on January 15, 2012
We got this last week, and love it! The pieces are VERY nice looking. They are hollow, but the plastic is a good weight. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the bottoms were handsomely felted.
I read the other reviews before ordering, so I was not expecting much of the board. They were right. It is heavy duty (and very stinky) vinyl that has been folded and placed in the box. It does not lie flat. I strongly recommend making a custom board that looks and feels as nice as the pieces. There are two excellent ideas in the customer photos.
I would definitely order this product again!
Here are some measurements that are not included in the description... The Kings are 3 3/4 inches across the base and about 8 inches tall. The base of a pawn is almost 2 3/4 inches across, and it is about 4 1/2 inches tall.
on September 25, 2013
I'm a chess coach and like the appeal of the super-large chess sets for public
venues and for our littlest members as well. They are a great crowd-pleaser and
add a notable element of fun to chess clubs as well. Looking at the price
difference for eight-inch and twelve-inch chess sets, the eight-inch packages
are far more practical.
I liked the Pressman Giant Chess because I know this brand and felt that I could
trust them. I was disappointed, however.
The chessboard, which they call a mat, is approximately 36" square, but a flimsy, open-weave cloth, not vinyl. It
is paper-thin, like a really cheap napkin. It has white and grey squares, but
the white squares are 3.8 inches across and the grey squares are just 3.6 inches
across (the white squares overlap at the corners, making a weird effect). The
surrounding border in matching grey, with notation coordinates on all four
Standard rectangular worktables are from 30 to 36 inches deep, but round tables
are usually more than 48 inches across. So, making your own chessboard from a
round tablecloth is a better choice. Small children won't be able to reach very
far, so the chessboard should be no more than 42 to 45 inches across.
The USCF specifies that the King and Queen should be easy to place on the board
without touching any edge of a square, that the base of the King to the size of
the squares should be 78 percent of the base and to divide the base by 0.78 to
find the square size (USCF Rules, Chapter 4, 41C, p. 226-227). So, for a 3.8
inch base, the squares should be 4-7/8 inches across or slightly larger. A
chessboard with such squares would be 39 inches on each side, without any
borders being used.
The chessmen are light and well made, without flashing or dramatic mold marks.
They are glossy, well-proportioned and look fabulous. The chessmen are top-
heavy and hollow, but the bases are solid (not hollow all the way down), so one
would need to drill holes in the bottom to add weight. For indoor use, they are
fine just as they come, tho.
The King and Queen have removeable tops, but the finials are integral/fixed.
This is a feature that makes for simpler storage. It makes me think of the
original Staunton chessmen, where finials were separate. However, parents of
young children should glue the tops to the Kings and Queens because here is
where the choking hazard possibly appears.
There are no sharp edges and they are more than large enough for the pre-school
members of our chess team to handle well, with either one hand or two. My late
aunt taught kindergarten for more than 30 years and she said everything for
little hands should be large, especially crayons and pencils. She would like
these chessmen, I would think. The dramatic difference between Kings and Queens
is another advantage for the youngest players.
Sizes of chessmen:
King 8.3 inches tall 3.75 inches for base
Queen 7.4 inches tall 3.75 inches for base
Bishop 6.1 inches tall 3.2 inches for base
Knight 6.1 inches tall 3.3 inches for base
Rook 4.5 inches tall 3.1 inches for base
Pawn 4.2 inches tall 2.6 inches for base
The chessboard included is the only source for complaint. It's just too flimsy
and far too small. USCF squares ought to be nearly five inches for these
chessmen, but this board's squares are only three and two-thirds. The Kings and
Queens are larger than the squares, so this board really isn't suitable. I'm
deducting a full star for the board because it's just not play-worthy and is too
far from durable. Don't even think about washing, or even wiping, this board!
It's a disposable, use-more-than-once-at-your-own-risk item. It's a joke that
the outside of the box lists it as a durable chess mat.
I'm making one of my own from a round, used (Salvation Army) 60-inch tablecloth
and a small bottle of fabric paint-- less than seven dollars total. I've seen
other chess sets for both higher and lower prices, but I'm comfortable with the
chessmen here-- the board/mat is a totally different issue. I've called the
company to complain as well, but had to leave v/m. I'll update this review after
I see what they have to say about it.
>>>>> OCTOBER 2013 UPDATE <<<<<
I called the Pressman company a second time and was soon able to complain directly to their Customer Service department. No one else had expressed any concerns over the mat, but it had to be changed from vinyl to cloth in order to comply with Federal regulations for materials.
