Online chess classes see record interest after release of ‘The Queen’s Gambit’

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Netflix's "The Queens Gambit" has sparked many to pick up chess, according to a two-time champion. (Netflix).

More players are being drawn to the game of chess.

Experts and chess champions are noticing increased interest in the hobby amid the pandemic, with some even claiming that a new Netflix series could be partially responsible for more people taking to the board.

“I’m getting so many inquiries from adult women, teens, parents of teenagers, and that’s so awesome because that’s where we usually have drop-off. I’m seeing an outpouring of people who are interested,” Jennifer Shahade, a two-time U.S. women’s chess champion and the women’s program director of the U.S. Chess Federation, tells Fox News.

Shahade also directly attributes the recent uptick in interest to “The Queen’s Gambit,” a new Netflix drama that stars 24-year-old Anya Taylor-Joy as an orphaned chess prodigy who becomes obsessed with the game while battling addiction. Females, especially, are becoming attracted to chess via the show, she says.

According to Shadade, the Chess Federation’s girls club classes have seen more than 100 people enrolled in virtual lessons since the pandemic has made it harder for matches to be held in person.

And with people spending more time indoors, players are continuing to make moves online. A whopping 480,000 new members signed up to play on Chess.com last week, or roughly 100,000 more members than the website’s previous record high of 378,000, who signed up in a single week in mid-March when sports league cancellations started to hit.

Since March, the website has onboarded roughly 11.1 million new members, an increase of 6.54 million year-over-year.

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