It’s no longer news that chess’s popularity has boomed in recent years. You turn here, you turn there, you see people playing chess. Through this post, we’re bringing you 5 reasons why chess is so popular.
1. Chess movies/shows
In the current era, television is one of the most popular household appliances. Many televisions have access to cables, DVDs, flash drives, and Netflix. Chess has found a way to tap into the TV trend by creating chess-centered movies that have become successes. When you tap into popular trends, some of that popularity rub off on you, which is why chess is so popular.
A chess movie like Pawn Sacrifice tells a story of a revolutionary chess player, Bobby Fischer, whose match with a Soviet Player Boris Spassky reflected the rivalry between the US and the USSR but on a chessboard, not the battlefield. The inspiration behind the movie gave chess a boom in the 60s, and the movie also gave chess a boom in the 21st century.
Other movies like Queen Of Katwe propelled a chess boom in Africa and worldwide. It narrated a true story of how chess liberated a Ugandan girl and her family from poverty.
2. Chess tournament prizes
Money is a huge source of inspiration in every field. The more the money, the more people get attracted to that field. When people hear the money placed on the World Chess Championship match, they get interested. They get interested when they hear about the amount won in the local tournaments in their backyard.
It motivates them to take up chess professionally, and several chess players that are not playing at an elite level also earn a decent living from chess. Aside from tournaments, there are alternative means of earning like photography, blogging, content creation, etc.
Chess is so popular because people can make a living from it.
3. Chess achievements
When Viswanathan Anand became the World Champion, there was arguably the greatest chess boom ever recorded. He was the first grandmaster from India and the first world champion that was not from Europe or the US.
With India’s huge population, it didn’t come as a surprise as over 70 grandmasters have emerged from the Asian giants since Anand’s accomplishments. Bobby Fischer’s remarkable achievements also sparked a chess boom in the US.
Many English players also look up to the likes of Nigel Short and David Howell. Their achievements are a strong reason why chess is so popular.
Tunde Onakoya’s global recognition of his work with his Chess In Slums initiative has sparked an interest in chess in Nigeria. When Amon Simutowe became the first East African and sub-Saharan chess grandmaster, anyone would’ve guessed that chess would gain some ground in the region.
4. Chess websites and software
This is another instance where chess has leveraged technology. Chess websites troop into the chess scene every day. Chess players and enthusiasts engage these sites every day to pass the time and improve their chess skills. Sites like Lichess.org, chess24.com and chess.com have a playing feature that allows chess players to play against any opponent from around the globe.
Where there’s a global link, there’s bound to be some growing popularity. There are also a ton of chess-themed video games on several consoles like the Playstation, Xbox, Nintendo, etc. The growth of digital gaming has also played a role in chess’s popularity. We have chess games like Pure Chess, Chess Knights, and Auto Chess.
READ ALSO: A REVIEW OF THE 10 BEST PS4 CHESS GAMES
5. Chess references in movies and shows by influencers and celebrities
Sometimes, superstars refer to chess either by a figure of speech, lyric, or demonstration. If an event is tactical, deadlocked and entertaining, commentators often refer to the game as a “chess match”. Music superstar, Eminem, has once referenced chess as a lyric in one of his songs titled “River”. When influencers begin to extend their influence, chess inevitably grows in popularity.
Chess is growing in popularity, and we predict that the growth will continue, so be proud of your involvement in chess. Don’t forget to teach people around you how to play because you can also play a part in making chess so popular.