July 20 is International Chess Day, and even though in high school it was totally uncool to be in the chess club, now that you’re an adult, you can recognize just how insanely awesome chess can actually be. A game played by intellectuals for over 1500 years now, chess is a game that takes a minute to learn and a lifetime to master.
Believe it or not, but for a short time in the 1960s and 70s, chess was actually cool. People like Bobby Fischer, Anatoly Karpov, Garry Kasparov, and chess computers like IBM’s Deep Blue made the game as popular as it’s ever been. There was even a musical, written by Benny & Bjorn from ABBA, called Chess that spawned a number one hit song.
These days, chess sets have been made for every occasion, tying into popular movies like Lord of the Rings and Star Wars, video games like Super Mario Brothers, books like Harry Potter, and even sports rivals like the Red Sox & Yankees. Here are a dozen of the coolest, most insane chess sets we’ve ever seen, all of which we hope will inspire you to dust off your old chess set and start up a game.