If you’re new to the game of chess, you may just be surprised to learn that chess sets come in a variety of different shapes and sizes. For hundreds of years, chess players and professionals have crafted, created and played on countless chess set types. Today, there are still dozens of different chess sets out there—from unique chess sets to wooden chess sets to luxury chess sets and even glass chess sets.
But there are some types of chess sets which are set apart above the rest. The following are the top 8 most popular chess set types currently available on the market today.
Staunton Chess Sets
Staunton chess sets are often referred to as traditional chess sets. This type of chess set is considered to be the standard throughout the world. It has been in production for over a century and is commonly used by chess beginners, experts and everything in between. This type of set is considered essential for anyone who wants to pursue chess as a long-term hobby or professionally. Some Staunton chess sets come with both the board and pieces, while others require you to purchase these separately.
Magnetic Chess Sets
Magnetic chess sets have become very popular in the last few decades with an increase in travel and thus an increase in the need for travel-friendly chess sets. Magnetic sets come with magnetic lining underneath the board; each piece contains a magnet on the bottom, which connects with the magnet on the board for more secure play. Magnetic boards are great for travel and for both younger and older players who may have difficulty moving the pieces around the board without accidentally knocking them over.
Tournament Chess Sets
Tournament chess sets are typically only seen at tournaments—especially school tournaments—as they are comprised of a fold-up chess board with plastic or composite plastic pieces. Tournament chess sets are popular for home use, particularly for people who plan to participate in a tournament and want to get a better feel for the layout and overall handling of a tournament style chess set. They are not particularly appealing otherwise, though, so it’s best to choose this type of set only if you plan on tournament play and you want to get a head start on planning out your game using a board similar to the one that will be used in the tournament.
Folding Chess Sets
Folding chess sets are perfect for chess hobbyists and younger player who need a board that is quick to set up and quick to put away. Folding chess sets are perfect for people who don’t have a lot of room in their home or who want to otherwise be able to fold up the board and tuck it away when it’s not in use.
Teaching Chess Sets
Teaching chess sets are not really meant for regular play; instead they include a simple board and clear-cut pieces that are designed to help new players learn the basics of the game. Teaching sets typically include boards that have grids and patterns that help players understand where and how different chess pieces can move. Although this board won’t have much use once you—or the player who is learning—have a better handle on the game, they can be a great tool for new chess students. Teaching sets are especially ideal for younger players who may need more assistance than others when learning the basic rules and fundamentals of chess.
Novelty Chess Sets
Novelty chess sets are very popular nowadays, especially with a rise in popular games, movies, TV shows and other media that inspire people to purchase all sorts of related collectibles. Novelty chess sets are designed to fit various themes, whether that theme is a brand such as The Simpsons or something more general such as a steampunk-style theme. Novelty sets come in a wide range of price ranges and quality levels, so it’s best to do your research before you put down serious cash on a novelty set.
Luxury Chess Sets
Luxury chess sets are designed to provide luxury and elegance to any chess game. Luxury sets are made with high quality materials, such as 100% wood with high quality finishing’s as well as pieces made with silver, gold, hand-blown glass or other materials that put the set in a luxurious class above other chess sets on the market. Luxury chess sets are perfect for anyone who loves chess and wants to take their fan of the game to another level with an exquisite chess set that will be treasured for ages.
Multi-Use Chess Sets
Multi-use chess sets are chess sets with boards that can be used for multiple games, including checkers, chess and backgammon. Multi-use chess sets are most popular with families, as they allow players to switch between different games without requiring them to purchase completely new boards and game pieces. Multi-use chess sets are typically made with mid-range materials, so you can expect a middle-range quality from this type of set.
There are a lot of different chess sets out there on the market today. If you are looking to purchase a new chess set, take the time to consider the above options carefully. If you’re brand new to the game, consider a teaching set or a standard Staunton set until you become more familiar with the game and hobby as a whole. If you’re looking for something fun and different, consider a novelty set with a theme that appeals to you. If you’re looking to purchase something elegant and long-lasting, look for a luxury set that is sure to stand the test of time.
If you’re hesitant about purchasing a particular set, simply look for reviews for any chess set you’re interested in purchasing in order to get a better idea of the overall quality. The more research you do on the set you’re interested in purchasing, the more informed you will be before you make your final decision.