Chess Gear

Best Chess Sets for Beginners 2021

If you’re reading this, you’re looking to get your own chess set — or upgrade your current one.

Congratulations! You’re making a great choice. A good chess set can keep the passion for the game alive and ignite it in others.

Today, I am going to show you the best chess sets for beginners.

If you’re here to get a quick overview, take a look at this table:

NamePriceFeatures
WE Games Foldable$19.99Foldable, Plastic, Bag included
Wholesale Chess Set$21.99Foldable, Plastic
House of Staunton Foldable Set$26.95Foldable, Plastic
GSE board + Gugertree Pieces$80.98Gugertree wood, Weighted pieces, board made from sapele and maple
Husaria board + Wegiel pieces$89.87European style, Weighted pieces, Tournament legal
DGT Centaur$359Integrated Computer, Intelligent board reader, Adjusts to your playing strength

In the following, I’m going to give you detailed explanations for each of those sets.

Practical and Cheap Chess Sets for Beginners

The best chess sets for beginners are the foldable chess sets that are made out of plastic. These sets are cheap, in the 20-30 Dollars range, and easy to transport. Experienced chess players prefer wooden chess sets. They are affordable, in the 80-90 Dollars range, and give players a heavy feel because the pieces are weighted. Wood is considered to be more aesthetically pleasing by most players.

You’ll often see foldable sets at small tournaments or at your local school chess club.

It’s cheap and saves space! I don’t think that it’s the most aesthetic choice though.

I recommend the WE Games chess set – it includes:

  • Plastic chess pieces with an extra queen for promotions
  • A chess mat that can be rolled up for easy transportation
  • A storage bag for the pieces and the mat
  • An instruction booklet if you or friends need an instruction of the game
best chess set for beginners
Image source: Amazon

All in all, at $19.99, this set provides good value for your money. You can check the prize on Amazon here.

I found more vendors for foldable chess sets such as Wholesale Chess or House of Staunton, but they come more expensive at $29.99 and $26.95 without adding more value.

Personally, I prefer wooden chess sets though. I feel like my motivation is higher if the chess set looks and feels great. So let’s look at some affordable, but still beautiful, chess sets.

Beautiful and Affordable Chess Sets for Beginners

Proper wooden chess sets will put your enjoyment of chess on a higher level. You can smell the wood. The pieces will feel heavy in your hand, which gives weight to the game-changing moves that you’ll make.

If you want to feel like a great chess player, go for tournament chess sets. Tournament chess sets are sets that can be used in “official” chess tournaments. Therefore, these sets are optimized for playing quality.

A good combination is the Husaria board + Wegiel pieces.

At an affordable price, this set combination will impress friends and family and bring a feeling of “class” to your home.

You can expect to pay roughly $80 for a proper chess set. Usually, you purchase board and pieces separately.

Alternatively, the GSE chess board, made out of sapele and maple, is a good choice as well. You can combine it with Gugertree pieces, the dark brown and light brown tones of these pieces fit the board nicely.

All types of wooden chess pieces and boards come with a padded bottom to protect your table, board and pieces.

Bildschirmfoto 2020 11 18 um 01.26.02

Special Chess Sets for Beginners

If you’re ready to invest more in your chess set, you can get your hands on some intelligent” chess sets.

The DGT Centaur stands out here. What’s special about this set is the ability to recognize your moves on the board. The Centaur automatically tells you it’s reply.

CENTAUR

Here’s a video demonstration.

It’s super nice for beginners because it adjusts to your playing strength.

All these features come at a price though — this machine costs $359. You can check the current price here.

However, if you plan to use the set on a regular basis and you want to have a virtual training partner, the Centaur can be worth the investment for you.

If you’re looking for a chess set that makes you stand out amongst your friends, take a look at the Umbra Wobble chess set.

Bildschirmfoto 2020 11 18 um 01.37.26

I see this set as more of a playable art piece. The unique design makes this set an eye-catcher in your living room. This set’s design even won a design prize.

The board has a concave shape which makes the pieces wobble. The pieces are made out of maple and walnut wood. The bottom is made out of chrome. The shape of the pieces and board causes the pieces to wobble when they are being moved.

This decorative chess set comes at $189 at the time of this writing. You can check the price here.

What do I need to look out for in a chess set?

The factors that you should consider are:
Cost
Material
Style

If you want to get high-quality material, e.g. pieces and board out of real wood, you need to calculate with more cost.

Vice versa, if you just care about playing the game, you’ll be happy with cheaper plastic material.

There exist multiple types of styles for chess pieces. Which one you prefer depends on your personal preference. You’ll find an overview of the different styles in this article.

Which chess sets do Grandmasters use?

This depends on the tournament organizer, but FIDE, the international chess organization, defines rules that chess sets have to follow. You can find the rules here.

I give you suggestions for tournament-legal chess sets in this article.

I hope that you enjoyed this article about the best chess sets for beginners. If you want to read more about chess itself, take a look at the suggestions below: