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Chess Board Dimensions: (Size, Squares, Tournament)

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The perfect size for a chess board is 20 x 20 inches, with 2.25″ x 2.25″ square size providing ample space for a good set of chessmen to sit comfortably on the individual squares based on a King of 3.75″ height and 1.5″ Base Diameter. The generally accepted thickness of 0.75″ for the board will provide a stable base on which to play games.

ElementInchescms
Square Size2.25 inches5.7 cm
Board Size – Footprint20 x 20 inches50.8 x 50.8 cm
King Height3.75 inches9.53 cm
King Base Diameter1.5 inches3.81 cm
These chess board dimensions qualify for US chess federation regulations
Chess board dimensions for a standard board are between 17-21 inches square made up of ideally 2inch squares
A perfect sized chess board will have the board and pieces in perfect relation to complement each other

Not all chess boards are made the same, so this article will run through all possible options and variations to suit the game of chess you want to play and consider the size of chessboard when you might store your board when not in use.

The main thing to consider is there has to be a relatable relationship between the size of the board itself and the square size which contributes to the look, feel, and functionality of the board, as well as the border that considers the entire chess board

A chess board that is big but has small squares may provide issues with piece movement, conversely, a small board with large squares will look off and cause similar issues when you want to move your pieces around during a game of chess.

Standard Chess Board Dimensions

The standard size for a chess board is 21 x 21 inches, with 2″ x 2″ squares and this will be found to be the size in most tournament and chess club boards when supplied for official tournaments.

What size is a standard chess board?

The official chess bodies recommendation of the standard size of a chess board is that each of the 64 squares on a board should be between 2 inches and 2.5 inches. Given the 64 squares are made up of an 8×8 configuration, and taking into account a 1/2 inch margin on each edge, the width of a board should be between 17 to 21 inches across.

What size should a chess board be, not too small but best suited to the size of the chessmen
Things can get tricky when the chess board is too small

What size should a chess board be?

Measurement of the chess board is the proportion between the board and the chess piece. So, you have to take measurements to get the right board. The pieces must not exceed 65% of squares and must not exceed 60%. The measurements are made by measuring the length of the play-squares and the height of the chess pieces you use. Similarly, chessboards with 2 inches in squares would have an average base diameter of 74 – 70. This ratio method is needed to calculate the chess sets correctly.

What size is a tournament chess board?

A tournament chess board will come in at the standard chess board dimension of between 17-21 inches across containing 2 – 2.5inch chess board squares. This is the case whether the board is wooden or vinyl, used by the world chess federation or in club chess events.

This is the size you will find in tournament play for the United States chess federation.

Tournament chess boards have a set dimensions as per acceptance in the rules
Tournaments will supply standard sized chess boards

How to choose the right-sized chess board?

If you are choosing a chess board to buy for yourself, there are a number of things to consider, not least for what purpose you are buying it. The size of the chess board should remain an important factor in any case, as you may want it to be portable, you may want your board to be used in club events, or it could be that you are just looking for an ornamental piece for your home

Size

Chess board size is important if you want to be able to play chess with the chess pieces that you have.

Small

A picture of a chess board that is too small for the pieces
A board that is too small for the pieces will look wrong and be tricky to play on

If the chess board is too small, then the pieces will not be able to fit on the board and will provide a clumsy experience as each piece will have to be lifted high enough to clear other when making longer moves with pieces like, the Queen, Rooks or Bishops.

Big

Outdoor chess boards are much bigger than the pieces so that people can walk around the squares
A chess board that is too big will leave the pieces looking lost. This is an outdoor chess set though which provides additional room for people to be able to walk aound

If the chess board is too big for the pieces you already own, then whilst you will have no trouble moving the pieces around the board, they may look a little lost. The general feel of the board and pieces not matching will not provide a great experience.

You can find out what size chessboard you need by measuring your chess pieces and by measuring the squares on the chessboard.

The other thing to consider when deciding what size chess board to buy is where you will be keeping it. Where will the board be stored when not in use?

Luckily there are some very good chess boards made these days that fold neatly in half to take up less space in storage, so this can be a consideration if your board is not going to be on show when not in game use.

Metal chess boards and set can be quite heavy and not very practical
There are some wonderful looking decorative and collectable chess set available

If you want your board to remain in place ready for a game at the drop of a hat, or you want it to double up as a decorative piece, then consider the space that you have available for display purposes. The size chess board you then choose will be determined by the display space you have available

Style

Chess boards come in all sorts of different styles. Some are made out of wood, others plastic, and still others metal. Some have simple designs, while others are quite ornate.

There is really no limit to the different styles of chess boards that are available on the market today.

One thing to consider when purchasing a chess board is what material it is made out of.

Styles of chess boards

  • Wood Chess Boards are the classic choice and can be quite beautiful.
  • Plastic or Resin Chess boards are more affordable, but not always as nice to look at.
  • Metal Chess boards are durable but can be quite expensive.
  • Glass chess boards are not very practical and are usually just decorative
  • Marble Chess Boards are again decorative more often than not
Glass chess set for decoration mainly
Glass chess boards can look great but are also not very practicable for regular play

You can also get foldable and roll-up chess boards which are great for taking to the club and for easy storage options

Ultimately, it is up to the individual to decide what material they prefer.

Quality

Of all considerations when choosing a chess board size, one that can often be overlooked is quality.

A high-quality chessboard will be made of durable materials, have a smooth surface, and have craftsmanship that will withstand years of use.

The size of a chessboard is not going to be representative of the quality and we should consider that a larger board doesn’t always mean better quality.

By the same token, a smaller board may be easier to handle and cheaper to make, but again, the quality should always be considered if you want one will stand the test of time, and a lot of gameplay.

During a chessboard search, be sure to read online reviews and ask questions about the boards you are searching for. Look at reviews for several kinds of chess boards. Reviews are provided that show how each chess board compares to the other.

Quick Answers to Chess Board Frequently Asked Questions

There are dozens of ways that the size of a chess board can be enquired of. The answer however is the same in any case when talking about standard chess board dimensions. 21 inches square is standard, with 2 inch square size making up the board.

There are just many ways of answering the same question

What is the best size chess board?

The best sized chess board is generally accepted to have 2-inch square size, and be around 17-21 inches wide allowing good space for the piece to fit on the board and move freely during the game

How long and wide is a chess board?

Given that the vast majority of chess board are square, at least the playing area should be if not the entire piece, the length or width will be the same, and a tournament chess board size is 17-21 inches square.

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