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Chess Sizing Guide

A guide to matching your chess pieces to your chess board.

When buying a chess board and a set of chess pieces it's vitally important to get the sizing correct. You need to ensure that the pieces not only fit on the board but also look pleasing and uncluttered. You then of course need to ensure that the board will fit on your chosen table or playing surface. There are three key measurements you must consider. They are:

  1. The diameter width of the King's base.
  2. The playing square width on the chess board
  3. The total width of the chess board.

The official tournament guideline for placing chess pieces to a chess board suggests that the King's base diamter should be no more than 75% of the width of the squares on the chess board. An example of this would be a square size of 6cm supporting a King's base diameter of 4.5 cm.

Nevertheless, there is an element of subjectivity here. We don't all need to fullfil chess tournament specification. In many cases it might be more appropriate to match the size of the chess pieces to a board by what's pleasing to the eye, aesthetically. The King always has the widest base diameter, therefore as a absolute minimum the squares on the chessboard must constrain the King comfortably. How much space that is left on the edges of the square when the king is placed centrally is key.


King too Small for Board Squares

If you choose a chessboard with squares exactly the same width as the king's diameter we can simply determine that the board is too small. While it will still be possible to play a game of chess, the set will look restricted & untidy.


King too Small for Board Squares

If you choose a chess board that is too large the chess pieces may look undersized and lost in the center of the squares. Note that the King might may look wide enough for the squares, but other pieces that have a much smaller diameter width may be far too small.


King too Small for Board Squares

The perfect size combination is one whereby the King has some, but not too much breathing space its position within the square & the smaller pieces, such as the pawns look equally at home on the same board.

We recommend a suitable playing square size for all of our listed chess pieces. We will never recommend a chess board that is too small for the pieces, however it is normal for us to recommend one that is slightly smaller than the 75% rule would suggest.

If you need any help in deciding on the appropriate board size please call or email us for advice.