Ever found yourself yearning for a game of chess while on the go? Whether you’re jet-setting across the globe or simply commuting, a travel chess set can be your perfect companion. In this article, we’ve curated a list of the best travel chess sets that combine portability with playability.
Intrigued? Read on to discover the ideal set that will make your travels not just enjoyable, but intellectually stimulating as well.
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If you don’t have much time please check the table below for quick access to our favorites. Detailed guide below.
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Benefits of Travel Chess Sets
Travel chess sets are more than just miniature versions of your home chess set; they offer a range of benefits that make them a must-have for any chess enthusiast. Below, we delve into the key advantages of owning a travel chess set.
- Easy to Carry: Travel chess sets are designed to be lightweight and compact, making them easy to carry in your backpack or luggage.
- Foldable Boards: Many sets come with foldable or roll-up boards, allowing for even easier storage and transport.
- Tough Materials: These sets are often made from robust materials like plastic, metal, or high-quality wood to withstand the rigors of travel.
- Magnetic Pieces: Some sets feature magnetic pieces that stick to the board, reducing the risk of losing them.
Convenience for Travel
- Quick Setup: With a travel chess set, you can set up a game almost anywhere—be it an airport lounge, a park, or a hotel room.
- Multi-Functional: Some travel sets come with built-in storage compartments or even double as chess tables, offering multiple uses.
🔗 Want to take your game to the next level while traveling? Don’t forget to read our tips on how to improve your chess game.
Buying Guide for Travel Chess Sets
Navigating the world of travel chess sets can be a bit overwhelming, especially with the myriad of options available. In this section, we’ll guide you through the essential factors to consider and where to find the best sets to suit your needs.
What to Look for When Buying a Travel Chess Set
- Material Quality: Opt for sets made from durable materials like high-quality wood, metal, or sturdy plastic.
- Board Design: Look for boards that are either foldable or roll-up for easy storage and transport.
- Magnetic or Pegged Pieces: These features help keep the pieces in place, especially useful when playing in moving vehicles.
- Size: Choose a set that fits comfortably in your luggage but is still large enough for an enjoyable game.
- Additional Features: Some sets come with built-in storage compartments or even serve as multi-functional chess tables.
|Feature||Why It’s Important|
|Material Quality||Durability and longevity|
|Board Design||Ease of storage and transport|
|Magnetic Pieces||Stability during play|
|Size||Balance between portability and playability|
Where to Buy the Top-Rated Sets
- Specialty Chess Stores: These stores often offer a curated selection of high-quality sets, including those suitable for tournaments.
- Online Retailers: Platforms like Amazon and eBay are convenient but be cautious and read customer reviews before making a purchase.
- Local Game Shops: Your neighborhood game store can be a hidden gem, offering unique and sometimes handcrafted sets.
- Chess Tournaments: These events often feature stalls selling top-of-the-line chess sets and other chess-related merchandise.
🔗 For in-depth reviews and recommendations on the best chess sets available, don’t miss our Chess Set Reviews category. Here, we provide expert insights on a wide range of chess equipment to help you make the best choice.
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The Best Travel Chess Sets for 2023
In today’s world of Internet shopping, it’s easy to find a wide array of options for anything you’re shopping for. This is also true for travel chess sets.
No matter your budget, you want to be sure that you’re getting the absolute best-quality chess set for your money. We’ve reviewed some of the best travel chess sets, and we hope these reviews will help you choose one that will bring you years of enjoyment.
Ultimate Wooden Magnetic Travel Chess Set
The House of Staunton is the ultimate chess set maker, so we knew it would be top-notch when we found this magnetic chess set.
Hearkening back to travel chess sets from centuries past, the pieces in this set are stout, squat, and easy to grasp. It's made of Golden Rosewood and beautiful, light Maple wood.
These high-quality woods make this set an absolute beauty, but they also ensure that it will last through many years of travel and use.
Although this set is beautiful, it's also functional.
The magnets are incredibly strong. Unlike some sets where the pieces shift when the board is bumped or moved, you can turn this set entirely upside down, and the pieces will stay firmly in place.
If you need to pause your game and finish it later, it's no problem with this board. Use the two-part closure system and secure the lid over the pieces. When you open it up again, they'll be right where you left them.
As far as travel chess sets go, this one is medium-sized.
The king is 1 inch high, and the squares are 0.75 inches. The entire set, once folded, is 7.5 by 7.5 inches. If you're hoping to buy a magnetic chess set, you can't go wrong with one crafted by the House of Staunton. This one is an absolute beauty, and it's one that you'll enjoy for a very long time.
- King Height: 1.5'' inch / 3.81 cm
- Square Size: 1.0'' inch / 2.54 cm
- Travel Set Size: 10" inch x 10" inch
- Materials used: Golden Rosewood & Maple
Folding Wooden Magnetic Travel Chess Set
With this next travel chess offering by the House of Staunton, you have options. Their Folding Wooden Magnetic Travel Chess Set comes in four different sizes. Choose from a 5-inch, 7-inch, 10-inch, or 12-inch chessboard.
The pieces for the 5-inch set are amazingly tiny. If you're a person with large, fumbling fingers, one of the bigger sets may suit you best. If you'd like a micro-chess set that you can easily stash inside a purse or backpack, the smaller sets will be absolutely perfect.
Each of these sets is beautifully crafted from Golden Rosewood and Maple. As with the last House of Staunton magnetic chess set we reviewed, this one features incredibly strong magnets. Turn the entire board upside down during play, and the pieces simply won't move!
The only downside to this chess set is that you must remove all of the pieces and store them in order to fold it up and travel with it.
