Why chessboards have algebraic coordinates

Those letters and numbers along the margin of many chessboards are the coordinate system for naming the squares, commonly called “algebraic notation”. Chessboards for learning or competition often have letters and numbers along each side with 1-8 horizontal ranks and A-H vertical files creating a coordinate system for recording a chess game on paper or electronically. The lower left square is A1 and the upper right square is H8, with all the squares having their own coordinate name. Nearly all standard vinyl roll-up chessboards will have this algebraic coordinates. It is not as common on wood chessboards although a popular model is shown. Beginners rely on the coordinate system printed on the chessboard to help them write down their moves, so it’s good for those starting out to start with an “algebraic” chessboard. Experts know the coordinate “names” of all 64 squares and don’t depend on the visual depiction of coordinates. These coordinates help players record their games my by move on a game recording sheet or “scoresheet”. Some chess rules for competitive chess depend on an accurately recorded chess game. Here are some reasons to record a chess game in notation. Save a record to replay the moves and review a game later with a coach and save a personal library of your games in a scorebook Know when a specific number of moves is reached, such as the 40th move, often used for a time control where a predetermined 2 hours is allowed for the first 40 moves and 1 hour is remaining for the rest of the game. If a game is disrupted for any reason,...

How to select the right size chessboard for pieces

Generally, the King piece base diameter of a Staunton design chess piece should be about 3/4 of the chessboard’s square size. Yes, it’s really that simple! For non-regulation chess play you can of course deviate from this as you wish, yet the guideline is useful. A smaller square size relative to the pieces will create a denser or crowded feel, while a larger square size will create the opposite effect – a more sparse and open playing field. For personal use, these are guidelines. Officially however, the U.S. Chess Federation’s Rules of Chess, 5th edition, says regarding board size, 41C page 227: “The guideline for determining the proper square size for a Staunton chess set is that the King should occupy around 78% of the square.(Dividing the base diameter of the King by 0.78 will yield the proper square size).  An acceptable square size may be up to 1/8 inch larger than this number, but not smaller.” Example 1: For a chessboard with 2″ Squares, the King’s base should be about 1 1/2″ (about 75% of 2″). Example 2: For a 1.75″ King base, divide by .78 which is approximately 2.25″, the recommended square size. Let’s look at a series of visual examples. (67%) Regulation Chess Set with 1 1/2” King base and Vinyl board 20” Square and 2 1/4” squares.   (84%) Club Chess Pieces with 1 1/2″ King base and 17” Vinyl board with 1 7/8” square. The same club pieces can be played on a smaller playing surface.   (73%) Timeless pieces with 1 7/16″ King base on 18” US Made wood chess board with 1...

Custom “stone look” for 25″ Giant Chess Set

Glenn Mon with Hamanassett B&B www.hamanassett.com customized his 25″ Giant Chess set to create a “Stone Chess Set” for their Bed & Breakfast. After cleaning, to remove dust and oils, he primed the pieces with a Rust-o-leum plastic primer, painted with a Rust-o-leum stone finish, and then sealed and finished with a Hellsman Spar Urethane finish for protection. The chessboard was created with 18″x18″ stone tiles. They matched the chess pieces with the color of the stones. Impressive. What do you think?  ...

Guide: Choosing a Travel Chess Set

Playing chess while you travel means your game can be interrupted at any moment. If you need to close the game quickly sometimes it’s helpful to use a chess board that saves the position rather than shuffling the pieces into a compartment and trying to remember their position later. On the very trip I met Joanna in 2006, I happened to be carrying a lightweight, stylish chess set. It’s shown below with the pewter and gold color plastic pieces, lightweight neoprene zip case with two compartments, one for the board and one for the pieces. I chose this set because the pieces are not only eye-pleasing and well proportioned (unlike the Drueke design), they cling well to the chess board. Real three dimensional pieces are easier to move on the chess board than flat pieces; however, the “Checkbook” magnetic set offers a uniquely flat design and slim-profile flat printed magentic pieces that are adequate in many cases. It’s a clever design similar in ways to a checkbook. Until discontinued in late 2012, Drueke’s 8×8″ magnetic chess was a great combination of rigid, durable, compact set with strong magnets and real pieces. It was a favorite of back packers, military, law enforcement and anyone working in more harsh environments. We have plans for a replacement product.  For now here’s the current Drueke 87730 model that looks much the same, aside from the formerly hard plastic case. Wooden travel chess sets offer the most interesting variety in style and size but of course are not as lightweight. My very favorite is the CHW10 10.5″ Magnetic Chess Set, and here’s why. It’s a...

The Companion Resource Guide for Lego Chess Sets

Where to find, how to make, how to buy: I love LEGO sets. Over most other toys I buy for my son, I enjoy buying him LEGO sets because I enjoy putting them together… ah, with him, of course. So, working with Chess House, it was natural that I should eventually wonder about LEGO chess sets. And so began the search to find what sets are out there and available. What I found was amazing–chess sets offered by LEGO, sets made by fans, more sets made by LEGO Star Wars fans, and the list goes on. But what if I actually wanted to have a LEGO chess set for my own… er, my own son? Where would one go to purchase? Could I go to learn how to make or build a chess set or have one made? And, even more fundamentally, what set should be purchased? Fear not though! Taking upon myself the heavy yoke I have blazed a trail before you, being your guide to finding a LEGO chess set to meet your needs and budget. The short answer? While there is an amazing amount of LEGO chess creations out there, only a relative few (although still good) choices remain for those looking for something within a reasonable budget and a limited time frame. For those with time and a larger budget, the path is bigger, but there are still some sets that are a steep climb to find or have commissioned. So let’s get started! : The Obvious Answer At this time, LEGO only offers one LEGO chess set– that being the Kingdoms Chess Set.  ToysNbricks.com...