Santiago Wills describes how the 2010’s chess scene lacks compelling stories in a 2012 article published by The Atlantic titled “How America Forgot About Chess”.
According to The Atlantic article, Author of Finding Bobby Fischer, Dirk Jan Geuzendam says, “What we are lacking now is some conflict that makes certain players or matches attractive to broader audiences,”
Little did we know that the conflict re-capturing chess in the mainstream would be a world-wide pandemic and the compelling story would be a Netflix-original mini-series.
“The Queen’s Gambit” starring Golden-Globe nominee Anya Taylor-Joy sent already slightly increasing chess sales flying. Over the last year, sales of chess sets in the United States rose by around 25 percent, only slightly faster than the toy industry overall, said Juli Lennett, a toy industry analyst with NPD, a market research company. But in the weeks since “The Queen’s Gambit” premiered, she says, sales have grown 125 percent.
In contrast to the 70’s chess revival, online playing is eminently popular today. Since March, popular online chess platform chess.com has added nearly 13 million new members, according to Nick Barton, the platform’s director of business development.
What effect will this revival have? Studies show that chess can improve creativity, planning skills, memory, and even the ability to see from someone else’s perspective. Chess may enrich the public, but this 1,500-year-old game may now be even more synonymous with social and political strife than ever before. Chess master Jack Peters says that Chess became so synonymous with USSR prowess that a 1972 match between world champion Boris Spassky and upstart American Bobby Fischer turned into a heated, symbolic showdown between world powers poised at the knife’s edge of battle. Today’s chess revival is not a result of a highly marketed event charged by conflicting political powers, as described by Peters, but rather a comfort to the public during times of unrest. The commonality lies within these two revivals both relating to social unrest.
Categories: Arts and Culture