decorative chess pieces in shiloutte form

Purchase Guide

Purchasing the Right Set

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Buy the best quality in chess sets you can afford

This may seem like a brazen attempt for a chess retailer to maximise profits, but in fact it really is the course of wisdom. With Chess sets - most people only have one set in the household, so the set will be around for a while. Good chess sets, the King, Queen, Knight, Rook, Bishop and Pawn, like good furniture, still look and feel great after years have elapsed (and the credit card bill has been paid), so spending that little extra on a 'Baron' chess set to get better weighting and better detail adds greatly to the joy of ownership and playing the game. The feeling of lifting chess pieces without having them fall over and sensing the weighted quality of stability is not to be over-rated in your chess purchase.

Consider the size of chess board

Larger chess sets are highly desirable, but this makes the overall room needed for the board larger. Small homes can still enjoy exceptional quality in a chess set. Start with the intended place for the board. Measure the size of the area for the chess set allowing for board margin and area around the board for putting captured pieces down. Get down to the maximum size of the boards individual squares for potential chess sets. This determines the size of pieces (usually governed by the King being the largest piece). For best compliment, the diameter of the base of the chess King should be slightly less than the board square size. Typically, a chess set's board with 2 inches in square size should have a King with 1 7/8" or less base diameter.

Analyze the detail of the Knight

All pieces of chess sets should be finely crafted, but the flagship is usually the knight because of the capacity for flair and intracacy of design. The finer knights show detail even in the teeth, eyes and mane. Some of Baron's chess sets even have detailed bridles. If the set is judged worthy by it's manufacturer of giving the knight great detail, other pieces will also reflect high quality workmanship.

Analyze the detail of the Rook

After the knight, the rook carries subtle detail that adds to the value and quality of the chess set. Look for the sloping of the trunk. Some of the best chess sets have rooks with a curved slope to the trunk, others have precise detail of the piece turrets. The rook is one of the most satisfying of chess pieces to hold in your hand. It's weighting matters more than any of pieces in chess sets.

Chess set weighting

Cheap chess sets have no weighting and fall over easily when nudged by a finger accidentally. The weighting of the pieces adds significantly to the enjoyment of the game and have a quality feel about them when held in the hand. Chess piece weights are classified as standard, double and triple weighting. If your budget only allows for an economy choice of chess sets, then ChessBaron have products costing little but still having quality of design and weight in the pieces. Baron's double weighted chess sets are priced at extremely low prices and have significant quality. A further option is to buy a chess set that is designed for travelling, of which we also have a wide selection. Due to the magnetism, the pieces of travel chess sets have some weight and don't fall easily.

Board quality

Having given great thought to the design of chess sets and quality, match the chessboard with the pieces. Boards provide much grief to manufacturers of chess sets. They recognise the greater preponderance given by buyers to pieces of chess sets, and the subsequent downward pressure on prices for boards. However, for them, a mistake in the manufacture of just a chess piece means discarding just the single piece of the set, but mistakes on a board often mean discarding the whole board. Purchasers of chess sets are often surprised by the board price, but the profit margin is usually lower on chess boards than sets. Be careful. Poor chess boards give a poor feel to chess sets, no matter what quality the individual pieces have. Consider carefully the colouring, quality, weight and size of the board relating to your choice of chess sets.

Buying the right chess computer

No chess computer is 'above a players level'. They all have settings for the novice as well as the expert. Great examples are the Saitek Maestro, the Talking Touch model from Excalibur, The Chess Challenger and the Citrine. Call to discuss best options in your chess machine.