Staunton and Tournament Chess Sets

Although chess has been played for many centuries, tournament chess only developed after hundreds of years of casual play. The earliest recorded game of chess is from 1475, and was played in Valencia, Spain, between Francesco di Castellvi and Narciso Vinyoles. Tournament chess did not evolve until nearly four hundred years later, with the first major international tournament taking place in London in 1851.

staunton chess pieces

At this point in time, international tournaments will still rare. Chess players made little money, and, of course, the sort of international travel that we take for granted today was considerably more difficult to undertake. Consequently, the title of ‘Grandmaster’ was not a facet of the chess world at this time. However, another famous tournament that took place in the period was the first American Chess Congress, held in New York in 1857, which was won by the brilliant, but ultimately troubled, American Paul Morphy.

The London tournament was organised by top British player Howard Staunton. Staunton also had another significant influence over the game; he designed the eponymous Staunton chess pieces, which almost instantly became very popular.  This help to standardise chess sets especially for tournaments.

By the turn of the twentieth century, with several World Chess Championship having been held, tournament chess among world-class players was becoming considerably more common. The term ‘grandmaster’ was coined during the Ostend tournament of 1907, which featured such legendary names as Tarrasch, Schlechter, Janowski, Marshall, Burn, Chigorin, Rubinstein, Nimzowitsch, Tartakower, Mieses and Blackburne.

Today, Staunton pieces are common in every tournament standard chess set, and used in every grandmaster chess tournament. The chess governing body FIDE’s official policy is that “recommended for use in FIDE competitions are pieces of new Staunton style”.

Regency Chess Company Review

If you browse around chess retail websites in the UK you will doubtless read plenty of customer comments and reviews. The thing is, how do you know they are genuine? In some cases retailers go to great lengths to let you know they are real while others fail to cover up the same grammatical errors and identical writing styles in the reams of so called real customer comments. There is of course no reason to make them up, unless you are doing things really badly genuine reviews will come in over the weeks and months that you sell chess sets on the internet.

Recently we have seen yet another thing The Regency Chess Company have done that none of their competitors have, well, that is until they see it, they will doubtless copy it. They have signed up to Trust Pilot, a website review company who’s system allows customers to write an unbiased review of their buying experience. What is most important about this process is that The Regency Chess Company have no control or powers to edit or approve reviews. So as long as your review relates to a real order, it’s going to get published.

You would only expect a company who has real confidence in their products and service to make such a bold move. If there are rafts of unhappy customers out there then all those opinions are going to be broadcast on the web for all to see. Thankfully for them they are scoring nearly nine out of ten on their reviews so far, in fact some of the comments are really complimentary to the company and it’s products.

The Regency Chess Company have often been seen as the posh end of the market, with prices to match. Whats interesting is the number of reviews from customers who express delight in the low prices and superb value for money. Read The Regency Chess Company reviews for yourself and see what others are saying about this great company.

The Regency Chess Company Review

The Advantages Of Using Chess Clocks

The Advantages Of Using Chess Clocks

Any tournament player will tell you that a good chess clock is just as important as the board and pieces. What constitutes a good chess clock can often be the subject of heated debate. This is because there a variety of designs and types of chess clocks to choose from and everybody has their personal preference.Types of Chess Clocks

All chess clock have a few things in common. They have two clocks positioned side by side, one for the white pieces and one for the black pieces. There are two buttons or a lever. Depressing the button on your clock will stop yours and start your opponents.

The first choice to make is whether you prefer an analog or digital clock. Many purists prefer the analog clock. Each clock is set just as an analog wall clock would be by twisting a knob on the back until the hands line up correctly. There is a flag hanging from the 12. When the time has expired the flag will fall and players are responsible for noticing when this happens. Some analog clocks run on batteries while others require winding. Most are shaped in a rectangle with the buttons on top. Each button above its respective clock. Today the casing is usually made from a polymer or plastic but older ones are typically made of wood and are much more durable. In most cases, an analog chess clock will be less expensive than a digital one.

Digital clocks are very popular for a number of reasons. The LED displays the time remaining to the second. Many players feel they need to know exactly how much time they and their opponent have remaining. Many of the digital clocks have a much lower profile so players do not have to lift their hands very high to depress the button or lever. Some digital clocks are able to connect to specially designed boards that can sense when a piece has been moved and automatically stop and start the clocks. When one of the players runs out of time, an alarm sounds letting them know the game is over.

