Buyer’s Guide: Chess Bag (Tournament, Standard, Deluxe)

Playing a game of chess demands players to present three different products at the same time: a chessboard, chess pieces, and the clock. This is quite a lot, especially if you are playing in a tournament.

In tournaments you have to travel to different places, possibly having to carry many things at the same time. Some chess tournaments require you to bring your own sets so it can really be a hassle. Thankfully we have the chess bag for this.

A chess bag offers a convenient effort to package everything in one go, making it very reliable.

Choosing the appropriate chess bag includes considering several factors that would suit user experience, such include the size, terms of use, corresponding chess product, and the actual type of bag.

The price varies according to the breadth and material of the bag, where the deluxe is the greatest quality able to hold all items.

This guide will be all about chess bags, basically a comprehensive review of it. Without further ado, let’s get started. 

The Chess Bag

First thing to ask yourself, why even bother with a chess bag?

You can also opt for a chess box (a chessboard that can store pieces) being able to carry the piece and board at the same time.

That would be true if it weren’t for the clock and scorebook!

Specifically, a chess bag offers:
● Space- the function to carry all chess-related items at the same time.
● Convenience- the strap allows the ability to be hunched when moving into multiple
● Organization- less likely to disorient or leave something behind since every pocket is a reminder which goes which.
● Storage- makes it easy to store all the stuff since everything is just in one place.
● Viability- preserves the lifeline of all the products by having a safe secure place with less likelihood of being damaged.

I’d say a chess bag is not necessary if you only own one chess-related product or two (a chess case or box might be better for that).

But for someone who needs to constantly be tied with everything then this is for you!

It’s just hard to manage all the different loads especially when traveling long distances.

With all of that said, let’s now look at the things you actually need to regard when choosing one, since there’s so many of them.

Things to look for

The following are very critical considerations that a buyer needs to assess when finding the appropriate chess bag.

First , the size!


Chess bags have a wide variety of lengths and widths specific to particular sizes, in other words the size will determine the use.

A buyer’s expected functionality should be a priority since that is the main perk of the bag in the first place.

I’d say the size will make or break your entire experience whether you’ll still buy one in the future or not.

The following are the common trends to look for regarding a chess bag’s size:

a.) Dimensions of the pieces

Chess bags have pockets which provide space for things to get stored in them.

This could be an issue if what’s supposed to be in storage is larger than the pocket! chess pieces in particular.

The standard height of the pieces are the following: King – 9.5 cm, Queen – 8.5 cm,
Bishop – 7 cm, Knight – 6 cm, Rook – 5.5 cm and Pawn – 5 cm.

Now, these bags usually follow the standard guideline for the chess piece’s height and width since well, that is the standard.

However custom sets have given rise to some weird dimensions that you should be aware of as it will likely cause misfits upon storage.

b.) Size of the clock

This is a big one, and one of the most important feature of having a spacious bag, the ability to hold a clock!

And not just even the capability but the actual room that it takes in the pocket.

Small chess bags do not have the capacity to hold a clock at all, medium-sized can store smaller clocks, while the deluxe will even tolerate the infamously long Chronos clock.

If you expect the bag to bear a reasonable clock then a larger one might be worth considering.

c.) Scorebooks/Chess books

Scorebooks are well, a bunch of notes with pages specifically designed to record chess moves that could either be hardbound or softbound, the point is they are being books in relation to chess!

Chess books get the stigma of being a must-have commodity for serious players commonly participating in competitions.

The book is hard to carry unfortunately, which makes chess bags a good way to organize and bring such essential every now and then.

Smaller ones are of course are out of the question, larger chess bags however have a lot of room to spare in the center where you can even fit multiples in some occasions.

d.) Chessboard/Chess Mat

This is another factor! A buyer may intend the chess bag for carriage of mat or board which specific sizes are incapable of.

Having a chess board is important, seems well, you can’t really play chess without it, so this must be important for a lot of people.

A small drawstring bag for example can only be fitted with pieces, not chessboard!

