What Your Chess Piece Style Says About You

What Your Chess Piece Style Says About You

| 84 | Fun & Trivia

Back in May I told you what your board theme says about you... but what about your pieces? That's right, your preference between the snowman-style pawns of Icy Sea and the chic pointed pawns of the Alpha set truly speaks volumes. Are your piece style and board theme in harmony with one another, or do they reflect two opposing sides of your personality? 

They say the most important piece to consider when choosing a chess set is the knight... and it's true, the quality of that little wooden horse really can make or break your entire army (or at the very least, your entire army's aesthetic). To give the knight its due, I've introduced the all-important "horse factor," a rating out of five for each set's knights, when assessing what each set says about you, the player.

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The Neo pieces are practical and modern with smooth edges. It's a minimalist choice, or maybe you just left them on default. Amid your incredibly serious chess studying, maybe you forgot that you could change them. You think there's no point in style over substance, over-embellishments, or any kind of excess, really.

You've never been too much of a chess set or book collector because you prefer creating libraries online and annotating games yourself. It's the proactive approach but leaves little time for other things... like deciding which set has the best bishops. Don't you want to find out?

Horse factor: 2.5/5.

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The Classic pieces are kind of retro—a little bit nostalgic. You're not ready to switch over to Bases or Icy Sea, the sleeker versions of piece style. They're practical enough and feel kind of like they've been plucked out of a chess book from times past. I bet you prefer bishops over knights and you've read Silman's chapter in How to Reassess Your Chess on "superior minor pieces" a few too many times. I'd go so far as to say that you'd sacrifice a knight for two pawns if it looked almost justifiable.

Horse factor: 4/5.

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I bet you like to sit down outside with your foldaway chess set, annotated games book, and a cup of tea to study chess. The knights in this set look angry, and so do you... when your opponent deviates from mainline theory on move five. The pawns in this set are reminiscent of real Staunton pawns... like, this is a serious chess set. Paired with a wooden board theme, you might even forget you're playing online. And I bet you prefer it that way.

Horse factor: 3.5/5.

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Bases / Icy Sea

These two sets are basically the same, but with a yellowish tint on the white side of the Bases pieces that make them feel well-worn and more familiar. Like plastic that's started to decay a bit... high school chess club vibes. They're kind of cozy, to be honest. You've been playing chess for a while and are pretty confident in your repertoire. You play bullet just on instinct and muscle memory, but because of that, your rating hasn't increased for a while. 

The Icy Sea pieces are Bases' slightly cleaner, slightly more modern cousin. The same familiar shapes, just in a new generation. If it's not broken, why try to fix it?

Horse factor: 4/5.

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These are the cottagecore version of Neo pieces; the wooden texture totally makes them feel fancier, and you're absolutely for it. Chess? You mean, like, one of the oldest games of all time? Yeah... why would you modernize it? To you, chess belongs in dark-wood libraries and little stone cottages, and these pieces are passing that vibe check. Despite your traditional leanings, you spend way too much time scrolling chess TikTok and looking at opening traps on YouTube shorts. It's okay; I'm not judging.

Horse factor: 2.5/5. (He looks like he'd lose a race to the knights from the other sets. Sorry, but it's true.)

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The glass pieces have some perks that a real-life glass chess set doesn't have... namely, they're not getting chipped and broken after only one session of blitz! But the knight is kind of scary. That's great if it's your knight on an outpost in your opponent's territory, and not so great if it's your opponent's and it's forking your king and queen. What has this horse seen? I'm not sure if it's smug or afraid. 

These pieces are polarizing... and so is your opening repertoire. You mean you play the London System and the French Defense?! Maybe it wouldn't be so bad if one of the pawns smashed after all....

Horse factor: 1/5. (It was going to be 0, but these knights get +1 for intimidation.)

chesscom chess game board theme chess piece lularobs lula quiz glass

Game Room

These pieces scream, "I love going to Renaissance Fairs!" I don't know if it's the jester-style queen crown or the brick texture of the rooks, but somehow the pieces in this set feel like they're cosplaying as themselves. Game Room set users truly see the chessboard as a medieval battleground and are ready to play exciting chess, full of gambits and sacrifices.

If you see a good move, you look for a more aggressive one, and you take any opportunity to sacrifice your queen for three pieces. You also love pushing the f-pawn.

Horse factor: 2.5/5.

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The Alpha pieces are for players who take themselves very seriously. You play 1.e4 and 1...e5 because you were taught that open games are the "right way" to learn chess. You have a chess study plan. I even bet that of your pile of chess books, you've read at least half of them. It's pretty impressive, I won't lie, but I also bet you've played into more Giuoco Pianos in 10+0 than any one person should. Have you ever thought about... just maybe... changing things up? 

Horse factor: 3/5.

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You definitely have a chess coach, and you even know how to do a knight+bishop checkmate... if your opponent moves their king into the corner. But still, that's pretty cool! You spend your spare time doing endgame drills on, and you even got a record once. 

You have no time for gambits or trap openings, or bullet chess for that matter (despite your quick mouse skills when mating with two bishops). You like solid chess and rarely take big risks to attack the enemy king. I'd go as far as to say you actively enjoy the Carlsbad pawn structure from both sides and get excited when you have the chance to go for a minority attack. You do you.

Horse factor: 3.5/5. (The knights are the best pieces in this set; they've got ambition; they're going places... namely, central outposts.)

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3D ChessKid

Anyone who is voluntarily playing with the 3D ChessKid pieces should absolutely be feared. With board vision good enough to focus on anything other than the menacing smiles of your opponent's army, I can't imagine how much your rating would shoot up if you chose to play with literally any other set. 

You enjoy novelty chess sets and maybe even boast a small collection of them at home. As of yet, you're undefeated with the Shrek set you own. Thankfully for the rest of us, you don't take chess too seriously, or you'd probably be a grandmaster. You love playing variants, especially Duck Chess, but you wish you could customize the piece theme to be more... 3D. 

Horse factor: 5/5. (They're the only pieces in this set style that aren't terrifying.)

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3D Staunton

Of course, these are by far the closest pieces to a real chess set, and kind of say, "I wish I was playing over the board." You're a bit of a traditionalist; no hyper-modern openings, you wouldn't be caught dead playing the Grob, but you still occasionally indulge in gambits (as a treat). Your ratings are perfectly in line with your FIDE Elo, and your chess books are organized in alphabetical order. You go to chess club every week religiously, and you love helping others improve at the game. You enjoy playing online but probably don't check out too much chess content on YouTube or Twitch. Maybe you should.

Horse factor: 1/5. (They're the worst knights. Sorry.)

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Nope, you can't convince me that anyone uses Blindfold as their standard set. This is like completing a game, getting all the achievements, and going back through it on expert mode. Blindfold once in a while is scary enough. Sure, you're probably great at tactics and visualization, but why do this to yourself every single game?

In real life, you're very creative. You love planning and organizing things far in advance, and seeing your plans come to life. Your chess set at home is made up of a couple of old sets... you lost some pawns along the way, but they've been replaced over time. As long as it works, right? I bet you enjoyed countless hours of ChessMaster as a kid before came along. You're a seasoned chess gamer

Horse factor: ∞/5. (Undefined!)

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As you can see, the piece set definitely matters. Maybe not as much as hanging your queen, but it's still important. Personally, I use the Icy Sea pieces and Bubblegum board, a potentially controversial combination!

With so many combinations and choices, you can personalize your profile to your heart's content. Which piece set do you choose, and why? What's your favorite piece set and board theme combination? Let us know in the comments section below!

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