Whether your gift recipient is a hardcore chess aficionado or they’re simply interested in giving the game a try for the first time, finding the right chess set isn’t the easiest task. If you’re shopping for a chess set, you don’t want to pick just any set as the gift you give them.
After all, your family member or friend can likely pick up a standard chess set at any big box store for themselves. But for a gift that really impresses, try one of these 15 best chess sets for gifting!
High-End Chess Sets
Willing to drop a bit of cash on this gift for your special someone? One of these high-end and luxury chess sets might be the perfect option!
While not the most luxurious chess set on our list, this option is definitely a high-tech chess set. It is an ideal choice for beginners who are starting to learn all about the rules, as well as the ins and the outs, of the game.
Able to be played by either one or two players, the talking computer, along with its sensory board and LCD screen, offers instructions and advice as you play the game. Once you’ve mastered the basics, you can try any of the 12 different chess modes, 30 chess difficulty levels and 100 pre-set chess practice exercises.
This hand-carved wood chess set is made from olive wood and features artistically interpreted chessmen in a natural wood tone and black. The Etsy seller will allow you to personalize the chess set at checkout, by having your recipient’s name carved into the wood, for an extra-special touch.
For the chess beginner who’s all business and no frills, go with this best-seller chess set that includes a digital chess clock, triple-weighted regulation plastic game pieces and a vinyl chessboard. There’s also a chess bag for carrying it all around.
If your recipient loves Harry Potter just as much as they love the game of chess, give them this themed Harry Potter chess set, which is modeled after the wizard chess set that appeared in the first movie. The set includes 32 plastic chess pieces, a board and pouches for keeping the pieces separate and tidy.
For something a little fancier and artistic, try this set that’s just the pieces, This pieces-only chess set, designed by Josef Hartwig in 1923. Each piece is some sort of geometric combination of cubes and spheres, for a minimalist, modern look. Yes, your favorite chess player will need to provide their own board, but when they see these beauties, they won’t complain.
This chess set from Uncommon Goods is an incredibly unique option. The “set” features a vertically-hanging square of wood with holes for every square on a traditional chess board. The pieces are tiny cubes with their identity stamped onto their exterior. Move the cubes around the squares to play the game, no table needed.
Even if this isn’t the most functional or practical of chess set gifts, it is very eye-catching and will make a fun piece of home decor, regardless of whether or not your friend or family member uses it all that much.
This customizable chess board folds open to reveal an interior case for the pieces, which can be laser-printed with your recipient’s name. The box’s exterior is made from pearl and veneer-coated wood, while the chessmen are made from cast iron. This is one high-end set that’s pretty, but also pretty functional.
For another modern and minimalist chess set, but maybe not as modern as the Bauhaus chess pieces above, look to this lucite chess set that features high-quality lucite and acrylic pieces atop a full lucite board. You can choose different color combinations, too, to match your recipient’s decor or even their favorite sports team.
For the chess fiend who has more than one chess-loving friend of their own, this three-man chess set allows for three players at once. Sure, it requires a bit of a learning curve, but for the player looking for a new challenge, this option is a great way to add a little excitement to their normal routine.
Often, you’ll be hard pressed to find a chess set that has more of a feminine vibe. But luckily, if you’re shopping for your favorite girly-girl and want a chess set that will blend in with their preferred pastels and pinks, you’ve come to the right place.
This handmade chess set available on Etsy features a concrete, hand-stained board and resin pieces in light pink and mint green. The board is mint green and white. Both feature felt bottoms and the set comes with a wooden storage box for the pieces.
This wooden chess set might not be all that functional — it’s pretty tiny, after all — but it is very cute. Miniature to the max, the wooden board features a small drawer for storing all of the tiny pieces. Yes, you could play with it, if you wanted, but it also makes a really adorable piece of decor.
Budget-Friendly Chess Sets
Want to keep things a bit more budget-friendly? There’s nothing wrong with that! You can find a range of attractive and unique chess sets for under $40.
This fine glass chess set includes a mix of frosted and clear glass pieces, set atop a clear and frosted chess board. The set comes in a box with a carrying handle, so it’s easy to move about as needed, but it also makes a nice focal point in any room, if your recipient wants to leave it in one spot.
This regulation tournament chess set is a nice, unique pick for the friend who’s always on the go, and who wants to take their favorite game with them. The chess board is made from vinyl, and both the chessmen and the chessboard are magnetic, so everything stays put, even during turbulence or a gust of wind. The chessmen are also weighted. Everything tucks away in a non-woven fabric bag and altogether weighs less than three pounds.
For the ultra-beginner, this easy-to-learn chess set helps them easily learn and memorize the ins and outs of chess. Each plastic piece features a diagram on the side, which shows the player where and how each piece can move, as well as the piece’s name. The kit includes a 15 inch by 15 inch chessboard, along with 32 plastic pieces and a guide.
