What Chess Boards Do Pros Use?

If you’re looking into buying chess sets that are designed for competitive use, you’re likely wondering which types are acceptable. After all, you don’t want to invest in a set for yourself for competition play to later find out that it’s not appropriate and that you’ve wasted your money.

Many tournament organisers do provide chess boards and chess pieces for participants, but this isn’t always the case, so it’s a good idea to have your own as a backup at the very least. Even if you don’t get to use it in anger against a tournament opponent, it does allow you to practice your moves at home and hone your skills.

At the Official Staunton Chess Company, we have been providing the finest luxury chess sets available for over 20 years, which places us perfectly to help all kinds of chess players with our expert advice. There are so many different types of chess equipment out there, so it can get pretty confusing if you’re new to the game.

So, to help you in this regard, we now look at the chess sets that are typically used by professional players and passionate amateurs alike. Reading our blog won’t make you an expert on competitive chess, but it will help you avoid buying the wrong kind of product for your needs.

What Chess Sets Do Professionals Use?

Whilst the types of chess equipment needed for competitive play will vary from tournament to tournament, there is a type that is overwhelmingly preferred. In terms of boards, you will typically need one that suits 3.75” pieces. You’ll find that roll-up vinyl chess boards are most commonly used, as people don’t tend to want to risk damaging an expensive board in a public setting.

In terms of chess pieces, the preferred option is the Staunton style, which is perhaps the most recognisable and iconic design in the world. Sure, there are many different options these days, with contemporary or decorative chess sets coming in a wide range of interesting and innovative styles, however, it’s the Staunton name that’s widely accepted wherever a competitive game is happening.

If you deviate from this unmistakable style of chess pieces, you might get a beautiful set to enjoy, but you run the risk of it not being suitable and therefore not accepted to a tournament that you’re trying to enter. It’s best to stick to the tried and trusted Staunton options and ensure that you adhere to the 3.75” size for tournament play.

In The World of Chess, What Does Staunton Mean?

If you ask anyone to mentally visualise chess pieces, what the vast majority of people will think of are Staunton chess pieces. It’s the most iconic and well-known of styles that are synonymous with the game wherever you are in the world. If you think of Staunton as being the international language of chess pieces, you get an understanding of just how ubiquitous the style is in the game.

The Staunton style of chess sets goes back to the mid 19th century, with the original design being named after an English Shakespearean thespian by the name of Howard Staunton in 1849. He was, at the time, the self-proclaimed champion of the world in the game, although he had no involvement in the design or manufacturing of the iconic chess pieces.

It wasn’t then long before Staunton chess pieces were available for public sale after Nathaniel Cooke applied for a patent later that same year. At the time they were chiefly fashioned from wood and now some 170+ years later, they’re still being used by players around the world.

What Chess Board Do They Use in Tournaments?

Another staple of the competitive chess world is the chess clock. For the uninitiated, chess clocks are employed during competitive games to help measure the time being taken by each player. There is usually a set time limit during a tournament game for each competitor to take all of their moves, with the game being lost by the person whose time runs out first.

When talking about tournament chess clocks, there are no hard and fast rules, so long as each player is able to easily and accurately log the amount of time being taken. There are both digital and analogue chess clocks available, with the latter variety being the most commonly seen at competitive events. That said, tournament organisers will often provide clocks to their players, as it’s not that usual for players to bring their own.

Luxury Chess Sets to Suit Every Need

So, as you can see, the scope for tournament chess sets is fairly easy to get your head around, as it’s pretty consistent wherever you play. Ordinarily, professional and competitive amateur chess players will use Staunton pieces on a tournament chess board and organisers will typically provide clocks when they’re needed. Having said that, it’s not guaranteed that games will be timed, whilst it is quite common.

At the Official Staunton Chess Company, we have everything competitive chess players need to take their game to the next level. We also have an incredibly diverse range for players who want to take part in the game at a more sedate level and for people who just love the aesthetics and magic that the pastime offers. Whatever your requirements, you can find what you’re looking at www.officialstaunton.com.

There is a downside to having such a large available choice of chess sets in that it can make it difficult to choose which is right for you, but you shouldn’t fear, as our helpful team is on standby to assist. You can gain the benefit of their considerable chess knowledge by calling us today on 01948 880 060 and they’ll be delighted to assist you in finding the perfect products for your needs.