They offered to send me another mat, which I declined, but we successfully negotiated another option. They even offered to keep my phone number and call me if the mat is changed, to see if I'd like that as a replacement. Their Customer Service was very courteous, good at listening and considerate-- fully deserving ten points out of ten. Pressman has earned good will aplenty.
on March 2, 2013
I'd seen this set advertised different places over the years, and always thought it looked interesting. I really had no need for it, but finally justified buying it under the rationalization that it might make teaching the game to my 9-year old daughter more interesting. (Helen's response when she came in and saw it set up on the dining room table; "Whoa, that's creepy!" Oh, well.)
The PROS: The set is pretty cool to look at! The pieces, including the knights, have relatively nice definition. And while the pieces are kind of light, the felted bottoms do pop out; I am considering putting some sand or clay in the bases, just to give them more heft. Also, they have replaced the vinyl board that others have complained about with one made of a synthetic fabric that looks kind of like Tyvek. No huge wrinkles, or heavy uncured-vinyl odor.
The CONS: None of these are too bad. The set takes up a fair amount of room when set up, although it does fit into a relatively small box. The problem I find is that, because of the size of the board, we often need to stand to make moves, to avoid knocking over pieces, Also, the board, while better, is not great. The squares of this new fabric one are actually a little too small; the king and queen do not fully fit on one square.
OVERALL, I like it. It is kinda fun, kinda cool, and not too expensive. Like other reviewers, I may make my own board when I have the time.
on April 8, 2010
I couldn't be happier with my new Pressman "giant chess set"! The pieces far exceeded my expectations in terms of quality, design, and durability. If you liked the pictures, you'll enjoy the "real thing" even more!
As an added bonus, I was pleased to discover that the "white" playing pieces are actually "bone" or "ivory" colored (as opposed to "bright white"--which doesn't show accurately in the item description).
I note that there have been complaints about the light weight of the pieces, but this is a problem that can be easily resolved. I think we can all understand that it would be impractical, for the purpose of shipping and handling, for the manufacturer to weight them at the factory.
Here's what you can do to correct the problem (especially if you will be using them outside on windy days), and all you need are ordinary household tools and materials:
Leaving the paper felt coverings for each piece intact (it's unnecesssary to go to the time and trouble to remove them, and actually advantageous to leave them on as you will see and experience), drill a 3/8" hole in the bottom-center of each piece. Ideally, you should use a tapered drill bit, but an ordinary bit will suffice as long as you hold each piece carefully and drill straight and SLOW. After drilling, make sure there is no exposed plastic flashing which would make the bottom surface uneven. Remove this flashing with a small file or piece of sandpaper.
Be advised that occasionally you may run into a situation where the entire bottom of the chess piece (beneath the paper felt) might pop out during drilling. Don't be alarmed. This bottom piece will snap right back into place, and will stay in place.
Next, you will need a small dietetic scale, a bowl, a small funnel, and about 12 lbs. of sand. You can weight the pieces as you desire, but use the following suggested guide (for net sand weight), which I found to be ideal: pawns - 4 ozs.; rooks, knights, and bishops - 6 ozs.; kings and queens - 9 ozs. Be advised that the pawns will not hold much more than the 4 ozs. recommended.
Fill each piece, dust off the bottoms, and temporarily cover the hole with a piece of masking tape. Ordinary drinking glasses make ideal holders for the inverted chess pieces while you are working on them.
Once you are done with this step, you can experiment with picking up the pieces and moving them around to determine whether you wish to add or remove weight. In my opinion, however (after much experimentation), the guide I have given you is the best!
Next, go to a home improvement or hardware store and buy, 1) a 12 X 19 soft, thin-plastic, inexpensive "FOR SALE" sign; and 2) three or four small packages of 6 X 18 sheets of felt with adhesive backing; and 3) a small bottle of ordinary carpenter's wood glue. The carpenter's glue will work just fine. Avoid other types of glues as they are not always compatible with certain plastics.
Back home, look around your kitchen for various sizes of round bottle caps, cans, or glasses. Select items with sizes that are slightly smaller than the bottoms of your chess pieces, which basically means that you will need about three different sizes. You will be using these items to trace out circular hole covers for the bottoms of the chess pieces. DON'T MAKE THEM TOO SMALL to insure standing stability for the pieces. Likewise, DON'T MAKE THEM TOO LARGE because you want a marginal area around the edge of each piece where the final felt bottom will be attached (and will seal the edge of the plastic cover at the same time).
