The best gifts for chess players

Board Games

There’s an interesting variation of chess worth playing called Chess960, developed by the world chess champion Bobby Fischer. All the pawns maintain their position, but the pieces behind the pawns have randomized positions. The variation makes for interesting outcomes!

BestReviews is reader-supported and may earn an affiliate commission. Details.

Which gift for chess players is best?

Chess is a truly beautiful game, a match of wits, strategy and cunning. The beauty of the game is in its simplicity. For over 1,500 years, the rules and design of chess have stayed the same.

If you’re looking for the best gift for a chess player, pick up a copy of Logical Chess: Move By Move: Every Move Explained New Algebraic Edition. Considered one of the greatest works written about chess in history, this book will be sure to improve anyone’s game regardless of age or skill.

What to know before you buy a gift for chess players

Skill levels

Some people have been playing their whole lives, whereas others are just getting into the game now. You’ll want to be cognizant of your recipient’s skill level before buying a gift. For example, you wouldn’t purchase a beginner’s set for a pro chess player, nor would you buy advanced chess sets for a beginner. It may be worth asking how long your recipient has been playing chess to better gauge what type of gift to get. 

Themed chess sets 

From life-sized pieces to Marvel-themed pieces, there’s a chess set for just about any theme you can think up. There’s even a chess set as a drinking game, where you take a shot of each piece after you take them. These are all worth considering if you know that your chess player is also a big fan of a certain movie franchise, TV show, or video game.

Digital presents

Some chess players like to play online, on websites such as Rather than buying a physical gift, consider buying a digital gift. Consider ideas such as a premium subscription to their favorite Chess platform or a website that offers courses in Chess.

What to look for in a quality gift for chess players


Chess sets are made from a variety of materials, typically plastic, marble and wood. While this is definitely an aesthetic choice, it’s recommended you go with weighted plastic or wood for budget and quality purposes. Glass and marble sets are likely to break more easily over time.

Chess-playing authors

Thousands of books have been written on the game of chess for all types of players. There are books that explain the rules, books that show different openings or closings and books that show you how to elevate your game. For the latter of the three, consider looking up authors that were real-life chess players. They will help show you their own thinking during some of their previous games and give you ideas on how to improve. Look up authors such as Irving Chernev, Jeremy Silman and Bobby Fischer. 

Educational material

Chess players are always striving to learn. Give them something that will make them better at the game and they will appreciate you for it. Books are just one way to do this, but consider electronic chess sets where they can play a computer, online courses in chess, or even in-person classes by another chess player. 

How much you can expect to spend on gifts for chess players

Chess gifts can start at around $10 for cheap sets or books. The most expensive chess gifts may cost up to $500 or even more, as they are made from fine materials or have enhanced computer systems built-in. 

Gifts for Chess Players FAQ

What should come in a complete chess set?

A. If you’re purchasing a chess set for someone, it should come with 32 pieces, a checkerboard mat or board and perhaps a container to store them in. 

What does triple-weighted mean?

A. This means that the pieces weigh three times more than standard pieces. Heavier pieces don’t give any advantage, but they do feel a lot more satisfying and durable compared to standard pieces.

What’s the best gift for chess players to buy?

Top gift for chess players

Logical Chess: Move By Move: Every Move Explained New Algebraic Edition 

Logical Chess: Move By Move: Every Move Explained New Algebraic Edition 

What you need to know: An ideal book for people truly interested in chess. 

What you’ll love: Irving Chernev is a chess player and author and Logical Chess is his masterwork. This book shows you key insights into each move or tactic within the game. You’ll want to have real chess set in front of you to properly visualize and learn the concepts in the book.

What you should consider: This book is not for beginners. It skips right past the basics and delves into the more intermediate subject matter. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon 

Top chess gift for the money

Quiver Chess Set Combination

Quiver Chess Set Combination

What you need to know: A solid-constructed chess set from a renowned brand. 

What you’ll love: Triple-weighted pieces will feel a lot more robust than common pieces. It just feels better to use and make moves with. This set is ideal for newcomers to the game looking to have their first chess set. 

What you should consider: The vinyl mat can be rolled up, but it can also crease if you’re not careful.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Harry Potter Wizard Chess Set 

Harry Potter Wizard Chess Set 

What you need to know: Based on the famous version of chess in Harry Potter, this set is sure to make any fan play with glee. 

What you’ll love: If you’re a big Harry Potter geek, then you’ll know just how this set is special. You can even re-enact the iconic scene from “The Philosopher’s Stone.”  

What you should consider: The pieces feel rather hollow, not as solid as one might expect from the movie. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.

Leo Herrera-Lim writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

Copyright 2021 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.