The Best Chess Set

Ambassador High Detail European Wooden Handmade Chess Set

Our Top Pick for 2016: Ambassador High Detail European Wooden Handmade Chess Set
Read our full review.

See it on Amazon for $55.34*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.
Too expensive? See our budget pick.

You can find a chess set in many stores, but if you are someone who is passionate about playing chess and the details matter to you, you may want a chess set that not only provides you with quality that will last for years to come, but that also has intricate detail and is eye-catching. Following are the four best chess sets on the market today that have many raving reviews and positive things about them. From great pricing to beautiful materials and handiwork, you can find a top chess set that will suit your needs and look good doing so. Take a look.

Table of contents

Chessmen Are Weighted
Hand Carved Board And Pieces
15″ X 15″ Folding Chess Board
Pieces Are Made From Hornbeam And Sycamore Wood
Incredible Detail
Inlaid Walnut
King 3.54″, Queen 3.11″, Pawn 1.77″
King 4.5″, Queen 3.66″, Pawn 2.28″
3″ King Piece
Board Measures 18.58″w X 18.58″d X 2.36″h
Board Measures 21.65″w X 1.18″h X 21.65″d
Felted Interior
Hand Crafted In Poland
Made From Beech And Birch Wood
Hand Crafted Staunton Style

*Price at time of publishing and may not reflect current pricing.

#1 Gold pick (Winner): Ambassador High Detail European Wooden Handmade Chess Set

Ambassador High Detail European Wooden Handmade Chess Set Gold Pick

View it on Amazon for $55.34*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-gold-winnerIf you like intricate details and excellent craftsmanship in your chess sets, you will love the Ambassador European Handmade Chess Set, which is first on the list of best chess sets for many reasons. Whether it’s the beauty of it being handmade or it’s the artistic detail in every single detail of the chess board and pieces, this chess set is not only fabulously functional with its storage space in the board, but it also looks beautiful and decorative.

You can use it when you’re playing or even leave it out as décor, simply due to it being one of the most attractive sets around. The kings and queens have extra design that make them look regal and stand out from the rest of the pieces. What makes this chess board stand out and be considered an ultimate favorite for many a chess enthusiastic is the intricacy of every single design. It is a definite artistic masterpiece without taking away from the usability of the chess set.

All the pieces and board are made out of different types of wood, such as sycamore, beech, birch, and hornbeam. The lacquered finish helps to provide the chess set with a smooth feel. Expertly painted with cream and dark brown colors, there is a beautiful contrast between the two sides. Some boards may have very bold and marked colors, but with the suave finish on the pieces and board, it’s easy to play long hours on this board without irritating your eyes.

The pieces are very light and easy to move, which can be both a positive and a negative. Some people appreciate magnetic pieces that may be more durable and withstand an “attack” from children or unexpected falls or bangs, but it is this same lightness that provides the set with the classy feel.

If you are looking for a simple and child-proof chess set to play around with, with your young children, this board may not be for you. For an older child who has been playing chess for a while and understands the seriousness of the game and respecting the delicate handiwork of the set, it may be a fun experience for them.

If you want a chess set that has a European feel that will make you feel “fancy” and detailed craftsmanship means something to you, this board will not disappoint. Nearly everyone who has been playing chess for a long time appreciates chess boards that have some sort of style to them. From hours of staring at the board and moving the pieces to the appreciation of everything that chess is, a chess set like the Ambassador is one that you would most likely want in your chess set collection (if you have one.)

For its low price of only $64.61 for the amazing handcrafting, this chess set is one that will look lovely in almost any household. Many seasoned chess players may have once learned on simple plastic sets at some point in their lives, but it’s this type of board that catches their attention now. While not weighted like tournament chess sets, the size of the pieces and board is a good size that allows easy maneuvering and playing.

What makes this chess set a favorite pick is the functional storage space inside the board. With cushioned slots for each piece, you won’t forget any pieces and you will be able to move it from one place to another without any problems. Many people like to bring their chess sets to other places, such as to the park for a picnic and a game of chess or to a friend’s house for drinks and a friendly challenge. The portability provided by the foldable board makes this chess set ideal for anyone who likes the idea of socializing with chess. The only thing to remember about this set is that it is light-weight and therefore somewhat easy to damage.

