Just how many chess sets does one need? An avid collectors asks

Looking at the Official Staunton latest chess set offerings had me appreciating the sets very much. I have not yet been motivated to buy one, but I still like them very much.

This got me to thinking, and that's dangerous. How many chess sets does one person need, really?

Of course, we have the pure collector that can never have too many sets because of the definition of a collector and what he does.

We also have the type that is a player and really pays no attention to the set he is playing with except, perhaps, when he is buying it. He only bought the set as a necessity so he would have something to play chess with. Usually, this fellow has one, two at the most, as a number of sets.

Then we have the type that I fall into the category. This is the player that has a lot of sets, so many that people he knows say he is a collector even though he says he is a chess player and not a collector. His/my rationalisation is that he/ I play chess with each and every one of his sets, sort of.

I have found for me, and some others in this category, that there really is a limit to the number of chess sets I need to own. This limit is defined by the number of set styles and details available to use for play where I live.

For styles, we have the Staunton design(s), the Lardy, the Liberty, the Dubrovnik, the Zagreb and the sets that have their own styling like Jonas' Best Chessmen Ever sets and even the ones made by Noj like the Portoroz, President and Pavasovic sets. Sure they are of a Staunton design but they are unique. There are other sets as well coming from Russia, France, England and other countries.

But, my point is that there certainly is a limit of sets to buy then you start seeing redundancy. And I am not here to say that redundancy is bad because I own a Dubrovnik II in Walnut and have a Red Stained one on order. What I mean is that there is a limit to the number of sets that will give one a varied enough playing experience. 

For example, I currently own 13 wood sets and 2 plastic ones that give me the variety of play styles:

1. For tournament or rated, slow games I have my HoS Morphy, Marshall, Players and York Series sets. I also have a Noj produced Best Chessmen Ever set.  When my ordered one arrives, I will have 2 Dubrovnik II sets. That's 8 sets.

2. For faster time controls over G/20 and up to G/60 I have a HoS Championship Series, a Lardy from The Chess Store, and the Best Chessmen ever, Stage 1 from Jonas directly.  That's 3 sets.

3. For what I call my miscellaneous sets I have a HoS Zagreb for Barnes & Noble and coffee house play and a HoS Liberty Series set for blitz and skittles. That's 2 sets, making the total 13.

I do have 2 plastic sets, but I don't really use them at all except the occasional time with the scholastic club I run.

The Lardy set is similar to the Championship Series except the Knight is fuller and not the scooped one of the German Knight design of the Championship.  So it is different and gives a different experience.  That's my excuse and I'm sticking with it.

With the Dubrovnik II's I know I am going to have some redundancy but the red stained one will look very nice on a green and white wood board I have while the walnut one looks good on a walnut board I have from Your Moves Chess and Games. Once again that's my story and I'm sticking with it!


Posted by Carl Miceli on 09 December, 2020
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