What Is The Best Chess Board Size For You?

Chess is one of those games that looks more complicated than it actually is. Many people get intimidated by the rules of the game. However, if you take some time to study the board game, you’ll soon realize it’s one of the most enjoyable and fun games available. 

In the recent past, chess has become a world-renowned board game. According to the International Federation of Chess (FIDE), there has been a steady rise in the number of people interested in this board game. And while it’s a bit difficult to give an exact number, there are more than 800 million chess players globally. 

Classic brown wooden chess board

One of the common questions new chess enthusiasts ask is about the chess board size. Is there a recommended board size, what should you look at when buying a chess board, and what does the World Chess Federation recommend?

Below is a comprehensive guide on the best size for chess boards. 

Is there a standard chess board size? 

The answer to this query is both yes and no. Chess boards come in all sizes, designs, and shapes. Some boards and pieces are built with aesthetics in mind, others focus on unique designs, and others just seem plain. You’ve likely come across foldable chess boards, which may be ideal for when you’re traveling. 

An assortment of chess boards and pieces

However, while there is a lot of freedom regarding chess board manufacturing, FIDE has a standard board size used in all professional matches. A standard chess board should measure 21 x 21 inches, with the square size measuring 2 x 2 inches. If you participate in a professional chess match, this is the most likely board size to be used. 

A standard chess board has 64 squares split evenly across the board. Most boards also have a half an inch margin. With these calculations, you’ll arrive at a 21-inch board. Some boards may be a bit smaller, but the average range is 17 to 21 inches. 

Do you really need a physical chess board? 

Chess has come a long way since its inception. Over time, it has morphed and developed new rules and playing strategies. Today, the game has been standardized, and the rules are less likely to change for a long while. 

Chess board on a computer tablet

Nonetheless, the board game has been impacted by changes and advancements in technology and the internet. If you want to play chess today, you don’t necessarily need a physical board. All you need is a device connected to the internet, and you can play with people from across the globe or even against your computer. 

These advancements raise the question of whether a physical board is still necessary. Strictly speaking, you don’t necessarily need a physical board to play the game. However, a board is highly encouraged if you wish to play against your friends or even in professional competitions. 

A king with rows of pawns on a chessboard

Having your own board helps you familiarize yourself with the game. This way, when you’re playing against someone else, you’ll easily navigate the board as you’re used to it. Moreover, you can recreate past matches and try different tactics to improve your skills and proficiency. 

Factors to consider when choosing a chessboard 

As mentioned above, there are numerous chess board designs available today. The following tips will help you choose the right board for you; 

1. Size 

While professional boards measure 21 inches, you can find chess boards in all sizes. When buying a board, you should consider how comfortable it is when playing. For instance, if the board is too small, the chess pieces may appear too congested. This could make you miss an important move since some pieces are obstructed. 

Magnetic Chess board and pieces

Another aspect to consider when determining the best size is where you’ll be playing. For example, if you’re an avid traveler and wish to play regularly, you can opt for a travel-friendly size that easily fits your bag. 

2. Style 

Modern chess boards come in all sorts of designs. Some of the common styles are boards made from wood, plastic, and metal. The designs also vary greatly, depending on the material used and aesthetic quality. 

black and white chess board

Metallic chess boards are pricey but will outlast most of the other styles. Glass and marble boards are rather recent and are majorly used as decorative set pieces. Wooden chess boards are perhaps the most common as they have a classic feel. However, resin and plastic boards are more affordable compared to wooden ones. 

3. Quality 

One of the factors to consider when buying a chess board is quality. High-quality boards have smooth surfaces and are long-lasting. These high-quality boards can last for years, even when regularly used. 

Best Chess Set

A board’s size might not necessarily reflect its quality. Some people assume smaller boards are low-quality while larger ones are higher-quality. This, however, isn’t always the case. Before deciding on the right chess board for you, you can seek guidance from other players or check out reviews on the specific piece you intend to purchase. 

4. Purpose 

The reason behind getting a board can also guide you to the perfect board. If you primarily want a decorative piece, for instance, you can buy something eye-grabbing, like a glass or marble board.

folding wooden chess set

On the other hand, if your main objective is to play regularly and improve on your skill. Then you should focus on functionality over looks. 

5. Price 

Chess boards are like golf clubs; you can find one for any price. You can find a playing board for a few dollars all the way to hundreds of dollars. In most cases, the price matches the quality of the board. Cheaper prices will likely last a shorter time, while many costly ones will comfortably last several years. 

folding antique chess board and set

However, it is worth noting that price doesn’t always equate to quality. There is a lot of competition, and it is not uncommon to find affordable yet durable pieces or pricey and flimsy ones. 

At the end of the day, a chess board is arguably one of the greatest investments you can make as a chess player. The right piece should feel comfortable as you play. These tips will help you choose the best chess board and set for you, and you can focus your energy on becoming the next grandmaster.

Jenna Ostria
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