Guide on How to Choose a Chess Set

There are so many different kinds of chess sets that you can buy these days that it can be very confusing to make a decision on which one would be best for your purpose. But of course, you need to identify your purpose first of why you are buying a chess set in the first place (Go here for a great range of quality chess sets).

Are you looking for a set that you can use at home on a daily basis? Are you in search of a really beautiful set that you can use as a classy decorative piece? Are you a professional chess player who is in need of a set that can be used in tournaments and is suitable for travel? Or are you looking for a good set to give someone as a gift for their birthday or the coming holidays? Only when you have answered these questions can you properly start the process of searching for that perfect chess set that will meet your requirements.

The next item to consider would be the amount of money that you are willing to spend. Chess sets come in a ridiculously wide range of prices, with the cheapest ones costing less than $10 each and the most extravagant ones with price tags in the thousands of dollars. If you want to invest in a higher quality set, you would naturally have to pay more but if you are on a tight budget, you will also be able to find decent sets at more affordable prices.

If a long lifespan is important to you, you should also pay close attention to the kind of material that the chess pieces are made of. Most of the best-selling chess sets these days come with wooden chess pieces, which are very durable and can last a very long time with minimal maintenance. They can certainly withstand the wear and tear of gameplay and can stay in good shape for several decades.

In addition, wooden chess sets have a good weight to them, making them easy to hold during games, and they are also very nice to look at so they can double as a display for your home.

These are just some of the most basic guidelines that you can follow when looking for the ideal chess set. Before you go out to actually go shopping for a chess set, it would be wise to do some research on the Internet first so that you will already have an idea of which ones you are most interested in buying.

How to Find a Great Chess Set to Use for Tournaments

Chess is a game that is beloved by millions of people from all over the world – men and women, young and old. This game is not restricted to any particular demographic because anyone can play it. However, there is a special group of people that takes the game of chess to an entirely different level, and these are the avid players that do not only enjoy the game as a leisure activity but are also active in different kinds of chess tournaments.

House of Staunton

When playing chess in official games, there are certain requirements that you would need to fulfill. In addition to having decent chess-playing skills – you would definitely need this if you want to win – you will also need to have a chess set that adheres to the standard rules of chess tournaments.

There are a few important considerations to keep in mind when looking for a chess set to use in tournaments. Although there is of course the matter of personal preference when it comes to style and such, the following guidelines may help make the task of choosing that perfect set a lot simpler.

  • Choose a chess set made from a durable material. This is particularly crucial for someone who intends to play in tournaments quite frequently. Chess sets made from inferior materials would easily show the signs of wear and tear after just a few games. Even if you are just a casual chess player and are not planning to be in tournaments every weekend, it is still recommended that you choose a durable kind of material for your pieces, such as the classic rosewood. Click here for a range of high quality durable chess sets.
  • Choose a set that comes with a case. Traveling to various tournament locations will be a lot easier if your chess set comes with its own carrying case. This won’t be too difficult as most chess sets these days do come with a matching case. If for some reason you don’t like the matching case of the set that you want to buy, you can always buy the case separately. Just make sure that it’s the perfect fit and that it will be able to provide adequate protection to your chess set while you are traveling.
  • Choose a set with a standard design. While it may be tempting to purchase one of those themed chess sets that are so popular nowadays, you will have to think twice before buying them if you plan to use them in competitions. Chess tournaments have strict rules on the types of chess pieces that may be used. If the pieces in a themed set are too different from the standard design, they may not be admissible for tournaments. So it’s better to stick to regular sets for tournaments, but you may definitely also buy themed chess sets for personal use.
  • Look around before you make a purchase. Chess sets are always in demand so there will be no shortage of shops that sell them. Spend some time looking at the different options and doing some comparison shopping before you settle on a particular set. The Internet is a great place to look for chess sets because there are thousands of them being sold online at any given time. If there are garage sales or discount shops near where you are, you may also want to give these places a visit because there’s a good chance of finding a nice set at an even nicer price.

Tournament Chess Sets available at

By following these simple but effective guidelines, you will be able to find a tournament chess set in no time at all and pretty soon, you can be on your way to winning your first chess tournament trophy.

An Introduction to Collecting Chess Sets

Some people like to collect coins from all over the world, some like collecting vintage toys, others just collect various kinds of knick-knacks that strike their fancy. If you are thinking of starting a collection and are not sure what items you do want to collect, here’s an idea. Since you are an avid chess player, why not start your very chess set collection?

Collecting chess sets can eventually turn into a serious hobby so you should really take a few things into consideration before you get started. The following tips may be able to help you enjoy success in this exciting hobby.

