The Best Cool & Unique Chess Sets of 2016

Chess connoisseurs are usually people with a taste for history. There is a reason that they prefer playing the centuries-old game of chess when there are so many other options for modern indoor and outdoor games. And while some just really love the thinking part of the board game - the strategy, the tension, the moves - there are others that revel in the overall atmosphere a chess set brings to their home or office space. Then there are those that enjoy both these things and are always on the lookout to add a twist to their love for chess. These are the people that are never satisfied with plain, old, traditional looking white and black Staunton chess sets.

Instead, they like to buy chess sets that merge their interests from movies, sports, television, history, culture, politics etc. with the beautiful old board game. This demand has given rise to chess set manufacturers from around the world to design cool and unique chess pieces and figurine chess sets. If you belong to this category of chess enthusiasts, read on to find out more about the different types of cool and unique chess sets, their benefits and uses, and reviews and recommendations for the top cool/unique chess sets of 2016 from our experts.

The Best Cool & Unique Chess Sets of 2016 - Our Reviews and Recommendations:

While there are a plethora of options for chess aficionados when it comes to choosing a unique chess set, our experts have gone through a vast majority of these options and come up with five options that are sure to impress almost every chess lover.
Let's review the best unique chess sets of 2016 (in our opinion) one by one:

#1 Egyptian Theme Chess Set with Hand Painted Pieces by Italfama:

Roll back the centuries with this elegantly designed chess set from the famous Italfama, a renowned manufacturer of collector's edition themed chess sets. This Egyptian themed chess set comes with brass and nickel hand painted metal pieces that are sure to delight any history buff. It is one of the largest themed chess sets made by Italfama with each chess piece depicting the true essence of ancient Egypt, accentuated by the carefully crafted details on the chessmen.

Chess pieces

With a king sized at 5" with a base of 1.5" and other pieces proportionally sized, the chess pieces are very stable on the board and very easy to move around due to the felt pads on the bottom. The pieces are also stable so they can resist a strong wind while playing outside or even a bump or two without by displaced. The contrast of red and blue chess pieces on the opposing sides with ancient Egyptian gods and goddesses facing each other off is a sight to behold.

Chess board

The board of this magnificent Egyptian chess set is made with premium quality Root & Maple Veneers and other wood material and finished with a semi-gloss Polyurethane for a soft satin finish. The glass-like finish of the board provides the perfect setting for the colorful chess pieces to reflect their splendor off the wooden chess board. Each square is sized at 2.375" which gives enough breathing space for each chess piece. The overall board dimensions stand at 23.5*23.5" with a .75" thickness.

Other features

The Egyptian themed metal chess set comes packed in a wonderfully designed green and gold fancy cardboard box that makes it perfect for a gift. All in all, this combination of brass & nickel hand painted pieces and blue ash burl chess board is a collector's dream come true.

More Details: Egyptian Theme Chess Set by Italfama at

#2: Hand Painted Renaissance Theme Chess Set by Italfama:

This is another masterpiece from Italfama where they have lived up to their reputation of being the most popular manufacturer of themed chess sets. The beautifully designed brass & nickel chess pieces hand painted in classic renaissance colors will take you back in time to the European cultural rebirth era from the 14th through the middle of the 17th centuries.

Chess pieces

The chess pieces are beautifully constructed with brass & nickel plated cast zinc and colorfully painted to bring out the minor details that give this chess set its true renaissance character. The king stands tall with a height of 5.5" and a base of 1.5" and all other chessmen are appropriately sized and weighted to provide a smooth playing experience. The felt bottom pads further enhance the seamless movement of the metal chess pieces. Even if you are not playing, the large, heavy pieces of this renaissance themed chess set are well defined, easy to identify and attractive enough to stand out in any room.

