If you’ve recently been inspired to play chess after watching The Queen’s Gambit, you’ve probably been scouring the internet to find the best chess set to own.
You’ll notice that there’s almost an infinite variety of brands on the market, all claiming to have the most beautiful, functional, and durable chess sets.
However, the best chess set brands are The House of Staunton, Jaques of London, Noj Slovenia, and Italfama. These brands have built a formidable reputation for producing high-quality sets and maintaining that standard consistently over a long time.
Read on to learn more about the four best chess set brands available.
Founded in 1990, The House of Staunton is a world-renowned Alabama-based chess supplier company. It specializes in producing some of the world’s finest Staunton-style chess pieces, chess boards, and chess sets.
You’ve probably come across many House of Staunton products without realizing it. Over the years, the company’s chess sets have appeared in countless movies, TV shows, and magazines, including:
- Pawn Sacrifice
- NBC’s The West Wing
- Wired Magazine
Not to mention that The House of Staunton is the sole equipment provider for the US Chess Championship and an official sponsor. The company also sells chess sets to players worldwide, especially in Norway, home to the current world chess champion, Magnus Carlsen.
Perhaps one of the reasons The House of Staunton has achieved such unprecedented success is that it offers a wide range of high-quality chess sets at various price points.
Whether you’re looking for rare, specialized sets like The Mammoth Ivory Chess Set, plastic chess sets like the Deluxe Chess Set Combo, or historically themed sets like The Roman Chess Set, you’ll find it at The House of Staunton.
What’s more, the House of Staunton only uses premium materials across the board and adheres to the highest quality standards. That way, the chess sets won’t warp, discolor, or wear out after frequent use.
Another distinguished chess set brand is Jaques of London. The company started as an Ivory, Hardwoods, Bone, and Tunbridge Ware manufacturer in 1795 under Thomas Jaques and his son John.
However, when John’s son, John Jaques II, took over, the family-owned company grew in popularity as a toy and game manufacturer. In fact, Jaques of London is possibly the oldest toys and games manufacturer worldwide.
One of the games that Jaques of London became well-known for is the Staunton Chess Set.
In 1849, Nathaniel Cooke registered the Staunton Pattern, named after chess master Howard Staunton, and gave the right to John Jaques to manufacture and offer such sets to the public.
Most prominently, Jaques of London supplied Queen Mary of Teck with a model chess set for her world-famous dolls house.
For a while, Jaques of London was the only manufacturer authorized to sell chess equipment bearing the Staunton name. It wasn’t until Frank Camaratta, the founder of The House of Staunton, convinced the British firm to let him use the name as well.
Still, even as another company rose to prominence, Jaques of London has remained one of the most prestigious chess set manufacturers. Its quality of craftsmanship isn’t only unparalleled, but the company is dedicated to producing high-quality but reasonably priced chess sets.
3. Noj Slovenia
Noj Slovenia is a family-owned woodturning company based in Slovenia, Central Europe, that was founded in 1979. The company started by manufacturing wooden toys but gradually expanded into making wooden chess pieces and sets.
Most of the work produced at Noj is done by hand, with only the finest materials used, such as American walnut and Slovenian maple for wood, Croatian-made felt for the chessmen’s base, German-made lacquers for the varnish, and Italian weights.
As such, Noj is one of the finest craftsmen of Dubrovnik chess sets worldwide.
Noj doesn’t just produce Dubrovnik sets, though. It manufactures the “Best Chessmen Ever” sets, one of which was gifted to the Russian grandmaster Garry Kasparov in 2012. It also produces chess sets designed by world-renowned designers, such as Leonardo da Vinci.
Noj Slovenia’s chess sets are currently in such high demand that the manufacturer has been completely occupied since the end of 2021 and will remain so until the end of 2025.
Founded in 1976 near Florence, Italy, Italfama started as the passion project of Aldo Marsili after he made his first chess boards for his friends. Today, the company is known for producing high-end sleek and elegant chess sets.
Italfama sources and chooses the most precious materials for each component of its sets, including:
- Elm wood
- Carrara marble
- Solid brass
What’s more, Italfama acquired the Piero Benzoni factory and La Bottega del Vasari factory in Milan, both of which are specialized in producing artistic and exclusive chess sets. So, the company has professional craftsmen with years of experience working on each component.
That said, these chess sets are more than just visually stunning display pieces. Italfama makes an effort to pair its boards with the most compatible chess pieces. So, the chess sets are also functional and fun to play with.
In addition, Italfama sets are available in a variety of styles, ranging from traditional to modern and even themed.
Needless to say, Italfama’s chess sets exceed expectations in terms of beauty, craftsmanship, and durability.
What’s even more impressive is that Italfama hasn’t been in the business for long. Still, it has consistently shown its passion, commitment, and highest care in every chess set.
As such, many chess lovers aspire to add an Italfama set to their collection. Even if these chess sets aren’t budget-friendly, they’re a great investment and will last for a long time.
There you have it: the best chess set brands on the market. These brands have been around for so long, consistently producing high-quality products that are worth investing in.
What’s more, they’ve been able to stand the test of time because they continue to offer a wide range of styles, both ornamental and functional, that appeal to all kinds of chess enthusiasts.
So now that you know the top chess set brands, you can make a more informed decision when buying your next chess set!