for training or if you do not have a regular opponent. They also offer options to interface with online chess playing programs to play a live board while you play your online game. There are both auto and pressure sensitive models. If you do not like the idea of chess software, these computers maintain the 3-d aspect of the game while providing you with an opponent that you can play at many different challenge levels.

Create your own Chess Set

Of course, we have hundreds of chessmen and chess boards and if you’re looking to create your own chess set to make something truly unique. Additionally, if you already have a chessboard and need matching pieces, or have chessmen and need an appropriate board, we have a huge variety of different pieces and boards that can be combined to make the perfect heirloom chess set. Most of the time, the most important information is size to make sure it is an appropriate match – if the set is for your home, there is no hard and fast rule, but we prefer there a clear ring around the king that shows the square beneath – this means that no matter the position on the board, the pieces should not get so crowded where it becomes unplayable.

Chess boards come in a variety of sizes ranging from 1 1/2″ squares up to 2 1/2″ squares, suitable for pieces from 3″ up to over 6″ tall. Not only are there standard and luxury chess boards of many different woods, we also have chess tables for a fully finished furniture look.

Most chess sets begin with a great set of staunton chess pieces. We have tons of options in different woods and sizes, as well as brass and other metal chess sets for a modern look. Our listings offer board recommendations to help you create a perfect combination if you do not already own a chess board.

More than just chess…

We carry more than just chess – if you’re looking for other games we carry many classics such as backgammon, dominos, checkers, cribbage, mah-jong and more as well as a huge selection of board games.

If you’re looking for a luxury classic game, we certainly have you covered with high end and heirloom versions of family classics such Scrabble and Monopoly.

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