Which Chessboard Looks Better?


During the past couple of years, I've been collecting votes on which type of chessboard image you'd like to see here on my site. The three images I supplied are shown below:






In all more than 100 people took the time to vote. I'd like to thank each and every one of you who did so. Many of the comments I received can be found below. I had a lot of fun reading them.

By a 2 to 1 majority, the favorite image was the black and white ChessBase image, shown above and to the left. Thus, for the moment anyway, I've decided to keep using that image in all of my chess diagrams.

Several people expressed a desire for an image with both a black outline around the White pieces and a "green" board. (Most of us who play in rated over-the-board tournament games use a board with green squares.) Thus, I've decided that, just for the fun of it, I'm going to open the voting agan, with three new choices, one of which satifies both of the above requests. Take a moment and read some of the comments below concerning my previous choices and then click here if you'd like to participate in another vote!!


  • Use the ChessBase board. Clearly easier to see and load. I would like the WinBoard diagram if the pieces were outlined as per your suggestion.

  • I prefer the screen on the right, but then I am a WinBoard user.  It seems easier for me to "see" the positions, perhaps because its easier on my eyes.
  • I sincerely can't make my mind too about which chessboard is better. I'm in love with the chessbase style, but the WinBoard one is also quite attractive. I think Chessbase's is more stylish while WinBoard's is better for playing because of its coloured squares, which has been proved to relax the eyes while thinking. For your web pages I think it's better the Chessbase's because it fits better with a white or light (almost clear) background. (I've since darkened the background so this individual may now prefer the ChessBase graphic.)
  • If you're still tabulating...  the WinBoard is much better (IMHO)
  • I say stick with the b/w board. It's easier to read than the color, and probably a shorter download too.
  • Please stick with the one on the left (newspapar/book style).  To me it is easier to see.  Thanks.
  • I like the the colored version better, but the black & white picture loaded almost four times faster than the color one, stick with it.
  • I prefer the screeen shot to the left... ChessBase.
  • The one on the left from ChessBase. I like the color one too but there is not enough contrast. If you could somehow fix that then I would change my opinion.
  • Wow, they both look nice. Either one is fine and both are much more attractive than the images that I've seen on other sites. Good work.
  • Can I still vote? I'd like the colored WinBoard image better if the White pieces had a dark outline around them. As it is, I like the black & white ChessBase image better.
  • Black and White. It looks sensational when printed.
  • I like the black and white better simply because it appears to have greater detail on first glance.  The colored board does look nice, but seems to lack contrast for me.
  • Black and white for me.  The new third entry is pretty good, but I'm not a big fan of the brown and tan colors - green and white would have worked better for me.  Clearly the improvement was in the display of the white pieces, which is very distracting to me in choice #2.  Black and white seems simpler, more straightforward to print and display (and photocopy if necessary).

  • I vote for the b/w.

  • I like your third version.

  • My vote is for WinBoard.

  • The left, i.e. the B&W, is by far the cleanest presentation.

  • The 3rd one!

  • I vote for the black-white version. I like it more because my eyes are more accustomed to it.

  • I like the WinBoard image, selection #2 of 3.

  • I vote for the coloured one.

  • I prefer the ChessBase Lite one (b/w).  I didn't care too much for the colors in the other boards (I might like one of the other two in, say, dark green/light green or blue/grey perhaps). 

  • I would like to see #2 on your site. It is just smooth to look at. I can feel the other boards sting in my eyes :-) .

  • The black and white.

  • I believe the white board is easier to see, and most sites also use this pattern and coloring. It is also harder to see the black pieces in the brown version board.

  • The WinBoard chess diagrams look much better, but then I like WinBoard almost as much as you do!

  • The ChessBase chessboard is by far better.  The WinBoard pieces irritate me greatly due to the color of the white pawns.  No matter, what shade of white it is, they clash!!

  • The black and white. I like the pieces better - the WinBoard pieces blend into the board too much, for me; the ghostly White pieces, especially. The difference would narrow if you used the ChessBase set on your color board...

  • I prefer the simple black & white Staunton set.  Thanks for asking!

  • 3rd one.

