The game of chess is all about the tiniest of details. Every detail has to be accounted for. That includes the size of the board, the height of the pieces, the material they’re crafted out of, and even the padding at the bottom of each piece. Every single detail matters!
When it comes to championships, the best championship chess set is the FIDE-approved World Chess Championship Set. The wooden Staunton Chess Set is also another type of chess set used at championships and tournaments.
Both these chess sets are known for their astounding quality and luxurious finish. So we’ve gathered both for you to choose the one you like most. But before we jump to the chess sets, there’s an important question to discuss.
What Is Special About a Championship Chess Set?
Chess sets must have certain specs to qualify as championship sets. These specs include a specific number of pieces per set and specific guidelines for both the pieces and the board.
Number of Pieces
Instead of the regular 32 pieces per set, championship chess sets come in 34. These pieces are divided into 17 pieces per color, with an extra queen for each side.
The extra queen on each side allows for promoted pawns to become queens. Yes, even with the original queen still on the board.
Standard Sizes of Chessboard and Pieces
According to the World Chess Federation (FIDE), the squares on the board should be 2×2 inches, and the king’s height should be 3.74 inches. However, these standards may differ slightly from one country to another.
For example, the standard size, according to the United States Chess Federation (USCF), is 2.25 inches squared for every square on the board, and the king’s height is 3.75 inches.
Guidelines for Chessboard and Pieces
According to the guidelines of USCF and FIDE, the diameter of the king’s base or bottom should be between 40% to 50% of the king’s height. As for the squares on the board, the king’s base diameter should fill up around 75% to 80% of the area of the square.
These ratios help determine whether a board and piece combination has the correct piece spacing. In other words, this board-piece combo has standardized spaces between each piece.
Otherwise, if the ratios aren’t within the correct range, you’ll have an overcrowded board that won’t help you see your pieces clearly during championships and tournaments.
Additionally, an overcrowded board means that you could easily knock down unintended pieces as you play, which is every chess player’s pet peeve.
Test the Spacing Ratio of Your Board and Pieces
There are three simple tests to check the spacing ratio between your chessboard and your pieces.
Try to fit four pawns in one square on the board. If they fit, then the ratio between them is perfect.
If you prefer your board with slightly less space between the pieces and get that full board illusion, try fitting only two pawns in one square.
Another test to check for an overcrowded board is to place your king and queen in the middle of two squares next to each other diagonally. Then, take a third piece and try to pass it between the king and queen without touching them.
If you can easily pass the third piece without touching the other two pieces, your board/piece combination is a success.
Now that we’ve covered all the specifics of chess sets used at championships and tournaments, let’s move on to the official championship chess sets.
This set is the official FIDE-approved chess set that’s used in chess championships because it follows the specifications of the piece sizing. The king pieces are 3.75 inches tall, and their base diameter is 1.4 inches wide.
Additionally, the pieces are made from high-quality wood and padded with a billiard cloth base pad. Traditionally, the chess pieces are colored black and white. However, since they’re made of wood, you could purchase your set in a variety of wood shades.
The color of each set depends on the type of wood used to create these pieces, whether it’s ebonized boxwood, golden rosewood, or mahogany-gilded wood.
Finally, this set comes in 34 pieces instead of 32. Like all championship chess sets, it comes with two additional queens, one for each side.
Another option for championship chess sets is the House of Staunton: Championship Series Chess Set. This Staunton chess set resembles the traditional design of chess pieces, which is usually used in all championships and chess tournaments.
Like every other championship chess set, the size of the king in this set is 3.75 inches tall and its base is 1.5 inches wide. It also comes with 34 pieces, including two queens for pawns promotion.
The pieces are made from authentic wood to give you the luxurious feel of an official championship chess set. As for the board, the size of its squares is 2.25 inches, which is similar to the USCF standard size.
The plus size of this set is that it comes with a wooden chess board that is perfectly compatible with the size of the chess pieces.
In a Nutshell
Although chess sets can come in a myriad of shapes and sizes, each with its unique aesthetic, championship chess sets can’t be anything but ordinary.
The traditional design of the championship chess sets offers a common base that all competitors are familiar with, no matter where they come from or what set they used to practice.
Additionally, professional championship chess sets are meticulously designed to facilitate every single move during the game. All set sizes must follow specific standards to avoid overcrowding the board or tipping pieces over while playing.
So if you’re looking to start training with a championship chess set, you now know where to get one and how to choose it.