If “checkmate” is a term that’s unfamiliar to you, it’s likely you’ve never enjoyed a game of chess played to completion. This two-player game is enjoyed by millions across the globe, and it only requires a 64-square game board and 32 game pieces to play. While that may sound relatively simple, what makes chess popular and has kept it that way for hundreds of years is the strategic thinking, abstract reasoning and ability to predict required for successful gameplay.
Chess, of course, has rules and requires practice to become a skilled player. There are six different types of chess piece and each can take specific actions. These include where they start on the board, how they can move and what actions they can actually perform. Remember the pieces and their individual tasks, and you’re good to go.
If you already love chess, skip on and check out our top chess set picks. If you still need convincing this is the game for you, think about this. After each player has made one single move in a game, there are 400 possible board setups. After two moves each, there are 197,742. After three rounds, there are 121 million. In short, if you’re looking for a unique and brain-stimulating experience that pits you against the person across the board in a true battle of wits, chess is the game you’ve been waiting for.
Whether you’re an amateur chess player still honing their skills or an obsessive master, we’ve put together 12 of the best chess sets available. These include options for every kind of player, whether you want to play at home, on the go or even in the garden. You’ll also find sets that are worthy of display simply for their classy appearance.
1. Wegiel Handmade European Ambassador Chess Set
BEST CHESS SET OVERALL
Chess players love this Wegiel Handmade European Ambassador Chess Set. Over 80% of all Amazon users have awarded this beech and birch wood set a five-star review. The handcrafted pieces feel great in hand and include weights and felted bases to maximize your in-game comfort and protect the board during play. Furthermore, you’ll find specific spaces inside the folding board to store each and every piece in the set, preventing any unwanted bashing when it’s being moved.
2. Winning Moves Games No Stress Chess Set
BEST FOR BEGINNERS
If you’re new to the game and want to learn how to play in a fun and easily understood way, look no further than the Winning Moves Games No Stress Chess Set. The set is made from plastic and includes a playing board which features handy hints on one side. You’ll also find 32 staunton chess pieces in ivory and black along with 56 action cards, a card tray and easy-to-understand rules which make it fun to learn while you play.
3. QuadPro Magnetic Travel Chess Set
BEST TRAVEL SET
This QuadPro Magnetic Travel Chess Set includes everything you need to enjoy a game of chess on the go. You’ll find a drawstring bag for holding the game pieces together and a 10″ by 10″ folding game board which has an internal space for storing the game pieces when they’re not being used. Each magnetic piece also sports a soft material bottom to prevent scratching and noise during play.
4. US Chess Federation’s Quiver Chess Set Combo
BEST SET FOR CHESS CLUBS
If you play on a regular basis, like at a chess club or with friends, this US Chess Federation’s Quiver Chess Set Combo may be the right choice for you. It includes a full set of single-weighted, regulation chess pieces, a roll-up, vinyl chess board and a quiver-style chess bag which makes the set especially portable. The set has been exclusively made by the United States Chess Federation and exceeds both US Chess Federation and FIDE requirements, meaning it can legally be used for official tournaments. That fact and its portability makes this an especially good choice for clubs and schools.
5. Chess Armory Wooden Chess Set
The Chess Armory Wooden Chess Set with Felted Game Board is an ideal choice for anyone just looking for a standard playing set that’s easily stored at home. The wooden set includes a 15″ by 15″ folding board with plenty of space for storing the felt-bottomed, hand-crafted pieces when you’re finished. In addition, the box interior includes elastic straps to hold all the pieces in place, while the outside latch ensures the box stays closed. If you want a compact and foldable board that still looks like a premium product, this is the best chess set you’ll find.
6. Croove Electronic Chess and Checkers Set
If you love chess but often find yourself short of a partner to play with, the Croove Electronic Chess and Checkers Set could be the answer for you. This chess set includes an advanced computer which adjusts its playing level to match yours, meaning it’s ideal for players of all levels, including kids. The computer includes 12 chess modes, 30 unique chess levels and 100 preset chess exercises to help you practice your moves. In addition, this board can also be used to play checkers, halma, reversi and more.
7. UncommonGoods Wall Chess
The UncommonGoods Wall Chess is a true two-in-one chess set. It, of course, allows you to play chess. However, as it’s a wall-mounted chess board, it also provides a beautiful home decor addition, too. The set makes a great gift idea for keen chess players and friends who are always on the move, as it can be played between two people as and when they pass by the board. It includes a special piece that indicates the last move, meaning it’s also possible to play games over days, weeks or whenever you get the chance.
8. The Noble Collection Harry Potter Wizard Chess Set
If you’re a Harry Potter fan, you’ll certainly recall the memorable scene at the end of the first film when Harry, Ron and Hermione take on a larger-than-life chess set. If the idea of doing that for yourself appeals, be it on a slightly smaller scale, it’s definitely worth investing in this beautifully crafted wizard chess set. It’s officially authorized and includes an 18.5″ by 18.5″ game board as well as two sets of highly-detailed pieces and individual bags to store them in. For anyone who loves both Hogwarts and chess, this Harry Potter chess set is the game for you.
9. MegaChess Oversized Premium Chess Set Pieces
BEST PATIO CHESS SET
Many homeowners, hotels and luxury apartments now feature an over-sized chess set. These larger-than-life chess sets can be found on rooftop gardens, courtyard lounges and private patios. This oversized chess set from MegaChess lets you create your own giant chess game. Customers can either purchase a plastic chess board separately or create their own board using paint or chalk. This giant garden chess set comes with 32 game pieces that range in size from 16 inches to 25 inches in height. The pieces are made from HDPE plastic and require little maintenance.
10. Rembrandt Home Handmade Chess Board Game
BEST MARBLE SET
Everything is better in marble, which is why this classy Rembrandt Home Handmade Chess Board Game should definitely be on your radar. Of course, it includes everything you need to enjoy a pleasant game of chess. However, the hand-crafted marble set delivers something unique for your home decor, making it an ideal piece to sit center stage in any living room, den or communal room of the house. Keep in mind that due to its marble construction, this board is heavy and must be placed accordingly.
11. Darby Home Co. Dylon Black Chess Board Game
BEST IN-BOARD STORAGE
The Darby Home Co. Dylon Black Chess Board Game is constructed from wood with a mother of pearl imitation inlay finished with a tarnish-resistant layer. The board includes two built-in, multiple-compartment drawers for storing your game pieces when they’re not being used, making it easy to keep tabs on where they are. The glossy finish makes this set enjoyable to play with and worthy of open display in your home.
12. Rose Victoria Antique Chess Set
The Rose Victoria Antique Chess Set proves that your chess set can be more than just a battleground for testing mental strategy against opponents. This 19th-century chess board is made from mahogany and rosewood and is accompanied by bone carved chess pieces. The unique style and historical value makes this set worthy of display and play. This is a great choice for anyone looking to enjoy a game of chess and add a touch of artistic class to a room at the same time.