Chess no longer game for just retired old men


Chess has been around for over 1,400 years but with TV shows, social media, and more, the interest in chess is stronger than ever.

Chess is one of the oldest games that is still played today. Recently it has boomed in popularity. Social media is an obvious reason for this recent trend upwards for this beloved game, but just when did all this start?

This surge of popularity can be traced back to the start of quarantine, where everywhere people looked for something to keep them entertained. The release of Queens Gambit in late 2020 got everyone to remember this fascinating game. Online chess saw a major growth in players and viewers on platforms such as Twitch and YouTube.

According to an article from the Insider, published in July 2020, “The number of hours watched increased from around three million in March 2020 to more than eight million in May,” Chris Stokel-Walker said.

This was only the start and since then, players have continued to increase on platforms like Kids are often seen playing chess on their phone or Mac during school but there is also a chess club that goes on after school.

Junior Ravyn Drown, the vice president of the chess club at Bay Port, has been playing chess since the second grade.

“I see a lot of students [now] playing online chess,” Ravyn said.

She noted, though, that there haven’t been many more people coming to Chess Club to play in person.

“What got me back into playing chess was middle school chess club,” junior Brandon Moon said.

Brandon is the president of Chess Club and has said he has heard a lot more people talk about chess, although, it seems to be exclusive to online. The more casual/average chess player seems to just be someone who plays on their phone for fun compared to chess club members like as Ravyn and Brandon.

“It can take up a lot of time when you feel bored and give you something to do,” junior Sawyer Vorpahl said.

Sawyer just started playing as something his dad told him about, but it has grown into something in his everyday life. It seems as if many students use this game to pass time just the same as other online games such as Solitaire. Games like chess continue to grow online as the real ones decrease.

After a poll was put out on Instagram, 68 of 226 responses responded that they do play online chess. Although at first this might not seem like a lot this is likely a huge increase from a few years ago. Many people responded to from the poll added that they choose to play because they are simply bored.

However, the popularity of shows  like Queen’s Gambit and a stronger online presence might’ve brought people into this game.

Platforms such as Twitch, TikTok, and YouTube have influencers growing in popularity every day, creating more and more players for these games. Online creators such as Gotham Chess, Hikaru, and more have done wonders for this tactical game.