Chess set- Size Guide

2 comments Feb 23, 2023

When determining the size of chess board square that will work best for your chess pieces you need to consider both the height of the pieces and the base diameter of the largest piece which is usually the king. Tall pieces with a narrow base will require squares based on the height rather than the base so there is sufficient space for moving the pieces during a game. Short pieces with a wide base will need a square size based on the base more so than the height. It's really just a matter of common sense and what you like best. Some players like the look of a tight board while other players prefer the pieces widely spaced out for a better view of the board. Use the chart below as a general guideline to determine what size of chess board you need for your pieces.

King Height Max. King Base Chess Board Square Size
2" .75" 1" - 1.2"
2.5" 1"  1.2" - 1.5"
2.75" 1.25"  1.5" 1.75"
3" 1.375"  1.625" - 1.75"
3.25"  1.5"  1.75" - 2"
3.5"  1.625  1.875" - 2.125"
3.75"  1.625 2" - 2.25"
4"  1.75" 2.25" 2.375" 
4.25"  1.75"  2.25" - 2.375"
4.4"  2"  2.375" - 2.5"
4.5"  2.25"  2.5"
5"  2.375"  2.5" - 2.75"
6" 2.5"   2.75"


The world chess federation (FIDE) recommends the chess board squares be between two to two and a half inches. The entire chess board therein will fall in the range of sixteen to twenty-one inches.

A typical regulation chess board size measures twenty-one inches long and twenty-one inches wide. The thickness would be three fourth of an inch. The ideal size of the individual squares on the chess board would measure two inches each in length and breadth.

While the above-sized boards are the most popular choice for many players, the nineteen-inch chess board is also an appropriate alternative for those looking for a smaller chess board. 

A guide to matching your chess pieces to your chess board.

When buying a chess board and a set of chess pieces it's vitally important to get the sizing correct. You need to ensure that the pieces not only fit on the board but also look pleasing and uncluttered. You then of course need to ensure that the board will fit on your chosen table or playing surface. There are three key measurements you must consider. They are:

  1. The diameter of the Kings base.
  2. The size of the squares on the chess board.
  3. The overall size of the chess board.

There is an official tournament guideline for fitting chess pieces to a chess board and visa versa. It states that the base diameter of the king should be no more than 75% of the diameter of the squares on the chess board. For example a king with a 1.5 inch base diameter should have a square diameter of 2 inches.

There is an element of personal preference. Not everyone needs to meet tournament standards so it is very much up to the individual. In a set of chess pieces the King always has the widest base diameter. Therefore as a bear minimum the squares on the chess board must accommodate the king. How much space that is left on the edges of the square when the king is placed dead center is the key variable.


  • Louis May 18, 2024 at 9:48 pm

    Looking for 3.0 inch square roll up mat-house of Staunton lists them but no longer sells them…who is going to make me a happy -

  • Louis May 18, 2024 at 9:47 pm

    Looking for 3.0 inch square roll up mat-house of Staunton lists them but no longer sells them…who is going to make me a happy camper???

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