Power in Check: Chess and the American Presidency

Power in Check: Chess and the American Presidency showcases a variety of politically-themed chess sets from the World Chess Hall of Fame’s permanent collection. This redux of 2012’s exhibition offers a look at how the “royal game” of chess has fascinated American presidents for over 200 years.

Chess has influenced the American presidency since the administration of George Washington. While a game replete with Kings and Queens might at first seem antithetical to democratic leadership, commanders-in-chief have continually appreciated chess’ practical benefits and cultural significance, playing to escape the pressures of a stressful job, hosting successful players from around the world, and utilizing the game as a metaphor for larger national and international issues.

For more information, download our exhibition brochure here!