How to Choose the Right Chess Board

by Chess Guides

Choosing the right chess board might be very difficult and complex process. It can sometimes overwhelm even an experienced chess player, not to mention a beginner. Nowadays, there is a huge number of chessboards available on the market. So how to find out the right one? In this article, I will discuss several aspects and criteria that will help you in this endeavor.

Foldable vs Non-foldable Boards

Commonly, there are two main types of chess sets. You can choose either foldable or non-foldable board. Foldable boards are typically made of wood or plastic and are practical for travel or storage. You can even hide the pieces inside (and keep them out of reach of small children). Non-foldable boards are usually made of wood or glass and offer a more elegant look and feel. Some people are not interested in playing chess, but they may want their board to be displayed somewhere at home as a sign of prestige. In this case, the non-foldable and more luxurious one would be the right option.


The second important aspect to think about is the size of the board. Smaller boards are typically used for casual play and travel. Larger ones are best for serious or competitive play. The standard board has 8×8 squares and each square measures 1.5 inches. However, you can also find boards with larger squares (up to 2.25 inches). Therefore, be careful when you want to play with different pieces, as larger pieces may not fit on smaller boards.


Chess boards are typically made of wood, plastic and metal, but you can find more luxurious sets made of glass or marble. Wooden boards are the most common and generally the most affordable option. You can choose either veneer or solid wood boards. These are mainly made of maple, walnut, mahogany, birch, pine, the possibilities are endless. Plastic boards are ideal for travel because of their light weight and durability. When you want more robust and sturdy boards, then opt for those made of metal, because they can withstand heavy use. Visually pleasing chess boards made of stone or glass can serve for decorative purposes.


Chess Board Example


Home vs Competition

Are you just a casual home player or a serious competition player? Home chess boards are typically cheaper, and they are usually made of wood. When you want a board for a competition, you must be prepared to pay more for it. It should be preferably made of metal or at least plastic. If you are looking for a board to use in tournaments or timed games, investing in chess clocks is an essential part of the game that gives it the right charm.

Design and Texture

Chess boards come in a variety of designs and colors. You might want to take into consideration the aesthetic of the board when making your selection. Most boards have alternating dark and light squares, but you can also find sets with more peculiar patterns and designs. In addition to the design, the texture is also important. Most boards are made of smooth wood, some can have rough surface, or you can even find magnetic sets. For extra demanding users, chessboards with a velvet or felt cover are also available and they are more pleasant to the touch.

Themed Sets

If you are looking for something special, you can check themed chess sets with pieces or even whole boards that are inspired by various movies, books, computer games, etc. These sets are often more expensive than traditional sets, but they are also more fun and can make a nice and more personalized gift.

Board Quality and Price

Finally, you should not forget about the right price-quality ratio. The prices of chess boards can really vary a lot. Too cheap chess boards may not last you long or will not be comfortable and suitable for the serious game. On the other hand, it is not worth investing right away in the most expensive ones. Especially if you are not sure to what extent you will actually use them. Sometimes it may be reasonable to take a little risk and get a good quality chessboard second hand to save on costs.


I totally understand that choosing the right chessboard can be a difficult and demanding task. But I hope my article will help you in this. The factors, I have mentioned above, are certainly useful, when you want to better understand the issue of chessboard selection. I firmly believe that you will have a lot of fun with a proper chessboard.



Chess enthusiast. Playing chess since I was 5 years old. When I’m not playing chess or writing an article about chess, I’m probably riding my bike. You can read more about me here.