Your Holiday Chess Buying Guide

Your Holiday Chess Buying Guide‎

20 | Fun & Trivia

Chess sets and equipment make great gifts for the holidays. Studies have shown that playing chess has many benefits, including better memory function, problem-solving skills, creativity, social skills, concentration and more. (10 Big Benefits of Playing Chess)

Playing chess is a great way to move kids (and adults) away from TV and videos games and create opportunities for friends and family to interact together.

Okay, maybe we are preaching to the choir. If you are reading this article, you probably already know the benefits of chess and just want a little help picking the right gift.

Don't worry, we are here to help. Listed below you will find our top picks of chess gifts at various price levels. 

Let us know your favorite chess equipment in the comments section. 

Plastic Chess Sets

$ - Basic Starter Chess Set Combo

Basic Starter Chess Set Combo

The Basic Starter Chess Set Combo includes Basic Club Chess Pieces, Basic Vinyl Chessboard (20"), and Starter Chess Bag w/ Handle and Loop. These chess sets are perfect for schools, clubs, or individuals who want the convenience of carrying chess sets but have a tight budget and don't need the full Carryall Tournament Chess Bag. Each set comes with one set of 32 pieces plus extra queens, one board, and one bag. The roll-up board fits perfectly in the loop on the bottom of the bag when not in use. This set meets all chess tournament standards.

$$ - Heavy Tournament Chess Set Combo

Heavy Tournament Chess Set Combo

The Heavy Tournament Chess Set Combo is our mid-range tournament combo chess set and comes with our Heavy Tournament Chess Pieces, Quality Vinyl Chessboard (20"), and Carryall Tournament Chess Bag. These chess sets are excellent for those who want a solid tournament chess set with some extra weight to it for blitz or tournament play. Each set comes with one set of 34 chess pieces (includes extra queens), one chess board, and one tournament chess bag. This chess bag has room for the pieces, board a clock and scorebooks or other supplies. All equipment meets chess tournament standards.

$$$ - Premier Tournament Chess Set Combo

Premier Tournament Chess Set Combo

Our Premier Tournament Chess Set Combo is one of the nicest combination sets we have ever offered. It includes our elegant Premier Pieces, which weigh in at a hefty 3 pounds, 12 ounces per set for that heavy feel of fine chess pieces. The king stands proudly at 4 1/8 inches and has a base of 1 7/8 inches. The light side of the board comes in two color options -- ivory or natural. The ivory pieces are a shade darker than light ivory but not as dark as the caramel-color of some natural pieces. The natural pieces have a yellowish undertone. They play against a pure black side for excellent contrast. Of course, as you would expect, the set comes with two extra queens. Included in this set is our 22" Mousepad Board which immediately lays flat each time it is used. Also included is our Premier Tournament Chess Bag which has room for the pieces, board, clock and scorebooks, etc. This bag will even hold a full size Chronos clock in the original box.

Wood Chess Sets

$ - Jowisz Staunton Complete Chess Set

Jowisz Staunton Complete Chess Set

The Jowisz Staunton Complete Chess Set features classic Staunton-style wooden pieces and an elaborate wood board that folds up to hold the pieces. The pieces are held inside the board in a soft mold shaped to the pieces, and the board clasps together tightly. This set features 1-1/2" squares with a 1-3/8" border that has algebraic notation. This European handmade set is 16" x 8" x 2" when folded.

$$ - 18" Decorative Wood Chess Set with Storage

18" Decorative Wood Chess Set w/ Storage

Our 18" Decorative Wood Chess Set with storage features everything you need for a great display setup. Each set comes with a chessboard featuring two pull-out drawers with individual storage slots for your pieces, as well as a full set of 32 Staunton-style chess pieces. This board stands at just under 4" tall, keeping a low profile to help conserve space while maintaining a good look and feel. Boards are available in both Rosewood and Walnut finishes.

$$$ - Soigne Wood Chess Set Combo

Soigne Wood Chess Set Combo

The Soigne Series from our Premier Collection is crafted from Rosewood, Ebony or Red Rosewood. The king stands 4" tall with a 1 3/4" base. From the sinuous bishop to the ponderous rook, these pieces are sure to delight. These pieces are heavily weighted. Choose from one of several boards including Maple, Walnut, Rosewood, Macassar or Santos Palisander. These boards are all tournament-stand size. Finish off your dream set with a large Bubinga-patterned box to keep your pieces safe when not in play. This set offers the best in both playability and beauty.

Chess Clocks

$ - DGT 1001

DGT 1001

The latest digital offering from DGT. The DGT 1001 is a universal game timer suitable for school, club or home use. It has a crystal clear display, is extremely easy to use and is very affordable. The DGT 1001 features countdown and up-count and has two large buttons on the top left and right to operate the timer. The DGT 1001 does NOT include a delay feature, increment time or multiple time controls.

$$ - ZMF II Digital Chess Timer

ZMF-II Digital Chess Timer Black with Blue LED

The latest chess timer from ZMartFun. The ZMF-II has modern, bright LED display technology, stainless steel, accurate, touch sense buttons, and durable plastic case made here in the USA. This clock is available in several different color combinations. The ZMF II includes delay, increment and multi-period time controls.

$$$ - Chronos Chess Clock

Chronos Digital Chess Clock II - Touch Switch Black

The Chronos Digital Chess Clock is one of the most popular chess timers in America! This clock is available in both push-button and now in the touch-switch, which makes it even easier to use! No more hitting buttons or levers -- just touch your finger to the metal pad and your turn is over. This clock features a metal case and is extremely rugged,. It is the most fully featured game clock on the market. Played by the best chess players in the world, the Chronos is a must-have for the serious chess player.