Having one that has the appropriate size to accommodate a chessboard is one of the

e.) Carrying Mechanic

This refers to how the bag can be carried and whether it suits the users need to make his/her chess experience better.

The size might actually perform your need to store chess items but are you the type of person to carry something like that?

A large drawstring bag for example may store the board and pieces, but there are other things that can steer you away from it.

Like the strap being too week for someone that has a rowdy build, the possibility of the strap getting too loose when worn by a tall guy, or the design being “kiddish” for someone’s taste.

The size plays a role in what fashion the bag is to be carried, and therefore makes it something to take notice of.

Terms of Use

The next thing to think about is the actual purposes the chess bag would need to fulfill.

This primarily depends on you a person, exactly how often are you expected to play chess.

To the first point, frequency!

a.) Frequency

A person who regularly plays chess in an almost day to day basis would have different suitability to bags than someone who is not.

A larger chess bag with several pockets would be more appropriate for the first guy since this person is likely to carry more items than the second one.

Apart from that, the usability primarily determines the product’s lifespan, where weaker materials might not be a wonderful match since it may not last long.

Someone who is very active should choose higher-quality bags since investing in one may actually cost them less in the long run.

b.) Place

Next the place, simply put, is this bag going to be used more in formal or informal settings?

Chess club games or those played in parks (outdoors) may not require so intricate items, meaning a simpler bag might be fine.

Higher sized chess bags is of course highly recommend for those who commonly play on tournaments since they would likely carry more items with them.

Apart from that, which kind of tournament are we talking about? Is this something played locally or internationally?

Some will offer their own stuff to be used for practice, therefore eliminating the need to carry multiple things altogether.

c.) Space

Space in this case is the amount of room the actual bag will require in contrast to the one that is desired by the owner.

You may desire to choose a deluxe bag even if it doesn’t really fit that rush hour train or bus that you regularly take for chess tournaments.

Similarly, you want somewhere to place the large bag in the comfort of your home without turning it into a task.

The size should complement your personal use, as well as storage/keeping necessities for that product.

Corresponding Chess Products

I think this one is the most important consideration, that is which items do you actually own or planning to own that will be inserted in the bag.

You may want a large carry all or deluxe bag without actually having ownership of any clock or a book which makes it incompatible!

Of course you can still purchase things that are missing later on, it’s just that the bag will have a lot of empty pockets that’s annoying to look at.

Imagining the intended products to be embedded in the chess bag is critical since that’s the actual purpose of it anyway.

First off, only pieces!

a.) Only pieces

A person who has purchased a separate set that only consist of pieces (without chessboard) may want to look at the innocently small drawstring bag or even a chess case.

Perhaps this is someone who regularly meets with people or places that have chessboards on their own (club, parks, school), and therefore only ever need to use the pieces.

Large bags are of course out of the question, since there is just so much room that it would be impractical.

b.) Chess board with Pieces

A lot of hobbyist type chess players would fall into this category, especially those who frequently participate in street games where the board and piece are all that matters.

Still, carrying both can be quite a hassle and therefore a chess bag may perhaps be necessary.

A large drawstring bag, archer, or similar-looking options is actually the best for this one.

We want something that has the size to carry the board plus pieces, but not too much that there’s too much space to make the thing look like a balloon or something.

c.) Chessboard, Chess pieces, Small Clock

This is popular among players early in their active chess career, simply someone who plays competitively but not too often.

These players may want to practice playing with certain time controls, therefore needing a chessboard, piece, and clock to practice their games.

The carry-all bag is a suitable choice for someone who plays around these conditions, as you need something that can at least carry a small clock.

The larger deluxe bag can also be an option for someone like this, as it gives room for
something in the future that can be adjusted to have space for such.

d.) Chessboard, Chess pieces, Long Clock, Chess books

This is for someone who is very dedicated and probably engaged professionally where tournament wins really matter!

These kinds of people regularly bring score bounds and books to the places they participate in which smaller chess bags can’t accommodate.

Deluxe bag (carry-all design) is an absolute choice since that is the only model where
everything can fit all at once.

I mean you can get shorter chess bags while carrying the books manually but still, it will be an inconvenience enough that it may not be worth doing so.