Chess board

The Renaissance chess set does not compromise on the build quality of the chess board and the blue ash burl and erable board with its dark blue color is the perfect pairing for the beautiful metal chess pieces. The high-gloss Polyurethane gives the chess board a glass-like finish which provides a smooth playing surface as well as a stunning platform that reflects the renaissance chess pieces in all their glory. Each square is sized at 2.375" and with the overall board dimensions of 23.5"x23.5"x0.75", the board provides enough room for every chess piece.

Other features

The Renaissance theme chess set comes packaged in Itlafama's classic green and gold fancy cardboard box which further enhances the buyer experience and also makes this chess set a perfect option for a gift to your history lover friend or family member. In short, the renaissance themed chess set is perfect for your home or office and will catch the attention of everyone. Available from The Chess House at a great price of $649, this metal themed chess set is not one to be missed. More Details: Renaissance Theme Chess Set by Italfama at

#3: The White Tower Chess Set, Board & Box Combination:

Chess players with a taste for European history, specifically of the Great Britain, are bound to find joy in this fabulously designed White Tower chess set, board and box combination. This history themed chess set from House of Staunton commemorates the Royal palace and fortress of the Tower of London, founded by William the Conqueror shortly after 1066. The carefully crafted and hand painted chess pieces of the White Tower Chess set perfectly depict the Crown Jewels, Yeoman Wardens and the ravens that were housed in the Royal Palace in those times.

Chess Pieces

Manufactured by the famous Studio Anne Carlton, the chess pieces of this White Tower themed chess set are made using Polyresin - a crushed stone resin that offers the feel and weighted of solid stone coupled with the durability of plastic. This makes the chess pieces suitable for long lasting even in harsh environments. When you buy this themed chess set, you can be sure that it will stand the test of time, allowing you to pass over your prized possession to the next generation of chess lovers in your family.

The set comes with 32 chess pieces with a king height of 5.5" and a king base of 1.6". The base pad material is Billiard Cloth which makes the pieces easier to move. The total weight of the set is 3.79 kg.

Chess board

The buyer has the flexibility to choose the chess board of his/her own choice. Numerous options for colors, materials, and looks are available at the House of Staunton website. The recommended size, however, is a chess board with 2.5" squares.

Other Features

The White Tower themed chess set comes with an optional Premium Chess Box that has two large storage compartments, a lock and key with tassel and laser engraved House of Staunton logo to complete the look. There is also a Layaway option available for those looking for a monthly payment option. In short, if you want to make the most visited historic site in Britain a part of your chess collection, The White Tower Chess Set, Board & Box Combination is all you need.

More Details: The White Tower Chess Set at

#4: The Robin Hood Chess Set, Board & Box Combination:

Prepare to battle out the forces of evil with this Robin Hood theme chess set, board and box combination. Manufactured by the House of Staunton, the Robin Hood Chess Set will take the players to the ancient forest of Sherwood where Robin hood, Maid Marion, Friar Tuck & the Merry Men join together to fight off Robin's arch enemy, the Sherrif of Nottingham who is helped by the Church and the King. Choose a side a make your chess moves with these figurines based on characters that are a part of folklore.

Chess Pieces

The Robin Hood themed chess set comes with 32 chess pieces, each of which is carefully crafted using Polyresin - a crushed stone resin that offers supreme durability. The king stands at a height of 4.75" with a base of 1.3" and all other pieces sized proportionally. The base pad material is billiard cloth which provides the comfort and fluidity on any chess board. Total weight of the chess set is 1.97kg which makes storage and portability a breeze.

