Luxury Chess Sets
Our Guide to Choosing and Buying the Best Luxury Chess Sets.
Including Reviews of the Best and Most Recommended Luxury Chess Sets of 2016!
An ancient game, people believe chess dates back to 6th century India. The version played there was called Chaturanga. Although the exact rules are unknown, we do know that instead of queens, rooks, and bishops, the ancient Indians had Mantris (or counselors), chariots, and elephants, respectively. After gaining in popularity, the game began to slowly spread across the globe-first to Persia (where it was modified and modernized somewhat) and then to Europe. The version of chess that caught on in Europe best resembles the form of the game that so many of us know and love today.
Chess is often described as a thinking person's game. For casual players, it's a fun way to pass the time. For more devoted players, real strategy is involved. Can you think several steps ahead of your opponent? Can you read them to figure out what they're likely to do next? Can you move a certain pawn or knight and drive them into a cleverly-laid trap?
As with any sport or activity, as you begin to play more often, you develop an appreciation for better gaming equipment. Chess is no different. After you've spent months or years playing with generic chess sets, it greatly elevates your gaming experience to play on one of the many beautifully-crafted, high-quality luxury chess sets. These aren't just expensive chess sets; they're made from materials that are designed to wow players (and onlookers) and last a lifetime.
Over the centuries, luxury chess sets have become a symbol of status and education. Much like having an eloquently-decorated library with beautiful, leather-bound books, expensive chess sets signal intellect, class, and style. Even if you don't play often, these sets are beautiful objets d'art that look fabulous in any study or living room. There is a luxury chess set to match virtually every decor and style.
The internet is full of places where you can buy luxury chess sets. There is such a wide variety of expensive chess sets available that choosing one can be a difficult and confusing choice. We thought it would be helpful to offer reviews of a few of our favorite luxury chess sets, as well as reviews of the best luxury chess pieces. Hopefully, these will help guide you in the selection process.
The Best and Most Recommended Luxury Chess Sets of 2016:
Here's an interesting bit of chess history for you. The standard chess set as we currently know it is called the "Staunton" pattern. Nathaniel Cook designed this pattern in 1849. Why? Because before that, everyone's chess pieces looked different. Players found it difficult to play with one another person's set because they couldn't tell their knights from their rooks and so forth. With the Staunton design, chess pieces were assigned the shapes that most people are familiar with today. It became standard that a king should have a tiny cross on its head, that a rook should look like a small castle, that a knight should resemble a horse, and so on. The Staunton design is also the one that is used in all chess tournaments.
This Camaratta Signature Series Cook Luxury chess set uses the elegant, traditional Staunton design for its pieces. The dark pieces are made of bocote, a brown wood with beautiful, darker-toned woodgrain running through it. The light pieces are carved out of boxwood, giving them a rich, creamy tone. The king height is 3.325 inches, and it is 1.75 inches in base diameter. This set comes with 34 pieces (as it has 2 additional queens).
You'll thoroughly enjoy playing on the chessboard that's featured with this set. It's made of beautiful African Palisander (for the dark squares and the frame), Bird's Eye Maple (for the light squares), and has Spalted Maple inlays around the edges of the board and on the corners. The squares each measure 2.25 inches.
To store or transport this Camaratta Luxury Chess Set, you'll need an equally-beautiful box. Your choices range from the lighter-colored Bird's Eye Maple box to the darker, more richly-colored Red Burl or Mahogany. Luxe Premium boxes are available, as well, made of more exotic woods such as Olive Ash Burl or Macassar Ebony.
Beautifully-designed and carefully-crafted, the Camaratta Signature Series Cooke Luxury Chess set is one that you'll enjoy using-and looking at-for years to come.
The key word with this elegant board is contrast. The dark and light colors of the pieces look absolutely gorgeous against the the red tones of the wood used to craft the chessboard. Let's take a look at what went into creating this lovely work of art.
The pieces for this board are carved from gorgeous ebony (for the dark pieces) and creamy-toned boxwood (for the light pieces). Each piece is thick and sturdy, hand-polished to an amazing shine. As you look closer, you'll be amazed at the detail that went into each and every piece. The knights, for instance, feature carefully-carved facial features such as eyes, noses, and manes.