After being done with all of that, it’s time to learn the actual types of bags to choose from.

Types of Chess Bag

Here are the chess bags currently available in the market which you basically find everywhere.

Take note that every specific classification may not apply to every chess store you visit, but is generally just a good guideline of what to expect in every type of chess bag.

Simply put, the names and design may look different but the function and purpose of a particular bag in spite of appearance is actually the same.

First we got the drawstring bag!

a.) Drawstring Bag

This type of bag is simple, easy to use, run on the mill chess bag for someone just looking for something to store their chess pieces.

This is the simplest form of all the options and frankly can also be used for other utility-related purposes even apart from chess pieces.

You can store a water bottle in here, or a book, cellphone, and charger, toys, basically anything

It’s literally a bag that has a chess logo in it to make it look like a chess specific product.

The bag has the following features:
● Retractable Opening- a linen-like string can be pulled back to close the mouth of the
● Clothlike body- A lightweight material that is very cheap to produce, but has little
durability (can be torn open).
● Small Straps- has a very adjustable strap pair that can accommodate most arm sizes,
although prone to being stretched or pierced.

As you can see, there is really nothing impressive here but remember, this is the cheapest type of bag so don’t expect something glamorous.

There are certain advantages when purchasing this one which includes:
● Price- the most important thing! the cost of this bag is greatly proportionate to its overall usability.
● Flexibility- it has a versatile nature that doesn’t only apply to holding chess items.
● Lightweight- easy to carry, almost no weight at all making wearing the bag more

These are all important characteristics someone should look for when buying a bag in general, and is therefore something to mind about.

But it does come with drawbacks which are:
● Weak Straps- again, the straps are just too weak and can be stretched or damaged
without too much resistance.
● Weak Body- a nail or something could easily slash the bag deeming it unable to store
the things inside.
● Small size- it’s usually just enough to fit all the chess pieces or the chessboard, any
more could risk punching a hole for making the inside materials too heavy.

These are all pretty significant weaknesses! but then again this is the height the bag can offer in conjunction with the price.

Setting all that aside, this type of chess bag has its own personal use different from one another depending on the size, small and large!

The Size

It’s easy to not draw the line between a small and a large drawstring bag, but they are actually two completely different products!

I mean, they are both drawstrings but with different perks, appeal, and also just the feeling of having to use the bag.

First the small.

Small Drawstring bag

This is a bag specifically designed to only hold chess pieces as that’s the only item that can be accommodated with space.

A clock or book can be forced to reside inside but is not ideal since the weight can actually make the thing loose.

This particularly only needs to be carried by hand, meaning that you can’t put it backpack style and have to latch it in your palm.

Since this only hold pieces, a chess case or box can be another consideration over buying this one, whatever your preferences are.

Large Drawstring Bag

A large Drawstring bag is still the same format (drawstring) but is completely unique than the small one.

This can actually afford to hold a chess board along with the pieces (although it sticks on the top), making it a more convenient, as well as being unable to be replaced by a chess box or case.

It grants the ability to be hunched on the back since it is so big, relieving the stress of having to carry with hand unlike the one in the small drawstring.

It is a little bit tougher than the previous one, along with increased space inside, is generally just a better product.

b.) Perfect Fit Bag

The perfect fit bag house the same functionality as the small drawstring bag but of course has different ways of doing it.

It is packaged more like a wallet than a bag, which offers some unique advantages.
● Durability- material used in this product is usually more heavy duty than the drawstring bag, although a little bit heavier.
● Compactness- pieces are more tightly packed together, meaning less likely to get
scrambled and damage each other upon carriage.
● Space- although a little bit heavier, the model actually takes less space than the small
drawstring bag and is more ideal in storage for long-distanced travel.

This is actually the most common type of chess bag that you may have seen before since personally, I don’t really recognize any of the chess bag models before writing except the archer and this one.

It’s a common preference for chess clubs due to its small size, plus the easiness to be stashed in a larger traditional bag is really appreciated by most people.

