Chess Game: How to choose the best set in 2022?
Today we are going to talk about chess, the best way to practice this true intellectual heritage of humanity – which is chess.
Chess brings together strategies – used today as subterfuge for professionals in many sports -, learning for the young and a great activity for the older. A complete set can bring all this to your home, and, in addition, an elegant decoration for the environment.
In this Buying Guide, our mission is to help you choose the ideal game, explaining the differences that exist between or sets, the main ones available in the market, in addition to pointing out its advantages and disadvantages and useful criteria for the time of purchase.
First, the most important
- The most popular piece pattern is Staunton, an almost bicentennial and official style of the International Chess Federation.
- It is important to know, before purchase, what your level is, between beginner and advanced, and especially its use for the game, between casual, competitive or even decorative.
- The price of the models varies from R $ 25, among the most basic, and R $ 900, between or more luxurious, mainly for the material of the pieces and board.
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Best chess game models: Our favorites
There are several types of chess game, they can be very simple, or elaborate, becoming true decorative pieces. With so many options, this choice is very difficult. Below, we list the best chess game models available on the market, evaluating their cost benefit, their combination of pieces and board and even their material.
- Chess Game – Carlu
- Chess Game – Western
- Chess Game – Xalingo
Chess, like a game, is universal and timeless. With a simple language, but a complex operation, it is “inexhaustible” and, therefore, great fun to have at home. Entertain a visit, challenge a friend, or even play alone.
Within these countless social and strategic possibilities of chess, it lives an extensive history and a remarkable variety of models and sets. We will show you a little of this first and a lot of the second, in addition to its advantages and useful information about this niche market.
What is the origin of the game of chess?
Chess as we know it comes from Europe in the middle of the 15th century, from adaptations of Persian games and Indian Chaturanga.
Among scholars and enthusiasts, it is known as Western Chess, recognizing oriental variations (Arabic, Turkish, Chinese, Japanese, etc.). In fact, the influence of the European Renaissance period is very clear, as seen in pieces such as the Bishop, the Horse and even the Tower.
During this medieval era, gambling was an option among the few forms of entertainment, in addition to a methodology for teaching war strategies, an aspect very present in societies of the time.
This cultural dynamics of the past, added to the most modern cognitive and mathematical studies, have kept the game relevant and practically intact throughout the Western world, even today.
Thus, the configuration of today’s games is the same as that of the first modern chess tournament, which took place in 1851.
How does the game of chess work?
There are sixteen pieces for each player, to be and arranged and moved on a square board that marks the 64 squares in smaller and equidistant squares, which can only house one piece per round.
The set of pieces for each player is the same, being 1 King, 1 Queen, 2 Bishops, 2 knights, 2 towers and 8 pawns. Or sets differ in color, almost always black and white, at least light or dark.
Or boards also demarcate the pieces by alternating colors in the same direction – without, however, necessarily being restricted to the corresponding colored pieces.
That ends the universality of games, in the sense of the set of pieces and board. With the cultural expansion of the game, different appropriations of “kit” took place, with different materials, designs and even different measures, with different purposes, sometimes.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of the game of chess?
The set obviously brings with it the many advantages of the practice of chess, summarized here as playful and cognitive benefits.
After all, chess is the application of several areas of knowledge, useful and universal, in an exciting and competitive activity – like a sport, by the way. Having a game of chess at home is also having a highly accessible activity, as you only need a light environment and someone to handle the pieces.
There is still an aesthetic issue. From the simplest to the most elaborate sets, the look of an assembled chess game is classic and interesting. Having it in your living room will surely complement the decor.
On the other hand, there is a practical disadvantage. Mounted on a table “permanently”, there are 32 different pieces, apart from an average 30 cm² tray to collect dust; disassembled, there are the same number of items to be positioned before playing.
Then, although universal, the game is not exactly simple, at least to learn on the spot. So, it’s not exactly a very popular entertainment option, like a deck of cards or Game of Life, or even good old talk.
And, of course, there is a chronic problem with the pieces, whose threat of loss surrounds every dark corner of every room, every bottom of sofas and other furniture and that is imminent in homes with children.
- Playful and cognitive benefits
- Affordable entertainment and socializing option
- Alternative decoration
- Practical maintenance and assembly
- Popular but not so much entertainment
- Missed pieces
Staunton chess game or alternative patterns?
If there is a pattern of pieces that “dominates” western chess today, it is Staunton.
