For most chess players, chess sets are ubiquitous. The same can be said of a starter chess set. No two sets are the same and each can serve a different purpose. I have chess sets ranging from small pocket sets to ebony carved Staunton pieces. I use the small sets to play over games in chess books. The bigger sets I take with me to play casual blitz chess or an official tournament game.
The Chess House was nice enough to send me an official World Chess – Starter Chess Set to review. It’s an all-in-one set made of high quality plastic pieces and comes with a foldup board. It is a cross between a tournament set and an analysis set – you can use it for both.
All the pieces appear to be made from high impact plastic with felt bottoms. I love the design. Each piece has smooth edges around it. This is probably to prevent the inevitable chipping others sets have if someone were to drop them on a hard floor. The pieces are easy to hold and easy to manipulate.
To put that to the test, I played over several classical games using this set. The board is easy to look at although I would suggest having different purchasing options for the square colors. Green and white are the most common but even a light brown and would lessen the contrast between the squares and pieces.
The set has the official design approved by FIDE for the World Chess Championship cycle events.
I’ve read feedback from other customers that the board is too small for the pieces but it feels fine to me. Technically, this is a regulation-size board but it falls on the lower range of acceptable FIDE requirements. Given that, I would not recommend this board for tournament play.
What constitutes a regulation sized board from non-regulation? FIDE has a process for measuring that. If you can fit 4 pawns within a single square of the board, it is considered ideal size.
As you can see in the photo, four pawns do not quite fit within the confines of a square. Hence the reason why some people complain about the small board size. Someone asked me if the starter chess set pieces could be used on a standard USCF vinyl board. The answer is yes!
World Chess Starter Chess Set – gameplay and final thoughts
The only way to assess a new chess set is to play on it. I’ve included a brief video below. Here I am playing through a game (Kasparov-Illescas Cordoba) using the starter chess set. You can see that it’s easy to move the pieces quickly and with some authority. Placing a piece on a square with some force does not knock it over, nor does it disrupt the other pieces. Capturing other pieces is a natural movement and can be done with one hand.
Analyzing a position is easy on the eyes and does not cause eye strain.
Overall, this is a high quality set that I would recommend for anyone to add to their chess set collection. The pieces are well designed and can be used on the enclosed board or on a standard USCF vinyl board. Each piece is well constructed and less likely to chip or crack if it is dropped.
The box that the set comes with should not be thrown away. It acts as a nice storage system, complete with a magnetic catch in the front!
Please visit the Chess House to purchase the set by clicking here.
What are your thoughts on purchasing a new chess set? Please share them below!