Four weeks after its release in October 2020, Netflix announced The Queen's Gambit – a series that follows the life of an orphan chess prodigy, Elizabeth Harmon – had been watched by 62 million households, becoming the platform's biggest scripted limited series to date.
Almost a year on and three national lockdowns later, interest in the board game is still growing.
Many chess sets and pieces sold by high-end supplier Regency Chess are currently out of stock on its website, with a message simply stating: "Sold Out due to The Queen's Gambit ".
Additionally, the English Chess Federation told The Times that the number of active players in its online clubs increased from 2,800 in February 2020 to 6,000 in August.
Malcolm Pein, founder of The London Chess Centre told The Independent that its sales of chess sets and boards increased so much that he had struggled to get supplies.
"There's been an unprecedented amount of interest. Sales went up two and a half times last Christmas compared with the previous year and it's still going now," he said, adding that current sales are still at a higher level than they were two years ago.
The London Chess Centre has also seen an increase in the number of women customers. While Pein credits both the lockdowns of the last 18 months and The Queen's Gambit for the boom, he said the Netflix series is "directly the reason" that more women are taking an interest in the game.
"One of the biggest problems chess had was its demographic, that girls tend to quit chess at primary school to a far greater degree than boys.
"The nicest thing about the Netflix series is that it presented a female role model who succeeded amongst all the men," Pein said.
He explained that this "changed the culture" of chess. "Here was an interesting, feisty, smart independent woman and she played chess. Now participation of women is much higher," he added.
Another marker of the interest in chess over the past year is the increased participation in chess tournaments.
In July, education charity Chess in Schools and Communities , which teaches chess in schools across the UK, held a chess festival in London's Trafalgar Square.
Pein, who is also chief executive at the charity, was amazed to see that 6,000 people turned up. "Apart from those organising the festival, all of them were completely new to me," he said.
He was also surprised to find that many of the players were very skilled.
"What was really interesting is that there were lots of players who were actually pretty good.
"They had never played in a tournament, never played in a club, but had become really good at chess during the lockdowns. It's quite remarkable," he said.
- Will Netflix & Big 3 Exhibs Become Buddies? How Will Disney-Fox Handle 40 Releases Over Next Two Years?: Welcome To CinemaCon 2019
- Chess: Fide drops handshakes after coronavirus cancels five Opens
- The Letter for the King: Netflix release date, cast, plot and trailer
- ‘Star Wars’ Actor John Boyega Sets Netflix Deal
- How Not to Bring Up Royals: The Dark Hand Behind the Queen’s Bad Parenting
- John Boyega Teams With Netflix On Slate Of African Movies
- Creator Selling Show's Iconic Home for $6 Million As
- Riz Ahmed in talks to star in Obamas’ Netflix production ‘Exit West’
- ‘The Baby-Sitters Club’: Momona Tamada, Shay Rudolph, Xochitl Gomez, Malia Baker And Sophie Grace Set For Netflix Adaptation Of YA Book Series
- Kimberley Walsh says the Queen is a Girls Aloud fan and knew about their break
- Gogglebox stars Dom and Steph Parker are planning to sell their Grade I listed boutique hotel where they filmed the Channel 4 show for £5m
- The Queen 'considered stripping Harry and Meghan of Sussex titles and HRH but feared looking "petty"': New details of Megxit deal emerge as Duke has private 'catch-up' with Boris Johnson before heading to Canada
- Baftas: Colin Firth wins Leading Actor award as The King's Speech sweeps the board
- 'I'm not urging calm': New York Governor Cuomo declares state of emergency as coronavirus cases rise to 89 after infected Uber driver walked into a Queens hospital and potentially infected 40 doctors and nurses
- The Crown series 4 FIRST LOOK: Tom Byrne films inaugural scenes as Prince Andrew... portraying the scandal-ridden Royal in his 20s ahead of wedding to Sarah Ferguson
- The Crown rewrites history as TV bosses cut disgraced Jimmy Savile out of show
- How to keep your child engaged at home as Kerala steps up to battle Coronavirus outbreak
- The holy grail of robotics: Inside the quest to build a mechanical human hand
- How America’s food giants swallowed the family farms
- Kevin Spacey pleads not guilty to groping 18-year-old boy at bar in 2016
Netflix’s The Queen’s Gambit is still selling out chess boards have 867 words, post on www.independent.co.uk at September 7, 2021. This is cached page on Europe Breaking News. If you want remove this page, please contact us.