They don't simply look good, either-manufacturers triple-weighted each piece to give it a heavy, high-quality feel and to keep them from falling over during play. Each piece is padded on the bottom with lush green baize to help make each move as clean and smooth as possible. The king measures 4 inches in height and has a 1.875-inch base diameter. This set features two extra queens to be used for pawn promotion during play.
With many sets, even when the pieces themselves are gorgeous, the boards can be a bit of an afterthought. Not so with this luxury chess set! While other sets use veneers, this set is made of solid African Padauk and Maple wood. The red Paduak is a beautiful choice for the dark squares, contrasting beautifully with the creamy, light Maple. The board is framed in Paduak with lovely, decorative Maple inlays. One interesting thing to note about this board is that the playing surface itself is set off above the board, rather than laid within it, so you can see the different-colored squares when you look at the board from the side. Simply breathtaking!
Crafted in the United States, the manufacturers paid attention to every last detail in order to make this a board that can be used as well as proudly displayed. The frame has been laminated and makers used a special interlocking technique between the board and frame in order to keep the wood from warping over time. Even though these boards are made in the New World, manufacturers place a great deal of importance on Old World woodworking techniques. Instead of using screws or plates to secure mitered corners, the makers of this board used decorative corner dowels.
If you look at the underside of this board, you'll note that you can see the exposed squared underneath it. Manufacturers thoroughly sealed all of the exposed wood and attached felt pads to the bottom of it, so your board and any surfaces you place it on will be 100% protected from damage. Should you want to display this beautiful board as wall art, there is a keyhole hanger on the backside of the frame so that it can easily be hung.
Exotic woods and careful crafting make this luxury chess set a good investment and an heirloom that you'll be proud to pass down from one generation to the next. More Details: Grande Staunton Chess Set in Ebony at TheChessStore.com
Purchasing Luxury Chess Pieces
One of the wonderful things about shopping for luxury chess sets online is that you can find anything and everything you're looking for with just the click of a mouse. It's easy to find a wide selection of beautiful chess sets complete with boards and storage boxes. You can also find hand-crafted, high-quality chess boards in a variety of colors, themes, and exotic wood choices.
If you already own a beautiful chess board and are looking for luxury chess pieces to populate that board, we have a few sets in mind. Whether you're looking for a wood or metal set or a set that's simple and classic or more detailed and intricate, you're sure to love one of these three sets of chess pieces.
The Best and Most Recommended Luxury Chess Pieces of 2016:
Although all the pieces in this set are stunningly beautiful, the intrigue of this set revolves around just one piece: the knight. Hearkening back to ancient Greece, the knight in this set is a depiction of the powerful stallion belonging to Alexander the Great. Designers of the pieces imagined his stallion in the midst of a charging gallop, fearlessly heading into battle with its mane whipping back into the wind.
You'll be hard-pressed to find intricate detail work such as this carved into chess pieces anywhere. The stallion's eyes pop as it charges into danger. The muscles on its face bulge. Its lips and nostrils flare. Each line of its mane is artfully carved to show it blowing as the wind catches it.
Although the knight is the crowning achievement of this set, the entire collection is truly a work of art. The dark pieces are made of beautiful red sandalwood, giving them an almost magical luster. The light pieces are carved from Boxwood, giving them an off-white cream color that is timeless and classic. The details of each piece are delicate and beautiful, from the three crosses on the king to the tiny, beautifully-carved cap on top of the bishop.
Each piece is polished by hand to a glowing shine. They are all padded with thick green baize to protect the pieces, as well as your chessboard. This set includes two extra queens for pawn promotion. The king measures in at 4.4 inches high. The makers of this lovely chess piece set recommend a chess board with 2.375 to 2.5 inch squares. More Details: Alexander's Stallion Staunton Chess Set at TheChessStore.com
While regular rosewood is lovely, blood rosewood is absolutely stunning. The makers of this luxury chess piece set knew that when they chose to craft their lighter pieces out of this entrancing and highly sought-after wood. The result? Even though the so-called "light" pieces in this set are made from a traditionally darker wood, they practically glow. Contrast them with the genuine ebony of the darker chess pieces and this becomes an incredibly elegant chess set that is a wonder to see.
The House of Staunton put a lot of thought and care into the craftsmanship of these chess pieces. Each piece is individually hand carved by House of Staunton artisans out of carefully-selected wood. The detail of each piece is simply mind-blowing. Each king is topped with an intricately-carved cross and the queens possess delicate crowns. The knights are truly things of beauty. Carvers created detailed bridles and reins, as well as beautiful manes flowing down their muscular necks.
