These Are the Best Chess Sets for Kids, Says a National Chess Master

Bobby Fischer’s Learn to Play Chess is ideal for both pros and beginners

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Chess is one of the oldest and most widely played games in the world, but because it requires planning and strategy, it can also be one of the most challenging to learn. If you'd like your kids to partake in this ancient game and reap its many benefits, such as perspective-taking abilities and improving memory, the key is to make it exciting for them—and the right chess set can help. While there are dozens of different styles of chess games, like wall-mounted or tournament-style, the best chess sets for kids are age- and skill-appropriate (and fun!). 

Reviewed & Approved

The Bobby Fischer Learn to Play Chess set teaches beginners how to play and throws a curveball to advanced chess players via the equalizer dice. If you’re wanting a game for beginners only, we recommend No Stress Chess.

Whether you have a first-time chess player or an advanced competitor on your hands, a good instructor (even if that’s you) is vital. “I can tell you from experience that teaching kids will definitely require a different approach from teaching adults—sometimes the student is in a bad mood because he's hungry, or maybe she's forgotten something that she seemed to understand last week,” explains National Master Craig Clawitter, who’s been teaching chess for more than 15 years. “A good chess instructor is one who your child gets along with, who can explain concepts in a way that makes sense, and who can adapt to what the child is receptive to on that day.”

Before buying a chess set for your child, consider their knowledge of the game, as you don’t want a set that’s too advanced for a kid who has never played before. The design is also an important factor because chessboards and playing pieces vary in size and material. Additionally, you’ll want a safe storage box to hold your kiddo’s army while it takes a break from the battlefield. We carefully considered design, age recommendation, skill level, size, and value when reviewing products. 

Here are the best chess sets for kids to learn the historical game.

Best Overall: WE Games Bobby Fischer Learn to Play Chess

4.8
WE Games Bobby Fischer Learn to Play Chess

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Equalizer dice levels playing field

  • Board folds into square

  • Tournament-size pieces

Cons
  • Pieces are plastic

The Bobby Fischer Learn to Play Chess set earns the top spot on our list because both beginners and advanced chess players can compete on this battlefield. This chess set honors Bobby Fischer, one of the greatest chess players of all time, and features an equalizer dice to level the playing field for players at any skill level. Beginners can refer to the diagrams on the chessboard to learn the rules, while detailed instructions give all players a history lesson about the strategic game. 

The chess set includes 34 tournament, Staunton-style chessmen (the standard style of chessmen) and two bonus queens, with all pieces featuring billiard-style felt on the bottom to help the army glide across the board. The 16 x 20-inch chessboard is made of sturdy cardboard that quarter folds for easy storage and portability. Plus, everything can be neatly stored in the box it all came in to help prevent losing pieces.

Price at time of publication: $36

Material: Plastic and cardboard | Age level: 6 and up | What’s included: Chessboard, tournament-size pieces (two extra queens), instructions, and equalizer dice

Best for Beginners: Winning Moves Games No Stress Chess

Winning Moves Games No Stress Chess

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Action cards for easier play

  • Two-sided chessboard

  • Teaches rules/movements of chess to beginners

Cons
  • Must play via cards unless board flipped over

Beginner chess players will have a blast learning the moves of the game with No Stress Chess. Children ages 7 and older will be able to grasp the concept of chess in small steps with the game’s unique deck of action cards. The game works just like standard chess, except the action cards randomly determine the next piece and move (as long as it’s within the piece’s ability). Advanced players will love the risk of not knowing the next move. Once your kid masters the beginner’s side, flip the board over and try out the real thing. 

In addition to the two-sided board, the set includes instructions, 16 black pieces, 16 ivory pieces, 56 action cards, and a black tray to hold the deck. All pieces and the board fit neatly inside the box they arrived in for easy storage.

