7 Best Wooden Chess Sets Reviewed

best wooden chess set

Wooden chess sets are a staple of the chess community and are appreciated by pros and newcomers alike. We’ve put together a list of the best wooden chess sets to suit different needs.

With this list, you’ll be able to find a wooden chess set no matter what you’re looking for. If you’re trying to find that perfect gift for the chess player in your life, we’ve got something for you.

Top 7 Wooden Chess Sets (Our Review)

Chess House 12” Magnetic Travel Chess Set In Rosewood

Chess House 12” Magnetic Travel Chess Set In Rosewood

Small and convenient for travel, this is the best wooden chess set for those who plan on taking their games out with them or for playing on the road.

The chessboard is made using wood printing technology. Wood printing makes for a more durable board and saves on the cost of it being made using different types of wood. The durability is good for keeping the board in top shape and protecting it where the case might not.

The board measures 12 x 12 inches with a square size of 1 inch. It has a green billiard felted base to protect the surface from most damage, which comes in handy if you’re playing in a cafe or a similar establishment.

This is a Chess House magnetic wooden chess set, so it’s suitable for play in various situations. Be it on the road or outdoors on a windy day, or even mid-fight, this gives you the chance to play chess anywhere you’d like.

The chess pieces are handcrafted in India using rosewood and boxwood with a glossy finish and have a green felted base, with a king height of 2 inches. The magnets are powerful enough to keep the board and pieces in place during even the bumpiest car or airplane journeys.

It comes with a black zippered bag for chess piece storage. The bag is padded with individual slots for the chess pieces. The pieces can be a little tricky to remove because of how deep the slots are, but it keeps them secure and gives you somewhere to store the pieces during a game.

Pros

  • Magnetic chess set
  • Portable
  • Storage bag included
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Chess piece felting can peel

The House Of Staunton Library Grandmaster Chess Set

The frame of the chessboard is made of mahogany and measures 17.5 x 17.5 inches. The beautifully designed chessboard alternates between mahogany and maple wood for the squares. Each square measures 1.75 inches.

Algebraic notation is jotted around the frame of the board, which makes it a great learning tool for beginners. This is a library-sized chessboard, so it’s unsuitable for tournament chess.

This is a fairly standard wooden chess set with a traditional design, and all the necessities you would look for in a well-crafted chess set.

A satin finish gives the chessboard a warm glow that makes wooden chess sets stand out from their plastic counterparts. The Staunton-style chessmen are handcrafted by artisans from The House of Staunton, with a king height of 3.25 inches.

Billiard cloth covers the base of the chess pieces, which helps to keep the board free from scratches. Each piece is weighted nicely and offers good stability during play.

The wooden chess set comes with a black slide top box with velour padding on the inside. It’s easily large enough to house a full set of tournament-size chessmen.

This is a good set for anyone wanting something not overly large, but still decently sized without breaking the bank.

Pros

  • Comes with extra queens
  • Has a container for the chessmen
  • Affordable
  • Chessmen are heavily weighted

Cons

  • Not suitable for tournaments

The Burnt Zagreb 1959 Series Chess Set

The Burnt Zagreb 1959 Series Chess Set

What makes the Burnt Zagreb 59 wooden chess set stand out is its beautifully crafted chessmen. The pieces are handcrafted by House of Staunton’s master artisans and are made out of natural boxwood.

The wood is lightly scorched, giving it a charred appearance that’s decorated with intricate carvings embossed into the burnt wood.

In this set, each piece feels like a work of art. The chessmen are weighed and have billiard padding at the base, with a king height of 3.875 inches.

The board has a mahogany frame half an inch high. It’s made from blackwood for the dark squares and maple for the light squares, with The House of Staunton logo printed on the H1 square. The combination of different types of wood goes a long way towards the decorative look of the chess pieces.

Along with the board and pieces, you get a beautiful box to store your pieces. The box has green billiard cloth padding and is split into 2 sections so the pieces can be separated by color. It has a lock and key for the chessmen to be extra secure while not in use.

This is a wooden chess set best suited for those who believe that chess is more than just a game and want something that looks good. This chess set will work in any space, be it an office or living area.

Pros

  • Beautifully crafted chessmen
  • Comes with a storage box
  • The box has a lock and key
  • Extra queens for pawn promotion

Cons

  • Not suitable for tournaments

Man Ray Chess Set

This, like the Burnt Zagreb, is another chess set that has skillfully made pieces, albeit a little less conventional than the regular Staunton-style chessmen.

Instead of standard chessmen, these pieces are hand-carved as various geometric shapes. The king stands at 3.25 inches in the shape of a pyramid, an Egyptian symbol associated with kingship. The queen takes the form of a cylinder in reference to the shape of a medieval queen’s headgear.

