Buying a chess set online
This guide for buying a chess set online is intended for a first-time chess buyer or someone that is already a chess fan but buying a chess set for the first time on the Internet.
This information is coming to you first hand because the author owns and operates a board game website with a large selection of different chess sets and chess related products.
This guide will help you learn what to look for from an online merchant and some insights into selecting the right chess set so you end up having a good buying experience.
What this guide will not do is proclaim which is the “best” chess set because that is silly, there are so many variables, it is not a case of what is the best but rather what is the best for you.
There are many factors which determine what is best for you the chess player or first-time buyer:
Your chess preference if any regarding what type of chess set you like.
The budget you are working with.
How the chess set will be used, is it for recreational play, tournament play or perhaps you are a road warrior and would like to take your game on the road?
Maybe you are making a chess purchase for a friend or loved one.
Maybe this going to be an addition to a chess collection or game room, many chess sets are handcrafted and will complement office décor.
The first time chess buyer
If you are investing in a chess set for the first time it may be because you have just started playing this amazing board game and need your own set.
Another reason you may be doing this for the first time is that you are buying the chess set for a friend or loved one.
If this is the case then this guide will be really helpful because you may not know anything about chess sets or what to look for.
We will cover some of the types of chess sets, what to look for in a merchant, cost savings, actual buying tips and finally how to do a proper website search online.
The seasoned chess player looking to invest in a chess set
This guide may not be of help to you because more than likely you have already purchased a chess set before or perhaps several.
If this is the case you may learn a few tidbits that could help with your next purchase.
Or perhaps you belong to a chess club or group if that is the case you should reach out a particular merchant you like and ask for a club or group discount.
More than likely if you are purchasing more than one set you will be offered a discount.
Which brings up another point most board game merchants will bend over backward to help in any way all it requires is a quick email to ask for help.
For the complete novice that knows nothing about chess sets
Fear not because most merchants offer complete chess sets that feature the chess pieces that are properly matched to the right chess board.
The only item of business may be to decide which type of chess set you would like to purchase and a few choices (not all) are:
Wooden chess sets - These sets are made of a variety of different types of wood such as walnut, sheesham, rosewood, boxwood, and many others.
Luxury chess sets - The luxury set is usually going to be more expensive because of the high-quality material, so if you have a chess fan you are buying for who demands higher quality then this is an excellent option.
Themed chess sets - This chess set is as the name implies it represents some theme such as a time in history, some type of fantasy, or many others.
An example of this is if you know your chess fan is Civil War buff then a Civil War Themed chess set would be an ideal choice.
Metal chess sets - As the name suggests these are chessmen that are made with some type of metal and in some cases, the chess board may be metal as well.
Weighted chess sets - This type of set features the chess pieces that are weighted because they feel good gliding across the chess board and are often preferred over non-weighted chessmen.
The weighted chess pieces are often offered as:
Single weighted – Each chess piece has a metal slug inside that equates to a given weight for the single weighted category.
Double weighted - Each chess piece has a larger metal slug than the single inside that equates to a given weight for the double-weighted category.
Triple weighted - Each chess piece has a larger metal slug than the double-weighted inside that equates to a given weight for the triple weighted category.
In the past each category was determined by the number of metal slugs in each chess piece i.e. the single weighted had one metal slug, the double-weighted two and of course the triple weighted three.
Now there is a single metal slug at different weights for single, double or triple weighted.
Clear as mud?
In most cases, the heavier chess pieces are going to be of higher quality and will usually be more expensive than a non-weighted set.
The suggestions above are just that some suggestions because there are hundreds of different chess sets to choose from.
The best solution is to drill down as much as possible what type of chess set you want and search for that (see searching the Internet below).
Deciding whether the merchant you are purchasing from is reputable
Most of these items are going to be common sense but some of the things you need to look for are:
Does the merchant offer a phone number and email address so you can contact them about questions during the shopping experience or follow up if you do purchase a product from them?
Is there a policy page that spells out refund policies, shipping questions or anything else that is important during or after the buying process?