Chess Clocks In Play

Tournaments are the most obvious reason people use chess clocks. Each player has the same amount of time to complete either a set number of moves or for the entire game. If one player runs out of time, they lose the game. It is a good way to ensure the players have a fair game.

Many casual players prefer using a chess clocks as well. Lightening and blitz games are popular and rely on heavily on chess clocks. In lightening games the players will have between 1 and 3 minutes each to complete the game. Blitz uses time controls between 3 to 10 minutes per side.

Chess clocks are also used to handicap games. If one player is much stronger than their opponent, they may only have 5 minutes to complete the game while their opponent has 15 or 20 minutes.

Chess Clocks As Training Tools

Many instructors use chess clocks to help ensure pupils have memorized various opening lines. By putting strict time controls on the opening sequence of moves, they can easily determine how efficiently a student has mastered an opening. The same methods are also employed in end games to evaluate how well the student understands various principles.

Chess clocks have been around for years and are as important a part of the game as the pieces themselves. If you haven’t played chess on the clock, you are missing out on one of the most exhilarating aspects of the game. The Regency Chess Company® in the UK is one of the largest stockists of chess clocks with some excellent prices too.

Lord of the Rings Chess Set

Popularity for The Lord Of The Rings has never been greater since the relatively recent adaption of the story as a massive blockbuster movie. Prior to the films release there was always a strong and loyal following of JRR Tolkiens books but since the release of the films there has been an explosion in popularity.

As with all highly popular movies the spin off merchandise has become prolific and there was little surprise to see a Lord of the Rings chess set made available. The official set is made by an English company, Studio Anne Carlton who are very well known for their high quality themed, painted chess sets. The set is produced under licence from New Line Productions.

The set is a very faithful tribute to the characters in the movie with the accuracy extending to the faces of the human like characters being faithful to the actors who played the parts in the film. Gandalf for example looks just like he does int he movie and you can see a very stong likeness in his face to Ian McKellen, the actor who played him in the films my sources.

There are other Lord of the Rings Chess Sets available alongside the SAC set. There is the two towers 3D chess set and the bronze and pewter effects sets. The sets are at various price points and there is a type available for every Lord of the Rings fans budget.

There is little doubt that these lovely chess sets will become highly collectible in years to come. For those who have the patience and discipline to keep them unwrapped and packaged in the original packaging high prices will no doubt be attached in years to come. There is no doubt that popularity for the Lord of the Rings will remain, maybe not for as long as the game of chess, but certainly for a good number of decades yet.

Themed Chess Sets

One could be forgiven for thinking that for almost every theme out there, is a chess set. Most of the popular movies and TV shows have them, famous cities have them, events in history have them, groups of people even have them. The themed chess set is certainly something of a novelty, and is more appealing to the fan of the theme, rather than the fan of chess.

There is little doubt that a fine chess set is something to treasure and marvel. People will get excited about one finely crafted ornament but a nice chess set is thirty two fine ornaments! So there is little wonder they are seen as items of value.

Themed chess sets are usually licenced by the brand owner and often designed and made alongside consultation from the rights owner. One of the most popular themed chess sets is the Lord Of The Rings Chess Set. The most prominent one being the official SAC version that is produced under licence from New Line Productions. This superb chess set is made from crushed stone composite and each one is hand painted to an excellent level of finish and quality.

Themed chess sets are a great way to sell a fairly expensive chess set to someone who would ordinarily never buy one. If you are a dedicated fan of Lord of the Rings the chess set might be too tempting to miss out on. Fans of themes like this are often collectors, so producing a highly collectable chess set is always going to appeal to the die hard fans.

It’s fair to say that actually playing chess is not so easy on a themed chess set. Identification of the chessmen is seldom easy so trying to tell your bishops apart from your rooks can be a challenge. Serious chess playing needs a Staunton set, there is little doubt in that. But there no getting away from the fact that a themed chess set is a great thing to own and treasure.

Who Plays Chess, and Why?


