Millions of people across the world are turning to online chess following the release of Netflix’s hit series “The Queen’s Gambit.”
The Netflix Original series, released on October 23, documents orphan Beth Harmon’s quest to become the world’s greatest chess player.
Searches for chess sets on eBay almost tripled after the show’s release, but most fans are looking for their fix in online matches. Both Chess.com and its accompanying app “Chess” have soared in popularity.
Nearly every day in November, the website set an all-time record for new members joining in a single day, Nick Barton, Chess.com’s director of business development, told Business Insider.
In the third week of November, more than 100,000 new members registered for the website each day. This is roughly five times more than average.
The website’s previous weekly peak in new registrations was back in mid-March, when 378,000 new players signed up in a week as national lockdowns began.
Though some of the popularity in November can also be attributed to the pandemic — many European countries and US states have re-entered lockdown — the release of “The Queen’s Gambit” has had an “undeniable” effect on Chess.com’s growth, Barton told Business Insider.
The website has even launched Beth Harmon bots, so that users can play a game against the series’ protagonist.
Around half of all Chess.com games are played on its app, which integrates with its website so players can play against desktop players from their phone.