Chess is educational, inexpensive, offers endless variation, and doesn’t even need a power cord. Basically, it has everything!

The Classic

Stash your pieces in the included felted box. LuckyWish

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There are many varieties of chess sets: decorative ones made of expensive materials like gold or marble, tiny magnetic travel sets, themed sets. But if you really want to get into chess, a classic, sturdy wooden set will stand up to all kinds of mistreatment and never let you down.

Magical Pieces

The Mugglie pieces don’t move themselves, but they do look just like in the movies. The Noble Collection

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Themed sets can be a fun way to get kids into the game of chess. There are options ranging from Star Wars to Super Mario to the world of Disney. These themed sets replace the standard pieces with characters from various properties, which can be a fun touch for the super-fan. Plus, you can say things like “Luigi takes a Goomba” and it’ll actually make sense.

On the Road

Provide screen-free entertainment to backseat passengers during long car rides. AMEROUS

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Portable chess sets are a great way to pass the time. Typically, they’re equipped with magnets in the board and magnets at the base of each piece, so that they’ll stay where they’re placed, even during rough bouncing. Portable chess is ideal for road trips in the backseat, long plane rides, or even just bringing on vacation, since they take up very little room.