Alice In Wonderland, The Wasteland and Harry Potter - all of these literary giants have featured the ancient game of chess.

And while it has also appeared in art since the earliest centuries, a new Saatchi show has brought together 16 inventive chess sets for the first time.

The ancient game has inspired the likes of Tracey Emin, Jake and Dinos Chapman, Damien Hirst and Gavin Turk to create beautiful new chess-tastic playing fields - although arguably these creations are better for looking at than playing with.

chess A squirrel for a king in woodland chess set


The show also includes a new work from Tim Noble and Sue Webster, who have created a set from a hand-carved wood stump with pieces inspired by animals: King and Queen are represented by squirrels, and pawns have become frogs.

What do you think to these sets? Check(mate) them out in our gallery below.

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  • Alastair Mackie Amorphous Organic 2008 5000 year old bog oak, light box, glass, battery, brass, amber, resin, insects Table: 73 x 70 x 70 cm © Alastair Mackie, 2008 Courtesy RS&A

  • Alastair Mackie Amorphous Organic (detail) 2008 5000 year old bog oak, light box, glass, battery, brass, amber, resin, insects Table: 73 x 70 x 70 cm © Alastair Mackie, 2008 Courtesy RS&A

  • Yayoi Kusama Pumpkin Chess 2003 Porcelain, wood and leather Case/board: 75 x 200 (diameter) cm © Yayoi Kusama, 2003 Courtesy RS&A

  • Tim Noble and Sue Webster Deadalive Photography by Norbert Schoerner Courtesy RS&A

  • Tom Friedman Untitled 2005 Mixed media, Zotefoam and wood Table/board: 56 x 48 x 48 cm Wall mounts: 57 x 45 x 10.5 cm © Tom Friedman, 2005 Courtesy RS&A

  • Damien Hirst Mental Escapology 2003 Glass, silver, wood, enamel and stainless steel + 2 medical stools Trolley/board: 88 x 74 x 74 cm Cabinet: 65 x 82 x 16 cm © Damien Hirst, 2003 Courtesy RS&A

  • Yayoi Kusama Pumpkin Chess (detail) 2003 Porcelain, wood and leather Case/board: 75 x 200 (diameter) cm © Yayoi Kusama, 2003 Courtesy RS&A

  • Damien Hirst Mental Escapology (detail) 2003 Glass, silver, wood, enamel and stainless steel + 2 medical stools Trolley/board: 88 x 74 x 74 cm Cabinet: 65 x 82 x 16 cm © Damien Hirst, 2003 Courtesy RS&A