Chess Board Sizing

A fine chess set, properly matched with an equally fine chess board is an irresistible thing!

Many of our customers ask for advice on matching a chess board to a chess set. We are happy to offer some advice on what can be a somewhat challenging exercise. Matching your chess set and board is a very personal thing and ultimately the choice is yours, what we offer here are guidelines and advice that may assist you in making your own decision.

There are a few items that we believe bear consideration:

  • The size of the squares relative to the chess pieces.
  • The colours of the chess pieces and the colours of the chess board.
  • The size of the chess board in relation to where you will use or display it.

We believe in using, what we term, the 75% King’s Coverage Rule. In terms of this rule, the base diameter of the king should cover approximately 75% of the width of the square (5% over or under will not matter too much). By way of example on a board that has 5 x 5 cm squares, the ideal chess set would have a king with a 3.75 cm base in terms of the 75% King's Coverage Rule. On the detailed description of our sets we give the king’s height which gives an indication of the relative size of the set and also the diameter of the king’s base which assists in choosing and appropriate chess board. We also provide a recommendation for each set regarding the size of the board.

Having sorted out the the correct size of the board, the next thing to consider is the choice of wood type or colour of your board. There is a huge variety in terms of choice, there are many different types of wood, stain or finish, the most important consideration here is what looks right to you. You may go for a wood that is similar in colour and grain to your chess pieces, you may wish to have a board that contrasts strongly against the colours of the chess pieces, again the choice ultimately is yours. From a very practical point of view consider the following:

  • A matt finish on the board will minimise or prevent glare from sunlight or strong overhead lighting during play, it is also less prone to showing up minor scuffs and scratches.
  • A good veneer board will generally outlast a solid board that has not been properly cured and very well joined.

Lastly, some consideration should be given to where you are going to keep your board. Consider whether your investment is going to be out on display perhaps in your lounge or office etc. Have a look at exactly where you want to place it and ensure that it will fit. Some of our chess boards are very large and when you actually receive it, you may find that your estimate was a little short. We recommend that you check the exact dimensions and then use newspaper to make a square of the same size. Use this paper template to test the placing and ensure that it will fit properly to avoid not having a place when your new chess board arrives. A good tip is not to place your board where it will receive a lot of direct sunlight as over time this will damage your board.