With the board dimensions of 21.65 width x 1.18 height and squares measuring at 2.24 x 2.24, there is plenty of space on the board and for the pieces, yet without it being excessively large that it gets in the way. All in all, it is a reliable, good quality, and beautifully crafted chess set that looks good and plays well. You will be sure to receive positive comments and appreciation from others who appreciate chess sets and boards as much as you do with the Ambassador High Detail European set.

#2 Silver pick (Runner-up): Wegiel Chess Set

Wegiel Chess Set

View it on Amazon for $51.61*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-silver-winnerNext on the list of best chess sets is the Weigel Chess Set. With fine detail and incredible craftsmanship, it also appeals to the eye and looks great on any table. Handmade and with intricate design, it feels old-timey in a fun and classy way. While much thinner than the number one product on this list which could make it feel like it could easily break, it makes it easy to carry around for use elsewhere.

The coffee colored brown against the cream provides it with a contrast that is neither clash-y or too bold, which when it comes to long games matters. The size of the Weigel Chess Set may be considered large by some at 18.58 width x 2.36 height, but many people appreciate the room for movement without worrying about accidentally moving pieces. The size doesn’t take away from the attractiveness of the board and may only matter to someone who doesn’t have much space for the set. All the beautifully designed pieces are weighted which means that they won’t fall easily, helping you to keep their places on the board.

Another favorite aspect of the Weigel Chess Set is the detail on every piece. Because every single Weigel Chess Set is handmade, each person who gets a set will be getting a very unique yet equally intricate board and pieces. Each piece has been obviously handcrafted by experts and the Kings and Queens have special detail that helps them stand out, as they should.

The board is somewhat thin, but this doesn’t take away from the storage space in the board. There is plenty of room inside with space for each piece. Anyone who likes to take games to play with friends or to bring on a trip will love the portability and sleek feel of the Weigel Chess Set.

Made out of different types of wood, this chess set feels like a classic and will appeal to many chess enthusiasts who like the quality and feel of a handmade chess board and set as opposed to cheaply made plastic boards.

The Weigel Chess Set is made in Poland and has a classy European touch. Many people who own chess boards love to leave them out, perhaps in the middle of a game or simply as some type of interim décor. When it comes to such a classically beautiful board, it’s a pleasure to have this chess set gracing a coffee table. While parents may want to be careful with pieces, both for their little ones’ sake, as well as for the delicately made set, this chess set looks as great as it feels.

For anyone who likes portability in their chess set, but most importantly beauty, this chess set will most likely exceed your expectations. From the design on every chess piece to the lacquered finish of the set, it is a great option for its fair price of $59.99. Some may consider this a high price for a chess set, but when you remember it’s handmade with obvious craftsmanship, it makes complete sense and for many seasoned chess players is a great deal for a beautiful set.

#3 Bronze pick (3rd place): Chess Armory Wooden Chess Set

Chess Armory Wooden Chess Set

View it on Amazon for $26.99*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-bronze-awardThis gorgeous chess set may not be as intricately designed as the above two, but it is without a doubt still a board that will add life to any living room or home. While not as fancy or as classic as the Weigel Chess Set or the Ambassador, it has a classy and smooth look that is both simple and elegant. If you are looking for more design on your chess set, the first and second place winners on this list may be what you are looking for, but if a beautiful and affordable chess set is something you would like, the Chess Armory Set is a fantastic option.

Whether you are looking for a chess set for you or for your children to learn to play on, the Chess Armory Set is a durable set that will stand up to continuous use. Made out of wood with walnut, it remains a classy chess board yet without being too costly. Priced at around $29.99, it is definitely a chess set that is worth the price. There are some plastic or cheap material boards and sets out there for similar pricing, so the fact that this beauty is made out of primarily wood is an attractive feature of this affordably priced chess set.

Many users appreciate the high quality of the board, even if it is a simpler option than many of the handcrafted chess sets available. For its low price, people get a great looking chess set with storage and attractive pieces. Best of all, it can be used by anyone in the household, making it ideal for continuous use.

It has great storage space inside of the board so that you never lose a piece. Each piece has its own space, making it easy for you to keep track of each one. There’s nothing like losing a chess piece and not being able to play the game for the loss of one piece. This attractive feature of the Chess Armory Set is high on the list for many users.

Some people may be annoyed at the latches that may make it feel a bit unstable, but the majority of Chess Amory Set users are happy with the board overall. The pieces are light-weight, but the felt on the bottom of them helps to keep them “grounded,” so to speak.