Price at time of publication: $20

Material: Plastic | Age level: 7 and up | What’s included: Two-sided chessboard, 16 black and 16 ivory pieces, 56 action cards, black plastic card tray, and instructions

What Our Expert Says

“I really like the sets that include little cards with the rules and the pieces' abilities. No Stress Chess is a great example. It comes with cards that look like Pokemon cards, but instead of Pokemon they have the piece's picture, name, and powers.” — National Master Craig Clawitter

Best 2-in-1: MoMA 2-in-1 Chess & Checkers Set

2-in-1 Chess & Checkers Set

Courtesy of MoMA

Pros
  • Dual-sided board (chess or checkers)

  • Board acts as lid to wooden storage box

  • Bright colors with unique design

Cons
  • Not travel-friendly (pieces not magnetic)

With bold graphics and vibrant colors, this set features two games in one beautifully crafted piece. The unique game set comes from the mind of toy and game designer Panisa Khunprasert in collaboration with the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). Made from sustainably grown rubberwood, the dual-sided board allows players to pick between chess or checkers, and doubles as the cover of the wooden box that stores the pieces. We also love that this two-in-one chess and checkers set is safe for children ages 5 and up to play, so kids can work on important skills, like their memory, at an early age.

Price at time of publication: $65

Material: Rubberwood | Age level: 5 and up | What’s included: Storage box with playing board and pieces

Best Wooden: Amerous Magnetic Wooden Chess Set

Amerous Magnetic Wooden Chess Set

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Hand-carved playing pieces

  • Magnetic board folds in half

  • Compact size

Cons
  • Foam insert that holds the pieces falls out easily

With its beautifully crafted playing pieces, this chess set is absolutely stunning. Each pawn, bishop, knight, rook, queen, and king is hand-carved from wood and features a magnetic base to stay on the board securely during battle. Each piece also has an anti-scratch velvet pad on the bottom so the board doesn’t suffer damage if the game gets a little intense.

In addition, the board acts as storage for the chess pieces, which all fit in designated slots in the included foam insert. Bonus: The entire set arrives in the company’s elegant gift box, so you don’t have to wrap anything if you’re giving this as a gift.

Price at time of publication: $50

Material: Wood (type not listed) | Age level: 6 and up | What’s included: Wooden chessboard, pieces, two bonus queens, gift box

Best Travel: QuadPro Magnetic Travel Chess Set

QuadPro Magnetic Travel Chess Set

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Chessboard/pieces are magnetic

  • Foldable for easy transportation

  • Chessboard doubles as storage

Cons
  • No locking mechanism when open

For a kid so into chess, they want to take it everywhere they travel, QuadPro’s magnetic chess set is ideal because it’s lightweight and portable. We love that the chessboard folds in half for functional play on the go, and it holds all 32 playing pieces inside when folded. Measuring just under 10 x 10 inches when open, and approximately 10 x 5 inches when folded, the 64-square battlefield is big enough to play on comfortably, but small enough to fit in a carry-on. 

The chessboard and playing pieces are magnetic, and the pieces feel soft to the touch, with a felt bottom design to prevent scratches. Support feet on the bottom of the board ensure stability no matter how bumpy your ride may be.

Price at time of publication: $22

Material: Plastic | Age level: Not listed | What’s included: Chessboard, pieces, and storage bag

Best Electronic: Millennium Chess Champion Electronic Chess Computer

Millenium Chess Champion Electronic Chess Board

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Includes 7 additional games

  • Portable size

  • Backlit display

Cons
  • Not rechargeable (only batteries) 

This electronic chessboard from Millenium will provide hours of play for kiddos (and adults), whether it’s alone or with friends. The board is made for beginners and children, with all of the game’s special rules built in to make learning and playing easier. An LCD display screen details your pieces’ positions and moves in visual and notation form. Plus, the screen is backlit to provide better visibility during battle.

In addition to chess, this electronic board features seven other games: Reversi, Draughts, Connect Four, Chinese checkers, Nim, Fox and Geese, and Northcote mind games. Chess pieces are magnetic, so they don’t slide around during play, and they can be stored inside the board once the game reaches checkmate. One major bonus: This computer can speak 13 different languages.

Price at time of publication: $47

Material: Plastic | Age level: 8 and up | What’s included: Chessboard and 32 chessmen

Best Tournament-Style: Chess Geeks Best Chess Set Ever

Chess Geeks Best Chess Set Ever

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Includes 32-page illustrated strategy guide

  • Silicone board (spill-proof/stain-resistant)

  • Weighted pieces

Cons
  • Not tournament legal

  • Silicone board easily collects dust, hair, other debris

Kids will love taking on friends with this tournament-style chess set. The Best Chess Set Ever includes a silicone board, weighted pieces, two velvet storage bags, and a 32-page strategy guide to take skills to the next level. The double-sided chessboard rolls up for easy storage and portability, and is also spill-proof and stain-resistant. 

