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Has ‘The Queen’s Gambit’ increased demand for online chess?

Answer: It appears so.

a chess board with toppled pieces
As may have been expected, online chess saw a notable increase in popularity back in the spring when nationwide lockdowns went into place due to the coronavirus pandemic — saw an additional 378,000 new players register during a single week in March. Little did they know, though, that that number, which seemed quite high at the time, would pale in comparison with the weekly signup rate in November — just last week, the same platform saw a fivefold increase as daily signups throughout the week topped more than 100,000.

The reason? A new Netflix original show. The Queen’s Gambit follows young orphan Beth Harmon as she discovers a talent for chess and attempts to become the greatest player in the world. Released at the end of last month, the show is already the most popular of any of Netflix’s original limited series. And after watching it, people are finding that they really want to play chess.

Nick Barton, director of business development for, told Business Insider that the show has had an “undeniable” impact on the platform’s recent popularity. They’ve even developed Beth Harmon bots so that people can attempt to play against the show’s protagonist, if they dare.