Buying the right Chess Pieces Set and Board


The size of chess pieces in relation to the chess board is mostly a matter of personal taste. Tournament play is the exception, since very clear specifications are given for piece sizes and boards. USCF (United States Chess Federation) equipment standards are outlined in their rules and are covered in another article we have written. For pieces USCF specifies a King that measures between 3 3/8" to 4 1/2" with a base diameter of 40-50% of the height.

If you look at our descriptions of chess pieces you will notice that we try to include the height and base diameter of each King. That's because we have found this ratio to be an effective method of choosing a board for a given set of chess pieces. The proper square size for a set of good Staunton chess pieces is such that the width of the base of the King should be 78% of the width of a square. So, divide the King's base diameter by 0.78 and you get the proper square size.

You can increase the square size by 1/8", but the square size should not be any smaller. For example a Staunton King with a base diameter of 1.75" would require a square size of 2.25" x 0.78 = 1.75" (1.75 / .78 = 2.24). But a very simple way is just add .5 (one half) an inch to the King base. That should do it!
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