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In every single chess set which I have purchased in my city (I'm from Moldova), there are exactly 32 pieces (16 white and 16 black). No more, no less. By pieces I mean kings, queens, rooks, bishops, knights and pawns.

However, it can be troublesome in practice. As you should probably know, there are pawn promotions in chess. And, according to the rules, the choice is not limited to pieces captured by your opponent. So you can have 9 queens, or 10 rooks etc. I know that in casual chess play an extra queen can be represented by upside-down rook. But I consider it pretty ugly, and it does not solve the problem if both rooks of the same color are still on the board.

I know that to satisfy every single possible game, a chess set must have 96 pieces, 48 white and 48 black.

My question is as follows. In practice, are there chess sets with more than 32 pieces, be it 96 pieces or 34? Do they have any practic use, e. g. in tournaments, and does an ordinary chess player have the possibility of buying such chess set? Thanks a lot for help.

  • I was going to post this as an answer, but after re-reading your question, it's obvious it's not the answer you're looking for - so I'll add it here simply for information purposes for those of curiosity :) en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dragonchess Dragonchess has 84 pieces .. 42 per player. But those are all "in-game" pieces, and this is obviously a non-standard variation of chess .. :) Still, quite a fun game though ... :) – Ditto Nov 22 '17 at 15:17
  • In a tournament, there will likely be many other chess sets available. – Acccumulation Dec 1 '17 at 1:58
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The thing I know exists is a set with an extra queen each, so 34 pieces:

https://www.chessbazaar.com/tournament-series-staunton-chess-pieces-with-german-knight-in-sheesham-box-wood-3-7-king.html

This should cover like 99.9% of all games.

If you want more (actually an extra Knight/Rook/Bishop might be needed in very rare situations), you can look for single replacement pieces. Those can be easily found on google for popular chess designs:

https://www.chesshouse.com/collections/wooden-chess-pieces/products/single-standard-wood-chess-pieces

  • Of course, the simple way to deal with this (unless you're a snob) is just to buy another set of pieces. Then you have replacements in case the cat pushes one under the refrigerator, as well as a good assortment for pawn promotions. – Zeiss Ikon Nov 17 '17 at 15:46
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    There are also very rare cases where rook or bishop is the correct play, such as when a queen would stalemate your opponent but a rook or bishop still permits checkmate. – corsiKa Nov 18 '17 at 19:47
  • Yes, you are right, I edited that. – Andreas Hüttig Nov 29 '17 at 10:44
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The 32 pieces represent a "standard" set for a "standard" game. Exceptions like the one you describe do occur, but they're pretty rare, because most of the time, the "first" queens have been traded. The situation is unusual enough that "few" chess sets will have extra pieces.

If there is a situation where you have two queens (or three of another kind) because of a pawn promotion, you can take a coin or token and designate it as the "extra" queen or piece. In some cases, you may wish to borrow a piece from another set, as another poster pointed out.

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