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Chess Is Cool: Netflix's The Queen's Gambit Inspires A New Generation

Netflix's new hit-series The Queen's Gambit has raced to the top of the charts as one of the best T.V. series this year. It currently has a rating of over of 8.8 on IMDB and is featured in the number 1 position on Netflix's most watched shows currently.


The show appeared without much fanfare in September 2020, but soon had everyone talking about the series. The series is based around Chess, which is often an overlooked sport when it comes to Hollywood and TV in general. This series, however, has catapulted the show to the top of everyone's list of hobbies to take up.

The show is a "mini-series" of 9 episodes, and follows a young orphaned girl, Beth Harmon, who learns to play chess by accident during one of the many chores she has to undertake at her orphanage. As the series progresses, we watch as the game of Chess allows Beth to travel the world and compete in tournaments, making a name for herself and taking on the grandmasters of the world.

The Queen's Gambit has been given rave reviews by many publications, including an 8.8 Metacritic Review.

The popularity of the Queen's Gambit has had a ripple of effect of the popularity of Chess.

Chess Popularity

A Google Trends search for Chess shows a massive peak during October when the show was released. It's popularity has also been felt in Chess communities, with many commenting on the fact they have been invaded by new players. Many players over at the Subreddit /r/chess have been happily surprised at the amount of newbies joining in on a game that has often been left in the shadows.

Even on Amazon's Book Best Seller lists for Crafts and Hobbies is featuring chess books!

Whether the show's popularity will help revive the game of Chess or push it more into a mainstream audience remains to be seen. Twitch category Chess hasn't seen a notable rise in viewers over the pass 90 days, but this could also be due to the fact that audience is skewed based on who is streaming.

Learning To Play Chess

If you're one of the new players to Chess having been inspired by The Queen's Gambit, the first thing you'll want to do is get yourself a Chess board. Failing that, you can also play Chess online to learn the rules and see if it's a game you think you'll fancy taking up. Chess sets are relatively cheap too, and also can look very artistic in people's homes.

You can also dive deeper into Chess theory. You might have seen in the show that the main character is often reading books to learn about Chess; well you can do exactly the same. There are many books online that feature setups, moves, tutorials and more that you can study to improve your game.

If you want to watch people play Chess, there is the Twitch Chess category. You'll be hard pressed to find Chess on regular TV as coverage is very limited.

The Author

Adam Tisdalen

Hi, I'm Adam - a board game enthusiast and blogger! If I'm not playing board games, I'm writing about them. I like to play DnD on the weekends with my wife and go to conventions, especially ones about Board Games! I'm also a food freak and one day hope to be a chef :)

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