Chess has joined baking and gardening as a pandemic pastime suddenly surging in popularity. And it’s not just for people hunkered down over a populated board. Chess is growing as a spectator sport online, even attracting gamers.
Indeed, audiences watched 41.2 million hours of chess on Twitch, Amazon’s popular website for watching gaming remotely, from March through August—and that was four times as many hours as the previous six months, according to The New York Times.
Of course, you don’t have to be a chess champ drawing millions of views to ride this wave. Here are some suggestions for outfitting fans of a game where everything old is new again.
Keith Haring Chess Set
This is the perfect marriage between a game and one of the country’s most playful artists. Lacquered-wood chess pieces inspired by Keith Haring’s artwork include barking-dog pawns and castles resembling men with arms stretched high. The set comes with a white fabric storage bag emblazoned with Haring’s 1989 self-portrait.
Keith Haring Chess Set, $38, MoMA Design Store, store.moma.org.
Chessboard and Clock Keepsake Box
Store your chess pieces (or other valuables) in this charming wood box with vintage flair from Etsy seller RelicWoodGifts. A nameplate and felt lining can be added for extra charges.
Chessboard and Clock Keepsake Box, $169, etsy.com
Chess Lessons for Kids
You’re never too young to start playing chess—which is why ChessKid.com is careful to keep students safe online with restricted chat and activity reports. In addition to lessons, ChessKid.com offers tools for coaches and a free chess curriculum to encourage chess to grow in schools. A basic membership offering beginner lessons, three puzzles a day and more is free. Upgrading to a gold membership, which unlocks more content, costs $10 per month or $49 for a year.
Walpole Manor Gaming Chess Table
Salute the classic roots of the game of kings with Design Toscano’s elegant reproduction of an antique chess table. It features a walnut-hued finish, a hand-painted tabletop, tapered Hepplewhite legs and a storage drawer.
Walpole Manor Gaming Chess Table, on sale for $199, designtoscano.com
VTEK 300 Ultimate Chess Clock
What makes this the ultimate chess clock? A brilliant display of all the info chess players need during the game and settings adjustment as well as engineering that makes setting the clock intuitive.
VTEK 300 Ultimate Chess Clock, $149, chesshouse.com.