How Flex Pad Chess Board rates in the REAL world

How Flex Pad Chess Board rates in the REAL world
So you get your NEW Chess Board. At first you are THRILLED by it. "Wow, this is the stuff of kings!" But then that board gets subjugated to REAL WORLD use. 
The average “junk-vinyl” board smells like it's been marinating in a dumpster, mysterious marks appear out of thin air, and when you try to scrub them off, it's like playing a slippery game of chess where the pieces vanish into thin air. And that’s before the gymnastics headliner of keeping pieces stable on 64 squares that are trying to re-roll like a scroll. Yes — If you’re going to go with vinyl as most schools do — know your source. Vinyl is still making champions and it's a mainstay at Chess House.

Enter the Flex Pad Chess Board.

Now, I was ready to witness déjà vu all over again.

I belong to a small club comprised mostly of vets ranging from WWII and Korea to Viet Nam and the Cold War -- I think our YOUNGEST member is in his very late 50's to early 60's, and two of our members are in their early to mid 90's. Our chess sets are all privately held and toted to the club every Tuesday.

Now, here's the kicker: I have Parkinson's and have learned NOT to play ANYONE unless they have an extremely heavy set otherwise pieces will somehow mysteriously find their way to the floor; another member in his 90's without fail somehow manages to spill a cup of coffee, or some other liquid; and so on and so forth.

To say we are tough on equipment would be an understatement.

But last Tuesday, I got there early, armed with my plastic set, a fancy digital clock, and the supposedly "Dark Slate Grey" Flex Pad (someone needs to have their eyes checked for color blindness, as this is really more of a PLEASING blue-green than grey).

I braced myself for the inevitable coffee-tastrophe. And lo and behold, at the height of an intense game, a cup of coffee was sloshed onto my NEW Chess House Flex Pad. Now, in the past, a vinyl board would've just shrugged it off like it's no biggie. With this board, once it's stained, it's like a lasting battle scar. It was stained for good. It gives "character" to your set; "war wounds" to show that it has witnessed many such "battles". The guys soaked up much of the coffee and used water to clean up the worst of the stains. My new Flex Pad now had its first "Battle Scars".
There are very few things that stain worse than coffee, which is one of the reasons I have always used a vinyl board. It was this situation I precisely feared would happen. But for this price? No big loss. In real life I was a Ph.D. level Research Scientist, and now love doing strange "experiments". After sitting around for 24+ hours while I fought off a bad Migraine Attack, I finally decided to see IF I could remove the coffee stain on the Flex Pad.
I retrieved the Flex Pad from my bag and then armed myself with some Dawn dish soap --

if it is good enough to clean up baby birds covered in oil, it should be safe to use on my Flex Pad.

I squirted a little Dawn on the two coffee stains, then wadded up some paper towels soaked with water and then gently scrubbed the two stains, and in about 30 seconds they totally had disappeared... at least to my eye. I scrubbed for an additional 30 just to make sure. Then the question became how to get rid of the soap? So I did what any good vacuous experimenter would do: I took the whole board into the bathroom and submerged it into running water until there was no soap coming out of the board. I then placed the board on a old towel to absorb as much water as I could then basically threw the board over a towel rack and every 2-3 hours flipped the board over to allow even drying time.

RESULTS: This afternoon after the Flex Pad was fully dried I inspected the two areas that had been stained, and even under 10X magnification I can NOT see any sign of a stain! The board looks as pristine as it did when it first arrived.

Caveat Empter: I would NOT encourage you to go dunking your Flex Pad in a pool of Merlot or anything, but for everyday spills, it's a game-changer. I suspect -- no proof, but I suspect -- that there is a difference between the surface of a run-of-the-mill mouse pad board and the Chess House Flex Pad Chess Board, which may explain why pieces push along the Flex Pad surface much more smoothly, as compared to the surface of the mouse pad style boards.

Since under Real World Use the Flex Pad Chess Board can be cleaned up even after being stained with coffee, I continue to rate the Flex Pad 5 stars.

(story adapted from real Chess House customer's experience)

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