Themed chess sets are both fun and functional, but choosing one can be difficult because of the sheer number of themes. Besides the theme, shoppers need to look at other factors like the chess piece materials and size of the pieces. Getting to know the options in terms of types of themed chess sets prepares the consumer to shop knowledgeably and find a high-quality set that could easily become a family heirloom.
If it exists in history, popular culture, movies, or even music, it has probably become a chess set theme. Given the nature of chess, many themes usually involve famous conflicts, real or imaginary. Star Wars, Harry Potter, and King Arthur sets are some examples. However, some themes tie in with interests and hobbies with no conflict involved, like nautical chess sets or animal sets. Still, geographical themes like African, Oriental, or American sets showcase different cultures and parts of history.
Wood, plastic, metal, polystone, glass, and marble are all viable materials for high-quality sets. Marble and glass chess sets look fantastic but easily chip or shatter. Metal chess sets are durable but fairly rare, which may affect their price. Wood and plastic are the most common materials, but quality varies widely with both. High-quality plastic or polystone sets are durable and affordable but may not have the weight or feel of metal or marble, unless specially weighted. A traditional material for chess sets, wooden chess sets may have a natural wood finish or painted figures that are more realistic.
If the themed chess set you want does not come with a chessboard, look for one that matches in terms of size, style, and material. A good rule of thumb is that the diameter of the base of the king should be roughly three quarters the length of one square on the chessboard. This ensures that the pieces look neither cramped nor lost. The chessboard should ideally have the same colour scheme as the pieces, in terms of the contrast between the dark and the light pieces. Finding a board of the same material as the pieces is the easiest way to narrow down the options in order to match the colour and style perfectly.
First, good workmanship in a chess set shows in the weight of the pieces. Chess pieces, especially wood and plastic, often have weights built-in for a more solid feel. Another mark of quality lies in the attractiveness and detail of the carvings of the knight and the crown of the king. Finally, the uniformity of the pieces and level of detail sets apart high-quality sets.