The king’s height is the primary measurement for chess pieces. According to FIDE, it is recommended that the king’s height measure 9.5 cm in length, while the base diameter of the chess pieces measure 40 to 50% of their height.
Applying this formula, the size of the king’s base measures 3.8 to 4.75 cm which is equivalent to 1.50 to 1.87 inches. But how does this fit on a 2 inch square chess board? Will it look too cluttered? Here is what you should know.
What Size Chess Pieces For 2 Inch Squares?
The ideal base diameter of the king measures 0.78 of the individual square size. That is, 78% of the square size. Therefore, for a 2 inch square chess board, the size of the king’s base diameter would measure 2 x 0.78 = 1.56 inches. This fits perfectly on a 2 inch square chess board as there is enough room for the pieces to move freely on.
0.78 is the best ratio for the base of the king
0.78 is the recommended ratio of the king’s base outlined in the US Chess Federations Official Rules Of Chess handbook by Tim Just, which you can find here.
This is also in keeping with FIDE’s requirements for the base of the chess pieces as shown in the table below:
Height of chess piece (cm) 
Diameter of base (cm) (4050% of height) 
Diameter of base (in) (4050% of height) 

King  9.5  3.8 – 4.75  1.5 – 1.87 
Queen  8.5  3.4 – 4.25  1.34 – 1.67 
Bishop  7  2.8 – 3.5  1.10 – 1.38 
Knight  6  2.4 – 3  0.94 – 1.18 
Rook  5.5  2.2 – 2.75  0.87 – 1.08 
Pawn  5  22.5  0.79 – 0.98 
As you can see, 1.56 inches which is the ideal base of the chess king falls within the range of 1.5 – 1.87 inches, and fits well on a 2 inch square chess board.
There is also a general concensus in the chess community that the base of the king should measure 75% to 80% of the square size so as to prevent the pieces from looking cluttered on the chess board. A king’s base whose diameter is 1.56 inches meets this criteria and offers a great playing experience on the chess board of square size 2 inches.
In conclusion, 1.56 inches seems to be the best size for the base of the chess king on a 2 inch square chess board.
Size Of The Other Chess Pieces For 2 Inch Square
When it comes to 2 inch square chess board, we recommend that the base of the queen, rook, knight, bishop and pawn measure 40% of their standard height as shown in the table above.
You can either use 1.56 inches as the king’s base or the 40% rule which calculates to 1.5 inches for the king’s base. There is not much of a difference between the 2 values. It’s ultimately up to you to decide if you want to go with the U.S.C.F guideline of 0.78 of the square size or FIDE’s 40 to 50% rule when calculating the king’s base.
On the other hand, 50% of the height seems to be too large of a number for the base of the chess pieces on a 2 inch square chess board. For example, 50% of the king’s height measures 1.87 inches in the base diameter.
A 1.87 king’s base is too large on a 2 inch square chess board. This measures 93.5% of the square size which is outside of the general concensus of 75% to 80%. The pieces will look too cluttered on the chess board.
However, if we take 40% of the height of the chess pieces, we get 1.5 inches for the king’s base. This measures 75% of the square size which is in keeping with the general concensus.
The table below shows the recommended chess piece size for 2 inch square chess board
Height of chess piece (cm) 
Diameter of base (cm) (40 of height) 
Diameter of base (in) (40% of height) 

King  9.5  3.8  1.5 (or 1.56 using U.S.C.F ratio) 
Queen  8.5  3.4  1.34 
Bishop  7  2.8  1.10 
Knight  6  2.4  0.94 
Rook  5.5  2.2  0.87 
Pawn  5  2  0.79 
For larger chess boards with square size 2.25 inches or 2.5 inches, taking 50% of the height of the chess piece will be more appropriate. For example, on a 2.5 inch square chess board, a king’s base of 1.87 inches would now be appropriate since 1.87 inches is 75% of 2.5 inches which falls in the general concensus.
Set Spacing Test
There are 2 tests you can perform to ensure that the pieces on the chess board are uncluttered and offers a great playing experience. Proper piece spacing in chess is important because it prevents the pieces from getting knocked over as players move them across the board. Theare are 2 tests you can perform to ensure that the pieces aren’t overcrowded:
 Placing 4 pawns into 1 square
 Passing the bishop between the king And queen
1. Placing 4 pawns into 1 square
Try to place 4 pawns into one of the squares on the chess board. If they all fit inside the square, then you’ve passed the set spacing test. However, not all the time they will fit inside the square, especially if you are working with a small square size. This method is perhaps more ideal for larger square size such as 2.5 inches or 2.25 inches. If this method doesn’t work on your 2 inch square chess board, try this next step below.
2. Passing the bishop between the king and queen
This is the most popular method of testing how crowded the pieces are on the chess board. Place your king and queen on adjacent diagonal squares, then use a 3rd piece such as your bishop to pass through the king and queen. If the bishop does not touch the king and queen as it passes through the middle, then you’ve passed the set spacing test.
Does FIDE Recommends 2 Inch Squares?
Yes, FIDE does recommend a square size of 2 inches. The rules state that the size of the individual chess squares should measure anywhere from 2″ to 2.5″. Anything below or above that range is not suitable for competitive chess tournaments.
Nevertheless, chess can still be played on chess boards with square size less than 2″. These are considered non FIDE chess boards or minimalists chess boards that are portable and convenient for travel.
When making your own custom chess set, you don’t need to follow the regulations of FIDE as these chess sets are are for recreational purposes rather than competitive play. These types of custom chess sets are also a great addition to have inside your home.
Final Thoughts
The size of the chess pieces for 2 inch square chess board should measure 40% of their height. The height of these chess pieces are always constant, whereas the base is determined by the square size.
The height of the king, queen, bishop, knight, rook and pawn are 9.5, 8.5, 7, 6, 5.5 and 5 cm respectively. The king’s base should always be 75% to 80% of the square size. By following these guidelines, you’ll prevent the chess pieces from looking cluttered and overcrowded.
Sources: