TV shows in today’s world tend to have a decent influence over the world. Modern entertainment is an advertising tool as much as it is a way to earn money and often lastly, create something artistic and expressive. When publishers get involved, things start getting out of hand and a project can turn into something that it wasn’t meant to be, particularly by the director and script writer.
Queen’s Gambit is not one of those shows, but rather a love story to chess, among other things. It is also a show that deals with fame, especially fame obtained during a turbulent childhood.
Did this movie influence modern chess? A bit, yes.
Queen’s Gambit – A Short Synopsis
Queen’s Gambit deals with the story of Beth Harmon, a child prodigy who was orphaned at the age of nine. Soon enough, she discovers chess and begins her journey to become a master. By the age of sixteen, she is already competing at the US Open Championship, beating people that have had many more years of experience. However, becoming that famous that early on has some flaws, as child fame is typically followed by some consequences. Beth Harmon struggles with an addiction, one that apparently seems to help her play chess better.
In order not to spoil the story of this lovely 1960s story, you should watch the show if you want more about the plot. But, the show, released in 2020, did have an impact on the world of chess, especially its popularity within the general population.
Chess in Popular Culture
Chess has gotten a lot of attention since 2018, although there wasn’t a particular reason that started this trend. Chess just became popular on its own, though it helped that major streaming services could provide a voice to young grandmasters who can communicate with the typical Twitch viewer, who is apparently a teenager.
This, in hand with the Covid pandemic, helped chess grow as a sport. When people are forced to stay indoors, they will find new activities to challenge themselves, including mental activities such as chess. There was an overall boom of chess from 2018 until 2020. Queen’s Gambit slotted in almost perfectly, released in 2020, when most people couldn’t spend too much time outside, or rather, when socializing was strained.
What it Means for Chess
When shows such as Queen’s Gambit (named after an opening in chess) get so popular, the sport or in this case, board game, become much more popular, though often over a short period of time. However, chess is a game which when you pick up, you typically never stop playing, mostly because it is a great game and it challenges you to think and adapt constantly.
New players coming to chess is one of the best things that happened to it, particularly since the majority of these players are teenagers and young people. This ensures that chess will have more players in the generations to come.
TV shows and movies about a certain topic can always influence that very topic in the eyes of the general population. It happened that Queen’s Gambit was released during the toughest times of the pandemic and that chess was already on the rise.
The show helped attract more chess players, a lot of who are likely going to remain chess players, even after the awe of a “new” experience leaves them.