Updated: Mar 19, 2021
When someone is new to chess and wants to buy their first chess set, they may wonder what exactly makes a good chess set? The simple answer to this is the very best chess sets are what are personal to their owners.
Chess sets come in all sorts of sizes and weights of chess pieces and boards. With much practice, a player will eventually find a chess set that suits their style of play and use. So for example, if you only want to play at home, you may enjoy having a stylish marble chessboard with beautiful chess pieces that look great on display.
However, if you travel a lot and want a more portable chess set to take with you, a travel chess set with a lightweight board and robust chess pieces that are not easily damaged during transit will be a better choice.
But no matter what style of chess set you choose, it needs to be made using durable, high-quality materials that will give you great service and stand the test of time.
Staunton style chess sets
Whether you are new to playing chess or not, you will have heard about Staunton Chess Sets. You may also be wondering what is so good about Staunton chess pieces that make them so popular.
The story behind the Staunton company goes back to its founder, UK chess master, Howard Staunton. The Staunton Chess Set is a style that was supposedly created for Staunton because he found it hard to find a chess set that he really liked and was comfortable playing with.
Although Staunton Chess Sets bear the signature of Howard Staunton, there is some ambiguity about whether he had any hand in the design of the chess set. The Staunton pattern chess set was first offered for sale in 1849 by John Jaques of London, but the original design was registered to Nathaniel Cook and was probably named for the esteemed chess champion as Staunton himself never laid claim to being the design creator.
The Staunton design and chess pieces are well-known for their very high-quality build and have gone on to been adopted as the standard competition chess set all over the world.
Iconic chess set design
No matter how many times the chess set gets a new and trendy makeover by an eager designer, nothing has endured throughout the history of chess other than the classic and iconic Staunton Chess Set design. The English Staunton chess pieces have gone on to set the standard of design that only others can hope to emulate.
The Staunton design gained its initial popularity after Howard Staunton adopted it and promoted it in his London Illustrated News chess column. The design has become so iconic and engrained into chess society that it is instantly recognisable and nothing else will do when a keen chess enthusiast wants to choose a chess set to put on display in their home.
However, the House of Staunton hasn't simply sat back on its laurels. The company has gone on to produce new enhanced designs and their reputation for quality craftsmanship has led their chess sets to become the industry standard ever since.