A Beginner's Guide To Choosing A Chess Set Gift For The Holidays

"All I want to do, ever, is just play Chess."
- Bobby Fischer

Chess sets make great gifts for any season, but they are particularly well suited for the upcoming year-end holidays. There are such a large variety of chess sets available that even an experienced player may find the selection confusing. If you are new to the chess world, or if you do not play, then there is some basic information you will need in order to choose the right gift for the right recipient.

No one knows exactly when the game of chess was created, but it probably originated in India before the 6th Century AD, spread thru Persia, Arabia, and into Europe through Spain. This two-player skill game is still played by thousands of people around the world today. New technology has created electronic chess sets and virtual games played on the Internet, but real chess aficionados will likely prefer to play with a traditional set.

Chess sets are made of many different materials including plastic, cardboard, marble, wood, metal, glass, alabaster, brass and pressed leather. Depending upon the material, chess sets may be fragile or durable. This is something you need to keep in mind when choosing a set that will be shipped to your recipient.

Black and white are the traditional colors of chess sets and pieces, Yet our modern tastes are so varied that you can find chess sets in black, black/brown, black/gold, black/natural, black/red, black/tan, black/white, blue, blue/gray, blue/ivory, blue/white, brown, brown/natural, brown/oak, brown/white, buff, burgundy, burgundy/gold, cherry, gold, gold/silver, gray, gray/ivory, gray/red, gray/white, green, green/buff, green/white, ivory, natural, red, silver, tan, white and yellow.

The following ten suggestions for chess sets based on the type of recipient or their skill level were chosen to help make your gift selection easier:

• Children - electronic sets, themed sets

• Women - Renaissance and Roman styles

• Men - Staunton, Staunton Themed styles

• Friend - small set, if friend is a beginner, functional set if an enthusiast

• Relative - a collectible chess set they don't already have

• Family - travel, magnetic, practical

• Donation - buy quantities for non-profits such as foster homes, homeless shelters or schools

• Enthusiasts - top-of-the-line United States Chess Federation (USCF) standard set

• Beginner - low-cost, durable USCF standard set

• Coworker or boss - a book about the history of chess or an inexpensive portable set

There are more chess set themes available than you can imagine, so keep the hobbies and interests of your gift recipient in mind. Some themes they may enjoy include Egyptian, African animals, science fiction, military, pets, medieval, Greek, oriental, roman, sports, nautical, celebrities, literary or American.

Chess set pricing is typically between $25.00 on the low end to $500.00 or more for an elaborate or handmade custom set. Good sets are available at all price levels. Combine a book about chess with a chess set and you will have a gift that the recipient will cherish forever.

If you still find your choices confusing, try shopping on the internet by using websites that categorize sets by experience, themes, prices, materials, etc. This will help you eliminate unsuitable choices while making your choices easier to make.

©2010 PacificChess™.

Christmas chess images:

Christmas chess
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