How to buy chess sets - options and considerations
ChessUSA, we have over 2,000 products – from chess sets and
chess boards to chess computers and other games, such as backgammon,
dominos, and mah-jong.
that makes it just a little bit difficult to find the perfect gift.
Nothing can be more frustrating than trying to buy a chess set for a
friend or loved one and find that there are over a hundred different
options. It certainly does not help when the person buying the chess
set has little or no knowledge about chess or chess sets.
Don’t worry, we’re here to help making your chess
game (or other
game) purchase a little bit easier. We have created a list of
many of the types of chess sets, chess equipment, or other games that
people are often looking for. Not only do we give some background in to
how to start your search for the perfect gift, but we also give tips on
how to find the perfect chess gift.
If you're looking for a chess board, we have a full guide for helping you choose the right one. You can see the whole guide here:
Traditional Chess Sets (Chess Pieces and Chess Board)
Chess Sets (also known as Staunton Chess Sets) are one of the most
popular types of chess set that people are looking for. Unfortunately,
it is also one of the more difficult to find the correct
set. Often, the chess pieces and chess boards are bought
separately. To make it easier to match the correct chess board with a
set of chess pieces, we offer the chess boards as
“options” with any of the set of chess pieces. This
saves time in that it puts all of the chess board options in one
place. Further, we have already matched up the appropriate
size chess boards for the chess pieces.
Staunton Chess Sets come in a large variety of shapes and sizes.
While they often come as a flat chess board and chess pieces,
they also sometimes come as a folding chess set that includes storage.
Both of these are popular options, but you will often find the quality
of the pieces are better in flat sets. You can find out more
about the folding staunton sets further down on this page, but we have
included a few that have more unique or high quality chess pieces in
this section of our guide.
Still, buying a Staunton chess set may still seem confusing and
overwhelming. Chess pieces come in a variety of sizes and woods, with
prices ranging from thirty dollars to several hundred dollars. To this
end we have created a number of introductory Staunton chess sets
– they are the same weighted, hand-carved chess pieces that
we sell, but already matched up with a suitable chess board for one
Buy a Chess Set - Traditional
If you would like to try your hand at buying a traditional style chess
set, click the link below. The chess pieces are categorized both by the
type of wood as well as the size of the king.
have several pre-packaged chess sets in our Best Sellers sections,
sorted by price.
Portable Chess Sets (small and magnetic chess sets)
or Magnetic Chess Sets come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and
materials. Some of the most important issues to consider would be: Will
this chess set be an adequate size? Will there be storage for the chess
pieces? Can I save my position and come back to the game
later without removing all of the chess pieces?
One of our most popular magnetic chess sets is the Drueke Magnetic
Chess Set. What makes this chess set special is that not only do the
magnetic chess pieces hold particularly well, but the chess set comes
with a lid so that you can save your position. Most chess sets are
folding, meaning that if you wish to pause your game, you may have to
take all of the chess pieces off the chess board.
Another popular choice is our deluxe wallet chess set. This chess set
features chess pieces that are flat as opposed to 3-dimensional. The
chessboard itself is similar to a folding checkbook in size, meaning
that it easily be stored in a coat pocket. Once again, because of the
style of chess pieces you can also save your position.
Buy a Chess Set - Travel or Magnetic
If you would like to see all of our small portable and magnetic chess
sets, click below:
Tournament Chess Sets (vinyl chess board and plastic chess pieces - often used for chess clubs and schools)
you are looking for a chess set to use for a chess club or chess
tournament, look no further than our Tournament Chess Sets. Traditionally, chess players do not use wood chess
pieces or a wood chess board when playing in a tournament or chess
club. There are two reasons for this. First, a tournament sized
chessboard is quite large and unwieldy. Second, you do not know who you
will be playing with. No one would want to risk that their opponent may
not respect their nice, hand carved wood chess pieces!
Instead, proper tournament supplies consist of a roll-up chess board
and plastic chess pieces. Our most popular chess set for tournament use is our
PTCS. This is an affordable chess set that includes solid plastic chess
pieces and a roll-up vinyl chessboard that is available in several
colors. Our second most popular chess set is our WTCS. This chess set
looks exactly the same as the PTCS, but the chess pieces have metal
weights in their bases for a heavier feel.
are several other tournament sets available. These sets may be
slightly larger, or have a different mold to have more of the look and
feel of an expensive chess set while still being affordable. To see all
of these, click below:
Teaching Chess Sets (great chess sets for those new to the game)
you are looking to get a chess set for someone who is new to the game,
there are several instructional chess sets available. These chess sets
are helpful in that they are not only a fully functional chess set, but
they also have aids to remind you how the chess pieces move.
