Chess is famous for its beautiful and ornate pieces as much as it is for tactics and strategy. Even people who don’t play or even don’t understand the rules will often have a polished wooden set in their homes.
However, you cannot play the best chess until you have got a nice set to play with. Chess sets range in price from $10 to several thousand dollars.
To find a nice entry-level chess set, you should have a budget of about $80 to $200. Of course, you can get some sets for less than that, and you can also easily get sets that are much higher than that. Here is an exclusive look at how much a nice chess set cost.
What is the cost of a nice tournament chess set?
This is one of the most frequently asked questions by chess enthusiasts and beginners. Like almost everything in life, the more you pay for the chess set, the nicer it is. However, there is no reason for you to spend a lot on a set that you don’t require. You want to purchase the best set for you, not the best set for other people.
A tournament chess set is considered standard instead of traditional. Most of the tournament and club sets go for about $10 to $40. In general, the larger and heavier the set, the higher the price. More so, the chess bag has a significant impact on the price.
What is the cost of a nice traditional chess set?
When it comes to traditional chess sets, these pieces are made of wood. It is possible to find cheaper wood versions that will go for approximately $50.
However, if you really want a traditional chess set that is not just a standard mass-produced common set, you should be ready to spend quite a bit as the boards plus the pieces will all be handmade.
It will cost you about $200 to $500 for a board and set of pieces which are a bit expensive, but of course, depending on the point you consider cheap. Don’t get it wrong; a $50 wood chess set is not bad; it just does not look or feel as nice and smaller than the higher-priced sets.
Why the different pricing?
Now that we are discussing price let me take you in some secret about the wood chess sets. The majority, if not all, of the excellent wood sets available for sale on any website, are manufactured in the same city in India.
There are several companies there specializing in making chess sets to ship across the world. However, the same chess companies that make the $20 wood sets manufacture the $1000 wood sets. So what brings about the different prices?
1. Type of wood
Typically, the most striking materials such as marble and wood are more expensive. Even more, some wood types are more costly than others.
The most popular wood types include; Bud Rosewood, Rosewood, Ebony. Sheesham, Boxwood, Ebonized, and Boxwood. Bud Rosewood has the best color and is the most expensive.
Chess is an exciting and time-intensive hobby, and it will be worth the extra cost if a nicer set such as a wooden chess set will offer you extra pressure.
Alternatively, you can opt for plastic chess sets depending on your budget. These are usually very cheap, and durable although they feel less authentic and mass-produced.
When looking for a chess set to purchase, you might see descriptions of sets, including size, generally in inches. This refers to the height of the king.
In a standard tournament, the king’s recommended height is 3.75 inches, so if you are purchasing a set for use in a tournament, you should aim to buy this size.
3. The knight
Often, the cost of a chess set is gauged in terms of the carving of the knight. While the rest of the pieces can be made by machines, the knights are carved by hand to give them a resemblance of a horse’s head, a tiresome process to ensure all the four are similar.
The most considerable cost of producing chess pieces is the knight. The knight is usually carved by hand, and more ornate knights might take several days for each knight to curve.
This piece often needs more craftsmanship than the other pieces, which are primarily symmetrical and can be turned on a lathe.
Two identical chess sets can leave the manufacturing industry at an exact cost, but by the time you purchase them on a retail website, one might be significantly more costly than the other because a brand name has been attached.
This is the case with most industries, and there is nothing wrong with adding some branding costs. A brand name gives you a guarantee that the product is of high quality.
For example, The House of Staunton is a famous brand for producing quality chess products. Fortunately, you can choose whether to purchase a branded or non-branded set depending on how important a brand is to you.
Depending on the size and type of materials, the chess pieces are available in varying weights. When purchasing a set, it is hence essential to ensure the pieces have a satisfactory weight.
Unweighted pieces may feel very light and vulnerable to tipping, mainly when playing on a roll-up board or an uneven surface. Since the 19th century, lead was used to add weight to high-quality chess pieces.
In most sets, you will see a hole drilled into the bottom of the piece where the weight has been attached, regularly covered to prevent the pieces from scratching the board.
The cheaper sets might have the hole but no weight, so you will have to add the weight yourself.
If you are a beginner at chess, perhaps it can be a good idea to buy relatively cheap chess sets with plastic chess pieces to ensure the game holds your interest.
Standard chess sets are much more cheaply compared to traditional chess sets. After you are well conversant with the game and decide you want to take it more seriously, you can upgrade to a more costly and better set.
A perfect way of motivating yourself to get better is to promise yourself new chess when you manage to outplay a particular opponent or attain a certain milestone.