I mean it is heavy, but not too heavy to get me too worried about.

c.) Archer Chess Bag

This is actually something I’ve personally seen on a couple of tournaments I participated in, back then I really wondered what it was.

But it’s actually a cool bag that can store a chessboard and piece inside.

And if you’re about to tell that it is the same as the large drawstring bag then you are wrong! It really is an entire thing altogether from that type and can give the following benefits:

  • Space- there is more than enough room to tuck in a chessboard without actually folding it, preserving the quality.
  • Inner compartment- unlike a large drawstring bag that exposes the chessboard to the outside world, the inner compartment protects it from hazard.
  • Better materials- this is as high in material architecture as you can get with bags, the archer is similar to school bags which I bet last longer than the drawstring bag.

The biggest edge it has over the similar functioned drawstring bag is the inner

Weather plays a role in this, the chessboard that sticks out will get instantly wet from mild and even worse, strong downpours.

Similarly, the presence of sunlight will cause the colors to fade, therefore making an inner compartment is a good way to protect what’s inside.

d.) Starter Chess Bag

You can consider this as an upgrade from the perfect fit bag that is only able to store chess pieces.

This one has a hanging sleeve in the bottom enough to fit a rolled-up chess board, meaning you’d be able to carry the piece and board at the same time.

It is literally the perfect fit bag with slight modification at the bottom to hook up a chessboard, making it more desirable.

Such desirable traits that come with it are:
● Cost- not as expensive as an archer chess bag; comparable to the cheap quality and
functionality of a large drawstring bag.
● Resiliency- although similar to usage as the large drawstring bag (chessboard and
pieces), still has tougher materials that can resist damage.
● Space- it is specially manufactured to hold the chessboard and pieces as space
efficiently as possible.

The item is just a bonus for someone who’s used to handling a perfect fit bag and wants a fresh breath of air with a chessboard alongside it.

Carrying one which is perfect for storing chess pieces without a chessboard is kinda
challenging, especially for someone who is actively involved since you can’t really play without the pieces.

e.) Carry-All Bag

This model is the largest one available to be found in the market right now, where it can hold chess pieces, rolled up chessboards, small chess clock, and even some chess books.

Not only that, it has enough room to spare having two set of chess pieces while still leaving some empty pockets!

You can spot this item used by professionals since they are the people who are playing the most games with the most number of items.

Reasons to buy includes:
● All in one- basically any chess-related items (combination) you can think of, will most of the time fit inside this chess bag.
● Toughness- I can’t stress enough how durable this model is, it’s just made from the best material of all the chess bags and usually even comes with a warranty.
● Chess books/Scoresheet- The only design that can actually accommodate scoresheet and book storage among all.
● Multiple Pieces- there is enough room for two different chess piece set if you own
something like that.
● Pockets- better flexibility since you can basically store anything on the empty pockets.
● Size- it is large but not too large to make carrying the thing a hassle; good size ensures that items inside don’t get disoriented when on the move.

As you can see, there is a huge bulk of benefits available to this one than the others.

The only thing that I see to possibly veer people away from this is the cost, which makes it the most expensive chess bag of all.

But it comes with quality! there are specific situations where investing in something like this makes more sense.

f.) Premier (Deluxe) Tournament Bag

Lastly but not the leastly, the famous deluxe tournament bag!

And I know what you’re thinking, what is this? I thought the carry-all bag is the largest in the market? that’s actually correct.

The deluxe design is basically a carry-all bag that comes with a larger size, therefore can better tolerate larger pieces, longer scoresheet, and the famously long Chronos clock.

All the little things that the carry-all chess bag do can be better accomplished by the deluxe bag.

I mean, you could basically still store larger items in the standard carry-all model maybe if you force it? but that would make the bag susceptible to damage.

So the deluxe chess bag is simply a larger carry all bag.

Final thoughts

There are many items someone has to provide the order to properly play a game of chess.

There are too many in fact, that it can’t be entertained by your traditional bag and require these specialized chess bags.

Looking into one that is appropriate for your terms of use is critical, since the thing may not be used the way you expected it to be.

That’s all, Sleep well and play Chess.