Tournament Chess Supplies Chess Club Chess Sets When you're playing in a chess tournament there are some rules that apply to make sure you have the right chess set. However, if you've yet to visit your local chess club you may not yet be aware of exactly what type of chess set is preferred or expected, or other accessories you might need as you begin tournament play. The rules are fairly simple when choosing a chess set - You are looking for a 3 3/4" - 4 1/4" King that goes on a chess board with 2 1/4" squares. While you certainly can bring wooden boards and pieces, these are not common - instead people opt for affordable plastic sets in carry bags to go with other accessories they may need such as a chess clock or scorebook. See our Tournament Chess Set and Accessories Selection A Regulation Tournament Chess Set The Standard Club Chess Set The chess pieces are plastic and the board is a roll-up style for easy transport - these can be made from vinyl, silicone, or a mousepad style. The most common color for a tournament chess board is green and white so that there is a strong contrast between the boards and pieces. The board will likely have algebraic notation on the sides and optionally many choose to have a chess carry bag to carry other items such as scorebooks or chess clocks. Tournament Chess Sets - What's the difference?

Perhaps you noticed several of the options appear similar, despite having different prices.  The truth is, there are many ways to 'upscale' a tournament chess set, and we have kits at a variety of levels of these options.

The largest difference will be with the chess pieces. While black and white are the most common, there are also other colors available in some designs, such as red, blue, pink, green, purple, and more. These are usually allowed in tournaments, so it offers an opportunity to show your own personal style with your chess set.  While adding an accessorry such as a chess clock or carry bag will add to the price, when we're looking at just the pieces and boards there are three main features that decide the price:

Chess Pieces - Weighted vs Unweighted  *  Chess Pieces - Different designs  *  Chess Boards - Different Materials

Most of the time it's easiest to buy a prepackaged tournament chess set that includes the chess pieces and board (and sometimes bag!). The different options give a good range of styles and prices, many with optional 'upgrades'. Otherwise you can get tournament boards and pieces separately.

Tournament Chess Sets Buying in Bulk for a Chess Club or Tournament? Interested in Chess Accessories such chess demonstration boards, carry bags, and chess clocks? Our Chess Club and Tournament Accessories Guide Tournament Chess Sets - Plastic Chess Pieces

Chess Pieces - Weighted vs Unweighted

Some sets are unweighted plastic while others are heavily weighted. Weighted pieces are usually preferred yet a little more expensive while looking exactly the same. These sets have a hole in the bottom where a metal weight is added to give the chess pieces heft and a nice feel. This might not be necessary for a school or club, but most individuals will opt for weighted pieces because it just feels nice to plop a nice weighted piece on the board! 

You might have heard of terms such as 'single weight', 'double weight', and 'triple weight' for chessmen. This is simply a way some companies indicate that their chess set is .. heavy. or really heavy. or really, really heavy! There is no standardization of weights, and the weight will vary between pieces. We opt to list the actual weight of the piece so you know exactly what you're dealing with!

We differentiate the standard tournament sets by indicating if they are weighted or not in the item name. 

Chess Pieces - Different designs

Not all tournament chess pieces are the same. While it is trtue thtat all club chess sets needs to be of the Staunton design, there can be differences between sets, just like you see in wooden luxury sets. The king will always have a cross at top, the bishop a slit, the knight will be the bust of a horse, and the rook will appear as a single tower - but there are a lot of ways these can be molded. Some will have beefier pawns, others will have elegent, slender pieces. Look carefully at the knight - that's usually where you'll see the most differences. This also leads to variations in pricing from one tournament set to the next.

Tournament Chess Sets - Board Options Tournament Chess Boards Vinyl Vinyl Boards are classic roll-up boards. You need to roll them with the squares facing out as they will curl; this means when you roll them out they will stay flat. While they are inexpensive they can easily crease if you put something heavy on them, and they cannot be folded meaning they are a bit more bulky when it comes to transport and storage. These are the most common boards used for chess clubs and at schools. We offer them in both green and white and black and white. Tournament Chess Boards Silicone Silicone boards are roll up boards that are more durable and wrinkle resistant. They can be folded or scrunched (I've even shoved one in my coat pocket!) but always come back to the original shape. They're also easiest to clean, being machine washable and dishwasher safe! The only potential downside is they are not 'slide friendly'. While you can easily slide chess pieces on a vinyl or mousepad board, you really can't do that on silicone. Honestly you shouldn't be sliding your chess pieces anyway! These are my personal favorites and come in a variety of colors including green, black, red, blue, and brown. Tournament Chess Boards Mousepad Mousepad boards are the most expensive option for roll-up boards. These are similar to a mousepad for your computer, with a rubber lower level and a cloth material on top. It can roll up or fold up without worry of wrinkling, just like silicone boards. You can also slide your pieces easily, and have the widest variety of colors including not only traditional colors but also prints and faux-wood designs. They are a bit easier to stain and harder to clean than silicone boards, and because there are two materials over time you might find the cloth upper level start to peel up from the rubber bottom. What Next? You have your chess set, but there are some important accessories to consider. Find out more. Chess Club and Tournament Accessories Guide