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More on the Psychology of the Chess Set You Are Playing On by Delores Keeper

More on the Psychology of the Chess Set You Are Playing On by
Article Posted: 10/19/2019
Article Views: 375
Articles Written: 10
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More on the Psychology of the Chess Set You Are Playing On

Advice,Hobbies,Recreation & Leisure

It is agreed world over that chess is a mind game. Other than the continuous practicing, chess requires you to have a clear state of mind and clear thinking. Along the way to becoming proficient, you may polish your combination abilities, endgame skills, and opening moves.

Another concern comes up then: Can the style of chess set that you are using on a given day affect the outcome of the game? Does the style of chess set you traditionally play on impact the players in a positive or negative way?

Here are some ideas about the various chess sets to consider for their psychological aspects on your play:

  • Playing with an expensive chess set that you own may give an advantage of intimidation

Even though you might be on the same skill level as your opponent, having an expensive chess set gives the impression of more experience or better knowledge of the game. Showmanship has a psychological factor. Someone who has invested a great deal of money in a chess set may be perceived as a serious player. The same argument holds for someone who has a well worn but lovingly cared for chess set.

Chess is very much a game of ego. By failing to have a similarly expensive set, the other player might feel intimidated. Once intimidated, the opponent may make errors in judgment to fulfill their expectation of you as a more serious player. This can raise your chance of winning. It’s not a slam dunk by any means, but when playing against a similarly skilled opponent, even the slightest advantage helps.

  • Playing with any chess set that you own may give an advantage in tournament play

Chess is a game in which you develop comfortable strategies over your playing career. One of the lesser recognized comforts is the chess set that you are accustomed to playing on. The more you use a particular set, the more your eyes and hands align to it. Having a chess set that is your own in a tournament gives you a sense of familiarity. Familiarity allows you to execute your strategy more comfortably, thus giving you an advantage, albeit a minor one.

  • Playing with a non-standard chess set may give a disadvantage

Official tournaments only allow standard chess sets.

Using non-standard chess sets in your regular play could give you a disadvantage when playing against another player on a more standard set. You will have to spend some small amount of your thinking translating the pieces into comfortable patterns rather than immediately recognizing them and concentrating on your strategy. The same situation occurs when you generally play on a standard set, then you sit down at a friend's house to play on their non-standard set. Some of your edge will be lost.

  • Does having to replace a piece of favored set affect your play?

Chess is like warfare. Just as it is in the battle, you use the chess pieces as your soldiers. You develop your moves using the parts; the same way a commander would train and position their soldiers.

Knowing that one of your pieces is not the original will be in your mind. Anything that affects your thinking in chess or that draws your thinking away from the game can be a detriment.

  • Does honing your skills on a computer chess board hurt you in a tournament play?

While some players prefer to train on a computer, it is not the best strategy one can employ in the long run. A computer does not give you the real-world feeling of having a crowd and other people watching your moves. Having to think under pressure is a skill you need to learn away from the computer. The computer does allow you to learn by asking questions and exploring certain positions in-depth, but it does not react the way a human player does.

Additionally, when playing against a computer on the screen, as opposed to a computerized chessboard, you become accustomed to seeing the pieces and possibilities in two dimensions rather than three. This change in perspective can hamper your ability to “see” the game clearly as you play.

The ultimate goal of every chess player is to get to play like the grandmaster. The board that you use is not going to affect your game that severely. It will not raise your playing level to that of a grandmaster or hamper your skills so severely that you can never attain that status, but the board that you use can have some affect. Being aware of the possible effects is prudent.

None of this information is new, nothing here is groundbreaking or a surprise to chess players. But it is often said that when you reach a plateau in any skill, it is good to go back to the basics and review them. My comments here are just reminders of the basics to consider.


Delores Keeper has been playing chess for over 50 years. Some tournaments, some teams (when she was younger), but mostly just for the enjoyment of the game. Her love for the game has led to creating her own website selling chess sets. Delores has searched the world over for different chess sets of all types and styles and you will be amazed at the variety available. To see this amazing selection of chess sets and the various uses they can be put to, visit

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