I was looking for an analysis chess set for use when following along with moves in books but wanted something a little out of the ordinary. Usually, analysis chess sets are simply smaller versions of a regular inexpensive set, typically with cheap plastic pieces and a vinyl board. Think of an average club set but smaller with cheaper pieces.
For my analysis chess set, I wanted nicer pieces with some weight. The small size was fine, but they needed to look better than the ones that come in a $5 board game at the department store. If I couldn’t enjoy the set, then I wouldn’t want to pull it out and use it, and I desperately wanted to increase the time I spent learning the game.
My searching took me all over the place looking at a ton of different analysis chess sets. I had just about resolved to purchase the pieces from one vendor, and a board from another when I ran across the Mini Marshall Set from Chess House. It seemed to be too good to be true.
Chess House offered an analysis chess set combo that allowed you to choose from four colors of pieces (red, black, white, and ivory), four colors of 14″ vinyl boards (red, blue, green, and black), and four colors of padded bags for the pieces (red, blue, green, and black). All of this was under $40.
The best part of this analysis chess set is of course the pieces. Not only are they very nice looking pieces, but they are perfectly sized for the 14″ board with a 2 7/8″ king. They are also weighted and feel fantastic which makes you feel more like you are actually playing. The weight also helps keep the pieces in place should the table you are playing on get bumped.
The board is nothing special, it works and looks fine. The rank and file are labeled as you would expect on an analysis chess set. The corners curl just a tiny bit but not enough to affect play. I have not had any creases or problems with it although I do not tend to fold it. I opted for the blue and was concerned that it would be so dark of a blue as to make it hard to see the black pieces at a glance. Happily, I worried for nothing, the black pieces show up well. Not as well as the green board of course, but everyone
The bag is probably my biggest disappointment because it is a square bag that would require folding the board and having to stuff it in there. It is clear that the bag for this analysis chess set was designed just for the pieces and not the board. That being said, the bag is really nice, well-padded, and very heavy duty to just carry pieces. I honestly like the bag very much, I just wish they had one shaped more like a cylinder that could store both the board and pieces. I guess I can’t have everything.