If the new chess player is younger, you may want to consider the Kids
Book of Chess. This chess set includes a visual description of how the
pieces move on either side of the chessboard as a reference. In
addition, it comes with a chess book that colorfully explains the game
and how the pieces move.
If the new chess player is older, the Chess Teacher may be right for
you. This chess set is larger, with no written out descriptions.
However, it has all the moves shown directly on the base of the chess
pieces themselves. It is a good reference for players who are aware of
the rules for chess but need a reminder on what chess piece does what.
Buy a Chess Set - Instructional and Teaching
To see our entire selection of teaching chess sets, click below:
Folding Chess Sets (portable chess sets with storage for the chess pieces)
Chess Sets are one of the most popular styles of chess sets used as
gifts. These chess sets include their own chess pieces and
have compartments to store the chess pieces when not in use. This makes
folding chess sets ideal for people who may not have the space to leave
a chess set out on display.
chess sets come in a large variety of sizes, usually from as small as
10” to as large as 21”. They also come in
a number of woods and styles. Due to their variety we recommend you
browse our complete selection if you are interested in a folding chess
set, however, we have chosen some of our more popular and unique
folding chess sets to highlight.
The Senator is a popular folding chess set due to its nice size added
to its unique styling. Unlike many folding chess sets with relatively
simple style chess pieces, the Senator has a unique eastern European
style in the design of both of the chess pieces and the chess board
itself. If you are looking for a folding chess set that is also a bit
unusal or unique, the Senator may be for you.
Another popular style of chess set are the folding book chess sets.
These close with a strong magnet, and when stored up right give the
appearance of the bindings of a book, and is the perfect size to be
stored on a bookshelf. Also, these chess sets are very
affordable, making them a favorite every year.
Buy a Chess Set - Folding and Portable
are only some examples of many folding chess sets. Take the
time to browse our entire selection to find the chess set right for you.
Figurine Chess Sets (chess pieces for display and conversation chess sets)
Choosing a theme chess set is probably the most difficult of all. Unfortunately,
they are also the most difficult chess sets to offer a recommendation
for. Figurine chess sets come in virtually every theme, from Crusaders
and the American Civil War to Aliens and Dinosaurs. Often these sets
are for the chess pieces only with the chess board as an
option. Some of these chess boards provide storage for the
chess pieces, and others carry a theme, such as a medieval
fortress. It all comes down to personal preference.
Another consideration is the material. Most figurine chess pieces are
made out of polystone, which is a stone and resin
mix. However, there are also figurine chess pieces made from
pewter, crushed marble, alloy metals, and occasionally even wood. While
metal chess sets will be the most durable, the popular polystone chess
pieces are generally affordable and extremely well detailed that hold
up to handling remarkably well.
If you do not know what theme chess set to go with, t/hink about the
interests of the person outside of chess. Do they like Animals?
History? Fantasy? Sports ? We have categorized our theme chess
sets to make the hunt a little bit easier.
Alternately, sometimes people are looking at theme chess pieces to
accurately represent traditional chess pieces but in a figurine form.
The most popular option for this would be the medieval theme chess
pieces. Here you will find knights, crusaders, and more, where the king
is a king, the bishop is a bishop, and the knight is a knight.
Buy a Chess Set - Theme and Figurine
Of course, these are just a few options among many. Your best bet may be
to browse all your options. To see them, click below:
Chess Computers (travel electronic chess sets with an LCD display or peg chess pieces)
Purchasing a hand-held chess computer can be a daunting task. There are many
different styles and brands, with a wide range of
pricing. First, you must decide between LCD and peg style
The LCD style chess computers are generally smaller. There are no chess
pieces and the chessboard is on screen. The chess
pieces are moved by either a touch pad or a stylus pen. The
advantage of this style is that it is small and easily portable, and
there are no small chess pieces to lose. The disadvantage is
that you lose the three-dimensional feel of chess, and the screen can
be difficult to see, especially after playing for a long period of
The peg style chess computers maintain the three dimensional feel of
chess.There are small peg chess pieces are moved around the
board in the same manner of the larger, pressure sensory chess
boards. While still portable, these chess sets are generally
slightly larger than the LCD chess computers, and although there is
storage, there is the risk of losing a chess piece.
