Unless you’re Beth Harmon on “Queen’s Gambit” — high on a mix of Librium and unrelenting ambition — then you probably can’t play an entire game of chess on the ceiling, from the depths of your own brilliant mind .
Rather, you’ll need a physical board and a partner to enjoy the classic strategy game. And there’s no better reason to buy a board than as way to celebrate National Chess Day on July 20. If you’re a pop culture junkie, then there’s no lack of options to choose from. Why stick to the classic King and Queen, when you can transform them into Westero’s Daenerys Targaryen and Jon Snow? Why play on an unimaginative checkered board when you can tactically move your pawns within the fortified walls of a Middle Earth fortress as seen in “Lord of the Rings”?
From “Game of Thrones” and “Lord of the Rings” chess sets to “Star Trek” and Marvel boards, here are the best chess sets for every type of pop culture junkie out there.
‘Harry Potter’ Wizard Chess Set (55% Off)
One of the most climactic scenes from “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” is when Professor McGonagall transfigures a chess game into human form to guard the magical red stone. This is a remarkable recreation of the film’s Final Challenge Chess Set, containing 32 highly detailed, molded pieces that replicate the wizards and goblins who fought the epic battle. If you’re a fan of Legos, though, this LEGO Harry Potter Chess Set includes buildable pieces based on the same scene. And if you want something hyper-realistic, go with this MegaChess Giant Chess Set with life-size pieces that could have come straight out of Hogwarts.
‘Game of Thrones’ Collector’s Chess Set
This collectible set features custom sculpted pieces of the HBO show’s iconic characters, including Westeros’ Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen as King and Queen, Tyrion Lannister and Tormund Giansbane as bishops, Jaime Lannister and Brienne of Tarth as knights, Drogon and Rhaegal as rooks and the Unsullied as pawns, as they battle it out against the White Walkers.
‘Lord of the Rings’ Chess Set
Choose between good and evil while making your way across Middle Earth, either taking control of the intricately sculpted pieces led by Galadriel, Aragorn, Frodo and Gandalf the Grey, or the evil forces helmed by Gollum, the Nazgûl, Saruman and the Dark Lord Sauron.
‘Star Wars’ Pewter Chess Set
If your “Star Wars” obsession runs deeper, or you want to add to a collector’s set of chess boards, then this gorgeous Pewter chess set, part of the Lucasfilm Collection by Royal Selangor, is worth every penny. This board is made out of tempered glass, held off thesurface by satin finish pewter feet. Pieces include Princess Leia, Luke Skywalker, Chewbacca, Han Solo, R2-D2, C-3PO, Darth Vader, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Stormtroopers made out of porcelain plinths in either cool gray or matte black as the Rebel Alliance battle against their Imperial rivals.
‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’ Chess Set
Modeled after the 3-D chess games played while in the Ten Forward lounge while aboard the USS Enterprise -D, this chess set features pieces of everyone’s favorite “Star Trek” characters, including Captain Jean Luc-Picard and Counselor Deanna Troi as King and Queen, in their battle against the Romulans led by Q and Sela.
‘Star Trek’ Tri-Dimensional Chess Set
If you’re looking for a more intergalactic battle, than you’ll want to get your hands on this iconic four-tier set, as seen in the classic “Star Trek” TV series. The unique board features three playing surfaces and four movable “attack boards,” all made out of translucent acrylic, that makes for an immersive, cinematic experience.
Marvel Collector’s Chess Set
It’s S.H.I.E.L.D versus Hydra in this Marvel chess battle that gives the epic “Endgame” clashes a run for their money. Take on the heroic duties by making cunning moves with your favorite Marvel superheroes such as Iron Man, Captain Marvel, Black Widow and Captain America as they dual against the villainous Hydra, helmed by Thanos and Hella.
‘Jurassic Park’ Chess Set
Transport yourself back to the Mesozoic Era with this “Jurassic Park” set, featuring Tyrannosaurus rex, Spinosaurus, Dilophosaurus, Velociraptor, Brachiosaurus and Pteranodon, among others, as the chess pieces, each crafted with exquisite detail that any dino-lover will appreciate.
‘Batman’ Chess Set
The Dark Knight and Joker are up against each other in this DC Comics-inspired chess set. The pieces and board are done up with the same colorful imagery that the comics and movie are known for, with the iconic Batman emblem, set alongside a regal purple, decorating the board.
‘Transformers’ Chess Set
Command Optimus Prime and the Autobots or defend Megatron and the Decepticons in this collectible board, which features pewter-sized pieces of the best “Transformers” characters such as the heroic Ironhide, Jazz, Bumblebee and Rachet, set agains the wicked Starscream, Blackout and Bonecrusher.
‘Super Mario’ Chess Set
Battle it out with the hand-painted pieces on this “Super Mario” collector’s board as Mario and Bowser duke it out in one more action-packed duel. The thoughtfully designed pieces feature every character from the iconic video game, including Luigi, Princesses Peach and Daisy, Yoshi Toad, in addition to their Green rivals, Bowser Jr, Magikoopa, Birdo and Goomba.