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Chess Size Guide

A guide to matching your chess pieces to your chess board.

When buying a chess board and a set of chess pieces it's vitally important to get the sizing correct. You need to ensure that the pieces not only fit on the board but also look pleasing and uncluttered. You then of course need to ensure that the board will fit on your chosen table or playing surface. There are three key measurements you must consider. They are:

  1. The diameter of the Kings base.
  2. The size of the squares on the chess board.
  3. The overall size of the chess board.

There is an official tournament guideline for fitting chess pieces to a chess board and visa versa. It states that the base diameter of the king should be no more than 75% of the diameter of the squares on the chess board. For example a king with a 1.5 inch base diameter should have a square diameter of 2 inches.

There is an element of personal preference. Not everyone needs to meet tournament standards so it is very much up to the individual. In a set of chess pieces the King always has the widest base diameter. Therefore as a bear minimum the squares on the chess board must accommodate the king. How much space that is left on the edges of the square when the king is placed dead center is the key variable.

Board too small...

King too Small for Board Squares

If you choose a board with squares exactly the same diameter as the king it is generally accepted that it will seem too small. While it will still be possible to have a game of chess under these circumstances the board will look cluttered and untidy.

Board too large...

King too Small for Board Squares

If you choose a chess board that is too large the pieces may become dwarfed in the middle of the huge squares, while the King might look at home the pawns will look small and insignificant in the centre of the squares.

Just right...

King too Small for Board Squares

The perfect size combination is one whereby the king has some, but not too much room around its base within the square and the pawns look equally at home on the same board.

You will notice that all our sets of chess pieces include a board size recommendation in their listing. We will never recommend a chess board thatis too small for the pieces, however it is normal for us to recommend one that is slightly smaller than the 75% rule would suggest.

If you need any help in deciding on the appropriate board size please call or email us for help and advice.

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