We all love chess but it can be daunting if not impossible to know what to give for a gift. Worry not, we have you fully covered. We’ll go over improvement resources, books, boards, and accessories for every budget.
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All chess players want to get better, so let’s start with the best ways to improve.
The amount of information on chess is overwhelming. We have distilled and filtered everything we know about chess improvement (including a survey of hundreds of chess improvers and real-life experience from chess masters) into study plans. Get one today here. If you get the wrong one for the rating range don’t worry, just e-mail us and we’ll get it corrected.
Chess.com Premium Membership
Chess.com offers a huge variety of premium features for chess improvement. Unlimited puzzles, lessons, and videos all come included with a membership. You can buy one (with a created account) here. If you want more information, we have a big guide to chess.com premium titled “Is a Chess.com Premium Membership Worth It?“
Others have stated that there are more books written about chess than every other board game combined. It is no secret that there is an impossible amount of options out there. We will recommend just a few books here to choose from.
Silman’s Complete Endgame Course
Silman’s endgame course is a wonderful resource. It takes you through endgames from beginner level all the way up to master, making it a great book for players of all levels. It’s a book that you can reference for years as your rating increases. If you already have this book, you can see our other endgame book recommendations for alternatives.
How to Reassess Your Chess
This is another great book from the same author, Jeremy Silman. This book covers all you need to know about chess strategy from top to bottom. Chess masters say that this book has all the knowledge in it you need in order to make the master level.
If you already have this book, check out our review of the Yusupov series. This series covers chess strategy just as “How to Reassess Your Chess” does.
The Woodpecker Method
The Woodpecker Method is the go-to resource for chess tactics and puzzles. It contains over 1100 puzzles and solutions that will keep you busy for a long, long time. The puzzles vary in their degree of difficulty so it will be a good resource for all skill levels.
If these books don’t look enticing to you (or you already have them), we have more recommendations from our survey results. See our post on the most popular chess books.
The amount of boards on the market is overwhelming so let us wade through the options for you.
USCF Tournament Board – $29.99
The first board we will recommend is inexpensive and a great gift for all chess players. This simple board is used in most chess clubs and tournaments. I personally have an identical set and use it for all my chess study. I’m recommending the triple-weighted set of pieces to give the pieces a nice, solid feel rather than cheap plastic.
House of Staunton Library Grandmaster Set- $179.00
This is a beautiful wood chess set that would make a very good gift for any chess player. I love how this board has high-quality pieces without looking too gaudy. Chess players generally hate when pieces are large or difficult to distinguish from each other. The board and piece colors go well together and it looks and feels like a very high-end chess board.
There are many gimmicky chess accessories out there but there are a few must-haves for every serious chess player. The first is a clock.
Basic Digital Clock- $18.99
Keep it very simple here. You want to avoid an analog (face) clock. In chess, it is vital to know your exact time at a glance. Don’t spend too much on a clock either. This simple offering from Wholesale Chess has options for increment and delay and you can program it for any time control. You can even do time odds (one player gets more time than the other). In short, this clock has everything you need
Score Book- $7.95
Any time someone a player is in a tournament they need to write down their moves. It’s very helpful to have them all in one place, so a nice chess scorecard is a great gift.
Chessbase is one of the top software companies in the business, and their most popular chess software is Fritz 17. Fritz can play against you, includes database features, and many training tools.