Which Tournament Chess Set Should You Choose?

Not sure which tournament chess set to buy? At Cool Chess Canada, tournament chess sets are close to our heart. We work closely with clubs and schools and often get asked which chess set is a good choice to purchase. They are a low cost product that provide a great deal of fun but can also cause some confusion. Read on and the choices will become clear.

Chess Set Choices

Tournament Chess Sets come in a variety of materials, colours, shapes, and sizes. Most plastic chess sets are mass produced in the far east and enter Canada in their thousands through the shipping lanes of the Pacific Ocean. From there they wind their way via the Canadian Pacific Railway, onto a truck, then into our warehouse for processing. Vinyl boards and chess pieces make their way into clubs and schools and homes where they hopefully live a long and prosperous life on a table top.

In the last few years, Cool Chess Canada has seen a number of different styles of tournament chess sets from a number of different manufacturers. We constantly work hard with our manufacturers to keep prices down but improve quality. Every year we strive to produce a better product.

From time to time, Cool Chess Canada has six types of tournament chess set available for purchase:

Mini analysis chess set.
Club chess set.
Pro-am chess set.
Weighted tournament chess set.
Weighted Guardian Staunton chess set.
Silicone chess set.

The trick to finding the right set is deciding on it's function. Below you'll find a breakdown of each type together with a recommendation of where it is most appropriately used:

Mini analysis chess set

A tiny chess set ideal for the serious player who needs a portable set to carry around. Fits conveniently in a bag or brief case and fits in a small space when set up. Not recommended for schools or clubs as the chess pieces are small and easy for kids to misplace (lose).

Club chess set

A full-sized tournament set ideal for elementary schools, clubs with small kids or clubs on a budget. The club chess set is a good option for teaching and works well for serious games. The chess pieces are not weighted. Kicking the table as you walk past could result in a chess game ending up on the floor, but that just adds to the fun!

Pro-am chess set

A little bit of an old fashioned style gives this full-sized solid plastic chess set a bit of a unique look. The chess pieces are heavier than the club set and are solid plastic all the way through. Rather than being ivory or white in colour, these pieces are natural. This means they have a brownish yellow colour to them that makes them a little bit special. Ideal for the individual chess player but usually not purchased by schools or clubs.

Weighted tournament chess set

The weighted tournament chess set is ideal for the serious player, clubs, or schools with older kids. The pieces are weighted with steel and kicking the table doesn't necessarily mean your chess game will fly in all directions. This set is ideal for blitz or fast games as pieces tend not to topple.

Weighted Guardian Staunton Chess Set

Every so often we change the higher end plastic set. Our current model, the Guardian, is ideal for individual use at home or a coffee shop, etc. The pieces are bigger and heavier and good for small hands. Perhaps not the best suited to schools and clubs as the chess set doesn't follow the normal Staunton pattern expected in touraments.

Silicone Chess Set

My current favourite chess set, but not to everyone's taste. The chess pieces are made from food-grade silicone and are almost indestructible! All of the chess sets above have green felt bases, but the silicone does not. Because it's a flexible plastic, it's impractical to have felt. Hardened plastic can chip if you're not careful (the weighted tournament set being extremely heavy can be prone to this if you throw the pieces from height onto a hard floor) but flexible silicone does not. The result is a chess set that is guaranteed to stand the test of time. The down side is the fun younger kids might have throwing the pieces around. They really do bounce well!

You can find all of the above chess set options at Cool Chess Canada in the Plastic Chess Set page. If you're a school, call or email us for a quote or details on volume discounts, and also take a look at our School and Clubs page.

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