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In a year of social distancing, it was television that actually brought us (somewhat) together — think of time when we were all watched “Tiger King,” caught up on the latest season of “The Crown” or even, found out what Baby Yoda’s real name is on “The Mandalorian.”
One of the most popular shows to premiere this year was about *checks notes* chess. Yes, chess. “The Queen’s Gambit” follows the life of (fictional) orphan Beth Harmon as she becomes a chess champion. It’s based on a novel of the same name published back in the ’80s.
Chances are you know a friend or family member who really got into the show — you know the one who now likes to throw in the word “checkmate” in casual conversations and carries a rook around in their pocket. Okay, maybe not. But you probably know someone who loved the show and wants to get into the game themselves.
For those missing the Big Apple, this chess set will give them a sense of the skyline. In this game, the pawns are actually brownstones. You’ll see other New York City landmarks there, too. Find it for $120 at Uncommon Goods.
A sweater to channel their inner Beth Harmon
& Other Stories
Thanks to “The Queen’s Gambit,” checkerboard prints have made a comeback. If they’ve been lusting over the series’ fashion, this sweater will be a checkmate. Find it for $99 at & Other Stories.
A chess set that’s crystal clear
With frosted and clear glass pieces, this chess set definitely looks chic. The pieces each have a felted bottom so that they can easily move around. They’ll want this around for all the games to come. Find it for $23 at Amazon.
A printable poster of the “game of the century”
QwintCo / Etsy
For those who might not know, a 1956 game between Donald Bryne and 13-year-old (!!!) Bobby Fischer was called the “the game of the century” by Chess Review. If fans are looking for a blast from the past (this game was around the same time that the beginning of the show takes place), this printable poster commemorates the checkmate that made that game so famous. Find it for $15 on Etsy.
A chess set that’s as classic as they come
For those who like to keep things traditional, this chess set is made from beech and birch wood. The board has algebraic coordinates on the borders so you know exactly where you stand. Find it for $50 at Amazon.
Wall chess if you don’t want to sit down
If they have to think on their feet, this set of wall chess is the perfect present. The board is designed to hang vertically and the pieces will stay in place (they go into the board after all!). There’s a special marker to know where another player left off (in case you needed a bit of a break). Find it for $95 at Uncommon Goods.
A handcrafted chess set that’s marbleous
The book that started it all
Be like Beth and read all the (chess) books you can. But first, start off with the novel that inspired the Netflix series. Find it for $12 at Amazon.
A mug to plot their next move
jalmeillustrations / Society6
A two-in-one chess and checkers set
Now you don’t have to switch pieces to play a game of checkers when you’re done with chess. These practical pieces flip over. The wooden box also acts as storage. We’re sure there will be lots of colorful games played on it. Find it for $55 at Nordstrom.
A chess set that’s a “real game changer”
This is “chess to impress.” Hand carved and polished in India, this chess set is made from Banswara marble that’s meant to be smooth. You can get it for the sophisticated friend who is always three steps ahead. Find it for $100 at CB2.
A book for beginners to get schooled on chess
You can’t become a world champion overnight. This book is meant to explain basic concepts and actually have readers work through exercises. There’s strategy involved in the game after all. Find it for $18 at Amazon.
A chess set that doesn’t have a lot of gray area
It’s very black and white. This set includes the board and pieces, which are both made from acrylic. They can play with it or keep it as decor on the coffee table when they’re still trying to figure out how to beat Borgov. Find it for $200 at West Elm.
A horse head statue that would look perfect on a mantel
Bed Bath & Beyond
Okay, yes, yes — the horse head piece in chess is actually called a knight but you get the picture. This horse head figure is made of ceramic and has matte white finish. It would be the perfect piece to put on a desk or on a shelf. Find it for $50 at Bed Bath & Beyond.
A vintage-looking poster that can be digitally downloaded
OliveCreatives / Etsy
Welcome to the modern age — this poster is actually a digital download. The print includes a short summary of the series and a picture of Beth in all her glory. Find it for $10 on Etsy.
A leather chess set to take anywhere (including a picnic in the park)
So the board is actually attached to the leather — no need for folding up at all. The pieces can be stored inside a drawer on the side of the board. Your friend can take it on the go to play whenever they figured out a new move. Find it for $85 at Nordstrom Rack.
A table that works for chess or coffee
This pedestal chess table features a board in the middle — the squares have a bamboo-like texture to make them look much more realistic. It has a metal base so you won’t have to worry about too much shaking during an intense game. Find it for $80 at Wayfair.
A pillow that would look cool on their couch
jalmeillustrations / Society6
A much more modern chess board
A set of bookends for all their chess books
A chess set that they won’t ever want to put away
This set is too pretty to pass up, made with clear and smoke grey acrylic. The board is clear with a matte white grid, making it look ultra-sleek. Find it for $149 at CB2.
A neon chess set for someone who doesn’t take the game (or life) too seriously
Mark & Graham
A pricier gift for someone special, this chess set is from neon acrylic lucite (you really can’t miss these pieces when playing). You can even engrave a monogram so that they know it’s just for them. Find it for $190 at Mark & Graham.
An abstract art print to hang on the walls
thepostercorner / Etsy
A candle that’s a pillar of all candles
An acrylic chess set that looks like an optical illusion
You might want to look twice at this chess set, which features a board and pieces made of acrylic. But it’s not all smoke and mirrors, this set is really real. Find it for $100 at T.J.Maxx.
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