How Netflix's The Queen's Gambit renewed interest in Chess

Luisa Morales - Philstar.com
How Netflix's The Queen's Gambit renewed interest in Chess
Netflix's limited series "The Queen's Gambit" revolves around the story of chess prodigy Beth Harmon (R)
Courtesy of Netflix

MANILA, Philippines — For a lot of sports fans, chess may not be the most interesting of sporting events.

But with the recent success of Netflix's original series The Queen's Gambit, the interest of more than a few Filipinos were peaked when it came to chess.

Since its launch in October, Netflix's adaptation of the 1983 novel reached the Top 10 list of viewers in the Philippines for over three weeks.

Google search queries about the sport and "how to play chess" also went up in the country, with downloads for Chess.com's app also rising dramatically.

The number of daily players in online site Lichess.org also peaked during the show's first few weeks on the platform.

Meanwhile the novel itself, written by Walter Trevis, has found itself on The New York Times bestseller list more than three decades after its release.

As a nation, the Philippines is no stranger to chess prodigies turned Grandmasters like Beth Harmon in the Queen's Gambit.

Among decorated names in the Philippine chess scene is Philippine-born Wesley So, who currently represents the United States.

Also included among Philippine chess' elite is Iloilo native Eugene Torre who became Asia's first Grandmaster at only 22 back in 1974.

Grandmaster Mark Paragua, who was Filipino Chess Champion in 2012, is also included in the sport's household names.

With more than a handful of elite athletes in the sport, it's no wonder that the Netflix limited series gained traction in the country.

The Queen's Gambit is the platform's most-watched limited series yet and has seven episodes in its first season.

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