  • Set a budget. Rare chess sets normally cost a lot more but many collectors would agree that it is better to spend on just a few of these rare sets rather than splurge on dozens of cheaper ones that won’t have any real value in the long run. Of course, if you have a tight budget, you should really think long and hard before buying any set.
  • Inspect the pieces carefully. Often when you buy collectible chess sets, these are already used and come in an unsealed box. You therefore need to check the individual chess pieces to see whether they match and if the set is complete.
  • Know where to look. There are so many places where you can buy chess sets but the best ones are online shops, garage sales, local antique shops and auctions. You can also buy from specialist dealers but the prices may be higher than if you score a great find in a garage sale, for instance.
  • Research. If you don’t know which sets are valuable and which ones are not, you can easily get duped and end up wasting a lot of money. If you are in this for the long haul, it would be a good idea to read some reference materials in the form of chess catalogues, or even online forums for chess collectors.
  • Look at the Knight. Oftentimes, the intricacy of the carvings on the knight is a strong indication of the value of the entire set. Two sets that are essentially identical may have very different values depending on the carvings on their knight pieces.

These are just some of the things that you should know when starting a chess set collection. You may make some mistakes in your choices in the beginning but don’t let these bother you as long as you don’t invest in expensive sets right away. As you learn more about chess sets and collectible pieces, you will be able to identify the valuable sets more easily.

Best Chess Sets for Speed Chess

Chess is an ancient game that has been played by all kinds of people – young and old, rich and poor, male and female. It has also been played in many different ways throughout the years. Most people are just aware of the standard way of playing, where the opponents take turns moving their pieces, usually taking their time thinking of the best move.

There is another highly popular variation of the game called speed chess or blitz chess, in which each player only has a very limited amount of time to complete their turn. In a regular game of chess, each player is usually given a total of 60-150 minutes to make all their moves. In a blitz chess game, however, each player only has a total of 3-5 minutes to make all their moves and finish the game.

Ornate Chess Sets

Image by Dennis Wong on Flickr, used under the Creative Commons license.

Needless to say, speed chess can be very exciting and yet be extremely stressful at the same time. Thinking of the right moves is challenging enough as it is but adding time pressure to the whole thing can be enough to give some people a heart attack.

Of course, knowing how to play the game strategically will help a lot. Blitz chess is actually very different from regular chess because entirely different strategies and techniques need to be employed if you want to win. But other than knowing these strategies, it will also help you play better and enjoy the game more if you are using the right kind of chess set for this particular type of chess game.

The best sets to use for a rapid game of chess are those that have heavily weighted pieces that are more stable, easier to hold and are more solid in the hand. Short, pudgy pieces are generally preferred to taller and slimmer ones. Chess pieces made specifically for blitz games have a very low center of gravity – they have most of their weight towards the base of the piece so they’re unlikely to topple over despite very fast moves. When it comes to boards, either a wooden or vinyl roll-up is ideal.

In addition to good quality chess sets, you would also need to have a reliable chess clock to use for a blitz game. Analog ones are alright to use for regular chess games but for the purpose of playing blitz, it is better to use a digital device.

3 Crucial Steps to Win at Chess

Chess Games - How to Win

Everyone who plays chess wants to win. Of course, they may also be playing to have fun or to learn new strategies from their opponents but the ultimate objective with every game is to win. Naturally, you can’t always win especially if you are playing against a much better or more experience player than you. However, there are three very important things that you can do in order to increase your chances considerably.

  1. Analyze your opponent’s every move. Each time your opponent makes a move, try to figure out why they made that particular move. What is it that they are trying to accomplish? Obviously, they are also trying to win the game just like you but what is their short-term goal with that move? Are they trying to capture your queen? Are they attempting to corner you into a checkmate? Decipher what they are planning and counter it with your own strategic moves. Keep in mind that many players have lost because they are too focused on their own strategies, forgetting that they should also pay attention to what the opponent is doing.
  1. Move with a purpose. A lot of beginners waste several useless moves especially during the start of the game, and you should avoid this mistake at all costs. Every single move you make must have a purpose, whether it is a big one like setting up for a checkmate or simply trying to shoo away the opponent’s queen from your side of the board. As you keep making and completing your small goals, you will gradually be a lot closer to the ultimate objective of winning the game.
  1. Never underestimate your opponent. When making a strategic move, you would certainly hope that your opponent will miss your intent and thus make a wrong move. It’s not bad to have such hopes because obviously, it would be good for you but you should never assume that will happen. Instead, put yourself in your opponent’s shoes and think of what they might do after that earth-shattering move you are planning to make.

These steps are actually pretty straightforward but a lot of people forget about them during a game. Most get so caught up in the intensity of the game and thus find themselves making some of the most common chess mistakes, causing them to lose the battle in the end.

By keeping these strategies in mind at all times and staying focused all throughout, there is no reason why you wouldn’t be able to win more games even against more advanced players.

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Pros and Cons of Online Chess

Computer technology has been rapidly improving over the last couple of decades. These days, we can do practically anything as long as we have a computer or mobile device and a decent Internet connection. We can talk to people on the other side of the world, we can shop to our heart’s content and have the merchandise delivered to our doorstep without having to get up from our chair, and we can have access to hundreds of different forms of entertainment in the form of online games.

