Why Are Chess Sets So Expensive?

While the game of chess itself is relatively simple, the equipment required to play it can vary greatly in cost. Many people are surprised to learn that chess sets can be quite expensive, with some sets costing thousands of dollars.

This raises the question: why are chess sets so expensive? In this article, we will explore the various factors that can influence the cost of a chess set, from the materials used to make it to the level of craftsmanship involved.

By the end of this article, you will have a better understanding of why chess sets can be expensive, as well as some tips for choosing a set that fits your budget and preferences.

Why Are Chess Sets So Expensive?

There are a few reasons why chess sets can be expensive:

Quality of materials

High-end chess sets are often made from high-quality materials, such as solid wood, ivory, or rare stones like marble or onyx. These materials can be expensive to source and work with, driving up the cost of the final product.


Chess sets can also be expensive due to the level of craftsmanship involved in their creation. Skilled artisans may spend countless hours carving, shaping, and polishing each piece to perfection. The time and effort required to produce a high-quality chess set can drive up the price.

Brand and design

Some chess sets are expensive simply because they are made by a well-known brand or feature a unique or intricate design. These sets may be considered collectors’ items or luxury items, and their price may reflect their rarity or exclusivity.

Limited production

Finally, some chess sets may be expensive because they are produced in limited quantities. This can be the case with sets that are made by hand or that feature unique or rare materials. The limited availability of these sets can drive up demand and increase their price.

See also  Top 5 Strongest Chess Engines in 2024

What To Look For In A Chess Set?

When looking for a chess set, there are several factors to consider. Here are some things to look for:


The size of the chess pieces and board is important, especially if you plan to play regularly. A standard tournament-size chessboard has squares that are 2.25 inches (5.7 cm) across, but larger or smaller boards are available. Similarly, the size of the pieces should be appropriate for the board and comfortable for the player’s hands.


Chess sets can be made from a variety of materials, including wood, plastic, metal, or stone. Consider the durability and aesthetic appeal of each material, as well as its weight and feel.


Chess sets come in a range of styles and designs, from traditional Staunton sets to more modern or artistic designs. Consider which style best suits your personal taste and the environment in which you plan to use the set.


Look for a well-made set with high-quality pieces and a sturdy board. Check that the pieces are properly weighted and balanced, and that the board is flat and level.


Chess sets can range in price from a few dollars to several thousand dollars. Consider your budget and what you’re willing to spend before making a purchase.


Consider the purpose of the chess set, whether it’s for casual play, tournament use, or decorative purposes. This will help determine the appropriate size, material, and design for your needs.

How Much Should I Pay For A Chess Set?

The cost of a chess set can vary greatly depending on the materials, craftsmanship, and design. You can find a basic plastic or wooden chess set for under $20, while a high-end luxury set made of rare materials like ivory or ebony can cost thousands of dollars.

See also  Best Chess Board (Price Under $100)

For a good quality chess set that is suitable for regular play, you can expect to pay between $50 and $200. These sets are typically made from solid wood or high-quality plastic, and include a sturdy board and well-weighted pieces.

If you’re looking for a decorative or collector’s item, you may want to consider investing in a higher-end set that is made from rare or exotic materials and features unique designs. These sets can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars or more, depending on the level of craftsmanship and exclusivity.

Ultimately, the price you pay for a chess set should be based on your personal preferences and budget. Consider what you’re looking for in a set and how often you plan to use it, and choose a set that meets your needs and fits within your price range.

Best Chess Set Brands

There are many excellent brands of chess sets, each with their own unique style, materials, and level of craftsmanship. Here are a few of the best-known and most highly-regarded brands:

House of Staunton

House of Staunton is a well-respected brand known for producing high-quality chess sets using traditional designs and materials. Their sets are handcrafted and range from basic wooden sets to luxurious, rare-material sets.

Jaques of London

Jaques of London is a British company that has been making chess sets for over 150 years. They are known for their traditional Staunton designs, and their sets are often used in international tournaments.


Chessbazaar is an Indian-based company that offers a wide variety of chess sets, including traditional wooden Staunton sets and unique, hand-carved sets made from exotic materials like rosewood and ebony.

The Chess Store

The Chess Store is a US-based company that offers a wide selection of high-quality chess sets, ranging from basic wooden sets to ornate metal and glass sets.


Manopoulos company located in Athens, Greece produces a range of unique and artistic chess sets, including sets inspired by ancient civilizations like Greece and Rome.


Italfama is an Italian company known for producing high-end, luxury chess sets using materials like alabaster, brass, and gold.

See also  Top 5 Best Electronic Chess Boards

Ultimately, the best brand of chess set for you will depend on your personal preferences and budget. Consider what materials, design, and level of craftsmanship you’re looking for, and choose a brand that offers sets that meet your needs.

How Can I Pay Less For A Chess Set?

If you’re looking to pay less for a chess set, there are a few ways you can save money:

  1. Shop around: Compare prices from different retailers or online stores to find the best deal. Look for sales or discounts that may be available.
  2. Consider materials: Chess sets made from high-quality materials like solid wood, ivory, or rare stones can be expensive. Consider opting for a set made from more affordable materials like plastic or medium-density fiberboard (MDF).
  3. Choose a simpler design: Intricately carved or decorated chess sets can be more expensive than simpler designs. Opt for a simpler design to save money.
  4. Buy a used set: Look for a used chess set on websites like eBay or Craigslist. You may be able to find a good quality set at a lower price than a new one.
  5. Make your own: If you’re feeling crafty, you can make your own chess set using materials like wood, clay, or even paper. There are many DIY chess set tutorials available online.

Remember, while it can be tempting to go for the cheapest option available, investing in a good quality chess set can be worth it in the long run. A well-made set will last longer and provide a better playing experience than a cheap, low-quality set.


In conclusion, chess sets can be expensive due to a variety of factors, including the materials used, the level of craftsmanship involved, and the design of the set.

High-quality sets made from rare or exotic materials like ivory or ebony, or handcrafted by skilled artisans, can fetch thousands of dollars.

However, there are also many affordable options available for those who want to enjoy the game of chess without breaking the bank.

Ultimately, the price you pay for a chess set should be based on your personal preferences and budget, and it’s important to choose a set that meets your needs and provides a satisfying playing experience.

Whether you’re a serious player or a casual enthusiast, investing in a good quality chess set can enhance your enjoyment of the game and add a touch of elegance to your home or office.