Chess is played by a diverse range of people for many different reasons, they enjoy the companionship it offers, the skill and logical thinking it involves, the fact it can be played anywhere, and it’s a lot of fun and extremely challenging.

The main advantage of chess is that it allows you to make new friends and meet interesting people, whatever your age or wherever you live you are never alone if you can play. Popular with retirees as they have a lot of free time, it gives them a chance to exercise their brains and maintain mental alertness but doesn’t require too much physically.

Like many other games it’s a great way to wind down after a hard day at work and to relieve stress, having to concentrate and think about strategies takes away all thoughts of what happened that day and has a particularly soothing and calming effect. Said to improve thinking skills it can help you to reach a decision that might have felt unsolveable previously, and get your thoughts under control.

There are chess clubs all over the country that attract people from all walks of life, and just go online and you’ll find forums for the game where like-minded people have the chance to get together and talk about strategy and technique as much as they like. Carry chess sets with you when travelling and guaranteed you won’t be alone a lot – people will see the board and either strike up a conversation or challenge you to a game and soon you’ll have company and may even make a new friend or two!

Chess buffs are more than happy when they meet a fellow enthusiast as they can talk about their favourite subject for hours on end, and then some more! They love the structure of the game, the rules, and ruminating over strategies of famous games, they will invariably know every well-known player there is, what games they played, their opponents and the sequence of moves in famous games. An enthusiast is lively and logical, interested in lots of things, and they love a challenge particularly if it involves using the brain.

Professional players form chess clubs start off competing in local and then national competitions and tournaments, if they’re good enough they’ll end up travelling the world to participate in international matches. The best players have the capability to visualize the board in anticipation of moving the pieces, some are lucky enough to have a photographic memory which makes it easy for them to calculate the next move. Many hope to one day become grandmasters and they dedicate a lot of spare time to learning the inspired moves of past grandmasters and developing their own distinctive approach to the game. Try a folding chess board for easy transportation and take it with you wherever you go.

With online games becoming so popular it’s becoming increasingly popular with the younger generation, in some schools chess is now included on the timetable due to its known positive advantages including improving the reasoning process, ability to assess situations, increased self-motivation and self-confidence. Chess clubs are also common in universities particularly with mathematics students, it makes people feel part of a team and so encourages friendships, and as it’s known to develop both social skills and self-confidence it’s a game you should be encouraging your kids to learn.

When buying chess sets make sure it’s practical and sturdy, particularly if you are planning on carrying it from place to place regularly.  Take a look online as there’s a broad range of chess boards and pieces available, compare prices and quality by checking a few websites before making any decision. Sets are made from all kinds of materials such as rubber, plastic, glass and even stone, wood sets are generally the most popular as many are designed to be folded in half so you can safely store the pieces inside which is convenient for travelling, some also have an added handle letting you carry it around like a briefcase. Wood lasts for a long time and grows more beautiful with age. Choose from pine, walnut or oak, or pay a little bit more and get a set in ebony or rosewood.

Isle of Lewis Chess Set

The Isle of Lewis chess set has become one of the most recognised and classic designs of chess piece today second only to Staunton. Behind these beautiful and unique chessmen is a fascinating story. It is believed that the original Isle of Lewis chessmen were made in Norway in the 12th century but they didn’t find their way on the radar until the mid 1800s when they were accidentally discovered.

The discovery took place in Scotland, on the Isle of Lewis. A local worker noticed that a sand bank had collapsed and went to take a look. He saw a partially buried chest which he quickly unearthed and opened. Inside the chest were the original chess pieces.

The Lewis chessmen are the source of much debate, and indeed some fierce arguments. When the original discovery was made a total of 78 chess pieces were found inside the box, obviously more than is needed for a standard game of chess. Some have argued that the pieces were never intended to be used as chess pieces but for another ancient game instead. It is however generally agreed that they are chessmen, and if they were not originally, they certainly are now.

It would seem that the person who made the originals was quite a forward thinker. By making 78 pieces instead of the usual 32 he has helped to smooth, although not eradicate, a continuing feud which relates to where in the world the originals will be kept.

At present the full 78 pieces are split between various museums, but all remain in the United Kingdom which seems to somewhat annoy those who believe they should be returned to Norway, where they were made. Indeed those people seem quite irate about the name of the chessmen too. It’s fair to assume nothing will change in relation to the name and the whereabouts of the chess pieces.