This chess set is a better option for families and kids who want to learn how to play or who like to play as a family, due to it being a bit thicker and less detailed than the above-mentioned chess sets. It still maintains the classic wooden look that can make it a decorative piece in your home, but will withstand the rambunctious playing of young children.

The Armory Chess Set is sized at 15″ x 15″ which means it is on the larger side of the spectrum. Again, this board is great for beginners and children as it provides them with space and durability for learning. For people who are chess enthusiasts with years of playing, they may prefer something a bit more detailed and perhaps smaller. Yet, it remains to be an attractive chess set that has been made with beautiful hand crafted Staunton style chess pieces. For people who have a lower price budget to spend on a chess board, but who want quality and beauty in their chess set, this is a fabulous option for you.

#4 Budget pick (Best cheap): Yellow Mountain Imports Travel Magnetic Chess Mini-Set

Yellow Mountain Imports Travel Magnetic Chess Mini-Set

View it on Amazon for $4.99*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-cheap-budget-pickFor anyone who wants to find a durable and usable chess set that can be taken on trips and used for any occasion that is offered at a low and convenient price, the Yellow Mountain Imports Travel Chess Set is the perfect pick.

While it is most likely not the favorite pick of someone who has been playing chess for years who loves the look of handcrafted and delicately designed boards and pieces, it does its job of providing entertainment and fun for people who want to play chess anytime or anywhere.

It is small enough to pack into your bag to take on trips or vacations and can easily be stored at home. It measures around 6.3 width and 0.5 height, making it the smallest chess set on the list. While it isn’t as aesthetically pleasing as wooden chess sets, it is definitely better looking than many travel sets. The gold and silver pieces give it some style which isn’t always found in low-priced travel mini-sets.

It has smaller pieces than your average chess set, making it a hazard for younger children if you have any at home. The pieces have magnetic parts which help them to stay on the board. Its price is so low at only $6.99, that the fact that it is made out of cheap material should not even matter.

While this is a tiny set, the pieces fit inside a storage compartment inside of the board so that you don’t have to worry about carrying around an extra bag. As price would have it, there is no specialized compartment for each piece as you would find in a $70.00 wooden chess set, but it does its job well, and best of all, you can still play a game of chess no matter where you are.

For its quality, portability, eye-catching pieces and set, and durability, it is a good buy for the money. Not a classic, but it will surely make many trips happier ones and if you’re a parent of older kids, they will most likely appreciate playing with this game without worrying about ruining any delicate design. If you want a cheap and miniature chess set for trips or your children, the Yellow Mountain Imports Travel Chess Set may be the one for you.

Conclusion (Wrapping it up)

Each chess set on this list has its own quality and beauty for what it is. The winning title has to go to the Ambassador High Detail European chess set for its beautiful design on every piece and on the board. Professionally handcrafted and made out of good quality wood and materials, it is both stunning and fairly priced. It has all of the components of what makes a chess set a winner. From the fabulous price to the quality detail and portability of this chess set, there is almost nothing to complain about when it comes to the Ambassador European Chess Set. Those who love handmade items will appreciate the hard work and close attention to detail that is evident in every part of the Ambassador set.

The runner up Weigel Chess Set is very similar yet not as detailed or as durable, but remains a beautiful handiwork and a chess set that will look beautiful in any household. The Chess Armory Set is simple in comparison to the first two chess sets, but it a beautiful wooden set that is both durable and attractive and very conveniently priced. Last and least in price is the Yellow Mountain Imports travel set. It may not be the chess set that you would write home about, but it’s a strong little set for a low price that can fit anywhere for travel use and that your children will love to play with-as long as they are above three years of age.

Depending on how much you have to spend and what you are looking for, these are considered to be some of the best chess sets for their money on the market today. Whether you are a beginner or you have been playing for years, each option provides players with easy playing and maneuvering.

Discussion and comments

We want to know what you think. Do you own any of the products we discussed? Which did you buy and how did it work out for you?

Do you know of an even better product?

Comment below and help your fellow consumers make the right choice. Over to you!


  1. Jessamine Dungo, Chess Armory 15 Inch Wooden Chess Set Review, September 8, 2015
  2. Quentin Turner, Chess Sets from around the World (Part 3: Poland), November 9, 2012
  3. Gilboa, Wegiel Ambassador European Chess Set Review, August 14, 2015

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