Chess is becoming popular because compared to other board games the outcome is more dependent on skill rather than luck. Then there are factors like easy game rules, availability of playing it online anytime, and the fact that chess is shown as a sign of intelligence in movies and news making it a very sought after game.
It’s a game played and enjoyed at every level. Whether you are a grandmaster or a below 800-rated player, there is entertainment in chess for everyone.
Amateur players especially twitch streamers participate in them and promote the game leading to chess’s popularity.
When two players play chess, there is a mix of concentration, tension, and happiness on their faces. A powerful focus. Even the least skill level players can feel it.
But this is not what the game’s popularity is all about.
The Queens Gambit series was also a big factor leading to the popularity of the game in recent times.
5 Reasons Why Chess Is So Popular:
For chess to explode in popularity availability became one of the top reasons. With the Internet getting common, chess is more accessible these days.
You can log in to any chess app or website and play the game with some unknown person from across the globe. This luxury was not available to people in the past.
The biggest benefit of online chess is that you get matched to play chess with players of your level. And as you improve or worsen your rating, the chess app algorithm will keep matching you with the players of your level.
You can also play online chess with friends and family plus there are tournaments every hour on these sites.
With so many options and availability, chess surely is a fun game to play and getting more and more popular with time.
The only negative side of online play is the use of engines and human assistance.
You never know when the opponent will cheat and start taking human or computer assistance but platforms are getting better with it and more and more cheaters are getting caught.
Their accounts get suspended and you get back your points as compensation.
To avoid any cheaters altogether it is better and recommended to play blitz and bullets online, and play the long games only on the board. Or play with friends online.
2. Ease of Play
Chess is easy to learn. It hardly requires 5 minutes to get familiar with rules and moves. That’s how simple the game is but at the same time, it takes a lifetime to learn the mysteries of chess.
The game is intellectually challenging!
The ease part is that you can be sitting anywhere and gaming chess online. No need to meet your opponent in-person!
Unlike some other traditional sports, chess is at your fingertips and there is a ton of content available online to learn if you have the passion for the game.
Check out the most famous chess content creators on Youtube here.
Chess is also easy to play because there isn’t much physical movement involved. Your mind is in action and physically you can limit yourself to as little as moving the thumb on a mobile screen. Which can also make chess a very unhealthy sport.
Pro Tip: If you want to maintain the ease of play plus make the game healthy for yourself, do 5 pushups on every game lost, and don’t play the next game until those 5 pushups are done. I bet this will be a great gift of chess to your physical health.
3. The Queen’s Gambit Series
It was a TV series of 2020 sparking people’s interest in chess. The story revolves around a girl who love playing chess and ultimately becomes a chess champion in the end.
In that series, Netflix represented chess in a way that made the sport desirable to play. They very beautifully filmed the environment of a world chess championship match and all the other local and international tournaments.
The story revolves around an orphan girl with problems growing up. She love playing chess!
With self learning, she becomes stronger and stronger player each day and goes on and beats every top chess grandmaster in USA and becomes popular worldwide.
She wins the USA Championship in open category, followed by a win in the candidates tournament and ultimately becomes a chess world champion.
That show was also an encouragement for women to start playing chess because it will take them away from mental issues and create their identity that yes you can fight in a brain game in a sport dominated by men.
Take example from the real world, if Judit Polgar can make it to the top 10 players list in the world, then so can other women too.
With the success of Queen’s Gambit series, inquiries to buy a chessboard online became more common and all in all, it boomed the popularity of the game.
And since the series came in the middle of coronavirus pandemic, majority of the world was confined to their homes leading to enormous sales of chess equipment.
The story of girl who becomes a chess world champion ended up so popular that in the first three weeks of Queen’s Gambit debut, sales of chess sets went up by 87 percent, while sales of chess books went up 603 percent!
According to Netflix, The Queen’s Gambit series was watched in 62 million households in it’s trending days, making it a forever popular reference among chess commentators and lovers.
It was a bigger hit than any of the popular chess movies of the past. Even bigger than movies like “Pawn Sacrifice” made on the life of US and World Chess Champion Bobby Fischer and his famous games against Boris Spassky.
4. Chess is a Good Time Killer
Some say chess is a mentally stressful sport. But I know it from personal experience that chess is actually a game of self-improvement. It’s one more way to fulfill happiness!