Online Chess Sets

By online games, we don’t necessarily mean those very popular role-playing games that the younger generations are currently going crazy about. Nowadays, even classic games that we have all known and loved throughout the years, such as chess, can be played online.

Online chess and traditional chess played with a proper chess set are not really that different since the rules remain the same. However, there are also some major differences that make one better than the other and vice versa, depending on the point of view of the individual.

What are the pros?

Probably the most obvious advantage of playing online chess is that you don’t need to find an actual opponent to play with. Even if you are all alone, you can still play the game either against a real, unseen person from some other part of the world that is also online at the same time, or against the computer.

Another advantage is that you don’t need to buy a real chess set in order to play. In fact, you don’t even have to spend any money at all because there are hundreds of free chess games that you can join on the Internet. There are also some premium sites where you have to pay a nominal fee in order to participate in an online tournament but if you are just playing for leisure, the free games would suffice quite well.

What are the cons?

For the traditionalist, there is still something special about playing chess the traditional way on a real board and using real pieces. There is some kind of excitement about a traditional chess game that you simply can’t get from playing in front of a computer.

Of course, there is no right or wrong way of playing chess – it’s all a matter of personal preference and perhaps convenience. The important thing is to find the method that works for you so that you can enjoy the game as much as possible.

If you’re not sold on the idea of online chess and you yearn for the real thing, check out a some beautiful “real” chess boards at this link

A 3-Step Guide for Finding the Perfect Chess Set

Shopping for the perfect chess set can be rather difficult nowadays because of the large number of options that are available. You can choose from dozens of different materials, from the classic wood to more non-traditional materials like glass and precious metals. You can also pick from different sizes, designs and colors.

Buy the Perfect Chess Set

In order to find the right chess set, there are a few simple steps that you need to take in order to limit the number of choices so that you can take your pick much more easily.

  1. Figure out why you want to buy a chess set in the first place. There are two main reasons why people buy chess set. The first is to play with it, and the second is to use it as a decorative element in the home or the office.

A set that will be played with quite often will have to be made of a material that does not break easily. If it is going to be used primarily for display, you can pick a more delicate material with more intricate designs. You also have to make sure that it matches the overall design of the room where you plan to place it.

  1. Set a budget. Chess sets vary considerably in price. There are some very cheap ones that can be bought for less than $5 each and there are also those that are in the more expensive range, costing several hundreds of dollars.

Obviously, you should only buy a chess set that you can comfortably afford. By setting a budget before you actually go shopping, you can focus on those sets that are within your price range.

  1. Consider tournament rules and guidelines. This is not a concern if you only plan on playing informal games with family and friends but if you are hoping to join some tournaments in the future, it is very important that you consider the rules and guidelines when buying a chess set.

Not all chess sets are admissible for use in official tournaments. There is a specific size that has to be followed and the chess pieces have to follow the Staunton design. This would rule out many themed chess sets where the pieces are designed in highly unusual forms.

Whether you are going to use the chess set for games or for display, and whether it is going to be for personal or professional use, it has to be made of a durable material if you want it to last for many years. Who knows, if you pick a really nice set, it may even become a family heirloom for future generations.

How Chess Improves a Child’s Academic Performance

It has long been proposed by ardent chess players that this game can be used as an effective tool in improving children’s performance in school. This suggestion, however, has been met with disapproval by some authorities on education who are not convinced that chess really does boost a child’s mental capabilities.

Child with Chess Set

Image by kencf0618 on Flickr, used under the Creative Commons license.

In recent years, however, more educational institutions have been taking a positive stance towards the use of chess as a part of the academic enrichment of students. As a matter of fact, several schools have already cut short the time required for traditional math lessons and instead are using the time to let children play chess.

So how does chess improve academic performance anyway? There are several ways to answer this question because chess touches on so many different aspects of mental skills. However, the area of the mind that probably receives the highest amount of stimulation from chess is one’s analytical skills.

By playing chess, a child’s mind is trained to analyze the different moves of the opponent, as well as to figure out which offense and defense strategies will work best to win the game. As their analytical skills get sharpened, the children will also be better at solving problems even outside the realm of chess.

Another notable way that chess improves a child’s academic performance is through the enhancement of memory. Children who play chess on a regular basis have been found to be better at memorization and are able to retain more information than their classmates who don’t play chess. This enhanced memory enables them to learn their lessons faster and to score higher in academic tests.

Several studies have also been conducted by independent groups around the world proving that playing chess indeed improves a child’s skills in math, the sciences and even reading. But in addition to these academic benefits, it has also been proven in scientific research that playing chess also considerably boosts self-confidence, sportsmanship, concentration, and social skills. Click here for a great range of chess sets at great prices!

If you are a parent who wants your child to enjoy all these amazing benefits, it would be a good idea to introduce them to the game of chess while they are still young. Buy them a nice chess set for Christmas or for their birthday and get them interested in the game. It will be just like any other game for them but it will certainly be a lot better for them than playing video games and watching television during their free time.