To clear up a few misconceptions: Chess is not just for computers, Russian children and antisocial recluses. Its intrigue, logic and skill, passed down from the ancient Indian game of Chaturanga. Another misconception: Chessboards only come in simple black and white. Not so, by any stretch of the imagination. There are veritable works of art contained in the 64 squares. Adding a chess set to your home now effectively kills two birds with one stone: The pieces stand in as small artistic sculptures and your guests will fear your intellectual prowess. Not bad for a game.
King | This chess set will add a bit of colour to anyone’s life. The elaborate pieces are hand painted in bright greens and reds. The pieces mimic a Rajasthani army marching to war. Even the pawns are royally decked in traditional garb. Available at www.dgreetings.com/gifts-to-india/, Rs5,495.
Queen | Fall through the looking glass into Lewis Carroll’s version of the game. Though based on characters from Alice in Wonderland, the hand-carved figures are not garish cartoon figures. The stone and wood veneer give the pieces gravitas. But the child at heart will be satisfied with the loopy characters battling it out on the chessboard. Available at www.thechesspiece.com, Rs19,840.
Knight To keep up with a minimalistic world, streamline everything, down to the pieces on your chessboard. The silver-plated pieces are imported from Philippi, a German company and won’t distract you from the game with any superfluous artistic flair. Perfect for the player who wants to take all, with as little fuss as possible. Available at fcml, M-Block Market, GK-II, New Delhi, Rs3,490.
Rock | For the traditionalist at heart, this chess set from Craftsbridge comes with exquisite black and white marble pieces. The hand-crafted pieces duel upon an antiqued wooden chessboard that doubles as a storage unit. Available at www.craftsbridge.com, Rs1,560.
Castle | Embrace your inner history geek. This set lets you choose to battle Alexander the Great or King Porus. The intricately detailed pieces are carved out of solid boxwood. Choose your side wisely. If you wind up with King Porus, you’ll have to rewrite history in order to defeat Alexander and his troops and slay the invading emperor. Available at www.chesscountry.com, Rs33,000.