Chess board

As with all House of Staunton themed chess sets, the buyer has the flexibility to choose the chess board of his/her own choice. Numerous options for colors, materials, budgets and looks are available at the House of Staunton website. The recommended size, however, is a chess board with 2.5" squares

Other Features

There is an option to choose between a standard House of Staunton box that provides security and comfort while still being economical, and a Signature box that comes with added luxury and a higher price point. All in all, the Robin Hood Chess Set, Board & Box Combination is one investment that a true fan of ancient mythical characters who also has a love for chess, is guaranteed to enjoy. More Details: The Robin Hood Chess Set at

Types of Cool & Unique Chess Pieces and Sets

When it comes to creating unique and cool chess sets that defy the norms, the creativity of some manufacturers knows no bounds. So much so that you would be hard pressed not to find a chess set based on your unique interest. There are different materials, budgets, sizes, colors and many other variables in the unique chess set niche. Let's take a deeper look at the available options:

History theme Chess Sets

Those with a love for history can find various theme chess sets based on various historical themes ranging from as far back as the medieval times and even further back to the times of Egyptian, Greek, and Roman civilizations. For some themes, the chess pieces represent the same design as their namesake. For example, in medieval chess sets, a king is a king, a queen is a queen and a knight is a knight. On the other hand for ancient historical themes such as Egyptian, the pieces represent Gods and Goddesses of classical mythology.

Event theme chess sets

There are some theme sets that are based on real-world events such as the U.S Revolution, Civil War or World War I and II. Similarly, theme chess sets based on Napoleon and Wellington are very popular. Going further into event based theme sets, chess enthusiasts can find sets that depict the land battles of Europe and Britain or ones based on the Crusades.

Fantasy Theme Chess Sets

Chess players with an interest in fantasy characters can choose from a never ending supply of fantasy theme chess sets. From warriors and wizards, dragons and demons and other mythological creatures, fantasy theme chess sets take care of almost everything. Fantasy theme chess sets also include chess sets based on famous fictional stories such as the ever popular Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter series and more recently, Game of Thrones.

Animal Theme Chess Sets

Chess sets that are based on animals we love and adore? A big yes! Animal theme sets, while not always suitable for serious play, can offer a lot of fun for those with a love for animals and chess alike and best of all? There is a vast collection to choose from. From cats, dogs, penguins and dragons to dinosaurs, you can find a chess set based on your favorite animal with ease.

Sports Theme Chess Sets

From baseball and football to golf and many other popular outdoor sports, theme chess sets that let players go toe to toe with opponents using their favorite sports based chess pieces are also very popular and available in a wide variety.

Movie and Entertainment Theme Chess Sets

Famous movie and T.V characters and storylines have also made their way into the game of chess in the form of Movie theme chess sets. Similarly, theme chess sets based on other forms of entertainment such as music, videos games, aliens, zombies etc. have also gained popularity in recent times.

Cool Chess Sets For Parties/Fun

Some people just like to have a casual game of chess with their own made-up rules especially during school or college parties and in general wherever there is a young crowd looking for some fun time with their buddies. For such events, pop up chess sets with magnetic pieces and drinking chess sets that come with shot glasses are really popular.

Benefits And Uses Of Cool/Unique Chess Sets

Unique chess sets such as pop up chess sets, drinking chess sets and some theme chess sets, may not be the most practical when it comes to serious chess play, but that doesn't mean they do not have their benefits. Here are just some of the ways these cool and unique chess sets can benefit you:

Collector's items

Chess can be an addiction and to fulfill the addiction, some chess lovers like to collect unique chess sets that represent their individual tastes and interest - which is by no means a bad thing. Some of the theme chess sets are spectacular enough to attract even those with little interest in chess. So, for those with a deep love for the board game, adding new and distinctive theme chess sets to their collection comes naturally.


Chess sets make great gifts for special occasions. Whether it's a friend's or family member's birthday, graduation or a wedding, gifting them a unique chess set based their favorite character, celebrity or movie, is bound to make them happy.

Learning tool for kids

Introducing little kids to chess to help them develop their thinking abilities can be tough and unique chess sets based on kids' interests can make this a little easier. A chess set based on something that attracts the kids, for example; the popular Super Mario Bros. video game or the animal kingdom, can work wonders.

Variety and affordability

Lastly, the sheer variety of cool and unique chess pieces available today and the fact that there is something on offer for every budget - from as low as $50 to $700 and above - makes these chess sets a chess aficionado's wet dream.

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