Learning to Play Chess (For Beginners)

Free - Gold Membership

ChessKid Gold Membership

Do you teach chess to kids? Right now, ChessKid is offering a free six-month Gold membership for you and all of the kids you teach! This gives unlimited access to ChessKid's online chess lessons, videos, and tens of thousands of puzzles. Kids LOVE ChessKid, where they can play chess against other kids around the world in a safe environment. Try it today!

$ - Chess 101 (Book)

Chess 101: Everything a New Chess Player Needs to Know

In Chess 101, Everything a New Chess Player Needs to Know, author Dave Schloss sets out to make confident chess players from absolute chess beginners. This small but powerful book covers the following topics:

  • The Board, the Pieces, and How to Set Them Up
  • The Value of the Pieces and How They Move
  • How to Write Chess Notations
  • The Three Phases of a Chess Game
  • Chess Clocks
  • Getting Ready to Play in Your First Chess Tournament
  • Basic Rules and Etiquette
  • Tips on Playing Winning Chess
  • Chess Puzzles

$$ - Chess Rules, Tactics & Checkmate! Ideas For Students--3-Book Set

Chess Rules, Tactics & Checkmate! Ideas For Students--3 Book Set

Chess Rules, Tactics & Checkmate! Ideas For Students: Get all three volumes of John Bain's chess series for students! Now is your chance to get some of the best instructional workbooks designed for students learning the game of chess and for beginning students returning to the game after an absence. No previous knowledge of chess is necessary. These highly acclaimed, instructive chess books, include an introduction to the moves, strategies, and philosophy of chess, with clear explanations of the game's fundamentals. There are unique instructive examples to keep you on the right track. Designed with students, coaches, and parents in mind. Total of 378 pages!

Improving your Game (for Intermediate and Advanced Players)

Free - One-Month Diamond Membership Diamond Membership

Get a free one-month Diamond Membership at with a qualifying purchase at Wholesale Chess. Your Diamond Membership will unlock unlimited access to 50,000+ tactics problems, 2,000+ videos by top grandmasters and coaches, unlimited tournaments, and a whole lot more. Check out the full benefits of membership here.

$ - How to Reassess Your Chess 4th Edition (Book)

How to Reassess Your Chess, 4th Edition

How to Reassess Your Chess has long been considered a modern classic. Now this fourth and final edition is completely rewritten and features all-new examples to take Silman's groundbreaking concept of imbalances to a whole new level. Designed for players in the 1400-to-2100 rating range and for teachers looking for a ready-made chess curriculum, this book shares a mind-expanding journey that takes the reader through imbalance basics. It ensures that every detail of all the imbalances are mastered, and leaves the player/lover of chess with something he always wanted but never believed he could achieve: a master-level positional foundation.

$$ - Fritz 15 (Training & Playing Software)

Fritz 15 DVD

The completely reworked "friend" mode makes Fritz 15 the ideal training partner. During the course of a game, Fritz is able to constantly tailor its level to your playing strength and how much time you are using. The program can give you a sign when a tactical opportunity presents itself or point out typical mistakes to help you improve. Another exciting element is the new evaluation function that analyzes your playing strength throughout the game. Where are your strengths and where are your weaknesses? The opening? Middlegame? Or perhaps the endgame? Fritz 15 gives you an Elo rating for all three phases! You definitely need to see this! Improve your conversion technique -- "I should have won that!" How often have you been frustrated after playing a good game of blitz that somehow went wrong? Stoke your curiosity and find out what could have been with Fritz 15 -- Fritz can now show you what you missed right after the game. You can, of course, also try to find the way to win yourself using the handy exercise function: an approach certain to boost your own conversion technique and rating!

$$$ - Chessbase 13 Mega Package (Chess Database Software)

Chessbase 13 Mega Package

ChessBase 13 is a personal, stand-alone chess database that has become the standard throughout the world. Everyone uses ChessBase, from the world champion to the amateur next door. It is the program of choice for anyone who loves the game and wants to know more about it. Start your personal success story with ChessBase and enjoy your chess even more.

What can you do with ChessBase? Retrieve games according to openings, players and tournaments; generate tournament cross tables and full graphic statistics of players or openings; "Similarity search" shows all games with similar pawn structures, sacrifice patterns, endgame positions etc.; "Let's check": access the world's largest database of in-depth analysis (more than 200 million positions); Cloud analysis: analysis of a single position with several engines from different computers running in parallel; "Deep analysis": generates an analysis tree that changes dynamically as with time weaker variations are dropped.