Registered in England in the mid-19th century, the model grew in the fame of chess player Howard Staunton and was catapulted internationally when it was adopted by FIDE (International Chess Federation) as the official of its competitions.
The reason for the adoption – and that keeps it as the most popular pattern – is its design, thought of the easy differentiation of the pieces and with simple and objective references (not the exact reproduction) for making them.
Staunton’s criteria refer to the differences between the pieces, as opposed to exact measurements or drawings.
Some examples are: the King must be the tallest piece and have a differentiator at the top (cross, finial, etc.); the towers are of castle towers, larger than pawns and lower than or horses; the pieces on both sides must have the same designs; among others.
This standard won over professionals, competitors and are the best for learning, that is, recommended for all types of use.
However, there are several other standards, such as English, regency, among others, which have more closed measures and designs. None of them have more or less pieces or don’t even change the game, but they are more rare, restricted to clubs and collectors.
Variations of the chess game: Practical, travel, decorative or thematic?
In addition to the patterns of the pieces, the differences between chess games appear according to their use.
A practical (or simple) game, it is designed for regular chess players and, therefore, with resistant pieces, made of wood or plastic, with the size and weight of the pieces, outside the measure of the board, designed for the greatest comfort of the players.
A travel set seeks to balance this comfort with portability, slightly reducing the weight and size of the pieces. The board also shrinks and becomes, in most cases, the box for the pieces.
Decorative kits, on the other hand, value aesthetics. Stone or glass pieces and trays, even metals, are the most common materials. Their measurements, when not out of proportion, think more about design than functionality, sometimes with very small, heavy and / or delicate pieces.
Finally, thematic ones are a middle ground between or decorative and the practical ones. In fact, 70% more of the first and 30% of the second.
They are models with abstractions of the original pieces, which represent some cultural universe, like characters from a film, or historical passages, like Roman or Spartan armies. There are even more artistic variations.
There is a wide variation in the prices of chess game models, from R $ 25 to R $ 900, due largely to the end of these sets, and consequently their material, finish, etc.
The cheapest ones are made of wood or plastic, for regular or educational use. The most expensive ones are decorative, made of stones, glass, metals, in short, materials of greater value, sometimes signed by artists and co.
Where to buy?
Large play shops such as Galápagos, toy stores like Ri Happy, or even department stores must contain a good variety of models, among the most basic.
For an even greater diversity of models and prices, including the most luxurious, online stores such as Amazon.
Purchasing criteria: Factors for comparing chess game models
Between pieces and board, there are several aspects of the chess game to watch out for. We have gathered here or main ones, which are also great criteria for choosing models at the time of purchase.
- Weight and Felt
See, below, the explanation of each item, so that your research and your choice are the best informed possible.
In its enormous complexity, the game of chess, as we said, has several uses, from learning to competition, from socialization to decoration. Each of these has one or more models that best fit their respective purpose.
For learning, for example, there are more simple and resistant sets; for competition, kits equally resistant, but more “ergonomic” (bigger pieces, bigger houses, etc.); socializing, it is worth a greater weight in aesthetics and even a Staunton standardization.
In decor, anything goes, but thematic and / or elegant games will give a better tone to the environment.
The material, especially the parts, is one of the most important criteria. For more regular uses, resistance and comfort are required. Light, cheap and durable plastic and polyethylene are the best options. Wood is also, but for slightly less frequent uses, due to its shorter useful life.
The following video shows a little of the manufacture of wooden chess pieces:
Among more decorative and exhibitionist uses, there is no suitable material, but the more massive, the better. This is also true for or more practical, since the pieces are more resistant to falls and stomps.
The board is just as important to the set as the pieces. So, opt for models with quality trays, avoiding paper and cardboard. Wood and plastic are usually good choices.
Its size is also important, so that the pieces can be positioned and moved more comfortably, with spacious and well demarcated houses. In this logic, it is recommended, although difficult, to avoid or foldable models.
Finally, especially for learning, study or training, it is worth looking for or sets whose board comes with the numbers and demarcations of the houses, from “1” to “8” and “a” to “h”.
Weight and Felt
Two aspects that make the difference in the use and durability of your chess game are the presence of weight and felt in the pieces.
The first, a coin-like metal weight, from stability to part. The second, on the other hand, protects the board from scratches and friction from moving the pieces.
On the market, there are sets with these two inserted at the factory and with the separate items. To avoid mistakes, give priority to the first ones.
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