If there’s one holiday gift move to make this year, if you’re also obsessed with The Queen’s Gambit, it’s this: order a Chess Board (this is my favorite) before they sell out. Holiday shopping this year is in fact a bit like speed chess — you need a good strategy and fast moves.
I binged the Queen’s Gambit, solo, all in one night, early Election Week. And then again with the fam, and we’ve been playing non-stop since. We probably need to circle back to the fashion and even the interiors (hello, wallpaper!!!) in The Queen’s Gambit, but first, let’s get our game boards on order…
Life Lessons & Chess Grandmasters In Training
We pulled out all the Solitaire Chess practice cards, the labelled learner boards, and even set up a Chess.com account — those were for Grace and me. AJ, my 12-year-old, has the advantage of a year of afterschool chess club from a couple of years ago, and his mind works a certain way, so he’s better than the rest of us.
I’m relatively new to this game, so many of my rounds with AJ involve comments like, “Mom, don’t move your hand! Are you sure you want to do that?” Or, “Mom, that was a nice move. Now — think ahead and play it out. See what’s going to happen?” In truth, I did feel like I had won some sort of prize, when, after a long match, AJ said, “Mom, you are seriously improving. Nice game.”
A friend texted me a challenge: “Get to checkmate, on this board, in 2 moves – you are white”. I arranged the actual board in the house, and sat, with my glass of wine and my cup of tea, and it took me approximately 30 minutes (and at least 10 tries), but I did it.
The next morning, I presented AJ with the same challenge. He advanced two pawns and said “done.” It took him 30 seconds. (OK, fine, I see that now. Thanks, Coach.)
The same friend recently offered my 8-year-old, Grace, this piece of advice: “Always have fun, and always protect your Queen.” They were talking about chess. I hear those words as solid life advice to live by: have fun, and always protect your Queen.
Given that we now all love to play chess, one of my kids is getting a new chess board of their own for Hanukkah. I also have some new practice challenge cards in the form of a 2021 calendar coming for one of them, and I ordered a strategy book or two for all of us.
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1 | Logical Chess Book
This is being delivered today, and I will be reading it tonight before wrapping it for the kids. Queen’s advantage. I also bought this book on fundamentals, and can think of a few friends I might gift it to for dating strategy metaphors as well — we might all need a little work on our openings, middle- and end-games.
2 | Giant Outdoor Yard Set
The kings are 2-feet tall! Talk about upping your patio and yard game for the holiday season! I don’t think this will fit on my patio, and it would probably blow off a roof deck. If you have a place, just do it! So, so, so much fun!!!
3 | Acrylic Chess Set
This is the one I bought for Grace, and it’s on sale! It’s simple, elegant, fun and beautiful.
4 | Wall Magnetic Set
I feel like we might need one of these in a powder room.
5 | The Printworks Set
This one makes me smile! Somehow trading black for tangerine makes the whole game feel less serious and more fun (also comes in a pretty blue).
6 | Chess Challenge Calendar
This is a full year of chess challenges, day by day, and the solutions are found on the next day’s card. I gave up a paper pull-off calendar a long time ago, but imma ’bout to bring that action back!
7 |Gorgeous Smoke Acrylic Set
I love the hues and hombre smoke tinting. If you are leaving a set out for show and occasional play, this one is a beauty. It plays nicely in the natural light just resting on a table, too!
8 | The Roll-Up Travel Set
This is like the one she treated herself to in Queen’s Gambit, and therefore it has my whole heart! (Not a spoiler. I promise.)
9 | Harry Potter Wizard Chess Set
For the theme-based, gift-givers and the forever-devotees to the series. And for a fun play on Chess Wizard.
10 | Classic Felted Fold-up Board
Easy to love classic — I love to leave chess boards out: they are beautiful and they get more play, but in case you need to sometimes put things away, or if you’d like to travel with a full set, this one folds up nicely.
11 | Colorful Chess + Checkers Set
Cleans up and stores into itself, chess + checkers, and could it be any cuter? This would be a fantastic gift for kids and kids-at-heart who love great design too!
12 | NYC Skyline Set
For the architecture and NYC-lovers in all of us, the forms take the shape of NYC skyscrapers and famous buildings!
Have fun and protect your Queen, always. (Rumor has it…that’s all it takes to win the long game.)
PS: Follow along with me on Pinterest for more Home Inspiration and other random distractions via pretty visuals. xo A
PPS: This one’s for the Pinners…