For an LCD style chess computer, we would recommend the Saitek
Maestro.It is a chess computer that can play both novices
and experts, and has a blue blacklight that can aid in contrasting the
chess set and take some of the strain off of your eyes.
For a peg style chess computer, the recommendation is the Saitek Expert
Travel.This chess computer is the most powerful portable
electronic chess game available, but can also be set to play beginners
as well.Also, the chess pieces are larger than those found
in other peg chess computers.
course, there are many other handheld chess computers
available. Click below to see them all:
Tabletop Chess Computers (larger electronic chess sets to be used at home)
Like hand-held chess computers, finding the right tabletop chess computer
can be difficult. In general, tabletop chess computers have
more similarities than differences. Many of them have the
same size and style of chess pieces and chessboard. All have the
ability to take back moves, or receive a hint. All chess
computers have many levels and can play novices and experts
alike. While there are many gimmicks that made chess
computers different from each other, the main difference is the speed
of the processor. Although all computers can play at an
expert level, a $40.00 chess computer may take several minutes to make
the same move that takes a $100.00 chess computer a few seconds.
There are two types of tabletop electronic chess sets. The
most common are pressure sensory chess computers. In these
chess computers, in order to move your chess pieces you push down on
the piece you are moving, and then push down again on the square you
are moving to. A display screen will show your computer
opponents move, which you will carry out in the same manner as how you
move your own.
The second type of tabletop electronic chess set are autosensory chess
computers. These are much less common and generally more
expensive than pressure sensory models. Instead of pushing
the chess piece down, you can simply lift up your piece and put it down
on the square you would like to move it to. A sensor records
the move automatically, so no pushing is necessary. Just be
careful not to slide the chess pieces across the chessboard!
While there are a number of minor differences between different models,
In general, the rule of thumb is to get the strongest and fastest chess
computer for your budget. If you get a chess computer that is
too weak, you may find that you will outgrow it and that it is no
longer able to challenge you in a game that takes a reasonable amount
of time. The more powerful the chess computer, the more room
there is for you to continue to be challenged as you improve.
If you are looking for an entry level chess computer, we would
recommend the Talking Chess Trainer. This is an affordable
chess set that is good for a casual game of chess or for someone who is
not sure how they will like to play against a computer
opponent. Not only does it give you hints, but it can warn
you when your chess pieces are in danger. It also talks, so
you do not have to rely on the small display screen.
A stronger chess computer is the Novag Obsidian. This is one
of the fastest chess computers available, meaning that nomatter how
much you improve, it will always be able to provide a
challenge. It also has coordinate lights on the rank and file
of the chessboard to guide which chess piece needs to be moved and
are many other chess computers available with a number of specialized
features, such as additional display screen, the ability to play
checkers as well as chess, oversized chess pieces, and more. You can see all of the chess computers below:
Playing Software (play chess against the best chess programs around)
there are many types of chess software out there, the reality is they
are all so strong that they can beat practically anyone. To
this end, although there are several different chess programs
available, you very well may not need every one, or even the best one.
The strength of the chess playing software varies depending upon the
computer you are using. They are virtually always vastly more
powerful than chess computers. The strongest programs are
known as “Deep” programs, and are usually more
expensive. These are only for dual core computers and are
often not necessary unless you are looking to analyze games you have
One of the most popular pieces of chess software is Fritz. This is the flagship chess program from chessbase. It is easy
to use, and most other chess playing programs either share the same
interface or can be loaded in to fritz. It also has some
extra added features that some of the other chess playing programs do
Chess Teaching Software (learn how to play chess on your laptop or PC)
It is often very difficult to find the right chess training
software. There are dozens of titles, many of which are very
specific in scope. Generally, they consist of lessons on that
topic and then a number of exercises to test your knowledge. If you know what type of chess opening or strategy you would like to
practice, there is likely a specific program for it.
If you are looking for something more generalized, you may be
interested in chess mentor. This is a no frills chess
training software that covers a wide variety of techniques. It also has a number of modules that can be added for additional
lessons. These programs are particularly effective because it
not only tells you what whether your move is right or wrong, but
why. These are a number of different types of chess mentor
collections from basic to advanced, but the most popular is the
comprehensive chess course, that will teach you a bit of everything.
