Astral Checkerboard Decor

Taking 3-D Chess to a completely different level.

A subtrope of Chess Motifs. Somewhere "else" has this checkered motif on the floors, walls or both. It could be a Mental World, a Layered World or just an Eldritch Location.

Not necessarily Human Chess, but who knows?

Also known as the Mason Checkered Floor. Compare White Void Room. See also Cosmic Chess Game.


Anime and Manga
  • Kyousogiga: Inevitable, given the massive Human Chess and Alice in Wonderland refs.
  • All over the place in Black★Rock Shooter, be it the OVA, the game or anything else.
  • Many of the Witches in Puella Magi Madoka Magica have this motif somewhere inside their closed off worlds.
  • A checkerboard floor shows up in Soul Eater in every scene of, and exclusively in, Soul's mental image of his soul world when he's in his weapon form.
  • Seen in Nightmare's lair in Kirby of the Stars.
  • Checkerboards appear throughout Tokyo Ghoul, and are typically either hint at hidden danger or Kaneki's damaged mental state. The primary example is Yamori's Playroom, where Kaneki endures 10 days of torture prior to embracing his Ghoul nature. At several points after that, he hallucinates checkered patterns on floors, walls, or even skies. Another, more subtle example is the checkered pattern on the floors of Uta's shop, hinting at their true nature as The Chessmaster manipulating events behind the scenes.

Comic Books

Fan Fiction
  • During Susie's nightmare during In Love And War, several cardboard boxes fall from the sky, some with the bottoms black, others white. Once they are finished falling, they resemble a giant checkerboard.

Live-Action TV

  • All over The Matrix; one example is when Neo goes to meet Morpheus (and first enters "the Real World.") The movie is pretty blatant with the Alice in Wonderland refs in that scene.
  • Pan's Labyrinth
  • The Devil's office in The Devils Advocate.
  • Inception has dream locations like this.
  • The longest and most memorable of The Dude's dream sequences in The Big Lebowski features the checkerboard flooring he saw earlier at the eponymous Big Lebowski's house.
  • Notably the afterlife hallways in Beetlejuice, but shows up other places as well. Combines with stripes and other bold patterns, as well as Bizarrchitecture.

Music Videos

Video Games
  • Lots in American McGee's Alice and its sequel, as you'd expect from something based on Alice in Wonderland.
  • Tartarus in Persona 3.
  • In a similar vein, the Collective Unconscious in the Persona series.
  • The heart of the Amala Labyrinth in Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne where Lucifer resides has a checkerboard floor.
  • Interestingly, quite a bit on the Mario games, such as certain fortresses in Super Mario Bros. 3. Given the Alice in Wonderland roots, little wonder.
  • The Legend of Zelda
    • The South Face Shrine in The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening has this design. It appears earlier in the game as well, but this is the point where it's most appropriate. It's where Link discovers that the island is part of a dream-made-real, created by the Wind Fish.
    • The Temple of Time in Ocarina of Time. The Forest Temple has rooms with this pattern as well.
    • The Ancient Castle of Ikana in The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask Majora's Mask features this, as well as some parts of the Stone Tower Temple.
  • Sonic 3 & Knuckles features them quite prominently in the Blue Sphere special stages. Green Hill Zone doesn't count, however, since despite featuring a prominent checkerboard pattern, it's not actually otherworldly within the context of the series.
  • Touhou: In Fanworks, Sikieiki's Court has a chessboard floor, somewhat justified, given her ability to judge things black and white.
    • The Background in the final battle of Lotus Land Story uses a Blue and black checkerboard background.
    • Also the Palace of the Earth spirits has a Checkerboard floor
  • Yume Nikki has a checkered pattern on Madotsuki's shirt. The Fangames took that and carried on with it, ending up with this trope.
  • Chessboard Land in King's Quest VI.
  • Quake has levels with this style of decor.
  • The Bizarrchitecture in Constantine's mansion in Thief: The Dark Project includes checkerboard floors (and walls and ceilings in such places as the floor ceases to be a floor).
  • In Psychonauts, Sasha Nein's mental world is shown as a large cube with an odd, checkerboard-like design, signifying himself as The Stoic.
  • Dragons Lair has Dirk jumping from square to square on a chessboard to keep the bad knight from electrocuting him.
  • Checkerboard surfaces are all over the place in the Doom Game Mod Void, which is set in an Eldritch Location.

Web Animation

Western Animation

Web Comics
  • The Battlefield in Homestuck is a Checkerboard PLANET after prototyping enough times.
  • The world beyond the couch cushions in Ozy and Millie features a good amount of this. To quote the commentary in the book Prehistrionics: "My fondness for stripes, checkerboards, polka dots, arrows, and other pop-art-esque patterns has never been so obvious as it was during this storyline."

Real Life
  • The black and white checkerboard floor found in all Masonic lodges.
  • For given values of "real life," this has been reported by self-professed astral travelers.

  • Due to the ease of generating a checkerboard pattern on an infinite plane, this is a common aspect of early computer-generated images. Compare the classic mirrored sphere on a checkerboard floor. Not to mention the famous checkerball from the early Amiga graphics demo (it was patterned so you could see that it was spinning) — so famous that it eventually became the platform's official logo.
  • Commonly used to represent transparency in images being edited. Used in Paint Shop Pro, Paint.NET, The Gimp, and others.

Alternative Title(s):

Astral Chequerboard Decor