When it comes to tests of skill and blazing-fast logic, no game comes to mind faster than chess. It needs no introduction anywhere on Earth as one of the most challenging and popular games to sit on a table – something the LEGO Group has noticed over the years and capitalised on several times.
There have been several different LEGO chess sets made and sold over the years, some of which are large and intimidating, and others that can fit in the palm of your hand with ease. The LEGO Group even published a video game called LEGO Chess in 1998. Whether you’re a casual observer, a high school chess club prodigy or a grandmaster with an ELO off the charts, this article is for you.
Here are five amazing chess sets that chess and LEGO fans have enjoyed over the years.
40174 LEGO Chess
Starting with the least ‘out there’ of the LEGO Group’s chess boards, 40174 LEGO Chess is as vanilla as chess sets get. The set contains no minifigures, instead using LEGO elements to create pieces. It does a serviceable job and contains a massive 1450 pieces, though most elements in this set are very small.
Don’t be fooled by its simple appearance, though, as it has three great features that’ll make your game easier. Instead of requiring a carrying case as many of the other chess sets do, all pieces can be stored in the block beneath the chess board neatly and without falling apart. The second feature will have you back for seconds as buildable checkers pieces are included, too. As the board is modular, it can even be split and stacked for storage. As standard as this set appears, its functions might be a game changer for you.
76392 Hogwarts Wizard’s Chess
All LEGO chess boards come with every piece you’ll need to play with no hiccups along the way. 76392 Hogwarts Wizard’s Chess does this in cinematic style, taken straight out of the Harry Potter films. Every piece is highly detailed, such as the pawns holding twin blades, ready to cross them in front of Harry, Ron, and Hermione. It of course functions as a fully playable chess board, though the gorgeous pieces fit somewhat tightly together as each square only provides a 4×4 space.
The best part about 76392 Hogwarts Wizard’s Chess is that it’s at the right scale and size to show off the figures, which includes a 20th Anniversary golden Severus Snape minifigure. Harry Potter fans will remember the giant chess match from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, where Ron spearheaded a person-sized chess game victory for the trio. If you’re tired of playing, get displaying.
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852293 Castle Giant Chess Set
This non-licensed chess board is part of many LEGO fans’ fantasies. Everything you could want from LEGO Castle’s Fantasy era is at play here – from the 6×6-sized board squares to the immaculately designed chess pieces covering all four of the theme’s factions. Brutish orcs with victory flags stand high, while brave knights on horseback get ready to take the war to D-4. Even the board is decked out with impressive style, especially its fully fleshed-out corners.
852293 Castle Giant Chess comes in an enormous, heavy carrying case for transporting, but LEGO fans lucky enough to own one might want to put theirs in a glass case. It was available from the LEGO Group for less than one year in the UK and USA. The rest of the world may have followed suit, which explains this set’s rarity and soaring online marketplace prices. Checkmate, wallets.
40158 Pirate Chess Set
‘Ashore wish I had picked this one up!’ This chess set based on LEGO Pirates goes above and beyond being a square – literally and figuratively. From the gorgeous chess pieces themselves to the abundance of useful minifigures, even non-chess fans could grab the perfect crew for their pirate and imperial ships. Much like the first entry on our list, this set is modular and can be split for easy storage. Pieces can also be placed beneath the board for travel.
What really makes 40158 Pirate Chess Set shine is the surrounding scenery. Much like 852293 Castle Giant Chess set, you’ll love its theming, including an island to maroon your lost pieces on, and a small ‘fort’ on a beach for defence against scallywags and cheats. It’ll get you in the mood to say ‘ahoy!’ when you lose and ‘X marks the spot!’ when you capture your opponent’s king.
19013 Steampunk Mini Chess
The oddity on this list is more of a display piece than a playable board, but chess fanatics will always find a way to play their favourite game. With small pieces and even smaller spaces (1×1 plates), 19013 Steampunk Mini Chess relies on its gorgeous styling and collectability to appeal to fans. It’s the smallest chess set on the list in size and piece count, weighing in at just 371 pieces. Nevertheless, it includes two drawers for storing your pieces when the set is not in play.
As it was part of the limited AFOL Designer Program, this set can be difficult to find in the aftermarket. If you’re an ultimate collector of all things chess, this creation is well-worth pursuing thanks to its beautiful gold accents, elegant pieces, and brilliant red border. If you’re looking for a larger chess set, you may want to look elsewhere.