Cheque mate! Chess sets costing up to £1,430 SELL OUT due to ‘world-wide shortage’ fuelled by Covid and fans of Netflix drama the Queen’s Gambit
- The Queen’s Gambit came out last year but has sparked a continuing boom
- Some sellers have sold out and have blamed the popularity of the show
- New love for the game could see it get public funding and be classed a sport
Netflix’s chess drama the Queen’s Gambit is said to have sparked a current worldwide shortage of the board game – despite being released last year.
The Anya Taylor-Joy 2020 series told the story of prodigy Beth Harmon but looks to have created a lasting impression.
High-end suppliers Regency Chess has no stock left of its expensive reproduction boards, explaining simply online ‘Sold out due to The Queen’s Gambit’.
Even their cheaper products – which are on sale for £96.99 – are unavailable for the same reason.
Owner Julian Deverell said the show had prompted a five-fold rise in demand.
He said: ‘The Queen’s Gambit cleared us out. It was like nothing else the business has ever experienced.
Anya Taylor-Joy played chess prodigy Beth Harmon in Netflix’s The Queen’s Gambit series
High-end Regency Chess has posted on its site that many boards are sold out due to the show
‘Even now we are struggling to get the sets made,’ he added to The Times.
Dominic Lawson, president of the English Chess Federation, said that he hoped that the Government sees the boom as a good reason to grant it sports status and get it public funding.
The boom is believed to have also been encouraged by the three lockdowns Boris Johnson plunged the country into over the past 18 months.
Super-strict conditions of the first one banned people from leaving their homes, except for essential reasons.
It meant they were forced to look to more classic ways of entertaining themselves away from pubs and other venues.
Already the English Chess Federation has doubled its number of active players from 2,800 last year to 6,000.
And gaming platform Chess.com has added another 22m million players onto its roster.
Action hero Arnold Schwarzenegger is known to be a fan of the game, posting online about it. Here his pet donkey makes a stubborn opponent
What is the Queen’s gambit move?
The Queen’s Gambit is a move that gambles a piece to try and gain advantage on the board.
It sees a set of moves which sacrifices a pawn to gain control of the center of the play area.
If it is done properly it forces the opponent to spend the early part of the game responding to your threats rather than developing their own.
It is so called because it begins with the queen’s pawn rather than the king’s.
The move is a good one to use to open a game at amateur or competitive levels.
The Queen’s Gambit has been attributed to the success of the game taking off again before.
Celebrities including Arnold Schwarzenegger have also helped raise its profile.
Roy Lahood in the Michigan Journal of Economics said: ‘Chess, a game that has been around for almost 1500 years, is seeing a rapid resurgence in popularity this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the release of a new Netflix series called The Queen’s Gambit, and the increasing availability of instructional resources for players of all levels.
‘The so-called ‘New Chess Boom’ describes the increase in viewership and playing of chess across the world starting in 2018 and picking up speed in March 2020 as people were forced to turn toward the internet for more of their entertainment.
‘As time went on, more and more people were watching and playing chess.’
The Queen’s Gambit was one of the biggest surprise hits of 2020, earning Golden Globes for Anya Taylor-Joy’s performance and Best Television Limited Series, Anthology Series or Motion Picture Made for Television, among other awards.
The seven-episode series was adapted from Walter Tevis’ 1983 novel and crafted as a stand-alone limited series.