OTTAWA -- Chess is a great way to pass the time during these cold winter months, but a Manotick, Ont., family wanted to combine the two.

This version of the game not only exercises your mind, but your body as well. 

"We were just getting tired of sitting inside, and we wanted to do something with the snowfall. So we created a huge chessboard," says Kimberly Carr.

The chess pieces stand about two to three feet tall, with some pieces of solid snow and ice weighing more than 40 pounds. It took Carr and her mom Vicki a month to build the chessboard in their backyard.

"Last November, I really got into watching The Queens Gambit," says Carr. "And that was a huge influence on, I guess, my new admiration for chess. And I really wanted to learn how to play chess."

When Vicki heard what Kimberly wanted to do, she was all in.

"She’s the one who got the chess board idea going. I said awesome."

Both had little to no experience with chess before they took on the challenge of building a life-size chessboard. Now, they can't get enough.

"It’s polite. It’s whit. It’s strategy," says Vicki.

"My mom and I came out one night and started a game and we had to draw on it at one in the morning," says Kimberly

Another reason they did this was to give Kimberly’s 9-year-old nephew Ethan a way to enjoy the game he loves, outdoors. The two secretly built the board without him knowing.

When it was completed, they invited him over for the big reveal. 

"When I first saw it, I thought it was amazing," says Ethan. "I didn’t even know this was there until they opened those blinds right over there."

"She yanked the blinds up and there this was," says Vicki. "The look on his face was worth a million bucks."

Now, playing the game they’ve all come to love, is also keeping them in shape.

Backyard chess in Ottawa

"The pieces are pretty heavy to move around," says Kimberly. "And once you get moving around I just got to take off my jacket and you start warming up. It’s actually pretty great exercise."

Who says you need a gym; just some rooks and knights will give you hours of entertainment and a workout right in your backyard.

"I love the outdoors," says Vicki. "This is the best winter I’ve ever had."