Silicone Tournament Chess Set

Which Tournament Chess Set Should You Choose?

Not sure which tournament chess set to buy? At Cool Chess Canada, tournament chess sets are close to our heart. We work closely with clubs and schools and often get asked which chess set is a good choice to purchase. They are a low cost product that provide a great deal of fun but can also cause some confusion. Read on and the choices will become clear.

Chess Set Choices

Tournament Chess Sets come in a variety of materials, colours, shapes, and sizes. Most plastic chess sets are mass produced in the far east and enter Canada in their thousands through the shipping lanes of the Pacific Ocean. From there they wind their way via the Canadian Pacific Railway, onto a truck, then into our warehouse for processing. Vinyl boards and chess pieces make their way into clubs and schools and homes where they hopefully live a long and prosperous life on a table top.

In the last few years, Cool Chess Canada has seen a number of different styles of tournament chess sets from a number of different manufacturers. We constantly work hard with our manufacturers to keep prices down but improve quality. Every year we strive to produce a better product.

Cool Chess Canada currently has six types of tournament chess set available for purchase:

  1. Mini analysis chess set.
  2. Club chess set.
  3. Pro-am chess set.
  4. Weighted tournament chess set.
  5. Weighted Guardian Staunton chess set.
  6. Silicone chess set.

The trick to finding the right set is deciding on it's function. Below you'll find a breakdown of each type together with a recommendation of where it is most appropriately used:

Silicone Chess Pieces

Mini analysis chess set

A tiny chess set ideal for the serious player who needs a portable set to carry around. Fits conveniently in a bag or brief case and fits in a small space when set up. Not recommended for schools or clubs as the chess pieces are small and easy for kids to misplace (lose).

Club chess set

A full-sized tournament set ideal for elementary schools, clubs with small kids or clubs on a budget. The club chess set is a good option for teaching and works well for serious games. The chess pieces are not weighted. Kicking the table as you walk past could result in a chess game ending up on the floor, but that just adds to the fun!

Pro-am chess set

A little bit of an old fashioned style gives this full-sized solid plastic chess set a bit of a unique look. The chess pieces are heavier than the club set and are solid plastic all the way through. Rather than being ivory or white in colour, these pieces are natural. This means they have a brownish yellow colour to them that makes them a little bit special. Ideal for the individual chess player but usually not purchased by schools or clubs.

Weighted tournament chess set

The weighted tournament chess set is ideal for the serious player, clubs, or schools with older kids. The pieces are weighted with steel and kicking the table doesn't necessarily mean your chess game will fly in all directions. This set is ideal for blitz or fast games as pieces tend not to topple.

Weighted Guardian Staunton Chess Set

Every so often we change the higher end plastic set. Our current model, the Guardian, is ideal for individual use at home or a coffee shop, etc. The pieces are bigger and heavier and good for small hands. Perhaps not the best suited to schools and clubs as the chess set doesn't follow the normal Staunton pattern expected in touraments.

Silicone Chess Set

My current favourite chess set, but not to everyone's taste. The chess pieces are made from food-grade silicone and are almost indestructible! All of the chess sets above have green felt bases, but the silicone does not. Because it's a flexible plastic, it's impractical to have felt. Hardened plastic can chip if you're not careful (the weighted tournament set being extremely heavy can be prone to this if you throw the pieces from height onto a hard floor) but flexible silicone does not. The result is a chess set that is guaranteed to stand the test of time. The down side is the fun younger kids might have throwing the pieces around. They really do bounce well!

You can find all of the above chess set options at Cool Chess Canada in the Plastic Chess Set page. If you're a school, call or email us for a quote or details on volume discounts, and also take a look at our School and Clubs page.

Llama Chess Set

The Hollingsworth Chess Set

If you're looking for a new chess set, either for yourself or as a gift for someone else then why not try something a unique? The Hollingsworth chess set is a stunning mid-range product that recently hit the Cool Chess Canada warehouse and it's definitely worth checking out!

The Hollingsworth is not your average Staunton offering - you can tell that from the wild looking Knight. It reminds me more of a llama than a horse, but that just adds to the warm feeling I have for this chess set.

We categorized this chess set with the mid-range products and it can be purchased with the dark pieces manufactured from either ebonized boxwood (that's a very dark black stained boxwood) or golden rosewood (also known as sheesham wood).

The King is 4" tall and its base is a good size at 1.65". The base sizes are slightly larger than many you'll find for sets in the 3.75" - 4" height range. Aside from the King, the other chess men are relatively tall compared to standard Staunton design sets. Turning-wise the chess pieces are unique. They have a modern look about them and the elongated Pawns, Rooks, and Bishops just add to the aesthetics of the chess set.

New Staunton Chess Set

The lines on the pieces are sharp and crisp and make you take a second look at the chess set every time you go to play. At 2.51 lbs, the Hollingsworth is weighty enough that you'll think of it as a serious chess set, and playing with it is a pleasure! We've had a set in the office for a few days now and visitors can't help but be drawn to it.

We opted to couple this chess set with the black anegre board from Rechapados Ferrer for our collection. The ebonized chess pieces look particularly stunning with this chess board! Suffice to say that this particular chess board isn't to everyone's taste and you could most certainly swap it out for another. A 50 mm square is just fine for the set, but if you prefer a little extra space between the chess pieces then opt for a 55 mm square.

The Hollingsworth is a worthy addition to any library or living room, and you can find it at the Cool Chess Canada website. I would certainly recommend taking a look if you fancy chess pieces that are just a little different from the norm!


Our Chess Sets Have A New Office

We've moved offices! Previously located in Mississauga, we have now given our Canadian e-commerce chess store, Cool Chess Canada, a new home in Aurora, Ontario.

The location is 95 Cousins Drive, L4G 1B5, Canada. Our telephone number remains the same: 416-705-5168.

Cousins Drive is a corporate location for paper-pushing and we don't stock any chess sets on site, however if you'd like to visit feel free to do so. Call us first to make sure we're in the office and we'll do everything we can to accommodate your schedule.

Give us a heads up if you'd like to come in and view a chess set or pick up a product that you have pre-ordered from us. We can swipe Visa, Mastercard and American Express on-site as well.


Cool Chess Canada Updates

You may have noticed a while ago that we closed down the Cool Chess Canada blog that was on our e-commerce website. We honestly couldn't figure out the best way to bring you chess set news and product reviews in a useful and meaningful way. Well, we're hoping that things are about to change as we start to add content to this new blog.

You may also have noticed that we closed The Chess Room - the sister e-commerce site of Cool Chess Canada. We decided to work solely on a single website and improve our focus, build our brand, and try to bring better chess sets to Canada through one location. So The Chess Room becomes our blog, and Cool Chess Canada our one and only e-commerce store.

Being of an entrepreneurial nature, of course are also working on other things - if you like inks, pens, and high quality paper, then check out Knight's Writing Company.

Cool Chess Canada continues to grow with gusto and we have firm plans over the coming years to make chess in Canada as exciting and enjoyable as it should be! We hope you enjoy our new blog, improved website, updated products and the journey we are going to take.