Finding decent quality chess sets is not as easy as you might think it should be, particularly if you are out shopping in the high street. A specialist store is hard to find – there might be one in a busy city centre but otherwise most high street specialist games retailers have closed their doors, either for good or to change the business to an online one. Sometimes you can find sets in toy or novelty stores but the choices are limited. Your best bet is to do a search online where there’s a larger variety.

There are hundreds of online chess stores, and prices are generally cheaper as merchants have fewer overheads to cover, and the options range from wooden and metal to marble and glass. And how much easier can it be, when you can buy online from home and have it delivered right to the door?

When shopping most people like to touch products to get a real feel of the texture and quality. The problem when looking on the net, for anything, is that you have to rely on the images provided. And, whilst these can be zoomed into and studied from various angles, it’s simply not the same as picking it up, weighing the pieces, smelling the wood and experiencing the quality up close and in person.

That said however, online shopping is still a lot of fun and simple enough to do, you can open as many websites as you like to compare prices and styles. Have a good look at what is available before making a decision as prices can differ greatly depending on who you buy from, and the savings made can be put to good use elsewhere, like buying other chess supplies. Buy a set complete, or the board and pieces separately if preferred. Sets are generally cheaper, but there’s not always a lot of difference.

Many sites have a sale section or special promotion, this is the section where you’ll find discounted products as the company tries to sell off the old stock to make room for new items arriving.

If you surf the web looking for chess retail sites you’ll almost certainly read enough customer testimonials and reviews to give you an idea of which makes and styles of chess boards are good and which should be avoided. The problem with this is that you don’t always know if they are real customers posting comments. There are any merchants who write the reviews themselves to try and increase sales, however in most cases you’ll be able to spot the frauds as they’ll be very similar and the writing might be very slapdash or poorly written.

There’s a variety of computer chess sets, and Saitek are one of the foremost brand names in talking trainer chess computers. Different to other computer chess manufacturers’, they use real chess pieces on top of an actual chessboard with electronic sensors so you experience the same as playing a ‘live’ game.

Looking for a novelty chess set? Isle of Lewis chess pieces are almost certainly one of the most familiar items in the world. There’s a fantastic story about these distinguished pieces and they are a steady source of attraction with devotees of the game. The original chessmen were found during the 1800’s in Scotland on the Isle of Lewis and said to be centuries old and derive from Norway.

An assortment of hand carved chess sets can be found online, from pieces carved from camel bone by India’s top artisans to fine woods, such as sheesham, ebony, bud rosewood and boxwood, or silver, gold and pewter metal chess pieces.