  • The third version is the best.  On a larger monitor the dark squares on the B&W make me dizzy.  However, the white WinBoard pieces need black outlines.

  • Both are nice but personally  I prefer the B/W version. It's simple and does not add strain to our precious eyes ( I sometimes spend 2 to 3 hrs on the internet ) on an LCD monitor.

  • I love the third screen shot colors (I currently use the gray-light blue color variation on Mann's page) but still what's missing is the black outline on the White pieces. How hard is it to have a black outline anyhow??

  • Definitely the image on the left from ChessBase Light. It is not even close.

  • I like the one on the right.  It's different.

  • I prefer the third board but would make the white pieces just a little less intensely white.

  • My choice of boards is B&W. Colors can be nice but they can be distracting and a source of endless dispute. As an architect I'm all for new approaches, however I do believe in the saying "If it's not broke don't fix it".

  • I would like to see the yellowish one more often.

  • Black & white...sharper and when viewing board positions gets us into the game faster.  If you are going to go color you might as well go 3D for total effect of looking at a game board.

  • I think the board on the left is best!

  • Though I like Winboard very much, I vote for black & white.

  • I like the black and white better; it's simpler, and the other ones are too dark. (by the way, the last one would look better if the white pieces had a black outline!)

  • I like colored screenshots.

  • Left... straight B&W.

  • I'm no chess authourity.  Just decided to start playing again, haven't touched a pawn in probably twenty years.  But I have been a commercial artist.  I like your first WinBoard choice.  The ChessBase board uses a diagonal hatching that sets up a distracting almost hypnotic effect, plus the contrast is too stark for prolonged viewing.  The newer ChessBase uses white instead of cream for the white pieces, probably to increase the contrast.  Which it does, but I still like the richness of the cream.  Personal preference.

  • The color boards, of course.

  • I prefer the WinBoard graphics.  As a nurse who has studied anatomy and physiology, I can assure you that if you spend as much time as myself looking at computer graphics, a lower contrast image is much easier in regards to eye strain.

  • A resounding Hail Mary for the colored versions.

  • The bw board is much more comfortable to me, but maybe that's just because I'm a Fritz and ChessBase user.

  • I vote for b/w. Color is nice, but white pieces without outline color are hard to see. (and print).

  • The color one is much better; it's more realistic.

  • I vote for Chessbase Light, no contest.  The resolution is much clearer, and is easier to look at for protracted lengths of time. 

  • I like the one on the right. The White pieces aren't so white. That means the glare on my eyes won't be so bright!

  • Of the choices shown I vote for the B&W (the first one). I  would like #3 the best if the dark squares were green.

  • My vote:  The board on the left.

  • As they stand, I prefer the b/w version.  However, I'd vote for the color (particularly #3) if the white pieces were outlined.

  • black n white.

  • I think u should use the 2nd board, although use WinBoard Plus to make the White pieces have a black outline!  

  • The black & white board is the best, in my humble opinion. Very easy for me to see.

  • right

  • black & white

  • Go for the black and white. It's the way the game was suppose to be played. It's legendary and old school.

  • The third choice is best for me, but might I suggest green and buff squares?

  • The left, in black and white, is much clearer. Especially the bishops.

  • I'd go with the left, it's, shall we say, classic.  The right is over stated. The White pieces sort of blend in with the board..... Also, WinBoards pieces are too big. (my opinion, a little less per square would be better...)

  • I prefer the chessboard on the right side of the screen.  The colours seem to agree more with the eyes and esthetically more pleasing than the white and black which I feel is too bland.

  • The first one.  Started changing my mind when I read the comments.  Looked at the boards I use at home.  Usually green and cream squares (trying to imitate the $8.95 vinal chess boards.)  I use the blue WinBoard pieces suggested by another one of your pages.  I probably pick the black and white because that's what I usually look at when I print my correspondence positions and carry them around.  I eschew the brown boards because I prefer green.  


Note: the position shown above is taken from my last round victory at the 1997 National Open against G. Owens, rated 1805. The opening moves were 1.g4 d5 2.Bg2 Bxg4 3.c4 c6 4.Qb3 Qc7 5.cd cd 6.Nc3 e6?? I replied with 7.Qa4+ which wins Black's bishop.)