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.
    • The page image up there appears in the first episode. Interestingly, that particular area is never shown again, and it's unclear what exactly it is.
    • When Homura fights the wraiths at the end of the manga, the fight takes place in a dungeon with a checkered floor.
    • Margot's labyrinth is particularly filled with this in Puella Magi Oriko Magica.
  • 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 Devil's 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
  • Tom Petty's video for "Don't Come Around Here No More".
  • Ayumi Hamasaki's "Song 4 u".
  • Murray Head's "One Night in Bangkok" which has both a chessboard on a table and a huge one on a floor big enough to have people as the pieces.

Video Games

Visual Novels
  • The Logic Chess sequences in Ace Attorney Investigations 2 take place on a blue checkerboard plane, representing Edgeworth's mental chess matches against witnesses.

Web Animation

Western Animation
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: there's a notable creepy checkerboard ground in the scenes where the mane cast confront the villain Discord on his throne during part two of the season 2 premiere. Because of Discord, all of Ponyville had effectively been turned into an Eldritch Location.
    • In the comics, a map included in one issue has a similar design for the site of where a battle with Discord was once held long ago.

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