If you’ve started your journey to becoming a grandmaster chess player, you’ll need to invest in the best tournament chess set. As with any competitive setting, there are rules and regulations that need to be followed.
There are specific measurements and styles that the chessboards and pieces must adhere to. The chessboard’s squares must be 2 ¼” and the king piece must be between 3 ¾ ” and 4 ¼” tall. The chess pieces must also be designed according to the Staunton style.
Now that we’re on the same page, let’s go ahead and dive into a few tournament chess sets that’ll surely pique your interest.
4 Top Chess Sets For Tournaments (Our Review)
House of Staunton Design Your Own Player’s Combo (Best Overall)
We love that we can decide what board, pieces, and clock that we want, as well as the carry bag. Create your own unique set at an affordable price.
Since all tournament regulations recommend using Staunton-style chess pieces, it would be reasonable to just buy a chess set from the company that popularized it, right?
With this House of Staunton Design Your Own Combo option, you get to choose what you’d like in your set, from the chessboard, the chess pieces, the clock, the carry bag, and even the scorebook. It includes various parts that range from inexpensive to luxurious which means that the price can fluctuate according to what you pick and choose.
You can go super budget-friendly and opt for the cheapest options, go all-out with the fanciest wooden pieces, or you can mix and match to accommodate your tournament chess set preferences.
For example, at no extra cost, you’ll have regulation-friendly chess pieces ready to go, but then there’s also a fancy set that can set you back for a price of about $40.
Unfortunately, the clock and scorebook are the only pieces of equipment that do not include complimentary options, unless you simply don’t buy them with the set. There are also no wooden boards available, only silicone.
This set from the House of Staunton is a good choice for those who find themselves participating in a lot of tournaments and who are always on the go. It provides you with a lot of control over what you’re buying.
- Budget-friendly options available
- Includes complimentary carrying bag
- Pieces modeled in Staunton-style
- Can get expensive
- Too many options
Chess House Chess Set Combo Silver Plate Pro (Best All-Rounder)
The Chess House Combo Silver Plate Pro is a set that you’ll probably see a lot at most tournaments you’ll play. It has all the necessities included like a scorebook, clock, a silicone chessboard, weighted pieces, and a bag for all your goodies.
What makes the silicone chessboard different from a folding chessboard is that it rolls up, making it easy to store, and then roll it out as you need it. The silicone makes the board flexible and heavy enough which is good to use as a travel set.
Having weighted chess pieces is also useful for keeping them from falling over, whether it’s a breeze or a slight bump against the table. The good news is that this set also includes two spare queens for promoting your pawns.
The clock included is the ZMF Pro and has tournament time controls. It comes in black, blue, or silver. Last, but certainly not least, the set includes a sensible travel bag.
All in all, this chess set does a good job of delivering the bare necessities to any chess player. Players would most likely go for a set like this because it’s so straightforward.
- Good for all players
- Complete tournament essentials
- Flexible silicone board
- No personalization
Chess Store’s Weighted Standard Club Plastic Chess Set & Board with Black & Ivory Pieces (Most Practical)
It’s a comfortable weight that provides heavier pieces and stability. The pieces also have felt bases while the chessboard is made from high-quality washable vinyl.
The Weighted Standard tournament chess set from The Chess Store weighs in at around 2 pounds in total.
The chess pieces are made of glossy plastic. The chessboard squares are blue and white, so there’s a nice contrast going on between that and the pieces.
This set also doesn’t feature a travel bag like the more expensive ones, but it does come with heavy-duty ziplock bags for chess pieces. For an extra $3 you can add a scorebook, which can be useful for casual games that require you to record the match.
It doesn’t come with any personalization options but it’s certainly more practical than other chess sets. Still, for around $25 you’d at least want some control over the colors of both the pieces and the board.
- Practical and durable
- Washable board
- No options for personalization
UCF Sales’s Regulation Tournament Chess Pieces and Chessboard Combo (Best Value)
Compared to the other tournament chess sets on our list, this is the least expensive option for chess equipment and promises to last a long time.
The US Chess Federations provides a regulation tournament chess set and solid plastic pieces for around $10.
Unfortunately, this set does not come with its own travel bag. The board is made of vinyl and has numbers and letters on each side to use for algebraic notation. Vinyl ensures that the board will endure heavy use.
This set also includes two extra queen pieces for pawn promotion.
US Chess Federation offers the most affordable set for anyone looking for a budget-friendly option. Sure, you don’t get all the bells and whistles with it but for what it’s worth you’re still getting a chess set that meets tournament standards.
- Cheapest chess set
- 8 different color schemes
- Felted-base pieces
- Staunton-style design
- Chessboard and pieces only
Chess tournaments are stressful at the best of times, more so if you’re worried that your roll-up board might get you ejected. Tournament organizers have their hands full with planning, coaching, and refereeing, so you want to stay on their best side.
Fortunately, if you opt for any of the boards in this list, you can rest easy. This way, you can focus all your energy on one of the world’s oldest competitive board games.