These days you can buy very good reproductions of the original chessmen, indeed thousands of sets have been produced around the world. The design of course if out of copyright, so sets can be produced by anyone. There is however one official set produced by the National Museum, Scotland. This set has been made from precise laser scans of the original pieces and is the closest you will find to the originals.

Lewis Chessmen

The Isle of Lewis Chessmen

Travel and Play Chess

Playing chess is not only about fun, it can teach you a lot of practical skills that exercise the brain too. You have 16 chessmen to control and the aim is to beat the opposition and to accomplish this you need to think in advance, plan accordingly, and use your logical skills. Although some people get really involved in the chess world and enter tournaments regularly, the majority of us just like to play when we have some free time.

Chess is a game that can be played at any age and some forward thinking schools actually teach it as part of the school day simply because of its known benefits in improving thinking skills. In your area there’s likely to be a club where beginners and professionals are welcome. Chess is like riding a bicycle, once you have mastered the rules you never forget.

One of the great things about board games is that most people know how to play them and they can be carried with you and whipped out practically anywhere. At the airport when your flight is delayed, on long and boring car journeys, at home, or in a hotel foyer – with a chess board in your bag you are never alone as it provides you the opportunity to find some company and make new acquaintances and friends.

The game is so popular that there are some great travel versions, magnetic boards are ideal for playing on planes, trains, buses or in the car – relieving boredom and improving your thinking skills in one go! Many travel options also have the game of set backgammon printed on the reverse side so you get 2 for the price of 1! Backgammon involves 2 players and 15 pieces on a board of 24 spaces. The checkers are moved according to how the dice rolls and the aim of the game is that each player has to try and bring their pieces home and bear them off before his opponent, blocking and hitting the opposing checkers during the attempt. If you are keen to learn this game of both skill and luck then there are plenty of board options that are just as high in quality and carry the same standard of workmanship as chess products.

Also convenient for travelling are electronic set chess where you can play games either with another person or against the computer, playing against such an expert opponent allows you to learn from your mistakes and perfect your game. There are different levels from beginners to professional and it’s a great way to practice. The other advantage is that you can stop midway through a game and save it until later – some also give players advice on how to play and feature electronic lessons for learners so you can improve as you go along.

Hand held electronic chess sets are particularly neat as you can play practically anywhere you like, at the beach, on the bus or waiting for the washing to dry!  Its small size, games offered at beginner and intermediate levels, LCD screen, and ability to record the game, undo the move, and more, make this a popular choice with travellers.

Folding and travel chess sets made using graded hardwoods come in all sizes with some really miniature versions perfect for carrying around from place to place. Velcro and magnetic sets are another option, velcro holds the pieces to the board and magnets are located under the board to prevent pieces being knocked off so you can play anywhere.

Buy your travel set online for convenience, with free UK delivery and low prices.  Unique and contemporary designs, solid, sturdy and good value for money they are shipped in just a few days – this will be one decision you’ll never regret.

Find the Perfect Chess Set


Chess sets are often highly decorative and can be displayed as a beautiful ornamental piece in the home as well as having a practical and entertaining use. You can easily buy boards for just a few pounds, or pay a lot of money for an exquisite set and keep it as an heirloom. The most important thing you need to do before buying your board and pieces should be to identify its purpose.

Consider whether you just like the look of chess sets and would like one as a decorative piece for the study or to fill up that empty space in the dining room, or will it actually be used for games. If it’s to be used on a regular basis then invest in a set that is practical and durable, and easy enough to carry around if needs be.

Next set yourself a budget, once you start looking it’s very easy to get carried away as there are some really beautiful and interesting sets available. Unless you budget yourself to a certain figure you may end up coming home with a really expensive item that doesn’t fit your needs. Saying that it is essential to invest in a quality product as it can last a lifetime and a beautifully crafted set will be admired and even encourage you to play more than a cheaper version might.

Look carefully at what the board and pieces are made from – if you intend on taking it to tournaments or chess groups then you need something substantial that won’t show the wear and tear too much, but not too heavy as you will get fed up carrying such a weight around! There are plenty of good quality plastic and wooden chess sets available online that are reasonably priced too. A portable set is advisable for trips and whilst travelling around as they’re compact, manufactured from lightweight materials and often magnetic so you can play in the car, on the plane or practically anywhere you like.

