Netflix’s The Queen’s Gambit is driving sales of chess sets and books


Netflix’s The Queen’s Gambit debuted on October 23. The Queen’s Gambit is a fictional series about teenage chess prodigy Beth Harmon who was taught chess by Mr. Shaibel, the janitor at her orphanage. The mini-series follows Beth’s life as she battles world champion chess players and masters. It’s an awkward coming of age story with dysfunctional characters, amazing fashion and masterful chess.

Since the debut of The Queen’s Gambit, the sales of chess boards are up 87% and sales of related strategy books are up more than 600%. The interest in chess related searches on Google have also quadrupled. Below is more on the story from Malaysia’s The Star:

Prior to the premiere of The Queen’s Gambit, week-over-week chess set sales in the U.S. had been relatively flat for 13 weeks – and soared after the limited series hit Netflix, according to US Retail Tracking Service data from NPD.

There was a similar rise in sales of chess books, per NPD BookScan, which reported higher US print book unit sales for the following titles: Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess by Bobby Fischer; Chess Fundamentals by Jose Capablanca; Chess For Kids by Michael Basman; and The Complete Book Of Chess Strategy: Grandmaster Techniques From A To Z by Jeremy Silman.

“The idea that a streaming television series can have an impact on product sales is not a new one, but we are finally able to view it through the data,” said Juli Lennett, NPD Group toys industry adviser.

“The sales of chess books and chess sets, which had previously been flat or declining for years, turned sharply upward as the popular new series gained viewers.”

[From Star]

I watched all seven episodes of The Queen’s Gambit in one day, it was that good. The show also reignited my desire to learn how to play chess. I loved that they made a female the protagonist in a movie about chess. Usually, men dominate the sport. I also love how they didn’t make Jolene, the only black character and Beth’s best friend from the orphanage, a savior. In fact, Jolene made it clear to Beth that she wasn’t her savior. The show also had some very awkward sexual moments for Beth. It felt as if The Queen’s Gambit firmly grasped how women viewed themselves and their sexuality in the mid to late 60s prior to the sexual revolution. Beth and Jolene were complete badasses.

One of my favorite things that has come from the movie is this meme:

— Connieshin (@thatconnieshin) November 28, 2020

All in all, The Queen’s Gambit somehow made chess exciting and I understand why there’s a renewed interest in it. If you can get past the terrible 60′s matching pattern décor, and that the little boy from Love Actually is a grown man who looks like a teenager, then The Queen Gambit is definitely a must see.

— sam dyslmh (@ozsupremacy) December 1, 2020

— Ricardo Fort (@SportByFort) November 30, 2020

— Jacqueline Baker (@itsJacquiB) November 29, 2020

photos via social media and Netflix Press credit: Courtesy of Netflix 2020

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