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Vinyl vs. Mousepad Board

  • #21

    If you do choose vinyl just carry it in one of those chess set bags and make sure to always roll it with the squares facing outwards to keep it flat.

  • #22

    I have cloth backed vinyl chess boards & no problems with them laying flat. Just don't get the all vinyl ones as they are junk!

  • #23

    I have vinyl, mousepad, and silicone.  The printing is sharpest on the vinyl and pieces do move smoothest on its' surface.  Still a pain to have to carefully roll up.  Silicone is best if you want a no care product although it does feel a little funny and costs more.  They all work fine but call me old school for preferring a folding wooden board.  OMG I just realized this thread is 3 years old...

  • #24

    I think i will buy one and get some glow in dark paint and

    apply it to the squares. Might do the same to the piece. ??

    Sometimes i am online at night and a waste to have so many lights on while i play out positions in a current game using my board.

  • #25
    royalbishop wrote:

    I think i will buy one and get some glow in dark paint and

    apply it to the squares. Might do the same to the piece. ??

    Sometimes i am online at night and a waste to have so many lights on while i play out positions in a current game using my board.

    Here's a slightlu more elegant solution:


    LED Glow Chess Set by LumiSource

    So much for my "cut and paste skills"Embarassed Anyway it's an LED chess set that glows in the dark, on Ebay for $60, includes the board.

  • #26

    Thank you!

  • #27

    You're welcome, but be sure and read the reviews.  It's glass and quality control is maybe not the very best.  You might want to look around somewhere besides Ebay to be sure you can return defective pieces.  Lots of places carry it if you do a Google search.  It is a pretty coool idea though...

  • #28


    I saw a neon stand used outside the store to advertise. If i can a smaller one i will just draw a board on it and find to a way to make it permanent. Something like that.... 

    Think i will take a trip to an art supply store and see what i can find also.

  • #29

    I have a vinyl board, a mousepad board, and a silicone board.

    It is true that the mousepad and silicone boards do not allow the easy sliding of pieces that may be experienced with a vinyl board.  But as I don't slide pieces, this is irrelevant.

    The mousepad board is quite nice: simply roll it for storage (playing side outward), and it will always lie flat. I like the feel and there's almost no noise made when moving pieces.

    The silicone board is also very nice; roll it, bend it, or fold it, it will always lie flat, totally without creases.   It's lighter than a vinyl board and easier to carry.  It will also stick to a flat surface much better than a vinyl board.

    The only real drawbacks of a mousepad or silicone board is that either will cost about four times as much as a vinyl board.  But it's worth it to me.

  • #30

    Lots of good information in this old thread. I have a couple of vinyl boards, with the cloth back that cost a couple dollars more than the standard, sometimes listed as a premium vinyl chess board. Six bucks and change. I like that you can slide the board, adjust it. I did not know the mousepad boards are sticky, but it makes sense - knowing mousepads. And that the silicone behaves the same is good to know. As for sliding pieces on the board, personally, I don't do that anyway.

  • #31

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  • #32

    I am the designer and builder of a newer type of thin (1/16 inch) mouse pad chessboard that was first used at the 2016 World Open. To review all my information about my boards and what other Chess Com users are saying: see Chess Com forum books and equipment under silicone.

  • #33

    Why not silicon?  Best of all worlds.

    Sure... silicon boards are more "grippy" and it's harder to slide pieces on them, but in every other way they are superior.  Learn to pick up your pieces, problem solved! happy.png

  • #34

    Because some people prefer to slide their pieces.  That's why.

  • #35
    Bawker wrote:

    Why not silicon?  Best of all worlds.

    Sure... silicon boards are more "grippy" and it's harder to slide pieces on them, but in every other way they are superior.  Learn to pick up your pieces, problem solved!

    Actually the "e" is at the end of the word.

    Silicone boards are alright, I own and use one with my Blitz/Skittles setup.

    However, the silicone boards do have their own problems:

    1. They are definitely grippy.  It is pretty impossible to slide a piece, with felt or billiard cloth bottoms. on this board.  If you have a set with the bottoms being smooth then you can slide the pieces on the board, but it still isn't great.

    So yes, with my silicone board we have to pick the pieces up with no sliding.  For Blitz and Casual play that's alright because we are picking the pieces up anyway.  However, for a slower game, it really does matter to be able to slide the piece.

    2. The silicone board material is a lint and grit magnet.  My silicone board is apt to pick up all stray pieces of lint, dust or whatever on its surface.  And the only real way to get the stuff off is to use a damp  cloth or paper towel.

