My family are addicted to chess. So much so, that my Mum set up a giant chess board in the garden for us to play during the summer.
This is genuinely the the giant chess board in her garden:
With this gigantic board, we obviously couldn’t take our competitive chess playing on the road, we needed a travel chess set for that.
Which is why I have found the best travel set, perfect for any type of travel and all levels of chess play.
The Best Travel Chess Set
Yellow Mountain Magnetic Mini Set
If you want to remain at the top of your chess game whilst travelling, the Yellow Mountain Magnetic Mini Set will be the perfect set to help you on your way to becoming the next Grand Master.
This Magentic Mini Chess Set is the most versatile, affordable and compact travel chess set on the market today.
Basically, it rocks!
You’ll be proud to whip out this chess set in a beach bar due to it’s sleek design. It’s light in weight, but small enough to pop into your carry on luggage or beach bag.
There’s nothing worse than carting a board game around on holiday, but never finding the space to play it, that’s not possible with the Yellow Mountain chess set, because with a maximum length of 6.5inches(16cm) this compact magnetic travel chess set can squeeze into the tightest of playing spaces.
- This Magnetic board takes the stress out of playing on the go. Chess pieces stay in place on the magnet board, making it very difficult to knock off pieces whilst playing.
- At only 6.3inches(16cm) wide you can enjoy playing chess with this quality chess set at any location. The small and lightweight board will fit on the smallest of surfaces. You’ll have no excuse not to play.
- The folding board enables you to store you chess pieces safely. The secure clasp keeps your chess pieces in one place. You don’t need to worry about them getting lost in your bag or going missing.
- This magnetic travel chess set is neat and smartly designed. You’ll be proud to play chess on this sophisticated portable board. The silver and gold metallic chess pieces look really stylish.
- We struggled to find one, but as this chess set is made of plastic, it’s not for you if you prefer to play on a wooden board.
Best for Beginners
If you are relatively new to playing chess or are looking for a well made board to teach children or beginner chess players, then a portable, magnetic travel chess set is great for new players. It’s important when learning that the board has the grid reference squares around the edge for ease of explaining the moves, which this board has. It slots perfectly into a backpack and is waterproof, making it ideal for a long beach holiday.
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- Waterproof board and chess pieces are perfect for by the beach or pool. With these high quality plastic pieces you can easily wipe away any splashes.
- Algebraic notion around the board makes it perfect for a game of chess with players that are just starting out.
- This magnetic chess set features a vertical height of the king of 1.74 inches, so it’s perfect for players both older and younger.
- FanVince, the board manufacturer, have fantastic customer support reviews for players which need spare pieces etc.
- Not for the seasoned chess professional.
There are a range of travel chess set options so I have reviewed the top travel chess sets just for you.
Factors to Consider When Looking For A Travel Chess Set
- The size. How much room can you give up to a travel chess set in your bag?
- The type of trip. Hiking Machu Picchu or taking a relaxed beach holiday?
- The budget. How much are you willing to spend on a travel chess set?
- Durability. How long do you want it to last?
These are all important factors as you don’t want it to take up unnecessary room, the chess pieces to get lost or for it to break after 5 minutes.
As the partner of a chess addict, I know chess matches can get heated with the competitive nature of the game, therefore durability is a must!
With these pointers in mind, here are the best travel chess sets!
Best for Intermediate / Advanced Chess Players
If you already know basic chess moves and are looking to improve your chess skills and learn advanced moves, then the iCore electronic talking chess set will let you level up your chess skills and learn some killer chess tactics.
- This electronic chess set set lets you play as either a one or two player game, great for solo travellers.
- This talking chess computer is brilliant if you don’t want to always be looking at a screen to play chess, the voice will be your very own personal chess tutor.
- Not just a chess board, this electronic chess set includes eight other games, perfect for on the road when you might want to mix up your games according to who you are on your trip with.
- No headphone jack. Voice activation can be turned on or off but you cannot plug headphones in to listen to the voice prompts.
Best for Size (Pocket Size)
For the chess playing addict that needs a chess board constantly accessible, the WE Games Magnetic Pocket chess set is exactly what you need.
- Pocket sized, measuring just 5.75 x 3.25 inches, take it to a cafe, or play on a fold out aeroplane table with ease. It literally fits into your pocket making it the perfect travel companion, no matter where you’re going on your trip.
- The algebraic notation on this board makes learning chess a breeze, and you’ll be beating your competitors in no time!
- Two extra Queens and extra blank pieces makes having a game of chess possible, even if you lose the odd piece.
- This product comes with a 60 day guarantee with WE games.
- This chess board really is pocket size, which can make it difficult for people hard of sight to play for long periods of time.
Best Luxury Travel Chess Set
If you’re a chess pro or a complete beginner, this Magnetic crafted wooden chess set will have you held in the highest regard by your opponents, fellow players and friends and family.
This beautifully crafted board, is a joy to play chess with because not only does it looks exquisite, it’s also magnetic and comes with spare pieces included with the board.