Once you find and select the right items and sizes, trace out what you need for covers from the soft, thin-plastic "FOR SALE" sign you bought, and then cut them out. An ordinary pair of scissors will easily cut through the soft, thin plastic.
Next, lightly sand one side of each plastic cover, and wipe away the residue. Piece by piece, remove the temporary masking tape, center-up each cover (allow the glue to get a little tacky) and glue in place. Before proceeding to the last step, let the pieces stand overnight to allow the glue to thoroughly dry.
Finally, for the last step, place each piece, one by one, on the sheet(s) of adhesive-backed felt, and using a sharp pencil (for accuracy) trace out the bottoms of all the chess pieces. Next, cut out the felt bottoms from the sheet--but be sure to cut INSIDE the circular line you traced to insure that each felt bottom will be ever-so-slightly smaller than the piece itself.
When you apply the felt, peel the paper backing off only about one-fourth to half way so that you can properly align and position it on the piece. Once it's positioned properly, tack down the exposed adhesive area, and then remove the remaining paper backing for a perfect fit.
That's it! You will be delighted with the finished product! Store each piece in a sealable plastic bag--gallon-size plastic bags for each king and queen, and quart-size bags for all the others. The total weight of the pieces will be about 17 pounds, and they will fit nicely into a 10 X 10 X 20 duffel bag or plastic tote! Use smaller bags and totes if you wish to separate the pieces by color and/or reduce the carrying weight.
on May 9, 2012
I really like this game the pieces are a bit on the light side but I filled them with sand and the board is wrinkled but I ironed it with some steam and rolled it up its perfect now :~} click here to see [...]
on October 27, 2010
Although almost all reviews rated this product highly, I had to wonder about the two negative comments I saw: one, that the pieces are too light, and two, that some broke in shipment (even though that problem was promptly and professionally remedied).
The pieces I received didn't seem to be too extremely light to me, and definitely have more weight towards the base, so they may have been changed in response to that issue. Also, the pieces were individually wrapped, as well as being in larger bags for each color. My pieces all arrived in fine shape, and I suspect the individual wrapping may have been to address the breakage issue.
The board has 4" squares, giving a 32" square playing area, with the ranks and files for algebraic chess notation around the border. The bases of the king and queen actually go out to the edge of their squares, and I think if someone wanted to make a board with 5" squares (for a 40" square playing area), these pieces would seem quite natural on it.
on March 12, 2014
First - whatever plastic board that once came with this set must have been replaced/upgraded - I purchased this set for my kids in Feb. 2013 and it came with a very nice fabric black and white "board" that is made of decent quality, folds easily and sits flat. It does not smell or fray. Ideally, you can make your custom board (i.e., wood) using this fabric model as a template. For kids, this fabric version is fine and has held up for over one year so far with moderate use from 2x active boys under 6. I will try to upload a picture if that would help.
The chess pieces themselves are wonderful - felt on a solid bottom that has stayed in tact with mild abuse from kids - good quality (plastic) - the king and queen are actually two parts that fit together perfectly, simply because they are a little taller and one may want to store easier. Need to find a good box or bag to keep all the parts in ... overall, such a great investment for kids and perfect size for fun learning with little ones, or challenging the spouse to a friendly duel over wine.
Highly recommended - thinking of purchasing an extra set to donate to the local elementary school.
on April 24, 2016
As soon as this set arrived we knew it was not going to work for our purposes. My husband had built a chess board that needed larger than normal chess pieces, but these would have been too large. It's unfortunate as the set appeared to be very well made and I would recommend it. Ultimately it was returned.
on July 15, 2014
The chess pieces are good, the board is just a piece of very cheap fabric, but for the money it's alright. My only real challenge with the set is that the squares on the board are just a little too small for the pieces, and the felt on the bottom of the pieces snags on the cloth board, so the pieces have to be picked up and set down on their new square; trying to slide them wrinkles up the board and knocks everything over. This can be a trick if this is for younger kids.
on March 3, 2012
I wished I hadn't bought this set. The pieces aren't weighted and very lightweight, the mat is hard to get flat (take out all the wrinkles) and playing in the wind is impossible. Don't waste your money. Get a real chess set (especially with double or triple weighted pieces) and set it up on a table. You'll be much happier.