The Ultimate Guide: Christmas gifts for friends that love chess

When it comes to buying Christmas gifts, you’re either an early bird Christmas shopper with a list of everything you need, or you’re trying to find the perfect, personable and thoughtful gift for your partner, friends, or family. With our ultimate gift guide, we’ve compiled the best chess sets to buy that your loved one will truly appreciate.  

Chess is a game loved by many – young or old, men or women, and is suitable for most ages. If you’re feeling uncertain about which chess set your loved one will appreciate, then this gift guide will give you the perfect options to choose from. We have personalised chess sets for beginners, intermediate, and advanced chess players.  

 So, what should you buy, and where should you begin? 

Establish the Level of the Chess Player you are Buying for 

Firstly, figure out the type of chess player you’re buying a gift for. Whether they’re beginner, intermediate, or advanced-level players will help you decide on a gift that’s perfectly suited for them. If they’ve just begun playing chess, the classic range chess sets are an amazing gift idea for beginner-level players who are passionate about improving their skills. If you’re after a lovely travel set to carry with you on your journeys, the original range chess sets may be a better choice. 

Alternatively, if you know they have a vested interest in chess, then we have our selection of chess boards and pieces for intermediate and advanced-level chess competitors, which include coveted pieces like the Staunton chessmen. Have a look at the economy range, which is the gold standard for intermediate players that comes with sophisticated veneered boards and Staunton chessmen, while being budget-friendly. For the chess-loving, advanced player or collector, it’s likely they already have the beginner and intermediate sets. If you want to truly impress them, we recommend our Staunton or Isle of Lewis ranges.

Beginner Chess Players 

Have someone in your life who’s interested in chess, but isn’t quite an expert yet? Then, the beginner classic range chess set is the best option. When starting out, the quality of the pieces, the history behind chess, and the tournament sets can be overwhelming. Instead, the beginner set is a simple chess set, made of high-quality material, so they can practise their skills and improve before upleveling.  

One of our best-selling chess sets from the classic chess set variety is this 14” chess set in ‘walnut’. It is a walnut wood and maple veneer of great quality retailing at only £44.99. This is offered with a storage bag or box for your chess pieces, all available on our classic range category,

Not loving the walnut style? Check out the rest of our design range to find one that suits the style you know your loved one will be delighted to open on Christmas Day.  

One of the most popular chess boards from our original range set is our 12” original range round wooden chess set. This is due to the incredible quality of the solid sheesham wood of the set and its unique look in comparison to a standard flat board. However, if you’d like to treat your loved one to this set, but with the classic square style with draws, they are available here. 

Intermediate Chess Players 

Know someone who’s passed the beginner stage? This means they already know the basic foundations of chess and can keep an entertaining game running for a while. It’s likely that they’re already aware of what’s popular and what isn’t in the world of chess. This is why, for intermediate chess players, we recommend the Staunton or Isle of Lewis pieces, which are loved by more experienced chess players. 

Exclusively for these players, we’ve introduced our Staunton Chessmen Collection / categories. You have a selection of designs to choose from, including our popular 3” chessmen with the 16” veneered board in the economy range. 

In a moment, we’ll be discussing the championship set for more advanced-level players. If the person you’re buying a gift for isn’t quite at that level, then this economy range set is the best in-between gift as it’s a slightly miniature version of the championship set.

This gorgeous economy range chess set includes 3” French Staunton chess pieces, with an additional ebonised storage compartment, for the all-inclusive price of only £107.99.

Our economy range is also available in a range of styles, including the mahogany and walnut style, with a variety of different Staunton chess pieces. Another great option is our beautifully simple original range solid wood boards that also arrive with Staunton chessmen.

Unsure about the value and difference between the different Staunton Chessmen? Have a read of our in-depth article Which Staunton Chess Piece Style is Right for You?‘ which provides additional information to help you make the best decision.

Advanced Chess Players 

Finally, we have the advanced-level chess players. If you’re buying for someone who is well-versed in playing chess, then they most likely already have both the beginner and intermediate sets.

How do you know if they’re an advanced chess player? They have been playing chess for years, they keep up-to-date on the news within the world of chess and Howard Staunton is a name all too familiar to them. These players are at a level where they’re ready for our signature championship-sized chess sets.  

What do we mean by a championship chess set? This is a set that includes a 20” or above board size. Its wonderful name is derived from the fact that this is the exact board size used in championship games. So, if you’re buying for someone who likes to compete – they will be over the moon with this thoughtful gift set.  

The standard for these games is also to have 3.75” Staunton Chessmen. The original official championship Staunton set is black and white so closely resembles a lot of our ebonised sets. 

