Chess sets sold as deluxe, wood, and foldable may seem like good deals. However, a few things must be considered before buying it. Is this set actually made from real wood? Are the chess pieces safe for your child to handle?
To make sure that your wooden chess set is worth its price tag, there are a few things that you need to check first.
High-Quality Wooden Material
If the deluxe wooden chess set is not made from real wood, it will probably be rather light and flimsy – especially if it’s a foldable model. There should also not be any rough edges where the pieces connect to the board or between squares of each chess piece. You can sand down these rough spots yourself or send them back if the manufacturer doesn’t do that for you.
If this chess set is not real wood, it’s probably a laminated board with plastic pieces. The color and shape of the pieces may vary widely from model to model and can be very distracting during a game.
Some of these laminates can even be made to look like wood. It is not that easy to tell apart from the real thing unless you know exactly what to look for.
If this chess set is foldable, then the material should also be relatively scrap-resistant. It means that it should withstand all sorts of small impacts without leaving any marks or dents. You can test this by folding and unfolding your set dozens of times in quick succession, as well as tapping on the surfaces with varying levels of intensity.
Typically, a foldable chess board will have two or four folding legs that connect to a central hinge right behind the king’s side. These folding legs should be made from strong material as well, as they should be able to withstand the full weight of a chess set without breaking.
Quality Chess Pieces
These are the most important part of any chess set and since deluxe sets tend to cost more, you should also expect higher-quality materials and attention to detail. The best way to make sure that your chess pieces are safe but still attractive is to make sure they are made from real wood.
A quality set should have at least close to full-sized pieces. Smaller sets are also available, but when pieces are not exactly the same size, it can be very distracting when playing.
Since you will be spending all of your time touching the chess pieces, it’s also very important that they are comfortable to hold. Handcrafted chess pieces are usually made from some special kind of wood, have an intricate shape design on their heads, and are generally better-looking than plastic pieces.
It is important always to choose chess pieces that are visibly attached to the board or leave very little space between them.
Check the Storage Space
If you have a large wooden chess set, your storage space will determine how often you can use it. Look for a set that comes with a foldable board with felted interiors to store your pieces safely. If the board is not foldable or has only very small legs on the king’s side, you might need to get a separate chess box to store your set safely when not using it. The lid should close easily and lock in place with metal latches.
If you want to keep your chess set on display, it should also be safe enough to keep it out of reach.
How Big is the Playing Surface?
The playing surface should also be made from strong material to support the weight of all pieces without dents or sticking points. It will make sure that your board plays smoothly and the pieces stay in place during a game.
The playing surface can have a non-slippery coating on top of it, and typically square grids will already have this kind of top layer. If they don’t, you should maybe use some kind of marker or template to ensure that all squares are level and safe for your chess pieces.
The chess pieces and board must be made from durable material and comfortable to hold. If they aren’t, then you should immediately return them and look for another set.
The closer your deluxe wooden chess set is to the standards above, the longer you can play with it before replacing or upgrading it. If your set doesn’t meet standards at all, then you should look for a replacement as soon as possible!