Love “The Queen’s Gambit”? Get started playing chess in Birmingham

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Chess at The Knight School
Chess is a wonderful activity for enthusiasts of all ages. Photo via The Knight School on Facebook

Have you seen The Queen’s Gambit? It’s the latest Netflix craze—set in the 1960s, it follows the life of an orphaned chess prodigy and her rise to the top. If you’re feeling inspired & want to learn more about the game, check out these local resources here in the Magic City!

Getting Started: 3 Spots to Pick Up a Chess Set

person touching chess piece
Looking to pick up a new chess set in Birmingham? Photo by Anne Nygård

Before you can declare your first checkmate, you’ll need to pick up a chess set. Whether you’re looking for a basic wood set or a unique & collectible glass set, you can find just about anything in Birmingham.

1. 2nd & Charles

2nd and Charles
What is your favorite thing to shop for at 2nd & Charles? Photo via 2nd & Charles on Facebook

With the popularity of The Queen’s Gambit, it’s no surprise that chess sets are very popular this year. And at 2nd & Charles, you can find just about anything—seriously. It’s packed with books, vinyl records, used video games and consoles, movies, LEGO and of course, board games like chess.

2. Homewood Toy & Hobby

Homewood Toy and Hobby
With an entrance like that, you know there’s fun to be had inside. Photo via Homewood Toy & Hobby on Facebook

Just like 2nd & Charles, Homewood Toy & Hobby has noticed an uptick in popularity with chess sets this holiday season. In fact, they sold out last week—but don’t worry, they’ll be getting a new shipment this week, so be sure to stop by and check it out.

3. Learning Express Toys

Learning Express Toys—Lego
When I was a kid, I would have had a field day in the LEGO aisle. Photo via Learning Express Toys on Facebook

If you have a young’un looking to get into chess, Learning Express Toys has got you covered. Pick up the “No Stress Chess” kit to help your child learn the basics of the game!

Practice Your Moves

Image may contain: one or more people and people sitting, text that says 'ROOKS' IGHT HOO'
Want to get your youngster playing chess? Check out The Knight School! Photo via The Knight School on Facebook

Kids of all ages in Birmingham can hone their chess-playing skills at The Knight School (get it??). The Knight School offers high-energy chess lessons to kids ages 3+ from Dr. David Brooks, an experienced chess teacher here in Birmingham.

For all you chess masters out there looking to play with locals, check out the Birmingham Chess Club. Currently, the club is not meeting in person due to COVID-19. However, there is an active Alabama team on lichess.org that host online events until it’s safe to meet in person again.

Know more chess resources in Birmingham? Tag us @bhamnow to let us know!


  • Tennessee native who fell in love with Birmingham during college. Graduated from Birmingham-Southern College in 2019. Passionate about Birmingham and its continued growth.