Through an online training group I belong to, I discovered that in the USA players have to take their own chess equipment to tournaments. This is different from the UK, where clubs or congress organisers supply equipment.
I don’t like the idea of taking my personal set for others to put their grimy hands on. It is not a special set by any means – mahogany and maple board with 50mm squares (around £30), with super weighted wooden Staunton pieces (about £15) – but it is akin to sharing cutlery with strangers in my mind.
So what would I buy if I had to play in the US? Well, the site Best Chess Sets provides some interesting inspiration. Apparently younger players are pervasive in US tournaments, so maybe the LEGO set? Sicilian Dragon players have an obvious option.
One thing is obvious from the photographs of these exotic sets though; the sellers (not the site owner, he just links to others’ sites) are often quite clearly not chess players. Just on the front page, at least four sets are set up incorrectly. It may be five, but who knows which of blue and yellow is light in Springfield?
I’ll leave you with Bobby Fischer enjoying his Dubrovnik set.