Real Wizard's Chess

A game of Wizard's Chess

Hermione Granger: "That's totally barbaric."
Ron Weasley: "That's Wizard's chess."
— The brutality that surrounds a game of wizard chess[src]

Wizard's Chess is the enchanted variant of the classic board game in which the pieces move of their own accord when commanded by the player. When a piece is taken, it is removed by the attacking piece, often in a barbaric manner where the losing piece is smashed violently by the winning piece.


During the Christmas feast, in a number of Wizard Crackers, Harry obtained, among other things, his very own Wizard's Chess set. He later broke it in by losing, once again, to Ron. (Although Harry saw this more as the fault of Ron's brother, Percy Weasley, who stood over his shoulder and gave him "advice").

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The giant Wizard's Chessboard

During 1992 an enormous Wizard's Chessboard was the third-to-last layer of security for the Philosopher's Stone. Harry played as one of the black bishops, Hermione as a rook, and Ron as a Knight. Using his extensive knowledge of chess, Ronald Weasley managed to get himself, Harry, and Hermione Granger across, ultimately sacrificing himself to the White Queen so that Harry could checkmate the King. Fortunately, Ron recovered.

Chess sets

"Exactly the same as Muggle chess except the figures are animated and can be directed like troops."

A chess set

The chessboard is a type of checkerboard that consists of 64 squares (eight rows and eight columns) arranged in two alternating colours (light and dark). The colours are called "black" and "white" (or "light" and "dark"). The Chess pieces, or chessmen consist of one king, one queen, two rooks, two bishops, two knights, and eight pawns. The chessboard and chessmen are exactly like Muggle chess except they are animated.

How to play

Players move their pieces by speaking the name of the piece and the square it is to move to by algebraic notation. For example, "Knight to E5". Aside from the self-moving pieces, the rules of Wizard's Chess are exactly the same as muggle chess. The moving pieces seem to be reasonably sentient, as seen when Harry Potter began learning how to play the game, he used Seamus Finnigan's pieces, which offered him conflicting advice because they knew that he was not a good player.

People who played Wizard Chess

Behind the scenes

  • The film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone depicted chess with the pieces destroying each other (presumably to be fixed with Reparo at the end of the game), but in the book the pieces simply knock each other out and drag captured pieces off the edge of the board.
  • In the film the captured pieces were, in order: Black Pawn, White Bishop, Black Queen, Black Pawn, Black Bishop, White Knight, Black Rook, Black Knight, White King.
  • Ron's chess set depicted in the film is a replica of the 12th century Lewis Chessmen.
  • Gryffindor student Kenny Markham was a Wizard's Chess fan and collected chess pieces.
  • In Mikhail Bulgakov's novel The Master and Margarita, Professor Woland (alias Satan) and his retinue play with a supernatural chess set whose pieces are animate and move by themselves. Rowling has not stated if she had read The Master and Margarita prior to writing the Harry Potter series, but it is possible that the chess set in that novel was an inspiration for Wizard's Chess.


Book Film PC/MAC Game PS1 Game GBC/GBA Game PS2/XBox/Gamecube Game LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4
Harry is a bishop. Hermione is a castle. Ron is a Knight and later gets injured. Ron defeats most of the pieces and gets injured. Harry defeats the rest. Hermione does not play. There are three boards: Ron defeats most of the pieces and gets injured. Harry defeats the rest. Hermione does not play. GBC: Ron defeats the Queen. Harry defeats the rest. Hermione does not play.
GBA: Harry paralyses most of the pieces. Ron paralyses the last piece and stays on the board.
Ron defeats some pieces. Harry takes over. Harry, Ron, and Hermione solve a series of puzzles while the pieces fight each other. Ron trips over the white king's sword after checkmate.