How the Size Matters While Buying a Wooden Chess Board

How the Size Matters While Buying a Wooden Chess Board

When you are buying your wooden board, it is important to understand what type of chess you will play. It is because the size of your chess board will affect how your pieces move on the board and if they can reach from one corner to the other in a single move.

Even if you’re not a master at the game, it is helpful to think about how big your board will be before buying one. Some people like smaller boards and others larger, and that’s why there are so many different ones available.

But you’d always want to make sure that the game of chess plays well with the size of your board. Some boards have squares bigger than others and can play faster than others. It can affect how you play, and so it is worth thinking about before buying.

You have the standard size wooden chess set that is 8 inches wide by 15 inches long, but there are plenty of other sizes too. So what does it all mean?

Understanding Standard Chess Board Sizes

When it comes to the size of a chess board, the size is measured by the squares. So if you have a chess board with 4 inches squares, then it will be 8.5 wide by 8.5  inches long on each side of the board.

There are other sizes on offer; some are larger for tournament play, but others are more suitable for home use. 

Customized Sizes of Wooden Chess Boards

Some people do go the extra mile and have a custom-sized chess board made up. It can be useful if you want to have a board that is particularly tall or wide, so it’s an option worth looking into for those who want something different too. 

You could easily have a board that is twice the size of traditional boards or one that is almost half the size. You can also get custom chess pieces too.

Foldable Chess Boards 

There are also some chess boards on offer that fold. So they might be like a traditional board and can sit on a table, but you’ll find there is the option to fold it up for storage or transport too. 

The size of the squares (overall wooden chess set) is usually measured by the length of a side multiplied by one-and-a-half. For example, an 8.5″ x 8.5″ board has squares of 9 x 9 inches (9 x  8.5 * 1.5 = 9).

This means that a 20″ x 20″ board has 20 inches long sides and 40 inches long diagonals (20 x 2 * 1.5 = 40). When ordering custom-sized boards, it is important to know the size of your requirements.

It can affect how pieces move on a board, but most people do not notice it unless they go out of their way to calculate movement on a certain board.

A chess board is usually measured in centimeters, and the most common size (9 x 9) is exactly 180 mm square. Many sets come with coordinating pieces that fit exactly on this size board; you can use these sets on others but do not forget to compensate for the different number of squares! 

Diagonals will only be 1 cm shorter on boards smaller than 180 mm. Boards larger than this usually have the same complement of pieces, so you do not need to worry about piece size except if your board is particularly large.

Most chess boards are exactly 9 x 9 inches square (and therefore 8.5 x 8.5 inches with rounded corners). However, you can find squares as small as 5 inches and as large as 12 inches. 

Chess Pieces Sizes

Seven standard-sized pieces fit on a 9 x 9 board. The king is 2 1/4 inches tall by 1 3/4 inch wide; the queen is 2 1/2 x 1 7/8, the rook is 2 3/4 x 1 3/4, and so on down to a knight at a mere 1 7/8 x 1 3/8. The queen and rooks are often made a bit taller to account for the small size difference (there is no standard, but many manufacturers make 2 1/4 x 1 5/8). 

The pieces will be about an inch shorter on a board with smaller squares (7 x 7). Again, this difference is usually not perceptible on the game board but may be noticeable on some custom-sized boards.

What’s the Best Size Chess Board for You?

The best size would depend on your preference. If you go for a standard wooden chess set, then you’ll have 8.5 inches square, but if you want to go smaller, then there are many options according to your suitable needs.

If you are looking for a great case to help you transport your board, then the foldable chess board might be ideal. The size of this will depend entirely on you and what you want it for!


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