The Staunton-style pieces are large, making them easy to handle through any move across the board. While this set doesn’t meet the standards to be used as a legal tournament set, it’s a great option for kids ages 5 and up (adults, too) to learn the game with friends.

Price at time of publication: $60

Material: Silicone and plastic | Age level: 5 and up | What’s included: Box, two drawstring bags, silicone chessboard, weighted pieces, and strategy guide

Best Theme: LEGO Iconic Chess Set

LEGO Iconic Chess Set 40174

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Pieces store inside the box

  • Doubles as checkers board

  • Makes unique display when finished

Cons
  • Board/pieces must be built

  • Pieces fall easily

This chess and checkers set from LEGO really is iconic. With 1,450 classic LEGO pieces, players 9 years old and up can follow the detailed instruction manual to build the chessboard and its playing pieces. The board also doubles as a checkers board when kiddos want to switch it up. 

All playing pieces for both games conveniently fit inside the board, so you can play anywhere without losing your army along the way.

Price at time of publication: $65

Material: Plastic | Age level: 9 and up | What’s included: 1,450 pieces to build chessboard/pieces

Best for Little Kids: Story Time Chess Set for Kids

Story Time Chess Set for Kids

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • No chess experience required

  • Over 30 mini games included

  • Fun character chess pieces

Cons
  • Not best for advanced players

Say goodbye to the challenges of teaching chess to young children with the Story Time Chess set. This set is made for children ages 3 and up, and features fun characters that come to life through engaging stories in the included storybook. The adorable characters (drawn by a former Disney illustrator) are introduced in the story to help teach little kids the strategies, moves, and language of chess. The set also features more than 30 mini games that teach how each chess piece moves.

The chessboard is dual-sided, so you can play standard chess by flipping the board over from the storybook version. In addition to the board and playing pieces, two storage bags are included to take the game on the go.

Price at time of publication: $40 

Material: Not listed | Age level: 3 and up | What’s included: Chessboard, playing pieces, storybook, and two storage bags

Best Multipurpose: Kettler Stag Super Mini Fun

Kettler Stag Super Mini Fun

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • 4 games in 1

  • Mini size (compact and portable)

  • Folds in half

Cons
  • Costly for size

  • Assembly required

To get the most bang for your buck, consider the Kettler Super Mini Fun, which includes four games in one unit. Kids can play chess, checkers, Ludo, or table tennis on the foldable wooden table that’s mini sized for convenient portability. The table measures 11.5 x 11.5 inches when folded, so it’s just the right size to fit in a backpack for on-the-go play. Playing pieces for each game are included with the set, too.

Price at time of publication: $88

Material: Wood | Age level: 5 and up | What’s included: Individual storage pouches; 2 mini-racquets, 2 balls, net, and posts (game 1); 12 black and 12 brown checkers (game 2); 16 brown and 16 white chess pieces (game 3); 1 die and 4 blue, 4 red, 4 green, and 4 yellow men (game 4)

Best Wall-Mounted: Uncommon Goods Wall Chess

Uncommon Goods Wall Chess

Courtesy of Uncommon Goods

Pros
  • Special marker indicates last move

  • Made of solid oak and birch plywood

  • Two sizes available 

Cons
  • Squares are all one color

Busy families will love this wall-mounted version of chess that’s perfect to play if you don’t have time to sit down for a game. Made from solid oak and birch plywood, this chessboard doubles as beautiful decor for your home. There are two size options for the board: small, which measures 12 x 12 x 1.5 inches; and large, measuring 18 x 18 x 1.5 inches. 

The playing pieces are wooden pegs that stay put in their designated squares when the board hangs vertically. Players use a special marker to let opponents know their last move and keep the game going.

Price at time of publication: $98-195

Material: Solid oak and birch plywood | Age level: Not listed | What’s included: Chessboard and playing pegs

Best Outdoor: ItalianChessSets Outdoor Chess Set

 ItalianChessSets Outdoor Chess Set

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Free shipping

  • Large size

  • Handmade

Cons
  • Expensive

While this outdoor chess set may be an investment upfront, the whole family will get tons of use out of it. The nylon chessboard measures nearly 50 x 50 inches, with the king piece measuring just over a foot tall. Everything is handmade in Italy, and shipping is free. 