Not only are these luxury chess pieces a joy to look at; they're also a pleasure to play chess with. You'll thoroughly enjoy the feel of holding them and moving them about the board, as they are weighted to give them an excellent balance. Each piece flows down to a base that is thick and sturdy while maintaining the all-around elegant feel. Most of the pieces in this set feature base pads made of thick billiard cloth. The kings, however, are cushioned with gold embossed English leather base pads (as befits their rank). This helps them glide around your chess board with ease while protecting it from unsightly scuffs and scratches.
Simply put, when it comes to simplicity and elegance, we haven't seen anything close to the Sultan Series Prestige Set. These luxury chess pieces will make a beautiful addition to any board. Bring them out the next time you play or simply set them up so that you can enjoy seeing them all the time. The set comes with 34 chessmen (including 4 queens) to fully accommodate your game. It also comes with a Certificate of Authenticity and an original manufacturer's plaque that features the production number for your individual set. The plaque has an adhesive backing so that you can attach it to the underside of the chess box that will be lucky enough to contain this beautiful set. More Details: The Sultan Series Prestige Luxury Chess Pieces at HouseOfStaunton.com
The Grande Classic Oriental Staunton Solid Brass Chess Set is nothing like any of the other luxury chess sets or pieces we've reviewed so far. Manufactured by Italfama, this set features a Staunton pattern with a minimalist, Oriental twist. Cast in shining, solid brass, when you have these pieces on your chess board, it's as though you are working with actual implements of battle as you wage war against your opponent.
The profile of each of these luxury chess pieces is significantly slimmer than that of other pieces we've seen. This gives them an incredibly elegant look and feel. This set is made of solid brass, giving the darker pieces a gold tone. The lighter pieces are nickel-plated and have a beautiful, soft matte finish.
Although the pieces are a bit more minimalist than some of the others we've reviewed, Italfama chose to add detail in places that charm and make this set completely original. The crown on the queen is less frilly than in other sets, but beautifully etched in a way that suggests elegance and power. The king's cross, rather than being intricate, is a simple cap and a crossbar. The top of each piece is large and simple, yet dramatic, suddenly slimming down to an almost delicate middle before expanding out to a perfectly-weighted base.
These pieces are wonderful to see and equally wonderful to touch. The solid brass gives each piece a delightful weight and luxurious feel. Each piece is set upon a high-quality felt pad to assist on its journey across the chess board and into enemy territory.
These luxury chess pieces are so special that each set comes with an individual Certificate of Authenticity from Italfama. Marvel Entertainment and director Brett Ratner were so impressed with the elegant-yet-modern look of this set that they chose it to use in the final scene of their blockbuster film X-Men: The Last Stand.
Each Grande Classic Oriental Stauntion Solid Brass Chess Set comes packaged in Italfama's signature green and gold, fancy cardboard box. Although a chess board is not included with this chess piece set, the manufacturers recommend a chess board with 2-inch to to 2.25-inch squares. More Details: Grande Oriental Staunton Luxury Chess Pieces Set at TheChessStore.com
So Many to Choose From...
We hope these reviews will help guide customers hoping to research and buy luxury chess sets. Whether you like wood or metal, traditional or more modern, there is a chess set to match your style. If you don't like the board or box that comes with a particular set, then purchasing a set of chess pieces (with no board included) is an excellent solution until you find a board that you love. With the selection available, the good news is that you need never compromise!
We always do our best to pick sets that look good, but are high-quality and very functional. When you choose a luxury chess set, it's important that it not only be beautiful, but that it is a set that is carefully crafted so that it will stand up to years of use. A true craftsman creates pieces out of quality wood and metal that can withstand being handled and even dropped. The wood of the chess board must be able to stand up to use, as well, without warping or scratching over time.
We tried to keep all of this in mind with our selections. After all, a luxury chess set is many things. It's an object of art for you to enjoy having in your home. It's a tool for entertainment and hours of fun. It's an investment. It's also an heirloom, and we hope that the sets we have chosen are ones that you will be able to pass down to your children-and they, to their children. Such a set takes on a life of its own beyond its initial price and beauty; over time, it collects memories and stories. Whichever set you choose, we hope it brings your family many lifetimes of enjoyment.