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Tournament Chess Sets

Our range of chess sets now includes tournament standard pieces and boards. We understand that when schools and clubs need to buy chess sets there is no need for heavy and expensive wooden sets. Instead the best option is to stick with convention and buy the regulation plastic sets, by doing this many sets can be purchased for a limited budget and replacing sets that go missing or become incomplete is easy.

What is the Tournament Standard?

Howard Staunton Etching

For quite a few years the worlds chess federations and official bodies have set out standards for chess sets used in official tournaments. There is of course good reason for this. Lets spool back to the mid 1800s when the worlds most prominent chess player was Howard Staunton. Staunton was a very gifted player who at one stage was considered the top player in the world. He played games against many international players and was quite vocal in expressing his frustrations with having non regulation chess sets.

Howard would often play games using weird, wonderful and ornate chess sets which looked great, but had issues when it came to identifying exactly which piece was which. He complained that his mental energy was being partially sapped by trying to remember which piece was which. He craved some form of standard where no one piece would look remotely like another, where an initial glance would immediately tell ones mind which piece was which. A tournament chess set that had zero distractions, with no complex or ornate carvings to distract the players. He wanted a set that was going to completely level the playing field leave the outcome of the game purely to players game, with no influence from the set itself.

Victorian Jacques Chess Pieces

The situation came to a very favourable conclusion when a famous London based games company created a design of chess pieces that seemed to tick all the right boxes. The set was one of those extremely rare things, a true design classic. The design was verging on genius in that while it was clear that every piece retained an identity of it's own, it was clear that they were all from the same set. While no one piece would ever be mistaken for another they all had the same DNA running through them.

Staunton was so delighted with these chess pieces that he lent his name to them. They were an instant hit and soon became the standard chess set used in tournaments across the globe. Today the Staunton Chess Set remains the most popular and iconic design of chess set and there is no surprise that this design was adopted as the official standard chess set.

Tournament chess items

Tournament regulations not only stipulate Staunton chessmen, but also certain size guidelines too. For optimum game play it's important that the pieces are not too cluttered on the board. Standards have been drawn out that give percentages of square to piece ratio. By far the most common format for tournament chess sets is a 20 inch chess board with a three and three quarter inch king height.

Four Queens

All of the tournament sets in our range come with four queens.

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