The recent rise of Chess

CHESS is often portrayed as a game of intellectual superiority when it’s more realistically associated with memorization //

Jack Wolfsohn | Head Editor

March 17 2023

Chess has been praised as a game of strategic thinking and intellectual pursuit for centuries, but recently it has seen a surge in popularity, specifically in the online realm. With major chess tournaments being streamed live and thousands of people tuning in to watch, it’s clear that the game is having a moment.

There’s multiple contributing factors that have led to the increased interest in the 64 squares (Chess board) as of late:

  • The Netflix original, The Queen’s Gambit was essential in demystifying the stereotypes surrounding Chess and the “nerds” that play it frequently. The show can be widely attributed with providing a baseline curiosity of Chess to its millions of viewers and encouraging many to try it out for themselves.
  • YouTube and TikTok have also been monumental in providing endless Chess content for all levels of Chess players. It’s nearly impossible to scroll through your “for you” page without seeing some Chess opening or “brilliant” move. The YouTube account, GothamChess, has been uniquely influential because of its large following and dedication to entertaining and humorous instruction.
  • While shows like The Queen’s Gambit and YouTube have aided in the attraction of so many new players, it’s the top Chess players that have kept newcomers from leaving. At this very moment, the greatest Chess player of all time, Magnus Carlsen reigns supreme. His overwhelming and unmatched ability fills Chess tournament seats and inspires the next generation to rise to his level. 

“I think, above all else, has made the largest impact,” said senior Christian McCleary. “Being able to play on your phone, or on any computer, entirely without the need for a physical Chess board has allowed for Chess to become widespread.”

CHESS.COM servers crash and players are shut out until they’re fixed //

It’s very apparent that access to Chess away from an actual Chess board has grown the game significantly. In fact, there has been so much participation on recently that there are regular site crashes due to the heavy traffic. Even servers weren’t prepared for the amount of popularity the game has been receiving. 

“People have been getting into Chess for various different reasons,” said senior Luke Jansen. “Personally, Andrew Tate was the one to introduce me to the game.” 

There’s a lot of nuance and intricacies to why people have suddenly started to play Chess. But as the community grows larger with every passing day, it’s important to remind ourselves that we were once beginners too and we should strive to teach all those who are curious.


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