Once you are past the first three weeks of playing chess, you are bound to fall in love with this great game.
With engine analysis, you will always learn something new.
If you are not in a good mood or tired of work, playing a game of chess can limit your frustration or even remove it totally.
It’s a refreshment sport and not a mentally torturing one.
If you are looking for enjoyment, don’t want to go out, and don’t want to scroll through the Internet or watch Netflix, then chess can be a good alternative.
One good sequence, one strong attack crushing your opponent, or one 90% plus accuracy game, and you will forget all your worries and stresses of life. It will ignite you with happiness.
And even if you lose, it will still be a win win situation because of resurgence from a bad period.
5. The Pandemic
Chess has always been popular. But with the COVID-19 pandemic, it took a different level of rising in popularity.
The whole dynamics of popularity improved when different internet influencers started presenting the sport in their own styles attracting new chess audiences.
Also since there are health benefits of playing chess, the game can’t be ignored over other board games especially if you want to absolutely remove the chances of being lucky to win a game. It’s a game of skill. Plus a very healthy activity if someone is limited to indoors.
A few more reasons why chess is getting so popular are explained in the video below:
There can be many other reasons why is chess so popular today but the fact and reality is that 1500 years old game is finally getting some great recognition.
Previously it was just a global sport with minimum traction. But now, it is truly a global sport with lots of money in it.
Why Chess Is Popular Among Elite and Rich?
Chess is popular among rich and elite because it’s a game of intelligence and strategy, and as a result, it has often been associated with education and intellectual pursuits. This association with intelligence and education may have contributed to its popularity among the wealthy and elite, who often value these qualities.
Another reason may be that chess has a long and storied history, and it has been played by kings, queens, and other members of the aristocracy for centuries. This historical association with the elite may have contributed to its current association with the wealthy and privileged.
There can be many more cultural, historical, and social factors leading to chess’s popularity among elite!
Chess Popularity In Comparison To Other Board Games:
Why Is Chess So Much More Popular Than Go?
Following are the reasons why chess is more popular than go:
- Chess is a simpler game that has long been favored by intellectuals, while go is considered more difficult.
- Chess players are required to think ahead just a few moves, while go can involve thinking many turns ahead.
- The rules of chess are relatively simple, but the rules of go are much more complex.
- There is more money in chess than there is in go.
Is Chess More Popular Than Monopoly?
They are both very different games, but chess surely is a more popular game because of the dynamics involved and the level of details that even computers are unable to calculate till now.
Another reason why chess is more popular than monopoly is that because chess is a worldwide sport, broadcasted on television and Internet, with a following from every country in the world, and a proper governing body called FIDE.
Chess players have ratings, rankings, and fan followings while no one knows who the best monopoly players in the world are.
Chess is an even play. People play it from all walks of life and it gets a lot of attention compared to Monopoly game.
Chess Vs Ludo:
Chess is a two-player strategy board game played on an 8 × 8 grid of squares while Ludo is a family of board games in which the players race their four tokens from start to finish according to the roll of six dice.
Ludo has been more popular than chess in India and Pakistan for some time now, but in a worldwide comparison, most people in the world don’t even know that a game named Ludo exists.
Is Ludo A Skill Or Luck Game?
The truth is that it is both. Ludo can be seen as a pure luck game because of the dice. But, it can also be seen as a skillful game because players have to think strategically about how they are going to go about playing the hand they have been dealt, as well as anticipate their opponent’s moves.
In comparison to it, chess always is a game of skill. The only luck involved in chess is the luck of 100% presence of mind and decision making, and not losing the vision of the whole board to miss an opportunity, which is an impossible feat to achieve even for the computers. And maybe this is the reason why, when it comes to comparison with other board games, chess will always finish on top, and remain the most popular board game in the world.
Future of Chess:
Chess hasn’t seen any decline in popularity since the turn of century. The future of chess is very bright. If you look at it’s google trends, the graph is positive upwards.
There are proper chess clubs operating and the game is even thought as a subject in schools of countries like Hungary and Russia.
All in all, the chances of chess becoming even more popular are higher than it’s decline. 🙂
Top chess players and streamers like Hikaru Nakamura and Levy Rozman have millions of subscribers and it speaks volumes about the future of chess.