While they may seem random and abstract, the Man Ray chess pieces were each crafted with symbolic meaning for the character that they represent.

The craftsmanship is amazing, but the pieces are not weighted. Since the chess pieces are the primary focus of this board, having them be weighted would have scored the chess set a few extra points.

The board dimensions are 17 x 17 inches and it’s made from veneered beech wood with green felt padding at the base.

The board itself is well-made, yet fairly plain-looking. It has no frame, and the entirety of the board’s surface is used as the playing area.

On its own, it’s nothing remarkable, but being paired with the chess pieces helps both the board and the pieces themselves stand out.

The Man Ray chess set might not be for everyone, but for those chess players who enjoy a bit of modern art, this would be a great set to play with and have on display.

Pros

  • Beautifully crafted chess pieces
  • The board is veneered
  • Violin scroll-shaped knight
  • Looks like modern art

Cons

  • Chess pieces not weighted

House Of Chess Rio Staunton Biggie Knight Chess Set

This tournament-size chess set measures 21 x 21 inches with a square size of 2.25 inches. It’s made from golden beech wood and has algebraic notation carved along the frame.

The board is foldable and acts as a storage space for the chess pieces. The interior of the box is lined with foam padding, with individual compartments for the pieces keeping them securely in place.

While the foldable board is great for storage, it doesn’t lock into place when laid flat. This means that playing on anything other than a completely flat surface will leave you with an uneven board.

The pieces are hand-carved and individually buffed to give them a soft sheen. They are heavily weighted which adds to their sturdy feel. The pieces have billiard cloth padding on the base to protect the board from chips and scratches.

The knight pieces are given special attention in this set, hence the chess set’s name. They are carved with distinctive and detailed features and are noticeably larger than knights.

With its quality, weighted chess pieces, and large board, this chess set will sit nicely with those who enjoy tournament-style games.

Pros

  • Weighted pieces
  • Built-in storage
  • 2 extra queens
  • Tournament size

Cons

  • Not convenient or travel

Palomo Staunton Chess Set

Palomo Staunton Chess Set

Chess players and enthusiasts with a love for high-quality wood will find this luxurious Palomo Staunton wooden chess set to their liking. It’s made from an array of woods that complement each other nicely.

The chessboard is made of South American walnut and maple with a laminated frame to keep the wood in good shape. This protects it from warping due to water damage or being stored in a damp space. It has a frame decorated with maple inlay, which adds to the beauty of the board.

As an added feature, the board also has a hole made for hanging the board up as decorative artwork. The ability to hang this board up means it would make a great gift or heirloom piece.

The handcrafted pieces are each hand-polished with lacquer and buffed to give them a bit of sheen, and they come with extra queens. The white pieces are made from boxwood, while the black pieces are made from a rare kind of wood called African Padauk. This wood is known for its brownish-red color, which makes for stunning chess pieces.

In addition to being nice to look at, the pieces are all heavily weighted with padded bases. The king height is 4.4 inches. These pieces, as well as the wooden board, have a good balance of aesthetics and functionality which is uncommon for many decorative wooden chess sets.

Pros

  • Pieces made from rare wood
  • Laminated frame
  • Chess pieces are weighted
  • Can be hung on a wall as decorative artwork

Cons

  • Somewhat pricey

The Golden Collector Series Luxury Chess Set

The Golden Collector Series Luxury Chess Set

The Golden Collector Series Luxury chess set is made from Red amboyna elm burl which is used for the dark squares while the light squares are made from bird’s eye maple.

The combination of ebony and maple that makes up the frame helps the chess pieces stand out and contrasts well with the chessboard.

The chess pieces are made from antique boxwood and genuine ebony and are handcrafted by The House of Staunton’s master artisans. On top of showcasing top-tier craftsmanship, the pieces have a solid weight to them. This does a good job of adding to their value and showing that this isn’t just a chess set meant for display.

Leather padding with the brand name adorns the base of the pieces which is a nice added detail and reflects on the quality of this set.

It comes with a box that’s crafted in Italy. The accompanying box contains individual slots for the chessmen and is lined with a red velour felt padding. The padding and slots keep the chessmen safe and the lock and key keep them extra secure.

For collectors who appreciate a chess set of high quality, this set is definitely one of the most luxurious on this list. From the chessmen to the chessboard and frame and even the container, every part of it screams quality.

Pros

  • Weighted chessmen
  • Beautifully crafted
  • English leather padding

Cons

  • Steep price

Conclusion

The chess sets on this list varied from model to model, some focused on functionality, some on portability, and others on their aesthetics.

Whether you’re looking for something to take with you on vacation, or you just want something to spruce up your living room, there’s bound to be a wooden chess set here for you.

Related Posts