© 2021 West Virginia Public Broadcasting
Telling West Virginia's Story
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

In Black And White: Chess’ Surging Pandemic Popularity

Grandmaster chess player Garry Kasparov makes a move in a match against grandmaster Fabiano Caruana during the final day of the Grand Chess Tour at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center in St. Louis.
Grandmaster chess player Garry Kasparov makes a move in a match against grandmaster Fabiano Caruana during the final day of the Grand Chess Tour at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center in St. Louis.

Maybe you’re wondering whether we’re all pawns. Or maybe you’re hoping for the moment coronavirus gets placed in checkmate. Maybe you just want us to stop talking about chess this way.

Fine, we’ll chill and get back to your regularly scheduled text.

What is true is that people are looking for all sorts of diversions in the midst of the pandemic. TV shows, movies, video games, cooking, baking and many more indoor activities are all popular distractions. But chess in particular is enjoying a culture-fueled surge in popularity.

Both the pandemic and new Netflix mini-series “The Queen’s Gambit” have led to a boost in the game’s reach. There’s been a huge increase in board sales and Twitch streamers playing the game are also attracting viewers.

How is a very old game adapting to the 21st century? And is its community of enthusiasts changing alongside it?

 

Copyright 2020 WAMU 88.5. To see more, visit WAMU 88.5.


WVPB is local news, education, music, and entertainment for West Virginia.
Your donation today will help keep us strong and vital.