That being said, it's a wonderful set that lives up to the House of Staunton reputation. The interior of the box has foam inserts so that you can store your chessmen without jostling them around.
No matter which size you choose, you can't go wrong with any of these Folding Wooden Magnetic Travel Chess Sets. The magnetic chess board included with each piece is of the highest quality.
The craftsmanship that goes into carving each wooden piece is simply exquisite. When you travel with a House of Staunton chess set, you travel with a bona fide work of art.
- Solid wood frame construction
- Dimensions; 14 x 7 x 2 3/8" Folded, 14 x 14 x 1 1/8" Unfolded
- Square Size 1.5"
- Entire product weight: 3.4 lbs
- Pieces are made from Shisham & Boxwood
- King Height: 2 3/4 (2.75")
- King Base: 1"
- King Weight: .7 oz
- Piece Set weight: 10.6 oz
Magnetic Travel Chess And Checkers Set
You'll recall that earlier on in this article, we discussed budget. Those who would like a travel magnetic chess set but who are working within a limited budget should definitely consider the Magnetic Travel Chess Set.
Its pieces are rendered in classic black and light colors and are made of plastic, keeping them cost-effective and very light. The board is made of metal (allowing the magnets to stick). The clever thing about this set is the heavy-duty cardboard storage box in which it comes. When you've reached a stopping point mid-game, simply tuck the lid back on the box to pause the game and store the pieces until you're ready to pick it up again.
The playing squares are 14.96 x 7.28 x 1.77 inches. The box that contains the board measures 14" inch x 14" inch. The Magnetic Travel Chess and Checkers Set is a very low-cost, convenient option for enjoying your chess game on the go.
- Versatile Magnetic Board: Play chess and checkers wherever you go with this handy magnetic travel multi-game set; Playing board measures 14 x 14 x 1 inch (36 x 36 x 2.25 centimeters)
- Foldable Chessboard: The board folds with all the game pieces inside it making it portable and easy to travel with
- Magnetic Chess/Checkers Board: This set comes with quality magnetic features for stable gameplay whether you're playing at home, at school or traveling around
- Everything You Need to Play: This set comes with complete chess and checkers playing pieces; Queen: 2.75 x 1.2 inches (7 x 3 centimeters); Checkers: 1 x 0.25 inch (2.8 x 0.5 centimeter)
Sondergut Chess/Checkers Roll-Up Travel Set
For the ultimate in portability, check out this German chess/checkers combination set made by Sondergut. Although this set is non-magnetic, it's small and amazingly lightweight.
Simply unroll the beautiful hand-sewn anthracite/white suede board when you're ready to play. All of your pieces fit in a convenient zippered compartment to one side of the board.
The pieces are round, flat, checkers-style pieces. Use the solid black and white sides of the pieces to play a game of checkers and then flip them over to play a game of chess (the chess piece icons are imprinted on their other sides).
When it's rolled open for play, the Sondergut Chess/Checkers board measures 10 x 12-2/3 inches.
When it's time to go, simply zip the pieces up in the side compartment and pull the brass zipper closed. Roll the board up and button it closed with the attached suede straps.
Once it's all rolled up and secured, the set only measures 10 x 2 inches - the size of a pocket umbrella. It's incredibly lightweight, too, weighing less than 8 ounces.
Although you can't magnetically save your game on the go, this set is absolutely perfect for toting anywhere and everywhere. Take it with you on the beach.
Unroll it on your tray during an airplane flight and make the time pass more quickly. Bring it to a family get-together or cookout to keep everyone entertained. Take it camping. This is the perfect travel chess set to slip into a large purse or a backpack.
For its affordability, convenience, weight, and portability, the Sondergut Chess set is wonderful.
Some may turn their noses up at playing chess with a set that doesn't feature standard chess pieces on a regular board, but others will enjoy the beautiful suede and the delightful, disc-shaped pieces.
- Designed in Germany by our backpacker friends at Sondergut. Hand sewn pliable leather chess board in gray with all playing pieces.
- Board size is 10 x 12-2/3" but rolls up to the size of pocket umbrella. Weighs less than 1/2 a pound. Great for travel.
- Everything about the game was designed with two things in mind: To weigh next to nothing and be the highest quality travel game on the market.
- Comes in a beautiful retail box with Chess and Checkers game instructions.
- All playing pieces neatly fit in the zippered pocket for easy and reliable storage and transport.
We hope our reviews of our favorite portable chess sets have been helpful in guiding you in your choice. We tried to cover various sets, from high-quality, higher-cost ones to more affordable yet very attractive and functional chess sets.
Whether your travel style or taste – from hiking to high-flying, traditional to more eclectic, there is a travel chess set that will entertain you and make you happy.
What are the best chess sets in the world?
The best chess sets in the world are often handcrafted from premium materials like ebony, rosewood, or high-quality metal. They combine aesthetic appeal with functionality and durability.
Is an expensive chess set worth it?
An expensive chess set can be worth the investment if you’re looking for exceptional craftsmanship, durability, and a luxurious playing experience. However, the “worth” is subjective and depends on your specific needs and budget.
What chess set do professionals use?
Professionals often use Staunton-design sets made from high-quality materials. These sets meet the standards set by chess governing bodies like FIDE and are designed for serious play.
Are roll-up chess boards good?
Roll-up chess boards are a practical choice for travel and casual play. They are lightweight, portable, and usually made from durable materials like vinyl or silicone. However, they may not offer the same luxurious feel as wooden boards.
Is a 20-inch chess board too big?
A 20-inch chess board is generally not too big for home use but may be less convenient for travel. The ideal board size depends on where you plan to use it and how much space you have available.