How to Create Your Own Life-Sized Backyard Chess Game

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It’s almost summer again – (okay, not almost per se, but it will be here eventually) – and we’re already gearing up for the season of backyard entertainment. Check out our step-by-step instructions on constructing your very own life-sized chess game for your backyard.


Step 1: Prepare your site

Just because you have a backyard, doesn’t mean it’s feasible to play a giant game of chess on. There are a few main things to consider when selecting a spot:

  • Is the area large enough?
  • Is the area flat enough?
  • Is it free of protruding vegetation and growth?

Once you’ve selected the area of land you’d like to utilize, then you’ll have to prep it, ridding it of any incongruences, such as weeds, rocks, toys and litter.


Step 2: Design your pieces

When DIY-ing your own pieces, you want to consider a few things: materials, size, and weight. You want materials that are durable, but easy to craft into the desired pieces, as well as heavy enough to stay in place on a windy day.

For chess, you will need to make 32 pieces, (16 for each player), comprising of two rooks, eight pawns, two bishops, one queen, one king, and two knights. An idea to consider, rather than making your own pieces from scratch, is to collect household items such as garden gnomes, dolls, or beach toys to use as your pieces. Things like tree stumps, or blocks of wood could also work, so long as they’re easily distinguishable as being bishops, queens, kings etc.


Step 3: Construct the board

The board can be made using anything from cardboard, to plastic, to canvas. Use spray paint to divide your square-shaped material into an 8 by 8 grid, being careful to ensure each square is of equal size. It should end up looking something like this:

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Step 4: Wait for nice weather, and play!

Find simple instructions on how to play this classic game here.

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