Are you planning on building your own chess set in the near future, or are you a hardcore fan of the ancient board game? In either case, you should probably familiarize yourself with the sizes of each and every chess piece. Each chess piece differs in size, but there’s a standard you must follow to make your chess set game-ready.
The size of a chess piece varies from piece to piece. In height, the King must be 9.5 centimeters, the Queen 8.5 centimeters, the Bishop 7 centimeters, the Knight 6 centimeters, and Rook 5.5 centimeters, and the Pawn 5 centimeters.
However, there is so much to know about the actual dimensions of each and every chess piece. Below, I’ll cover the precise dimensions and their tolerances, the dimensions of a chessboard, and their form and style in accordance with competitive gameplay rules.
FIDE Size Standards
When looking at chessboard and chess piece sizes, there’s only one organization you should look toward for standardized sizes—FIDE. FIDE, which is the Fédération Internationale des Échecs or International Chess Federation, is the Switzerland-based organization that governs international competitions.
If you take a look at the FIDE handbook, you’ll find all of the information you need to know about chess equipment, including the dimensions of the board and the sizes of each piece. For those that don’t have the time to go through the entire handbook, I’ll break down the sizing standards down below.
Chess Piece Sizes
The handbook dictates that each of the pieces must have a certain height, with the King being the tallest of them of all. The diameter of each piece should be between 40 and 50% of its height. FIDE allows for a 10% tolerance in terms of their sizes, but the King should remain the tallest piece on the chessboard.
The recommended heights, diameters, and tolerated ranges are as follows:
|Chess Piece||Recommended Height||Tolerated Height||Recommended Base Diameter||Tolerated Base Diameter|
|King||9.5 cm||8.55-10.45 cm||3.8-4.75 cm||3.42-5.225 cm|
|Queen||8.5 cm||7.65-9.35 cm||3.4-4.25 cm||3.06-4.675 cm|
|Bishop||7 cm||6.3-7.7 cm||2.8-3.5 m||2.52-3.85 cm|
|Knight||6 cm||5.4-6.6 cm||2.4-3 cm||2.16-3.3 cm|
|Rook||5.5 cm||4.95-6.05 cm||2.2-2.75 cm||1.98-3.025 cm|
|Pawn||5 cm||4.5-5.5 cm||2-2.25 cm||1.8-2.75 cm|
In terms of weight, FIDE stipulates that the chess pieces must be suitable for comfortable and moving stability. Ultimately, the weight of each chess piece will be determined by what material is used.
According to FIDE, chess pieces can be made of wood, plastic, or an imitation of those materials, including plastic. The average weight of wooden, metal, and plastic chess pieces is 41.67 grams, 226.8 grams, and 53.86 grams, respectively.
A chessboard consists of 64 squares that have 5 to 6-centimeter sides each. The actual size of each square should be at least twice the diameter of the pawn’s base. So, based on this information and the table above, we can conclude that each square of a chessboard must measure between 3.6 and 6 centimeters.
Since a chessboard is an 8 × 8-square layout, that means the recommended length and width of a chessboard should measure between 28.8 × 28.8 and 48× 48 centimeters.
In the FIDE handbook, the thickness of the board is not mentioned, so you can make your chessboard as thick or as thin as you’d like. However, it’s important to ensure that the chess bard comes in one solid piece. If the board is made of two pieces, it must be fastened together using latches with the tiniest gap possible.
Chess Table Size
The chess table is the table on which the chessboard and the chess pieces sit. For all FIDE-approved chess games, the table must measure 110 centimeters long with a 15% tolerance (93.5 to 121 centimeters), 85 centimeters wide, and 74 centimeters tall.
For children’s chess events, the organizers must come up with tables that are suitable and comfortable for all players to use.
What Color Are the Chess Pieces?
The typical chess set will come with two sets of one King, one Queen, two Bishops, two Knights, two Rooks, and eight Pawns. Each set should come in a different color to signify which set belongs to which player.
The exact color of the chess pieces varies from chess set to chess set and depends on what material is used to construct the pieces. For instance, a wooden chess set might come with one set of pieces that are beige or cream in color, while the opposing set is dark brown.
Metal chess sets might have silver or gray pieces for one side and gold, bronze, brass, or black pieces for the other side.
As for plastic chess sets, their chess pieces are colored white and black.
So, if you wish to construct a FIDE-approved chess set using whatever materials you have on hand, it’s important to ensure that the opposing chess pieces are distinguishable at a glance. That means not using two bright colors or two dark colors for a single chess set.
Is a Bigger Chessboard Better?
If you want to make or purchase a chessboard that will not be used in competitive gameplay, you are more than free to choose any size you like. Some people have found that a larger chessboard is easier to use, while others are more comfortable with using tiny sets for informal games.
There are also pocket chess sets that measure a mere 20 × 20 centimeters with a steel board. The chess pieces will have magnetic bases, which allow them to stick to the metallic board and prevent them from moving when a player accidentally bumps the board.
What Are Chess Values?
Chess values are the values that are assigned to each chess piece. Each type of chess piece has a specific value, with the only exception being the King. You can find the value of each chess piece in the following table.
The values do not determine the winner of a chess match. Instead, the total value of each captured chess piece will give spectators a rough idea of who is currently “winning.”