Chess has been long thought to be exclusively a nerdy and geeky pastime. Many have never even thought to give it a chance due to its cerebral nature. However, there has been a shift in the general attitudes towards chess because of the recent release of Netflix’s limited time series, Queen’s Gambit. The show follows an orphaned Beth Harmon through her life as she goes from learning chess in the basement of her orphanage under the tutelage of Mr. Shaibul, the orphanage janitor, to Soviet Russia to compete against Vasily Borgov, the best player in the world. The show is an amazing story with many emotional moments and is complemented by its incredible soundtrack.
What the show does best
The show does an excellent job portraying the intricacies of chess while also allowing an audience that has never touched a chessboard to be thoroughly entertained. The drama of the movie comes from the chessboard and Beth’s career, but the suspense and relationship aspects reel in a much wider audience. This has widened chess’ appeal greatly and has introduced many new players to the game.
The show’s effect on chess
On chess.com, you now have the option to play Beth Harmon at various points in her life. They have trained a chess engine to play as her when she is a complete beginner, as well as the world champion. This makes the experience of the show even more immersive, allowing the viewer to test their mettle against the character.
Twitch’s role in the popularity of chess
This show was not the only thing to increase the popularity of chess. Many chess professionals have been playing on Twitch, allowing players to watch them think through their moves and entertain them. This has been compounded with many popular streamers playing with the grandmasters, further widening the popularity of chess.
Chess is making a comeback in a very big way. It has been one of the most popular games for centuries and has now gotten a new coat of paint. It is very exciting to see the newfound love for the game and we can’t wait to see where it goes next!