The enduring allure of chess stems—of course—from its difficulty, but also from its grace, elegance and inherently adventurous spirit. With endless possibilities at your fingertips, all you’ll need is a worthy opponent and a side table to get lost for hours, moving pieces back and forth on a board. And as we close the year in quiet celebration holding loved ones tight in our homes, a game night doesn’t sound like a bad way to make merry.
Whether you are a novice player just beginning to weigh game pieces in your hand, an expert looking for a chess set grand enough to typify your love for the game—or simply enamoured by Beth Harmon’s calculated moves in Netflix’s new cult classic limited series The Queen’s Gambit, here are Vogue’s picks of the most beautiful and extravagant chess sets you can buy right now.
1. L’Objet 24kt gold stone chess set
Crowned with 24 carat gold, these resin chess pieces are set atop a marble black and white chessboard that will look as beautiful on your mantelpiece as it will on your side table when you take it down for a game or two.
2. Hermès Horsecut chess game
The French heritage brand’s take on chess looks like a tri-coloured chessboard in mahogany, with pieces composed of a geometric shape on a cylindrical base. If you are a true Hermès aficionado, look for a hidden detail hidden under each piece: nail weights in the shape of the iconic saddle.
3. Hermès Mini Samarcande chess game
If you’re looking for something smaller, cuter and easier to whip out at your next picnic, Hermès offers a second option in a more collegiate colour palette. Crafted out of mahogany and sycamore wood, this set’s pieces lean beautifully abstract.
4. Ménagerie de Cartier Exceptional chessboard
The hefty price tag on this set from Cartier brings with it a piece of the legendary House’s history. The speckled obsidian and quartzite board comes with 32 pieces in 925 sterling silver, speckled obsidian and quartzite, modelled after animal motifs in black and white ceramic.
5. Asprey Hanover leather chess case
Enclosed in a buttery leather case fixed with a palladium lock, this chess set exudes classic elegance in every detail—from 32 wooden pieces intricately carved into their traditional shapes to the black and white chequerboard.
6. Jonathan Adler Lucite neon chess set
Inspired by the minimalist glamour of American fashion designer Roy Halston Frowick, this chess set is crafted in chunky acrylic, from the board to the fluorescent game pieces, making it a veritable piece of art that looks good enough to keep on display in your living room.
7. Skyline Chess Paris marble and metal chess set
Reminisce the greatest hits of Parisian architecture with these game pieces cast in double-weighted resin and set on a hand-painted board carved from Carrara marble. You’ll find the Louvre on your board instead of the rook, while the queen is replaced by the history-laden Sacre Coeur.
8. Midcentury onyx chess set
If you relish one-of-a-kind vintage items that belong to you and you alone, this midcentury modern chess set carved from the prohibitively rare and beautiful Onyx marble will fit perfectly as a statement piece in your home.