As we head into the holiday season, we here at Wholesale Chess are often asked by our customers to make gift suggestions or offer opinions on sets for the chess players in their lives. Purchasing a chess set can be difficult enough when you know what you are looking for, but the same task can be overwhelming when you are not a chess player yourself (or are buying for someone who plays at a much higher level than you do). This guide will give you some ideas to consider as well as some suggestions of our most popular sets.
Plastic/Tournament Chess Sets
The first thing to consider is the age of the recipient. No need to spend a lot of money on nice wood chess pieces if you are giving the set to your child or grandchild who tends to lose things easily or may not appreciate the wood chess set. I think the ideal set for a younger player is our Heavy Tournament Chess Set Combo.
This set includes weighted tournament chess pieces, a vinyl roll-up board and a tournament chess bag that holds the board, pieces and has room for a chess clock which can be purchased separately. This set is designed to be carried around but still has enough weight in the pieces to make them comfortable in your hand when playing. Another nice feature of this set is the color choice. These sets have black and ivory pieces, but the boards and bags can come in black, green, navy blue, red, brown, pink, and camouflage.
Of course, if you think the Heavy Tournament Chess Set Combo is a bit of overkill for your giftee, you might be more interested in one of our popular newer sets: the Triple Weighted Archer Chess Set Combo. This set uses the same pieces and a basic vinyl board like the Heavy Tournament Set, but it comes with an archer bag, which is a long, tubular quiver-style bag that holds the board and pieces, and maybe a couple of very small accessories. Some people think it's much more convenient for travel or children.
When purchasing a chess set for an adult, you will need to determine if the set is designed for frequent use and travel or if the set is intended for more casual play and perhaps even for decoration in an office or study. For the frequent club player, we would suggest the Traditional Staunton Chess Set or the Premier Tournament Chess Set.
Both sets include a mousepad chess board, carrying case and a set of weighted tournament pieces. The Premier Chess Pieces are larger (4 1/8” king height) and weigh more than 3.5 lbs. They are available in Natural/Black and Ivory/Black combinations. The Traditional Staunton Chess Pieces have a 3.75” king height and are available in Black, Natural, Ivory, Blue and Red. This set weighs just under three pounds. Both sets will make an impression at the local chess club, park or wherever they are played.
Wood Chess Sets
If a nice wood set is what you have in mind then I would suggest one of our storage chess sets. These beautiful sets have room to store the pieces when they are not in use and will look great in any room. We have several affordable full sets from the House of Staunton, known for detailed wooden pieces. The Grandmaster Wooden Set.
We also have several options available for someone who wants to purchase wooden pieces, board, and box or bag together. Check out one of these beautiful wood sets as there is a wide range of color, style, wood type, and price range.
Another option is to purchase pieces and a board separately. This is a great idea if you have a specific board or pieces in mind. In addition to how the pieces look on the board you will want to make sure the pieces are the right size for the board. For most 3.75” king sets you will want a board with a square size of 1.9” to 2.25”. If your king is 4” or larger you will want an even larger square size to keep the pieces from looking too crowded on the board.
With several hundred chess set combinations available on our site, we are sure to have the perfect gift for the chess player in your life. If you have any questions as you are trying to determine which set is best for you, please give us a call and we will be happy to help.