If you purchase an independently reviewed product or service through a link on our website, Indiewire may receive an affiliate commission.
The pandemic changed the way that we do everything from going to work to watching movies. It also inspired people to pick up fun new hobbies such as chess (and who can forget the banana bread craze?).
“The Queens Gambit” played a big part in the board game becoming that much more popular in the last year. The Netflix series, which is set in the 1960s and follows an orphaned chess prodigy, increased chess sales by more than 1,048% in 2020, compared to the previous year. The chess craze has stabilized since then but if you’ve been looking for a unique set for your next game or to gift someone special, movie-themed chess sets are a great idea.
To help you out, we put together a list of eight of the best chess sets to buy for film buffs. The list features a mix of movie-themed chess sets, chess pieces in the likeness of Old Hollywood figures, and hand-carved sets that are inspired by animated movies. For more products that will keep you busy, check out these amazing movie trivia games. Keep reading for our roundup of some of the coolest chess sets around.
Turn your next chess game into a battle for Middle Earth. Inspired by the “Lord of the Rings” film franchise, this chess set lets you command the forces of good — led by Galadriel, Aragorn, Frodo and Gandalf the Grey; or wield the forces of evil with Gollum, the Nazgûl, Saruman, and more character-inspired chess figures, each of which are between 2-4” tall. This 32-piece set includes an 18.5” x 18.5” checkered playing board.
The embattled Rebel Alliance faces down their menacing Imperial counterparts as pewter chess porcelain pieces. The nearly 6″ chess pieces play above a 3/”4” x 16 3/4” tempered glass chess board representing opposing forces from the Original Trilogy. The sleek chessboard is capped by satin finish pewter feet and bonded porcelain plinths in cool grey and matte black. Chess pieces include Princess Leia, Luke Skywalker, Chewbacca, Han Solo, R2-D2, C-3PO, Darth Vader, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Stormtroopers.
The Golden Age of Hollywood comes back to life in the form of chess pieces. This set features finely detailed marble and resin chess pieces made in the likeness of Mae West, Charlie Chaplin, The Marx Brothers, W.C. Fields, Laurel and Hardy, and the Keystone Cops. The set doesn’t include a board so you’ll have to buy one separately.
It’s never too early to get into the holiday spirit. “The Nightmare Before Christmas” chess set was released for the 25th anniversary of the Tim Burton film. The songful protagonist of Halloween Town steals the spotlight in this intricate collector’s set that presents the characters in posed and detailed chess pieces. Every piece’s position is inscribed on its platform and stands neatly on a custom board. And when you’re not playing chess, the set makes for a dazzling centerpiece.
Bring the Wizarding World into your family room with this officially licensed Harry Potter Wizard Chess Set from the Noble Collection. This highly-detailed miniature recreation of the Wizard Chess Set as seen in “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” includes 32 chess pieces with a playing board, and two drawstring pouches.
Do you Disney? The “Toy Story” chess set is a great kid-friendly gift idea. It’s designed for ages 7+, and features “Toy Story” and “Toy Story 4” characters Woody, Buzz Lightyear, Bo Peep, Jesse, Forky, Duke, Buttercup and Ham, depicted as full-color sculpted PVC figures. This classic two-player game includes 32 custom chess pieces, a chess board and rules to play.
This adorable, one-of-a kind handmade chess recreates the lead characters from “Minions.” Customers can choose between a 39 cm board with felt lining (pictured) or a 3-in-1 backgammon checker board. Each handmade piece is individually constructed by the seller and sits above a sturdy wooden base.
Bobby Fischer’s chess skills made the former child prodigy into a household name. Fischer’s story spawned multiple films including “The Bobby Fischer Story” and “Searching for Bobby Fischer,” and an entire fleet of Bobby Fischer chess sets, chess books, and chess clocks. The chess pieces in this exquisite set from Amazon’s Bobby Fischer store are made of zinc and alloy with a bronze and silver finishing with black leather bottoms so the surface of your chess board won’t get scratched.