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Tournament Chess Sets

Participating in a tournament is huge for any chess player. It’s a result of hard work and it requires some more of that hard work. It is estimated that on average chess players spend around  2-4 hours preparing for a game during the tournament and can practice up to 10 hours per day before the tournament.

It’s a lot of time spent with a chess set, so as you can imagine, it has to be high quality, durable and convenient and ideally, similar to the one they’ll be playing with during the tournament. 

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This last part is easy as in 1948  the foundation of the World Chess Federation developed international standard rules and regulations, which included regulating the types of sets that could be used in tournaments. These regulations are still in act today and there are special tournament chess sets. Kaoori offers its customers a special collection of tournament chess sets.


If you’re a professional chess player then you’re bound to buy a tournament chess set at one point or another, so go ahead and purchase yours today. 

The origins of tournament chess sets

As you might rightly assume the origins of tournament chess sets are tied to the development of chess tournaments themselves. The very first chess tournament was held in England in 1851. It was organized by English player Howard Staunton. Before that even though chess was widely popular there were no international standards. People played competitions with chess sets that varied in size, style and design. Such differences were not only visual, they affected the end result of the game. Being unfamiliar with the opponent’s chess board often led to a number of confusions and even to losing the game. 

In the mid 19th century with the inaugural chess tournament, chess embarked on a new chapter. Standardized chess sets were developed so that international competitions are cohesive and most importantly, fair. This marked the dissemination of the standardized chess sets, which we now call tournament chess sets. At the beginning, most of the chess tournaments were held privately like the 1886 match when Wilhelm Steinitz and Johannes Hermann Zukertort were playing for the world title. The rules and regulations of these private tournaments were up to the organizers. Some allowed players to use their personal chess boards, while others required a specific type of set.

Finally in 1948, the foundation of the World Chess Federation brought forward a new set of international standard rules and regulations, which also indicated the types of sets that could be used in tournaments. These regulations continue to be in place today and are considered standard for professional players.

In Kaoori’s collection, you’ll find tournament chess sets that are approved by the World Chess Federation. 

What sets tournament chess sets apart from the others? 

The answer to this question is rather simply actually. A chess set becomes a tournament chess set if and when it complies with the World Chess Federation regulations. The most common type is the standard 3.75" plastic Staunton set that usually comes with a roll-up vinyl board. The federation has guidelines that outline the general size of the board, the proportional height of the chess pieces, the size of the chess squares and the size of the king. The material of such chess sets varies - you can get both wooden and plastic pieces. 

At Kaoori, you can find tournament chess sets that come in different sizes, colors and materials. All tournament chess sets available for purchase in Kaoori comply with World Chess Federation standards.