Chess Sets Chessboard And Pieces

To start playing chess, all you really need is a basic chess set, including a chessboard and the 32 necessary chess pieces. While chess sets can be as opulent and expensive as some fine jewelry, the best choice for beginners and/or children is likely a plastic chess set.

These inexpensive, unbreakable chess sets usually include the chessboard, complete with a padded felt bottom, and all of the chess pieces you need. Many basic plastic chess sets can cost as little as $5.

Tournament and High-End Chess Sets

Although basic chess sets are suitable for beginners or those playing more informal games, those playing tournament games will need more formal chess equipment. Tournament chess sets include the chessboard and chess pieces, as well as a bag for transporting the set, a scoreboard and a clock.

Some of the higher-end tournament chess sets come in a variety of materials, including:

  • bone
  • brass and other metals
  • marble
  • wood.

Other features that tournament and higher-end chess sets may include are:

  • drawers for storage: Some chess boards are set atop of drawers or foldout sections in which you can store chess pieces, chess clocks and other smaller chess equipment. Getting a chessboard with drawers beneath it is a good way to keep all of your chess equipment together.
  • magnetized boards and pieces: These are great for travel and for younger children playing the game, as the magnetic pieces prevent you from losing them.
  • themed chess sets: Pulling from movies (such as Star Wars), time periods (Roman, Medieval, etc.) or any other potential theme, themed chess sets are usually elaborate and eye-catching. While a themed chess set can make a great gift for an avid player, others who do not even play chess enjoy collecting themed chess sets for their beauty and value.

Chess Pieces: How They Move

A chess set includes six different types of pieces, each of which has its own unique moves. Here is a description of the different chess pieces and how each moves:

  • The pawn (located all across the 2nd row or “rank”) can move forward one square (or two on the first move) and captures pieces by moving diagonally one square. Pawns never move backward.
  • The knight moves in an L-shaped manner, advancing two squares (in any direction) and then one square perpendicular to the direction just moved (i.e. After moving up two squares, a knight can only move one square right or left. Conversely, after moving right or left two squares, the knight can only move one square up or down).
  • The bishop moves diagonally any amount of squares the player wants.
  • The rook, a piece that also does not have a distance restriction, can only move horizontally or vertically, either forward or backward.
  • The queen, the most versatile piece on the board, can move as far as she wants forward, backward, left or right and diagonally. However, she cannot move over (or “jump”) any pieces.
  • The king can move one square in any direction, except when performing a special move known as “castling.”

The point of a chess game is to trap the opposing player’s king, a situation known as “checkmate.”

Where to Buy Chess Sets and Equipment

If you are interested in buying a chess set, whether it be a basic plastic or high-end tournament set, you can get one from a local game store or an online retailer. Many Web sites have an immense collection of sets, from basic black and white plastic to practically any niche theme you would want.

Along with your chess set, consider getting some of the following chess accessories:

  • chess books (These can help you learn new strategies and improve your game.)
  • chess clocks
  • replacement pieces
  • travel cases.

Cost of Chess Sets

Clearly, the cost of a chess set will depend on the material from which it is made, its size and any other extra features it offers. For example, while a basic, plastic set will range from $5 to $25, unique and detailed collector’s sets (like those carved from marble, bone or wood) can start at a few hundred dollars and range upwards of thousands.

Unlike many sports and other games, chess is a very inexpensive game to start playing, as only a basic set is required. If you are just getting into chess, start off with a cheaper board.