Chess is a classic game of wits, and with its lengthy and humble history comes a certain level of finesse. Many outsiders often perceive it as a classy game for the educated, a game with fine crafted wooden pieces that reflect its natural and simplistic origins. And yet this can all be turned on is head once you introduce a single word – Novelty.
The greatest experts and grandmasters tend to flaunt their abilities by dabbling in bouts of mental chess, mesmerising the board and each player’s moves without visual accompaniment. But for us mere mortals; chess sets are a requirement for any player wishing to practice and compete in the game. But this doesn’t mean we all have to use the same polished wooden rooks and exquisitely carved kings of yesteryear, today many players add flair, colour and excitement to the game with a simple modern aesthetic switch. Representing another aspect of their fandom, players have a superb variety of detailed boards to choose from, here are but a few.
With a fan base that has been gaining numbers since the seventies, George Lucas’ beloved film franchise is arguably one of the most commercial properties available. With a battle that spans the entire galaxy headed by an empire but enforced by ground troops, the workings of Star Wars convert perfectly into a chess format. With lower tier pieces often the expendable Storm Troopers or simple rebel fighters, seeing the characters in a chess formation really shows the hierarchy of the world in a new way. The more effective pieces here convert to the spaceships in the saga such as TIE fighters or X-wings, reserving Kings and Queens for the celebrated heroes or Iconic villains seen on screen. Not only is the elaborate and technical nature of the franchise appealing, but since the generation who were first exposed to the film are now older, and previously played more board games than the majority do today – there is a large crossover of Star Wars and Chess fans. These sets will no doubt find a loving home for anyone who loves prolonged battle tactics, strategy and droids.
Mac vs PC
Designed by Adam Frederick, this is a hilarious edition to any chess set collection. Featuring iMacs and MacBook’s going head to head with Windows Desktops and Zune players, this robotic fight looks very different to a regular chess game. It shows off the similarities and differences between the two behemoths of computing in a line-up that can only make you giggle. Let the tech war commence with your own set of unimposing computers.
Another popular brand that will fill any kid of the 70’s with warm fuzzy feelings, Space Invaders was a classic 2D video game title that saw you repelling an invasion from multi coloured pixelised aliens. The game worked by sending waves of enemies at you at once, moving back and forth and increasing speed. They became tricky targets to defeat at you shot a simple line upward at them hoping to hit them one at a time and defend your planet. This old school gaming title has been wonderfully converted into a stunning looking chess set. With translucent bright coloured pieces and a minimal black board that imitates the screen of the old Atari consoles, this set is a fantastic visual representation of the much-loved game, a must-have for fans of chess and arcade classics.