- This handcrafted chess board is made of the highest quality wood and the chess pieces are individually hand carved.
- The elegant chess pieces are magnetic so you can play without the fear of the wind coming and knocking all the pieces off.
- Chess piece bottoms are smooth for quiet playing and ensure that there board remains scratch free.
- The solid wooden base gives this board a vintage feel perfect for Queen’s Gambit fans!
- When the board is opened for play, there can be a slight gap between each side of the foldable boards.
Best Roll Up Travel Chess Set
If you want a chess set that you can easily transport from place to place but is a tournament size board, the HolyKing roll up chess set is the board for you. Storage wise this chess set fits neatly into a car or cupboard when at home rolled up.
It is easily transported using the handy carry bag with a shoulder strap too. The carry bag makes it great for taking to any location, but the vinyl mat is high quality and the corners don’t roll up at the sides after its been used a few times.
- Large board which is fun for all the family to play, no matter what their eyesight is like.
- The handy carry tube with shoulder strap means this game of chess is easily transported.
- This set is perfect for tournament play as it meets the World Chess Federation’s height, weight, and proportions standards for tournament play.
- The roll up vinyl chess board is tear resistant and durable making it easy to be wiped clean if your playing with younger chess players and want to mark out moves with a whiteboard pen.
- Slightly larger than the other recommended travel chess sets in this list.
My Top Pick
I am a huge fan of the Yellow Mountain Magnetic Chess Set If you want a chess set that is easy to transport in your hand luggage and in your beach bag, then the Yellow Mountain Magnetic Chess Set ticks all the boxes. Being magnetic, durable and aesthetically pleasing, means you’ll be proud to display your Yellow Mountain Magnetic Chess Set travel set anywhere your travelling.
Chess players can be very particular about their chess boards, depending on the type of trip you’re travelling on, it could be extremely useful to ensure that your board is water resistant, this feature is essential if you will be making regular trips to the pool or beach during your holiday.
Travel Chess Set Buyers Guide
As the partner of a chess addict, I’ve regularly witnessed the highs and lows that come with winning or loosing a game of chess. If you are someone that regularly plays chess online, having a travel chess set is a great source of entertainment on long train journeys or by the pool when you’ve got company or don’t want to be isolated looking at your phone.
Chess is a great game to play whilst travelling as you can play it with your fellow travel companions or it can act as a fantastic ice breaker to play with other solo travellers on your trip.
If you’re on the hunt for the best travel chess set then some things you might want to consider are your budget, how compact you would like the chess set to be, how durable it is and if the board should be magnetic. This is dependent on the types of trips you make.
For example, if you regularly travel on aeroplanes, then you can’t go wrong with a compact, magnetic chess set, so that the pieces don’t fall off the board in the case of any movement or turbulence. I’m here to help you find the best travel set according to your trip and level of play.
There are a few things to consider before you take the plunge and buy a chess set.
How To Choose The Best Travel Chess Set?
Consider Your Skill Level of Chess
Are you new to the world of chess or are you a seasoned pro? If you’re a relatively new player, then I recommend you choose a board which has algebraic notion around the edge. These are the reference squares printed around the edge of the board. The algebraic notion doesn’t appear around the edge of every board, so make sure you check a chess board has this feature before you purchase.
Think About Where You’ll Play Chess
Weighted chess pieces are useful if you want to avoid your pieces being knocked over by a slight breeze. They are especially useful for playing outside. An alternative to weighted chess pieces, especially for travel are magnetic chess pieces. Having a magnetic travel chess set is brilliant for playing chess on the move because it’s almost impossible for the pieces to fall off the board due to a beachside breeze. I would recommend a magnetic chess set for travel.
Consider Who You’ll Play Chess With
Will you have any travel companions on your trip? Are they interested in learning how to play chess? You might be a seasoned chess player, but if everyone else on your trip is a beginner then you should probably make sure that the chess pieces are easily discernible and the board is a good size. If your travelling companions are more advanced chess players, you might want to invest in a more luxurious, quality wooden board to really make the most of those longer games of chess you could be playing.
Consider Your Budget
There are a few determining factors when it comes to the price of your chess set. These are the quality of the material it’s made from, the craftsmanship involved and the number of queens included in a set. A handcrafted premium wooden chess set will cost more than a standard plastic one. It’s worth considering what you would like your travel chess set to be made from.
What Should Come In A Chess Set?
A Chess Board
A chess board should feature alternating coloured square tiles. A chess board can be made of wood, plastic, vinyl or tiles(see photo at the top!). Chess boards are usually square in shape, each side is divided into eight squares equalling a total of sixty-four squares. Often boards are coloured black and white or have a dark and light colour combination.
A chess piece of chessman can be any of the six different types of chess piece. These are pawns, rooks, knights, bishops, queens or kings. Each player starts a game of chess with a total of sixteen pieces. The pieces can only make certain moves as determined by the rules of that piece.