Chess is popular because compared to other board games the outcome is more dependent on skill rather than luck. Then there are factors like easy game rules, availability of playing it online anytime, and the fact that chess is shown as a sign of intelligence in movies and news making it a very attractive game.
It’s a game played and enjoyed at every level.
Whether you are a grandmaster or a below 800-rated player, there is entertainment in chess for everyone.
When two players play chess, there is a mix of concentration, tension, and happiness on their faces. A powerful focus. Even the least skilled players can feel it.
But this is not what the game’s popularity is all about.
The Queens Gambit series was also a big factor leading to the popularity of the game in recent times.
5 Reasons Why Chess Is So Popular:
For chess to explode in popularity availability became one of the top reasons. With the Internet getting common, chess is more accessible these days.
You can log in to any chess app or website and play the game with some unknown person from across the globe. This luxury was not available to people in the past.
The greatest advantage of online chess is getting matched with players who are at your skill level, ensuring a balanced and engaging game.
And as you improve or worsen your rating, the chess app algorithm will keep matching you with the players of your level.
You can also play online chess with friends and family plus there are tournaments every hour on these sites.
With so many options and availability, chess surely is a fun game to play and getting more and more popular with time.
The only negative side of online play is the use of engines and human assistance.
You never know when the opponent will cheat and start taking human or computer assistance but platforms are getting better with it and more and more cheaters are getting caught.
Their accounts get suspended and you get back your points as compensation.
To avoid any cheaters altogether it is better and recommended to play blitz and bullets online, and play the long games only on the board. Or play with friends online.
2. Ease of Play
Chess is easy to learn. It hardly requires 5 minutes to get familiar with rules and moves. That’s how simple the game is but at the same time, it takes a lifetime to learn the mysteries of chess.
The game is intellectually challenging!
The ease part is that you can be sitting anywhere and gaming chess online. No need to meet your opponent in-person!
Unlike some other traditional sports, chess is at your fingertips and there is a ton of content available online to learn if you have the passion for the game.
Check out the most famous chess content creators on Youtube here.
Chess is also easy to play because there isn’t much physical movement involved. Your mind is in action and physically you can limit yourself to as little as moving the thumb on a mobile screen. Which can also make chess a very unhealthy sport.
Pro Tip: If you want to maintain the ease of play plus make the game healthy for yourself, do 5 pushups on every game lost, and don’t play the next game until those 5 pushups are done. I bet this will be a great gift of chess to your physical health.
3. The Queen’s Gambit Series
The Queen’s Gambit, a 2020 TV series, captivated viewers and ignited a newfound interest in chess. This beautifully filmed show depicted the world of chess, from local tournaments to the grand stage of a world championship match.
The story revolves around a girl who discovers her love for chess and overcomes various challenges.
Through self-learning and determination, she grows into a formidable player, defeating top chess grandmasters in the USA and gaining worldwide recognition.
The Queen’s Gambit also served as an inspiration for women to embrace chess, providing a platform for them to excel in a sport traditionally dominated by men.
Take example from the real world, if Judit Polgar can make it to the top 10 players list in the world, then so can other women too.
The series had a profound impact on the popularity of chess, with a surge in online chessboard purchases and increased sales of chess equipment during the pandemic when people were confined to their homes.
The popularity of The Queen’s Gambit was remarkable, as demonstrated by the substantial increase in sales of chess sets (87 percent) and chess books (603 percent) in the first three weeks after its debut.
According to Netflix, the series was watched in 62 million households during its trending days, solidifying its status as a timeless reference for chess enthusiasts and commentators.
In comparison to previous popular chess movies, such as “Pawn Sacrifice,” which depicted the life of US and World Chess Champion Bobby Fischer and his legendary games against Boris Spassky, The Queen’s Gambit surpassed them all in terms of impact and viewership.
4. Chess is a Good Time Killer
Some say chess is a mentally stressful sport. But I know it from personal experience that chess is actually a game of self-improvement. It’s one more way to fulfill happiness!
Once you are past the first three weeks of playing chess, you are bound to fall in love with this great game.
With engine analysis, you will always learn something new.
If you are not in a good mood or tired of work, playing a game of chess can limit your frustration or even remove it totally.
It’s a refreshment sport and not a mentally torturing one.
If you are looking for enjoyment, don’t want to go out, and don’t want to scroll through the Internet or watch Netflix, then chess can be a good alternative.
One good sequence, one strong attack crushing your opponent, or one 90% plus accuracy game, and you will forget all your worries and stresses of life. It will ignite you with happiness.
And even if you lose, it will still be a win win situation because of resurgence from a bad period.
5. The Pandemic
Chess has always been popular. But with the COVID-19 pandemic, it took a different level of rising in popularity.
The whole dynamics of popularity improved when different internet influencers started presenting the sport in their own styles attracting new chess audiences.
Also since there are health benefits of playing chess, the game can’t be ignored over other board games especially if you want to absolutely remove the chances of being lucky to win a game. It’s a game of skill. Plus a very healthy activity if someone is limited to indoors.
A few more reasons why chess is getting so popular are explained in the video below:
There can be many other reasons why is chess so popular today but the fact and reality is that 1500 years old game is finally getting some great recognition.
Previously it was just a global sport with minimum traction. But now, it is truly a global sport with lots of money in it.
Some Important FAQs Related To Chess Popularity:
1. Is Chess Gaining More Popularity in 2023?
Yes, chess is gaining more popularity in 2023. It’s evident from increasing search trends on Google, high traffic on top chess sites like chess.com, and the rise of chess influencers amassing millions of followers on platforms like YouTube and Twitch.
Online chess servers are crashing from time to time, and Gothamchess has created a full video explaining how this is a result of the high traffic of online players.
2. Why Chess Is Popular Among Elite and Rich?
Chess is popular among the elite and rich because it requires strategic thinking and provides a mental challenge that appeals to those seeking intellectual stimulation and a competitive outlet.
Another reason may be that chess has a long and storied history, and it has been played by kings, queens, and other members of the aristocracy for centuries.
This historical association with the elite may have contributed to its current association with the wealthy and privileged.
There can be many more cultural, historical, and social factors leading to chess’s popularity among rich and elite!
Future of Chess:
Chess hasn’t seen any decline in popularity since the turn of century. The future of game is very bright. If you look at it’s google trends, the graph is positive and January 2023 was the peak of popularity.
Proper chess clubs are operating, and schools in countries like Hungary and Russia even incorporate the game as a subject.
All in all, the chances of this beautiful game becoming even more popular are higher than it’s decline.
Internet is getting more common world wide and new players will for sure get into online chess.
Top chess players and streamers like Hikaru Nakamura and Levy Rozman have millions of subscribers and it speaks volumes about the future of chess.