It’s been a year full of surprises—some of them pleasant, some of them not—and you can add chess’ resurgence in popularity to the list of the former. Thanks to the insane success of Netflix’s chess-and-pills drama The Queen’s Gambit, which is now the streamer’s most-watched scripted limited series, people are picking up chess sets of their own, perhaps to double check they aren’t prodigies themselves. In fact, a marketing director at Goliath Games told NPR their chess set sales are up more than 1,000 percent this month over last November.
Here’s a roundup of boards that you’ll love to have around the house even if the hobby doesn’t take.
Bright + Cheerful
Hard to be bummed about losing playing on a board this sunny. This set, a collab between Swedish design Printworks and Anthropologie, is made from plexiglass and wood and is available on Anthro’s site. Printworks for Anthropologie Chess Game, $58.
Translucent + Lovely
If you don’t already know your pawns from your rooks, this set from Urban Outfitters could make gameplay a little complicated, but it sure is nice to look at. Acrylic Chess Game, $169.
The Big Splurge
Neiman Marcus sells this self-contained set with zinc-cast pieces, half with a gold-tone finish. The game of kings (and queens) has never looked more regal. Aerin’s Shagreen Chess Set, $3,250.
In 1920, surrealist Man Ray designed the abstract geometric pieces that come with this board from Design Within Reach. Man Ray Chess Set, $680.
For the Witches and Wizards
Harry Potter fans will flip for this set, which transports you to the climactic scene in Sorcerer’s Stone. Harry Potter Wizard Chess Set, $33.20 at Amazon.com.
Cute for Kids
Get ’em started young with this set from Vilac, available online from MoMA’s museum store. My First Chess Set, $32.
This set from Jonathan Adler looks good enough to eat. Of course, we wouldn’t recommend that unless you’re losing. Acrylic Chess Set, $595.
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