For some of the finest championship sets, have a look at the following chess set categories: 


What Kind of Chess Set Material Would They Like 

The sets we have discussed so far are all wooden in material, but they vary in the composition of how much wood each board contains. The higher the percentage, the higher the cost of the set.  

Now that you’re informed about their skill level and how invested they are in chess, it’s easier to make a decision on the kind of set that your friend, partner, or family member will be delighted to receive.  

Our finest solid wooden sets include the Helena chess sets in our Luxury Range and Staunton Range, all made of solid wood and very heavy boards. Some of the more expensive sets in our original chess set range are also completely handmade and solid wood. 

Our Finest wooden veneered boards reside in the Master Chess Set range, they’re all slightly more lightweight but still make a beautiful chess set.  

What if they already have a quality wooden set? Then, we have some incredible options that are different and unique below.  

Themed Chess Sets

This includes our metal range chess sets which are available in many colours and sizes.

For the true chess enthusiast in your life, we have our latest and most breathtaking Isle of Lewis range chess sets, with a fascinating history behind them. Anyone you buy this for, is certain to be delighted and impressed!  

Now, we have  the most unique materials of our entire collection; metal and stone. We supply Metal Roman Chessmen, which can be bought with our gorgeous metal chess boards. These are supplied to us from the stunning island of Greece. Give a gift this Christmas that your loved one will be enamoured with!  

metal roman empire chess pieces brass

If you want something a little different, we have our enviable Isle of Lewis set that is produced using stone crushed polyresin. 

Still unsure about the perfect chess board or piece to gift? All the current materials we stock are those we have found to be the most popular, and which continue to increase in popularity.  

All these options are sure to delight and will be deeply appreciated by the recipient of the gift. When making a final choice, refer back to their chess playing level, their investment in the game, and their personal preference towards style and material.  

If you’re still undecided, then the traditional Staunton chess sets are the most sophisticated and safe option.  

Chess Pieces and your Preferences 

When it comes to buying a chess-related gift for the holidays, it’s likely that whatever level of chess player they are, they would appreciate high quality chess pieces. While the chess board itself is a vital component, it’s the chess pieces that are collectibles. They come in many different styles, and therefore, are highly coveted and loved by collectors. 

If you know they’re a collector, it’s very helpful to know which pieces they already have. In our experience, they would be more than happy to receive a Staunton chessmen design, if this is not already part of their collection.   

Completely starting from scratch with Staunton chessmen? Have a read of our article on the different Staunton chessmen that goes through everything you need to know about the Staunton pieces. 

What’s your Budget Range? 

Now that you’re more aware of skill level, interests, materials, and collections – you hopefully have a much better idea of the type of chess pieces or sets you would like to buy for your loved one this holiday season.  If you want to know exactly why Staunton chess sets are so expensive, then have a look at our article explaining exactly how each and every Staunton chess piece is made.

Before making a decision, the final piece to take into consideration is the budget. If you don’t really have a budget and would like to spend generously on a beautiful gift this Christmas, then we have already covered our best sets. If you scroll below, you’ll be able to see how you could also have your gift personalised by us.  

If you do have a certain spending limit, then we have compiled a selection of our finest budget-friendly gifts. Here’s our gift guide of budget-friendly sets, beginning with non-championship sets:

Original Range Chess Set in ‘Sheesham Square’- 12” £53.99

Metal Range Chess Set ’Emerald Green‘- 11”  £89.99

Economy Range wooden Mahogany Chess set 16” with French Knight Staunton Pieces £98.99

Here are some of our most budget- friendly championship chess sets: 

Executive Range Mahogany Chess set with Ebonised Classic Staunton Pieces 20”  £170.99 

Staunton Range Helena Flat board Chess Set Ebonised with Classic Staunton Chess Pieces £197.99 

Personalise Your Chess Set 

We hope you’ve found this article helpful, and landed on the perfect chess set that your friend, family, or partner will absolutely love. If you’d like to add an extra special touch, then consider adding personalisation, using our engraving service, here at Chessgammon.  

Using solid brass adhesive plates, we can engrave whatever message you would like to be part of your gift. The engraved plate is sent separately from the set, and therefore, can be attached on by yourself, according to your preferences. 

Add a plate to your order for only £7.99, you can find this option on the item listing page as an add-on. 

Adding this personalised feature is going to delight your loved one this Christmas when they open up your present. It will set your gift apart as one that is priceless, irreplaceable, and incredibly thoughtful. This is one of the best ways to create a sentimental gift to remember.  

We hope this gift guide has been helpful, and that you’ve learnt more about the best chess sets and pieces to gift your loved ones with. Although finding the perfect chess-related gift can be tricky because of all the options, it’s much easier to choose the perfect gift once you know skill level, budget, and personal style preferences. This will help you distinguish and find the best gift this Christmas.