    The benefits of the silicone, over other materials like vinyl are:

    1. You can fold, spindle and even sometimes mutilate these boards and they will always lay flat with no creases.  I remember talking with the guy that first came up with the silicone board, Dewain Barber, and he told me, a few times, that you can just bunch or fold the board up and put it in your pocket.  And you can with the boards lying flat on the table or counter every time.

    2. The board is quite stain resistant.  If something like coffee spills on the board, it just wipes off with no problem.  Standard mousepad boards have a cotton/poly material on top and they really stain where you cannot get the stains out easily at all.

    In all honesty if silicone boards were that great we would see them being used all the time at school clubs (I run one with about 25 kids), tournaments and other Chess events.  The fact is that other materials are still used instead of silicone.  We just can't get past the grippy thing for these uses.

    Now, glbutter has indeed come up with what might be a complete substitue for the vinyl board.  I just bought 2 of his and they are everything we would want in a portable board:

    1. The board is built and looks like and feels like a mousepad board except for 2 things:

      a. The rubber backing is only 1/16" thick making it so the board can be folded and bunched up just like the silicone.

      b. The top material does not have cotton in it.  It is completely polyester.

    2. This board bunches or scrunches up just like the silicone board, so it folds and all and does lie flat on the table when ready to use.

    3. The top material is smooth and you definitely can slide pieces with felt or billiard cloth on the bottom, across the top of this board.

    4. Because it is all polyester I hear that it does not permanently stain.  Glen tells that coffee spilled on one of his boards and it wiped right off with no staining, as would normally happen with a cotton/poly mousepad board.

    The things I don't like about the board can pretty much be changed.  I have found the Walnut color works better for me with wood sets than the Cocobolo one.  The Cocobolo pattern has some bright spots in it showing how each square is a rotation of other squares.  They all have the same basic pattern.

    I want to see a standard Green and Buff color for this board.  He told me he can and will do this.  I look forward to that.

    I also think it would be good for the price to come down.  Right now he charges $19 on eBay for each board, plus you have to pay shipping.

    I hope he can have the boards produced more in volume to bring the price down.

    I used my Walnut board this past Monday evening in a rated game.  I used a Rosewood Ultimate Chess set on it, from The Rochester Chess Center, and the two looked great together. 

    I had tossed the board in a bag with the set, in a Plano box, and a clock in a case, in a bag from The Chess Store.  I made sure I wasn't too dainty or straight how the board went in the bag.  It was folded and scrunched.  Well, it came right out of the bag and on the table with n'ary a crease or fold.  And when I packed it up for the night, I didn't have to bother rolling it up or anything.

  • #36

    Yes, I have been watching glbutter's board development with great interest.  For me, it's a complete slam-dunk... solves ALL of the problems of other board types, seemingly with no downsides at all.  However... there are 2 issues I have with his boards, both of which will keep me from buying until they are resolved:


    1 - No solid colors (green, or better yet... brown) available yet.  I hate wood prints and will NOT buy the present offerings because of this.  However, he does claim a green/buff pattern is in the works... I will be one of his first customers for a solid color version when this becomes available, provided issue #2 is also resolved.


    2 - His logo on the h1 square.  I will NEVER buy a board from ANY company, no matter how good it is, with any kind of markings or logos on the playing surface.  Some people don't care... but for me it's like fingernails on a chalkboard.  Completely distracts me and destroys my enjoyment of the game! I've brought this issue up with glbutter, with the suggestion that he move the logo information to the border area of the board.  He has indicated that this is a good idea worth pursuing.  If he follows up on this, I'll probably sell all of my Silicone boards and replace them with his product.


    As for his price, I personally think that $19 is a bargain considering the product... I would happily pay up to $25+Shipping if he can resolve the above issues.

  • #37

    I have just a couple of points or three to add:

    Realize that this board looks like and feels like a mousepad board. 

    It is a lot thinner than a regular one and can fold up easily.

    The top is definitely a material and has a satiny, material feel to it, similar to a regular mosepad board.  Except the material is all polyester so the pieces slide easily on it.  It is not a non-porous material like vinyl or even silicone though.

    I understand your point about the logo on the h1 square.  I read where he thought putting it on the border was possible.  Let's see if he does that.

    The Walnut is a pretty solid colored square.  It does look like a solid colored piece of wood.

    With that though, I just emailed him pictures of 3 boards with solid green for the dark squares and different "Natural" shades for the light.

    I also am a big fan of the solid color for the square.  All the pictures I sent him were solid colored boards.

    We'll see what he comes up with.

  • #38
    I really like vinyl boards too. I never fold mine. I just roll them up not too tightly and they are always flat on the table. I have seen creased and damaged ones owned by people who actually fold them like a newspaper. If it's damaged then it will suck.

    Has anyone played on a cow hide leather roll up board? I've seen chessbazaar sells them but I doubt I'd like the feel of it.

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