For children, the choice is much easier. There are a few great chess
training programs for kids. These chess programs use metaphors and
analogies to help teach the game. These programs are much more
interactive and fun than some of the more dry training software, and
are often used by chess coach’s as a supplement to regular
chess lessons. The two most popular are Fritz & Chesster, and
To view all of the chess training software, click below
Chess Clocks(both analog and digital chess timers)
Chess Clocks is not as difficult as you may think. Although many people
are unfamiliar with chess clocks, that are important aspect of a
tournament game (or a game where you have a really slow chess
In chess, you time by total game time, not by move. Therefore, you may
spend 1 minute on one move, then 15 minutes on the next. You
can use up your time any way you want, but if you run out before your
opponent – you lose.
There are two types of chess timers. Analog Chess Clocks are
the traditional style that have been used for decades. These
clocks have two faces with a standard 12 hour clock on them. You simply divide the total playing time in half between the two
players. As the time runs towards the hour, a red flag will
raise. When time is up, the red flag falls, and you have lost
on time. These chess clocks can be either wind-up or battery
Digital Chess clocks have been growing in popularity in recent
years. They offer all the advantages of the analog clocks,
but allow for many more different timing options. In
addition, digital chess timers have large LCD displays that make it
easier to see the amount of time remaining. If you plan to
play a lot of fast-paced games, a digital chess clock is a
must. While some digital chess clocks can be very expensive,
many are not much more than analog chess timers.
If you are looking for an analog chess clock, we would recommend the
battery operated chess timer. The face is somewhat larger
than the wind-up, and more importantly it has a second hand that will
better show those last seconds tick away.
If you are looking for a digital chess clock, the Saitek Competition
Game Clock is a good choice. This electronic timer gives you
everything you need in a sturdy design. It is ideal for both
tournaments and blitz games. While it does not have some of
the additional timer functions of other clocks, the vast majority of
these are unlikely to be used by most causal chess players.
Multi-Game Chess Sets (chess, backgammon, and more - all in one)
Sometimes a chess set isn’t enough. When you want more than
just a chess set, you look to the multigame chess sets. These will
include other games such as checkers, backgammon, Chinese checkers,
cribbage, dominos, and more. These are ideal as a gift for someone who
likes more than just chess, or someone where you feel a chess set alone
is not enough.
Although there are sometimes some very unusual game combinations, the
most common combination chess sets include chess, checkers, and
backgammon. One of the most popular of these is our 45-024 Aluminum
Chess and Backgammon Chess Set. It has very strong magnets, so the
chess pieces sit tightly on the chess board. This chess set
also has individual slot storage for all the backgammon and chess
Some of the multigame chess sets have many more games. One such of
these is the 45-004 Walnut 7 in 1 Chess Set. This chess set has wood
chess pieces on a nicely sized chessboard. It also includes
backgammon, checkers, dominos, cards, poker dice, and cribbage.
Thereare many multi-game chess sets as well as multigame chess tables, with
a wide variety of game combinations. Click below and see them
at ChessUSA, we sell much more than just chess sets. While the chess
sets may be most popular, we carry a wide range of other games
including dominos, cribbage, mah-jong, poker supplies, Go, and much
more. One of the most popular of these other games are backgammon sets.
Like chess sets, buying a backgammon set can be tricky. There are many
backgammon sets in many different styles and most come in both
15” and 18” sizes. Luckily, each backgammon set
comes with everything you need – the backgammon pieces, cups
& die, and board itself are all included.
Many backgammon sets are made of vinyl, but we also carry several other
materials. Popular among them are backgammon sets made from suede,
leather, wood, or aluminum. The most popular is wood, because unlike
vinyl, suede, or leather there is no stitching involved. Our most
recent additions are backgammon sets with a cork playing surface. This
is the traditional playing surface for tournament backgammon.
Of couse, there are so many different sets it ultimately becomes a choice
of personal preference. Click below to see all of our
SETS FROM AMERICA'S LARGEST CHESS STORE
Chess USA is America's leading retailer of chess sets, chess pieces,
chess boards, and more. In fact, for 30 years Your Move Chess &
Games has been the leading retailer of all things chess! Not everyone
can view the hundreds of chess sets we have on display in our New York
Chess Store, which is why we strive to have the most detailed chess
website anywhere on the internet. After All, with over 2,000 chess
sets, chess boards, chess pieces, chess computers and more, we need to
be detailed! No matter what you are looking for, from chess set or
chess program, our knowledgable staff is ready to help.
Have a Chess Set already, and just need to freshen up on the rules?
We've got them - just click here
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