Chess Bazaar World Championship Set vs. Official World Champ Set

Eyechess

Here is a comparison of the Chess Bazaar set to the Official World Championship version purchased from Chess Baron.  My review and opinion will be at the end:

In the pictures, the Chess Bazaar piece is on the left with the Official Version on the right.  And that's the Chess Bazaar set in its Plano box in the background.

These are the Black kings.  The CB one weighs 62 grams with the Official one being 60 grams.  The base diameters are the same.  And as you can see, the Official version is thicker in the body.

The White Kings are here with the CB version being 61 grams to the Official weight being 60 grams.

Here are the White Queens.  The CB version is 56 grams with the Official one being 58 grams.  And once again the bases are the same with the Official body being thicker.

The Bishops are above with the CB version being 47 grams to the Official 48 grams.  Yes, the Official one is thicker here also.

Above are the Knights.  The CB one weighs 53 grams compared to the 48 grams of the Official set.  In the last picture you can see the white bottom of the Official set compared to the usual green bottom in the CB version.  And as you can see, the Official version is much stockier built.  At the end I have more to say about the feel of the pieces that I first noticed with these knights.

Here are the Rooks with the CB one weighing 46 grams compared to the 44 grams of the Official one.  Here is where the CB piece does not compare well to the Official version at all.  The Official version has a larger base size and it still thicker than the CB one.  The Official piece is noticeably a nicer one than the CB.

And here are the pawns.  The CB one weighs 26 grams to the Official one's 25 grams.  Once again you can see the Official one is thicker and wider in the base than the CB version.

Alright, here are my thoughts on the sets.

Chess Bazaar has definitely improved their product quality.  I noticed they no longer sell this set on their site.  So, even though there are some things I do not like, they are doing well.

These two sets prove a few things I have said in the past.  First, the pictures themselves are not that demonstrative of the quality of a set.  Sure, big differences are noticeable but a number of things cannot be seen in the pictures.

Also, you usually get what you pay for.  When you pay more, you USUALLY will find the quality to be higher. 

And in this case both statements are true.

I first noticed it in the Knights.  Then I went back and picked up all the pieces as if I was going to play with them.  Remember, I did not like the CB set when I played a game with it.  I even closed my eyes to better appreciate the feel of the piece in hand as if to move it.

The Knights of the CB set seemed bottom heavy and not in a nice way.  They were out of balance.  Whereas the Official set felt a lot better in the hand.

The other pieces were very similar in the difference of how they felt during play type of handling.  The Official set won out.  Interestingly the Kings felt similar between the two sets.

I was quite surprised to see the two sets weighed the same.  But this points out the fact that weight is not the sole determinant of quality of a Chess piece or set.

If you want a set that looks nice and you will only play occasionally and not much with it, the cheaper version is great.

If you want a set that handles and plays well, then the Official set of the one to go with.

RCM has a version of this set that I have not bought and I do not need to.  Its measurements of both size and weight are different enough to rule it out.

KnightsForkCafe and Mohan_Kumar_Chess really attacked and insulted me saying many wrong things about me and also saying that I said a number of things I did not.  And they did a lot of that over my decision to get this set over the RCM one.

I am an optometrist and have no financial interest, make no money, from or in any Chess business, anywhere.  I pay for all my sets.  Yes, I also always work to get the lowest price for the highest quality.

In this case, the Official set is worth the 2 1/2 times the cost of the CB set.

 

MCH818

Honestly, I really do not like this set original or reproduction. I just can't get over the knights which I consider to be unappealing. This is of course my opinion.

Having said that, I get what you're saying about the original version being much better. To some, the differences you mentioned might be small and perhaps not worth the extra price tag but for other that small difference might be everything.

I've been thinking about getting a Dubrovnik 1950 set and have been looking at the SC version vs the Noj version. The SC version is really really nice and I think the SC knight is much better than the original because there is much more detail in the face of the knight. It is also less expensive than the Noj version. The problem is I want a version that is as close to the original as possible. To me, the SC version is not the same as the original. The Noj version is much more accurate to the original. For this reason, I would prefer the Noj version even though it is twice a much as the SC version. For some, this difference might be meaningless but for me it is everything. 

sound67

I disagree about the rooks. The official one looks clunky and fairly crude (as pictured at least), while the CB version is more elegant. Except for that and the leaner knights on the CB I don't see major differ ences. 

Eyechess
I agree the differences are minor in the looks.

But those CB rooks are too thin. And this is very noticeable when holding it in your hand. Remember that a few of us don’t like the CB set all on its own when playing with it on a board.

The knights are also some kind of bad in real life.

But Chess Bazaar quit making them so it doesn’t really matter anyway.
Eyechess

After looking at both sets again, I have to say I am really impressed with Chess Bazaar.  Sure, this set has some design flaws, but for the money, it’s better quality than a lot of other, more expensive sets. It’s also the only CB set I own that does not handle well.  And I own 6 of their sets, all in the lower price range.

Also, to hand it to the company, they no longer sell this set. So they are not producing poor quality stuff.

PeterR2

Those are some weird looking Knights, nice set.

zagryan

@Eyechess - Thank you for this excellent review. I like how the sets were reviewed side by side, piece by piece, with objective criteria, followed by personal observations from player's point of view. It's very informative, helping to understand the subtle differences between the two. To be honest, I am not a fan of the Championship design, but that's s only because of the way the knights look. All other pieces in the set "look" great, however, whether they are official version or repro by CB. Your photo showing the front profile of the knights is very interesting. There are traces of Eastern Island Moai, which @PeterR2 has already pointed out above. Funny how the CB knight has slimmer body than the official's, when all the other pieces by CB have thicker body. The design is growing on me. Anyway, keep up the great work and I hope to see more comparison reviews in the future.

Eyechess

I agree about the set, especially Knights, not looking good.  But when you see the set in use during the Championships, it looks a lot better.  The Knight did not look so bad in play like that.

This certainly is not my favorite set.  I don’t like black pieces and this set is not as nice looking as some of my favorite Staunton designs or the Dubrovnik’s and GM Pavasovic from Noj.

But there are times I will use this set at Club.

sound67
Eyechess hat geschrieben:

Also, to hand it to the company, they no longer sell this set. So they are not producing poor quality stuff.

RCM are also no longer selling theirs. Either there's a lack of demand (understandable, considering the less than spectacular knights), or they ran into some copyright infringement problems after all.

MCH818

I'm guessing it is because of those knights.

Iddscoper

This set was just made available in plastic! At a plastic price! S&H still too high, but I pulled the trigger anyway. I've had and never liked the early Chess Bazaar repro with these awful knights:

manfred_scriba_ms07

Excellent comparison, Ron! Did this still an official FIDE championship set? I'm surprised by the FIDE's obsession with the German Knight set as their official set. No doubt, it's a great and every green set, but why don't FIDE reach out for new designs, let's say every 3 years for the tournament?

TundraMike
MCH818 wrote:

I'm guessing it is because of those knights.

I will go with the other reason for infringement on the design.  I do know one major chess purveyor stopped selling it on just that reason and now all the rest are following.  It's a fact.