The online market has an extensive range of chess board and pieces that can be bought separately or as a set, and the ability to open many websites at one time means you can compare prices and quality very simply and quickly. Boards can be made from rubber, plastic, glass or wood, or even finer materials like stone or metal casting, be aware that the finer crafted they are the more fragile they’ll be.

Glass options are beautiful but not particularly practical; generally they’re not used in real game play and are just for decorative purposes. If you’re trying to get the kids interested in the game then check out novelty sets, they’re a fun way to encourage the younger generation to learn this ancient game. You can find pieces carved and moulded into the Simpsons, characters from Lord of the Rings, Alice in Wonderland, even Sherlock Holmes.

There are pros and cons to wood and plastic sets, plastic is usually the most affordable but can also be the plainest.   A wooden chess set can be folded in half safely storing the pieces inside where they can’t get lost which is handy for travelling, get one with a handle and you can even carry it around like a bag.

If you decide to go for wood then the better the quality the longer it will last and the more beautiful it looks! They are particularly solid and wood always improves with age. Best suited for your home there are lots of variety in price, size and quality. Pine, oak and walnut are generally the lowest-priced whilst you’ll pay more for ebony, rosewood, and boxwood and pieces that have been intricately carved. A set backgammon is another possibility and just as much fun to play.

Teach Chess to your Kids

Chess is a game that is enjoyed by people from all walks of life and from young children to the elderly. You don’t need an expensive board to play chess and the one you do eventually buy is likely to last you for ever. Many fanatics of the game play on boards that they have had for years and love the feel of the pieces as they move them around the board nearly as much as the game itself.

Buying a chess set makes a great gift for anyone and can open up a whole new area of interest by allowing you to acquire new skills and make new friends with the same interest. There are clubs, internet sights and chat rooms where you can discuss games and moves until the sun comes up if that’s what you wish to do.

Buying a chess set that will be located at home means you can choose whatever size you like and made from whatever kind of material you prefer as it will be staying in one place. Although wooden chess sets are generally the most popular there are also lots of lovely products made from marble and glass to look out for if you want something more ornate. They look great displayed on a table or sideboard with all the pieces set up enticing those who see it to play a game.

Teaching your kids to play chess can train them to use a lot of skills that will come in handy throughout their life; it teaches them to focus, increases developmental thinking skills, and helps with logical thinking, decision-making, mathematics, problem solving and critical thinking. It is great practice for improving alertness and concentration and helps with memory retention – kids that play chess are liable to do well in their exams.

Take a visit to a chess store and you’ll be amazed at the sheer amount of choice on sale, particularly for kids which can be a lot of fun as there are many designs produced in creative and imaginative themes. You can find hand painted or plain wood styles designed with kids in mind as they are made specifically for those with a smaller arm span, plastic and wooden sets can be more durable and longer-lasting. Toy stores also have a selection of sets to check out that are fun and economical and are a great way to introduce chess to youngsters.

Choose a theme that appeals to your child, for boys’ dragons and dinosaurs are always popular, check out dragon knights riding motorbikes, dragon castles carrying surf boards or dinosaur pawns in all kinds of humorous poses. The characters of Peter Rabbit are super cute and sure to inspire younger kids to learn how to play. Or for older kids Robin Hood and his merry men battling the sheriff of Nottingham to save maid Marion across the chess board is a great historical and fun way to play.

If you’re shopping for a daughter then check out Alice in Wonderland, a timeless classic that comes complete with the chess pieces as the characters of the story. You can get it in either colourful painted figures or carved in plain wood design.  Or Winnie the Pooh chess pieces, a classic character that will be treasured by every child even when they’re grown up.

Buying a luxury set for your children can mean a gift for life that they can then hand down to their own kids when the time comes. Invest in a quality product and it will stay in the family for years to come, educating generations of kids and providing endless hours of amusement.

Order your set online and get it delivered for free within the UK. With express shipping available on the mainland you won’t have to wait around for your gift to arrive – it will be there the very next day and the fun can begin.