Chess Board Styles
The first thing you will want to consider is the style of the chess board. There are many different ones to choose from, starting with a standard wooden chess board, up to an electronic chess board. We have a lot of ground to cover, so let’s get going!
Folding chess board
This is easily the most popular style for beginners. Folding boards are designed to be folded up and are ideal for travel or casual play, particularly since they sometimes include built-in compartments to hold your chess pieces.
Folding boards come in a variety of sizes and shapes, so if you plan on taking one with you to travel, make sure that it’s small enough to fit comfortably in your bag or luggage. They are easy to store and usually come with standard style pieces. Folding chess boards come in a variety of materials, most popular being vinyl and wood.
The folding style chess board actually has an interesting history. The first folding board dates back to 1125, and it was invented by a priest. At the time, chess was condemned by the eastern orthodox church, that threatened to excommunicate any member of the clergy caught playing it.
So one inventive priest came up with the idea to disguise it. The first folding chess board just looked like two books lying together! Thanks to his ingenuity, nowadays we have a whole variety of folding boards, and they become more and more popular!
Magnetic chess board
This style of chess boards is extremely popular with both children and elderly players, who may have problems with dexterity. Magnetic boards are also a great option for travel because they allow the pieces to stay securely on the board.
Although, if you are playing with, or around small children, be careful with the little magnets, as they can be a serious health hazard. Magnetic boards come in different styles and materials, such as wood, plastic, metal, etc.
Luxury boards are designed with rich materials and luxurious styles. They can feature the finest wood, or be made of marble, among many different stones. A luxury chess board can be quite pricey, precisely for that reason. You get the finest materials, not to mention the design. T
These boards often feature very intricate pieces with sophisticated woodwork. There have been few sets throughout history known to be the most luxurious and expensive of all. Those are all kept in museums and are not available for purchase, but the style and the materials are constantly replicated.
A luxury chess set is intended both for play and display, since they are meant to be aesthetically pleasing. These types of boards are great if you are a chess lover who wants a board that will also serve as a showpiece. Your guests will be stunned, guaranteed!
If you are on a noble quest to master this ancient game, a practice board might just be that perfect choice. Again, perfect, if you want to teach someone else to play. Starter/practice boards usually come with features that help out beginner players, such as numbers on the board that will help you understand the name and position of each square.
These boards may also feature simplistic pieces that make it easier to understand which piece is which. Practice boards come in both standard 3D format, and the 2D version. The latter includes flat pieces that either stick to the board with a magnet or can be placed in a special pocket.
2D practice boards can be hung on the wall for better visuals. These boards are great learning tools for groups larger than a few people, that can gather around a 3D board! It’s ideal for solving chess problems and having battles too!
A themed chess board usually has pieces that are designed around a certain theme, which may range from medieval kings and queens to a more novelty theme, like a popular TV or movie series. These boards are great if you want something unique and fun to play with rather than a simple standard set.
The themes can be truly out there, so you can have anything from alien battles to King Arthur’s court. The pieces are marvellous, too. So much imagination and dedication go into designing them and then making that design a reality. A themed wooden chess board can be a valuable item in your collection. And true collectors often hunt for a while before they can get them!
DGT chess board
This is something that our ancestors would not have dreamed to be possible, but yet, here we are. A computer chess board (more commonly known as e-board), that can transfer your matches on to your device and give you an unprecedented opportunity to revisit all your previous games. Isn’t that amazing? It makes the learning curve so much steadier.
And even more, an electronic chess board gives you a chance to play online. The opponent’s moves will be displayed on the monitor, next to the clock. Of course, you could just play an online chess game using apps and different software, but having an actual board in front of you makes all the difference.
Instead of clicking the screen, you’re physically moving the pieces, which involves muscular memory (yes, that’s a real thing), which means involving a different part of your brain in the game. A DGT chess board also allows you to try your hand in famous chess matches throughout history and recreate them with your friends!
The first-ever electronic chess board
was created to find a better solution to the dilemma of broadcasting a chess match. The International Chess Federation actually challenges the company to come up with a computer chess board to be used during the 1998 chess olympiad, for a live presentation on the internet. Today that computer chess board has evolved into a smart board, that has multiple features its predecessors didn’t have.
Chess Board Materials
We have covered the main styles of chess boards available on the market today, and now it’s time to talk about the materials they are made of. The material is an important factor to consider when choosing a chess board.
If you have a preferred material, you’re in luck: many chess shops offer boards and pieces with a range of materials including wooden boards and pieces, plastic boards and pieces, metal pieces, and so on. So let’s go over them and find the advantages and disadvantages of each one.
Wooden chess set
This is naturally, the most popular material in the world used for chess boards. It’s soft and easy to work with, which makes it cheaper to purchase as well. The most common wood used for a chess board is maple, walnut, and mahogany.
You can get a wonderful wooden chess board with standard pieces, or, if you are feeling more adventurous, you can seek for a themed board with unique design and one-of-a-kind pieces. Thankfully, there are a lot of excellent craftsmen around who make that choice possible.
Vinyl chess board
These boards are extremely lightweight, which makes them perfect for travel and for having it on the go in your bag or luggage. You can get them in a folding version, or in a roll-up version. Take your pick! Vinyl chess boards are usually equipped with lettering and number markings, to make the moves easier to memorize for beginners!
Stone chess board
Usually, this material is found in the luxury category. The stone can be even precious or semi-precious, like obsidian. But the most common stone to be used, is, of course, marble. These sets are quite expensive, but they are so magnificent, they are usually considered showpieces, more than a practical board game. Stone sets were very popular in medieval times among the royalty, along with ivory and ebony pieces.
Metal chess board
If you are looking for a one of a kind and original chess set, you might want to consider a metal chess board. They just look so unique and can add to any worthy collection. They can be styled as a medieval set, or in a hyper modernist fashion.
In any case, a metal set will bring character and power to your play. Not to mention, it looks and feels fantastic. Naturally, this is more of a weighty set, so it’s not the one to take on vacation, but still a great piece to play and show off to your friends!
Glass chess board
This is, again, a hyper modernist version of the game, and it looks every bit as magnificent as the metal sets. Usually, the manufacturers use both transparent and frosted glass to create the differentiation between “black” and “white”. Glass boards look amazing, but they are quite fragile, so you might want to hold back if you have small children running around!
So we have discussed and analysed the basic styles of chess sets and the often used materials. Finding the right chess set isn’t always easy, but it doesn’t have to be difficult when you consider the above factors.
Once you know the type of board and materials you are looking for, it will be much easier to narrow down your chess set options. Just remember to know your budget before you begin to shop so you can easily look for chess sets that suit your particular needs.
Good luck in your chess endeavours and the games to come!