Price at time of publication: $384

Material: PVC plastic any nylon | Age level: Not listed | What’s included: Chessboard and pieces

How We Selected the Best Chess Sets for Kids 

We chose the best chess sets for kids by studying the design, size, and features of more than 30 chess sets on the market and researching reviews from customers and competitors. Additionally, we monitored shopping trends to bring you the best and most up-to-date offerings on chess sets for kids. We considered toy safety, age recommendations, ease of use, design, size, features, and value when reviewing products. 

We also spoke with National Master Craig Clawitter, who’s been teaching chess for more than 15 years, to find out what to look for in chess sets for kids, as well as any recommendations. We chose toys that are safe, easy to use for the recommended age groups, and convenient to transport for play on the go. 

What to Look for in Chess Sets for Kids 

Design 

Chess sets for kids come in a multitude of designs and themes, such as Pokemon or the classic black-and-white chessboards. Novelty sets typically feature chess pieces that resemble different characters, which can be confusing to children just learning the ropes of the game. 

“I recommend kids start with the simplest set available—as long as the pieces look like the actual chess pieces,” Clawitter says. “For example, I love Nintendo, but those themed chess sets, where the king is Bowser and the knight is Yoshi, make it harder for kids to learn the pieces' real names and recognize them on a real board.” 

Once a child is familiar with the rules and pieces of chess, you can move to the novelty sets, as they provide great motivation, Clawitter explains. “I once worked with a student who really liked fairies. So, we got a fairy-themed chess set, and at certain milestones, she would ‘earn’ one of the pieces until she collected the whole set!”

Material

Chess sets for kids are available in a variety of materials including wood, metal, silicone, plastic, and more. Keep in mind that some materials are sturdier than others (and possibly more expensive). Consider your child’s age and skill level, and how often the chess set will be used. You may want to opt for a more durable material if you have a young child. 

“Speaking from my experience teaching kids, parents may want to consider sets with rubber, rather than plastic pieces. The plastic tends to break, which could then cause injuries,” says Clawitter. 

Portability and storage

Chess is a game that involves dozens of pieces, so you’ll want to factor in how those pieces are stored. Depending on the chess set, storage bags are sometimes included with your purchase, while other sets feature chessboards that double as storage boxes for the pieces. Additionally, if you’d like to take the game on the road, look for a set that includes storage and a foldable chessboard, so you’re not losing valuable pieces along the way. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • When should I introduce my child to chess?

    Chess has no exact age requirements, so Clawitter recommends introducing the game when children take an interest in it. “In my teaching experience, I have found that kids can really take a liking to chess when they are around 5 to 7 years old,” he says. “I also know of kids who started playing when they were as young as 3 or 4 years old. Children are pretty good at letting you know when they like something or don't, so when it comes to chess, it's best to follow their lead.”

  • What’s the easiest way to learn chess?

    Chess isn’t a game that’s easily learned within an hour—it takes time, practice, and patience. You can make the process of learning the game easier for children by practicing. “What I've noticed with my younger students is that the ones who practice at home with a family member or friend tend to learn faster than the students who attend a class or a lesson, but don't look at chess for the rest of the week,” explains Clawitter. “Enrolling in an after-school program, joining a chess club, or working with a chess instructor are also great ways to practice and improve. Just make sure the program, club, or instructor is kid-friendly, and your child will blossom into a serious chess player in no time!”

    For families who don’t have the time for lessons outside of regular schedules, Clawitter suggests online chess lessons. “Since 2020, online chess instruction has become more available, and some kids really flourish through online lessons,” he says. “Learning online gives you access to chess instructors from around the world, so location is no longer an obstacle for finding the right coach.”

  • How much does a chess set for kids cost?

    Chess sets can cost anywhere between $15 to almost $400. What you choose to spend really depends on a range of factors, from the materials of the board to what kind of storage it has for the pieces to how ornate the design of the board and pieces are. The most expensive board on our list is actually a life-size yard game. Our best overall choice, the Bobby Fischer Learn to Play Chess set, is a great pick for most families and is only $25.

Why Trust Verywell Family

Katrina Cossey is a commerce writer for Verywell Family with nearly eight years of experience under her belt. Katrina’s background in journalism began at an Emmy Award-winning news station in Oklahoma before she obtained her B.A. in professional media. Her love for service journalism and helping others led to her commerce writing role, which allows her to research and recommend the best products for families, pregnant people, and kids of all ages. When she’s not writing and researching, you’ll likely find her outdoors with her husband and their thrill-seeking toddler son.

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Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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