Netflix’s The Queen’s Gambit had become the most watched limited series, hitting the Number 1 spot in 63 countries and the top ten in 92 countries.
The show, which has been watched by 62 million households, features the story of a charismatic orphan genius Beth Harmon, who storms the male-dominated world of competitive chess.
“Three years ago when Scott Frank (Godless) first approached us about adapting The Queen’s Gambit – Walter Tevis’ 1983 book about a young chess prodigy – we felt it was a compelling tale,” said Peter Friedlander, VP of Netflix Original Series.
“Beth is an underdog who faces addiction, loss and abandonment. Her success – against the odds- speaks to the importance of perseverance, family, and finding, and staying true to, yourself.”
“However, I don’t think any of us could have predicted that The Queen’s Gambit – and the extraordinary Anya Taylor-Joy – would become the global phenomena they are today, or our biggest limited scripted series ever,” he added.
The popularity of the show caused a massive surge of interest in the game of chess, thanks to Taylor-Joy’s performance bringing glamour to the sport.
A week after the show was launched, Google searches for “chess” has significantly increased, while eBay searches for chess sets has increased to 273% 10 days following the show’s release.
“Website hits have increased dramatically, actually, off the back of it,” said Simon Purkis, founder of luxury games maker Purling London including that of artisanal chessboards.
Leon Watson, who runs Battersea Chess Club and works for Chess24.com, shared how they have “ seen an enormous surge in interest people contacting us, wanting to get involved.”
The seven–part miniseries also piqued the interest of experienced chess players too, and was impressed by the show’s attention to detail.
“The chess community fell in love with the series because it successfully portrays different aspects of chess in all its richness,“ said David Llada, chief marketing officer for the International Chess Federation (FIDE).
“The chess fraternity is a hard crowd to please because they’re very concerned about these kind of accuracies about everything, because that is what the game of chess is all about.”
“I mean, obviously it’s not perfect, you know, nothing’s perfect. There were a few things that kind of jarred,” he added.
“But overall it’s definitely the most realistic fictionalized portrayal of how chess is played in tournaments that I’ve seen. And I’ve seen every chess TV show or film there is.”