From the good old fashioned Quiver Chess Set and (quite literally) The Best Chess Set Ever, to the ideal-sized Vinyl Chess board and this triple weighted chess set, I’ve compiled a list of the best full size chess sets. These sets are perfect for when you’re hosting a chess tournament or would like to practice on a full size chess set for an upcoming tournament.
What You Need to Know About a Full Size Chess Set
As a chess lover, you already know that there are 64 alternating squares of equal sizes on a chess board. Traditionally, these squares alternate between black and white, but there are so many, equally beautiful, modern chess sets available today. From different colors to even different materials, such as wood, resin and glass.
Picking The Right Full Size Chess Set
To create an equal battlefield, the rules and regulations of chess require that all chess sets used during a chess tournament need to be full size, as according to different countries’ designated sizes.
Unfortunately, there are several different sizes used around the world – I’m guessing it’s similar to the which-side-of-the-road-should-we-drive-on argument: everyone thinks that their way is the correct way.
Below are these specifications according to each competitive chess platform. It might be handy to buy your full size chess set according to these specifications, depending on where you plan on playing chess competitively.
The United States Chess Federation (USCF)
Ah, dear Uncle Sam! Over here in the U.S, regulations specify that the square size of a tournament chess board should be between two inches and 2.5 inches in both length and width. Any board with these sized-squares measures up to the necessary standards.
The World Chess Federation (FIDE)
Of course the FIDE likes to be a little different, stating that the square sizes of a tournament chess board should be between 1.97 inches to 2.36 in length and width. These numbers may seem odd, but are equivalent to 5 and 6 centimeters in the metric system. Most boards settle for an in between of 2 inches per square.
Related List: Best Chess Sets Under $100
The English Chess Federation
Although we’ll be focusing on home soil chess set sizes, I thought you might find it interesting to see how the folks over the pond prefer to play chess. The English are (surprisingly) not that different when it comes to chess, and follow the FIDE standard sizing for chess board squares (only, they measure it in centimeters).
The European Chess Union
Would you look at that, our European friends also follow FIDE regulations for tournament chess board dimensions. Is the game of chess as close to world peace that we’ll ever come?
Finding a Fondness for Tournament Chess
If I’ve told this story once I’ve told it a thousand times, but it remains one of my favorite childhood memories.
Growing up, one of the biggest things that I had in common with my dad was our mutual love for the game of chess. He taught me the game growing up, and to this day we can spend hours (politely) arguing and pondering moves around a chess board, until Mom finally calls to say we need to take a break – it’s dinner time.
So, when most dads took their children to sporting events over weekends, my dad took me to chess tournaments. He sat patiently in the crowd of (likely very bored) parents, and bought me ice cream afterwards, whether I won or lost. Honestly, I was never that great of a player, so it was usually a loss, which would result in a double scoop – no complaints here.
Related List: Best Family Chess Set
Although we have a family chess set (which we both adore), my dad once bought me a full size, tournament standard chess set to use for chess practice. The board, being for tournaments where many boards are often required, was cheaper and in no way as beautiful as our chess set. However, it helped me to visualize how my game play would go on tournament day, and took away the element of stage fright which does come when playing against anyone else but your favorite chess opponent.
I have that full size chess set to this day, and use it for camping trips. Sometimes, I just roll it out to think back fondly of the memories that I made with Dad during our (odd to some) mutual hobby.
In my humble chess opinion? Every household should have a full size tournament-standard chess set, where they will hopefully be able to make equally as fond memories.
My 4 Favorite Full Size Chess Set
#1. The Quiver Chess Set Combination
Wow, does this set take me back! It looks exactly like the ones we used during chess tournaments, and is exactly the full size needed when playing formal chess.
This chess set is well-made, and comes with nifty storage for chess players on the go. It’s 4.7-star rating with over 400 happy reviewers, plus it’s affordable price, puts in on the top of this list.
#2. The Best Chess Set Ever
Now that’s what I call excellent branding! Another perfectly-sized chess set at an affordable price, I adore the fun informality of this chess set. It is sleek and modern, comes with a little book of good-to-know chess strategies, and will encourage even the most uninterested chess player to pick up a pawn.
I actually own this chess set. I bought it for the heavy chess pieces and let me tell you that I was not disappointed. The pieces are very heavy (just how I like them), and they are also very big. The chess mat that comes with it seems to be a little cheap, but the pieces aren’t cheap at all.
#3. Vinyl Chess board
Those who know me know how I appreciate and admire a good old fashioned black and white chess board. This vinyl roll-up-and-go full sized chess set is ideal for chess players on the go. This chess set is made to last, crafted by chess manufacturers who have been in the business of chess since the 1970s, making it the perfect set to gift for generations to come.
#4. Triple weighted chess set
Last but certainly not the least is this weighted chess set, which comes with an extra pair of queens. It also comes with a bag, for when you need to pack up and go! The weighted pieces are perfect for little hands learning to play the game.
Go Big or Go Home
There you have it! My favorite full-size chess sets. I hope you’ve found this article helpful, and that it will take you one step closer to tracking down the perfect chess set for you and your family.
Veronica is a Green Bay-based freelance writer and editor with extensive experience with board games. When not busy scribbling her thoughts, you might find her in her garden, hiking out in the woods, or exploring new food joints.
Veronica is a die-hard board game and chess hobbyist by night. She likes to try out new games and is always on the lookout to recruit new players for her game night (so beware!). When not playing board games or throwing darts, she is usually busy painting miniatures (or doing other nerdy stuff).
She is the CEO & Content Writer of Indoor Games Zone. She shares her expertise from years of playing chess, board games, and darts.