This post was originally published on sothebysrealty.com
Without a doubt, chess is having a moment. This game of intense concentration and strategy, originally invented in the 6th century, was already perfectly primed for the pandemic (and increased time spent at home), and chess has now also experienced nothing short of a widespread resurgence in interest due to The Queen’s Gambit, a hugely popular Netflix miniseries about a 1960s female chess champion.
In fact, while there was reporting early on of a shortage of chess sets after the show first aired, happily, it seems that fears of being unable to find a pawn or rook may be behind us. With demand for stylish, high-end chess sets on the rise, here are three we love most:
A REPURPOSED SET
If you’ve been dreaming of playing chess using a board created with repurposed wood, GoodWood Nola, a New Orleans-based custom furniture firm, has just the board for you. This one is made of several different kinds of materials, all leftovers from their large commercial projects. “This includes small scraps of wood, brass, and hardware that would otherwise end up being stored or thrown out,” says Jordan Gurren Rose, GoodWood’s co-founder and owner. “Second, we use the reclaimed wood—this is typically antique pine or cypress—that’s pulled from old houses in New Orleans when they are being torn down or renovated.” Price: $185.
A GLAMOROUS GAME
For the aspiring grandmaster in your life, the lavish Shagreen Chess Set from AERIN, a luxury brand founded by Aerin Lauder, will become an instant keepsake. This is a decidedly contemporary twist on a traditional chess set, thanks to its streamlined chess pieces, one in black and one with a gold-plated finish all presented in a shagreen box with brass detailing. We know for sure that this is one set you’ll want to display on your coffee table. Price: $3,250.
A CUSTOM BOARD
Reed Caputo, a furniture designer and owner of Reed Caputo Studio in Sayville, N.Y., recently created a traditional, regulation-size mahogany and maple wood chess set for a Queen’s Gambit fan, using repurposed materials from that client’s own home. “Splitting time between bingeing The Queen’s Gambit and cleaning out the attic, my client came to me with a request for a customized set made out of the materials that were uncovered along the way,” Caputo says. “This is the type of thing you want to pass down for generations so quality is key here,” he says, suggesting you should always seek out a set that’s functional, affordable, and durable. “There’s definitely something to be said about personalized handcrafted items that embody a feeling of nostalgia.” Price: $175-$300.