Chess, a game for players of all ages, has made a huge comeback in the past year and a half. The ancient game’s origins date back to sometime around the sixth century, and it has remained the same in essence. Despite the fact that people can easily practice chess on their computers, there is nothing quite like playing with a real board and chess pieces. Chessboards come in a variety of materials such as wood, marble, metal, and glass.
Wood is the most popular material for crafting chessboards. The Switzerland-based International Chess Federation recommends wooden boards, especially for tournaments.
Here are the best wooden chessboards.
Best overall wooden chessboard
Hardwood Player’s Chessboard JLP, USA
Chess House sells this chessboard for below $350, which may seem a hefty price if you’re new to the game of chess. However, this 21 inch, Drueke-inspired board is made from quality walnut and maple hardwood by a woodworking family in Pennsylvania. Chess House claims the family spends months crafting this board, and the process is worth it once you feel the smooth surface and notice the specially cut grooves and edges.
Each square on the grid measures 2.25 inches across, and the board is .75 inches thick. Its border is narrower than most other chessboard borders. While some of the other sets on this list are magnetic, this one is not. However, that doesn’t matter here since the surface is even, and the board is sturdy.
It is recommended to store this chessboard vertically to prevent uneven effects from temperature and humidity.
Best value wooden chessboard
Priced at approximately $100, this 16.1-inch chessboard is made of beech and birch wood. Squares measure 2 inches across, and the entire board weighs about 3.5 pounds. On the underside are green, felt-lined chess piece compartments, and the board folds in half for easier storage or transport.
Aesthetically speaking, the board is colorful and perhaps a little mystical too. The stark contrast in color, the ornate engravings along the border, and the coordinate labels along the edges make this chessboard pop out from the rest in style. This beech and birch board, handcrafted in Poland, is strikingly whimsical. Players who are new to the game can use the number and letter coordinates along the border to memorize a chessboard’s grid.
The only real downfall of this chessboard is that it is not magnetic. While a magnetic inner lining isn’t always necessary, this is a folding board. Folding boards have a higher chance of creating a slightly raised crease in the centerline.
Best travel-sized wooden chessboard
Instead of whipping out your phone while waiting to order at a restaurant or passing the time on an airplane, you can play a quick game of chess with this 7-inch chessboard. This board folds in half, and the interior side contains chess piece compartments lined with classic green felt.
Not only is this board small enough to take anywhere, but playing on an unsteady surface is not a problem. A concealed iron sheet within the inlaid Sheesham and boxwood board helps its magnetic chess pieces stand still. With a thickness of 1.5 inches, this chessboard weighs in at just under a pound.
Buying anything made out of wood can cause the environmentally conscious to second-guess their purchase, but Chess Bazaar enforces policies to ensure eco-friendly materials. Chess Bazaar claims all their suppliers must issue legitimate sales receipts, which keeps the sources for their wood accountable. T
The chess set goes for below $60 with free shipping for customers in the U.S. by FedEx.
Best molded wooden chessboard
For those who want a chessboard to show off or keep on display to bring a room together, this board easily does the trick. Handmade in India, this bright chessboard is made from Padauk and maple wood, giving it its vibrantly warm color. It measures just over 20 inches, with square sizes just over 2 inches across. What makes this board pop out (literally) is the raised grid that sits above a thick, molded border, giving the board a royal appearance. On the bottom is a classic, green felt lining.
Before shipping and handling, Chess House sells this board for just below $300.
Best cabinet wooden chessboard
Handmade in Italy from wormwood and solid brass, this luxurious, 22-inch chessboard is more than just a surface. With brass finger handles, players can lift up the chessboard to reveal a cabinet of rectangular storage compartments. The interior compartments are lined with felt. Thirty-six compartments make it perfect for storing chess pieces and an additional couple of items. Put together, this chessboard is just over 3 inches thick, and each square measures 1.75 inches. The board is sold on Chess House for under $350.
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