I was recently shopping for a chess storage box for my new tournament size chess pieces. As I browsed the usual chess shopping websites, I realized that there’s almost no reviews at all on these chess boxes from the different stores.
After doing my research, I settled on this ebony chess box from The Chess Store, and decided to do a review of the chess box here. Hopefully it helps someone else make the right decision
Ebony Chess Box from The Chess Store
The box itself is stunning to look at. I think this box looks even better in person than on their photos. I know this is wood veneer but I couldn’t tell that from looking and from touching this box in person. The inside lining is thick and feels rich. The color and grain of the wood complements whatever chess set I place in it. I tried my Dubrovnik set in sheesham, My rosewood HOS player’s series set, and the ebonized CB Staunton set you see here in the photos. They all look good in the box!
3.8″ CB Staunton Weighted series in ebony storage box
BUT… and there’s always a but. There’s a few things that I didn’t like about this box.
First is the size. This box is being marketed to fit chess sets up to 4 1/4. I’m not so sure about this claim. The chess sets that I tried with this box have king sizes range between 3.6 and 3.8 inches. They all fit fine but I have to carefully arranged them in order to do so. As a matter of fact, you can’t even store the pieces standing up. The kings are too high and the lid won’t close.
HOS 3.75 Professional Series Kings on left, CB 3.8 Staunton Weighted series on right
Other things that I didn’t like about the box are the removable divider and the lock itself. I knew from their website’s description that the divider is removable. What I didn’t know is that the divider is just a piece of wood with foams at both ends. I thought there would be at least a groove for the divider like on most other chess boxes. It just didn’t feel stable at all. It would move with a slight flick of your finger. I also don’t think those foams at the end of the divider would last very long.
The lock itself also feels a little flimsy. Although I must admit that this flimsy feeling could just be me. It just doesn’t have a solid feeling in my opinion. Here’s a video to give you a sense of what I am talking about with the lock and divider.
And lastly, on the unit I received, I noticed one of the screws on one of the hinges is not sitting flat like the others. I got my phillips screwdriver right away but the screw is not biting. This was a deal breaker for me. I probably would have fixed this with glue if this was an old box but this is new! I shouldn’t be gluing anything. So I called the Chess Store right away.
I spoke to someone at Chess Store named Greg. I told Greg that I would like to return this box. He offered to send a replacement but I told him that I just wanted to return the box for a refund. I was a little down at this point because I was thinking that I will lose a lot of money on this deal through no fault of my own. Shipping this box back to Chess Store will sure cost me at least another $12.
But Greg (probably feeling my dismay) offered me something better. He said don’t even return the box and he’ll give me a full refund. I was speechless at this point. I’ve never heard a chess company go through this much to try to satisfy a customer.
I ended up telling Greg that I don’t think it’s fair for him to give the box to me for free. I am willing to keep the box and pay a little something for it. We agreed on a price, he gave me a partial refund, and I am a satisfied customer.
Overall, I still highly recommend this box. Sure there’s a few things I didn’t like about it but if those things don’t bother you, this box is gorgeous!
I’m also sure the hinge issue on my unit is an isolated incident but I learned that Chess Store do stand behind its product.