This folding chess set comes in a wooden, mahogany box that unfolds to create the board, but that, when folded, provides an organized and convenient resting place for a full chess set and additional set of 24 checkers. Sleek and attractive, the set is easy to take on the go and the checkers are a nice addition if your recipient also wants to play a more kid-friendly game with the children of the household.
Chess Gifts That Aren’t Sets
Have a chess fanatic in your family or friend group whom you already know has a ton of chess sets at home? Or maybe you’re already aware of the fact that they have a tried-and-true favorite chess set.
If that’s the case, you might not even want to try to compete with their current collection! Instead, get them one of these great chess gifts that aren’t sets.
This Chess.com membership is a good gift when you’re just really unsure as to what your chess-loving friend or family member needs or wants. If you go with the more expensive plan, which is still relatively affordable, your friend will get access to a wealth of resources, including chess lessons, puzzles and a video library.
Another relatively affordable membership gift, this one will get your recipient a subscription to Chess Life magazine and access federation events. If they’re looking to get into competing, this is where they’ll want to start.
Slightly more modern than Chess.com, Chessable is an app all about helping members up their game using science-backed techniques. With a membership from Chessable, users will find courses covering openings, end games, strategy, tactics and more, in multiple languages.
Your friend has already probably binged the entire Netflix series because let’s be honest — so many people did so the day it came out! But have they read the book? Written by Walter Tevis, The Queen’s Gambit is a novel that is also an affordable gift! Talk about a win-win, but it’s sure to provide hours of entertainment for the ones you love who adore the game of chess!
If your friend already has a favorite chess set in their office or library, add to their chess decor with these large bookends shaped like a knight and a rook. Each stands seven inches high and four inches wide and weighs just over three pounds.
For more decor, go with these patent prints from Amazon that look very vintage and ultra-cool. You get a set of six, 8 inches by 10 inches, unframed prints depicting various chess piece and board designs. They’ll make an attractive, interesting addition to your recipient’s office or home.
How to Shop for a Chess Set
As you shop for a chess set for your gift recipient, consider keeping a few of these things in mind!
While a lot of chess sets are ideal for a range of players — no matter their skill level — some chess sets are intended only for beginners. As such, they may include handy features that make learning the game even easier. If your gift recipient is eager to try chess for the first time, you may want to opt for one of these beginner-level sets in an effort to make their learning experience easier and more enjoyable.
You can find chess sets made from a variety of materials, including plastic, wood and glass. The material you prefer when it comes to the chess set will depend on personal preference, but you should try to look for durability and easily recognizable pieces. That way, your gift recipient will be able to identify which piece is which with a quick glance.
Chess sets can generally be split into four different types, including decorative, practical, tournament and travel. Which type would be most useful to your gift recipient?
If they don’t play all that often or they already have a favorite playing set, you might want to go with a decorative set. If they need a starter set to play with instead, go ahead and choose the practical option.
On the other hand, if they’re getting serious about upping their skills, help them out with a tournament set. If they’re a frequent traveler or they like to take their set on the go relatively often, a travel chess set might be just the thing they need.
Extra features that you might want to consider when shopping? Things like weight and magnets! Weighted pieces are nice if your recipient often plays outdoors or if they have a bumbling pet or small child in the household.
That’s because weighted chess pieces are far less likely to tip over, even if the board has been bumped into my pets or children alike. The same is true of magnetic pieces.
Of course, budget matters. How much are you willing to spend on this gift? You can find chess sets that cost anywhere from $10 to $1,000 and sometimes even more. Since there’s such a massive range in price, you’ll want to have an idea of how much you want to spend prior to shopping and then go from there.
It’s Your Move!
Ready to pick out the perfect gift for your chess-loving friend or family member? Whatever your budget, and even if you don’t know the first thing about chess, you can delight them with one of the gifts on our list!
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21 Chess Sets [And Other Ideas!] That Make Great Gifts:
- iCore Electronic Talking Chess Computer Set
- Olive Wood Rough Edges Chess Set
- Deluxe DGT North American Chess Set Combination
- Harry Potter Wizard Chess Set
- Bauhaus Chess Pieces
- Wall Chess Set
- Antochia Crafts Custom Chess Set
- Tizo Design Lucite Chess Set
- Three-Man Chess Set
- Somone Studios Handmade Chess Set
- Letteroom Personalized Luxury Chess Set
- SRENTA 10″ Fine Glass Chess Game Set
- Yellow Mountain Imports Regulation Tournament Chess Game Set
- The Chess Teacher
- A&A 15-Inch Wooden Folding Chess & Checkers Set
- Chess.com Membership
- U.S. Chess Federation Annual Membership
- Chessable Pro Membership
- The Queen’s Gambit
- Decorative Chess Bookends
- Vintage Chess Game Patent Prints