One click annotates your game with the "Theoretical Novelty"; merge games on-the-fly into an opening tree; generate a player's dossier containing all available information from the database; generate a comprehensive openings report with main and critical lines, plans and most important games; single-click publishing of games on the Internet; print games in superb quality with diagrams and multiple columns; automatic update of your local reference database with the weekly installments of games (only with the current Mega Database); access to the ChessBase online database with over seven million games.

Miscellaneous Gift Ideas

$ - Chess Piece Keychain Set

Chess Pieces Keychain Set (17 Pieces)

Our Chess Keychain Sets now come in fun, bright colors as well as in traditional Black and Ivory. Each Chess Keychain Set comes with 17 pieces, includes extra queen, (half the board) and are fitted with a chain through a hole in the piece. King size is a standard 3-3/4" height. These keychains make great stocking stuffers or hang them on the Christmas tree for fun ornaments.

$ - 10" Compact Magnetic Chess Set

10" Compact Magnetic Chess Set

Our small-size Magnetic Travel Chess Set comes with a hinged, snap-closed plastic box that opens up to a 10-by-10 inch chessboard with 1 1/16" squares and closes tight to store all the chess and checker pieces for travel or storage.

The magnetic chess pieces, which are much more detailed than you would expect, are ivory and black. The king stands 2 inches tall with 5/8 inch base. All of the chess pieces have magnetic bases to keep them firmly planted on the chessboard. Included are a set of checker pieces. Due to the small flat shape, the checker pieces are not magnetic.

$ - Silicone Chess Board

Silicone Chess Boards

The latest in chessboard technology, the silicone chess board is one of the more unusual chess boards we have carried. It is made of smooth silicone, which produces a rubber-like board that is very flexible. Because of this it will lay perfectly flat no matter how you have rolled or folded it up. This tournament size board is ideal for small bags.

$ - Passport Travel Chess Set

Passport Travel Chess Set Open

The Passport Travel Chess Set is the perfect choice for chess players on the go. It is made of genuine sheepskin, with contrasting dark brown and tan squares for a look and feel sure to please any chess player! When opened, the Passport Travel Chess Set measures approximately 7.625" x 6.75" with squares measuring 0.75". The sturdy plastic pieces slip into and are held securely by the precisely machined slots. When folded, it fits easily into pocket or purse, firmly holding everything -- including captured pieces -- in place.

$ - Chess Handbook for Parents and Coaches

Chess Handbook for Parents & Coaches

Parents, do you want to teach your child to play chess, but don't know where to begin? Does your child want to learn to play chess, but you don't play? Does your child want to play in tournaments, but you don't know where they are?

Coaches, could you use a solid lesson plan, or information about starting and running a chess club, or tips on preparing players for tournaments?

The Chess Handbook for Parents and Coaches provides parents and coaches a proven method of teaching chess for kids. Whether you know how to play or not, this book guides you though the process of teaching chess to a child. In 16 clear and easy-to-follow lessons, Part One: Teaching Chess, shows what and how to teach all the way from learning the pieces' names to checkmate, including the rules your player(s) will need to know. Part Two:The Chess World, explains what goes on in chess, how tournaments work, how to coach players, from new to advanced, how to coach kids who are playing older kids, who the famous chess players are, and much more.

$$ - Mini Isle of Lewis Themed Chess Pieces

The Mini Isle of Lewis Themed Chess Pieces by Studio Anne Carlton

These themed chess pieces are miniature replicas of the originals which were discovered on the Isle of Lewis off the West Coast of Scotland and which are now housed safely and securely in the British Museum of London and in Edinburgh. Many pieces were discovered and this is our interpretation of the Isle of Lewis chess set. The Isle of Lewis chessmen were featured in the movie Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.

$$$ - Vertical Chess Sets

Black Cherry with 3 1/2" Walnut Grain Scoop frame with Black Trim

Are you looking for a gift for that player that already has everything? I'll bet they don't have one of these. Straight Up Chess has just the chessboard to fit today's busy lifestyle…a vertical wall-mounted chessboard. The chessboard tiles become the back drop to the chess pieces sitting on narrow acrylic shelves. The decorative frame adds the finishing touch to this fine art for your home or office. The chessboard is off the table, out of the closet, out of the way and beautifully displayed on the wall. Let the game begin! Available in dozens of wood/color combinations.

$$$ - Giant Chess Set (25" King)

Giant Chess Set Combo - 25" King

If you really want to see some excitement on Christmas morning, put one of our 25" Giant Chess sets under the Christmas tree. However, you better have a big tree. The combo includes our 25" Basic Garden Chess Set with pieces made of heavy-duty, weather-resistant plastic, our Travel Giant Chess Board made of heavy-duty nylon, and our Giant Chess Carrying Bags used for storing the entire set. Save money on your order by buying everything you'll need for your Giant Chess adventure with this combo chess set.

Hopefully you have found this guide helpful. If the products we recommended above didn't meet your needs, you can contact us and we will be glad to help you find what you are looking for.

Also, as a reward for making it all the way through our Holiday Chess Buying Guide, you can use the promo code GUIDE to save 10 percent on your order through December 24, 2015.

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