Do the products have detailed descriptions?
This is important because you want to have as much available information as possible before investing in your new chess set.
As an example, you want to know the height of the chessmen beforehand rather than making a purchase only to find out on upon arrival the chessmen are no higher than a thimble!
Look at it this way the more the merchant spells out for you the more it tells you that are concerned about you and your experience.
If the product description features one sentence that reads:
Great chess set made of wood!
Maybe you want to continue your search.
You are investing in a chess set as a gift and it needs to be a surprise
If this is the case and you know very little about what type of chess set your chess player would enjoy then the safe bet is to go with a chess set that is preferred by professional chess players and often used in chess tournaments.
This is often the Staunton chess piece; it is the chess standard used by chess organizations across the globe and in some cases the only chess set that is allowed.
Most chess websites will have a page that is dedicated to the Staunton chess set and often features a variety of different price ranges.
Another thought about gift giving is to ask someone that may be close to the chess fan which set they would prefer.
If you have ever heard the adage you get what you pay for then you need to realize it applies here, there are a plethora of low-level discount sites that offer cheap products.
That being said you don’t need to take out a second mortgage to get a nice chess set either.
Okay, there is a lot about chess sets but what about chessmen only?
If you are investing in a set of chess pieces only then there are usually two different options, the player you are purchasing for already has a chess board or they do not.
If they do not have a chess board then no worries you can purchase any chess pieces your heart desires as long as they are in line with your likes and budget.
However, if the chess player you are buying chessmen does already have a chess board then you will need to know the chessboard square size.
That is the dimension of each square on the chess board, this is important because if the chess piece base (often referred to as the king base width) is bigger than the chess square it is going to be almost unbearable to play not to mention embarrassing.
Again not to worry many chess websites have guidelines on their website about matching chess pieces to the right chess board.
If you are in doubt just email the merchant and voila they will more than likely give you several options to choose from. Problem solved!
Purchasing the chess board without the game pieces
The same applies here as with the chessmen, the chess board squares need to be matched to the proper chess pieces.
In other words, the chess board squares should not be much smaller than the base of the chess pieces.
Another consideration when purchasing a chess board is what type of material you would prefer because there are a variety of different types.
A variety of wooden chess boards, walnut, maple, rosewood and more.
Metal chess boards.
Pressed leather chess board, usually these boards are made of some type of wood with leather stretched over them
Alabaster, marble or other stone chess boards.
More than likely the merchant will have them in different categories so you can select which one you would prefer by selecting the right chess board page.
At the risk of sounding like a stuck record if you have any doubts reach out to the merchant with an email and get the help you need.
Some information about saving money purchasing a chess set
Many of the online merchants will offer incentives or discounts, such as providing free shipping over a certain dollar amount.
Given the cost of shipping these days that can be substantial savings, so if you are a few dollars away from qualifying for a discount or free shipping it may be wise to take advantage.
The weight of a complete chess set can be well over ten pounds or more and that much weight covering several states can be costly.
More than likely you will save money and may be getting a little better chess set in the process.
Another incentive that may be offered is a percentage off the total purchase if it is at or over a certain dollar amount.
Some thoughts about the actual search on the Internet
When you are ready to go shopping for a chess set and you are using your smartphone, tablet or laptop you will have the best experience by drilling down what you want as soon as possible.
As an example, if you open your browser and just put in chess you are going to get millions of pages about chess which could include tons of information but nothing about what you are actually looking for.
An ideal scenario is to drill down as close as possible to what you actually want, as an example luxury wooden chess set or themed chess sets you will get a targeted search that will get you to actually what you are looking for.
The final word
Hopefully, this Guide For Buying A Chess Set Online has been helpful, because whether you are purchasing a chess set for yourself or for a chess player.
Our goal is for you to enjoy the experience as much as you enjoy playing this fantastic board game.
If you are purchasing for a friend or loved one they are lucky to have someone like you looking out for their enjoyment and we are here to help!