When you are in the market for a chess set weight is an important factor to consider. Whether you are buying a small travel set or an ornamental set of pieces, the weight of the board and pieces can be a significant indicator of the quality of the set and how valuable it really is.
Lets look at wooden chess sets firstly. Wood comes in a number of varieties, dark wood, light wood, hard wood and soft wood, nice looking wood and ugly wood. One thing you can however rely on is that the heavier the wood the harder and stronger it will be. It’s all to do with density and the harder and denser the wood the nicer it will look and better it will wear.
Hard wooden chess sets will stand the test of time and suffer knocks and abuse much better than a soft wood set. If you have ever tried digging your fingernail into a piece of wood you will understand the difference between soft wood and hard wood.
Weighted Chess Pieces
The pieces within a chess set will sometimes be weighted. Generally speaking a cheap chess set will have solid wooden pieces with no weighting inside. More mid range and luxury sets will be weighted. The weighting of chess pieces is done in a number of ways. The traditional way involves partial hollowing out of the chess piece from the base end and then filling the cavity with molten lead. A leather circle is then fixed on the bottom of the piece to hide the unsightly area. More modern methods involve drilling holes and inserting rods of metal or lead into them, then covering up the end with a leather or cloth circle.
Buying online is becoming an increasingly popular way to buy chess sets. indeed it is becoming harder and harder to find a good enough selection on the high street. Most online shopping systems will list the weight of the product. When shopping for chess sets this must be an important factor in the decision making process. A 14″ folding chess set with chess men should weigh in at over 2.5 kg if quality materials have been used. Size matters, don’t discredit a set for being only 500 grams if it is only 7 inches wide!
Holding a heavy chess set in your hands gives an instant sense of a quality product. Think back to your birthday when you are opening your presents, usually it’s the heaviest of the parcels that conceal the most mystery.