The popularity of chess has increased greatly in recent years
Today, Chess is one of the most popular sports in the world. Yes, it is no longer just a board game but also a sport.
By definition, Chess is a sport as it is an entertaining activity that requires skill and is highly competitive. It even has a world championship like other sports. Also, the international Olympic committee has recognized Chess as a sport and may likely include it in the next Olympics.
Furthermore, it is one of the most popular sports. According to the UN and the international chess federation(FIDE), there are 605 million adult chess players. This is almost three times greater than the number of football players
But how did the game originate? And how did it become so popular?
Origin of chess
Chess originated in India around the 8th century. It was then known as “Chatrang” but was later refined by the Arabs, Persians and medieval Europeans before it became the game it is today.
The word chess was originally a mispronunciation of “shah” the Persian word for “king”. “Shah” was what the game was called in Persia.
The game and its rules have changed many times over the year. The modern form of the game was developed during a period called the “Romantic Era of Chess” in the 1880s. However, the first official Chess championship was held in 1886.
Wilhelm Steinitz won the championship and became the first Grandmaster.
Popularity of Chess
The Lockdown in 2020 was a major factor in the rise of the popularity of the game. At the start of the pandemic, chess.com, a popular online chess gaming platform, had 1.5 million new players. Consequently, the number of registered users grew from 20 million to 57 million during the pandemic and currently stands at over 77 million.
The success of the popular Netflix limited tv series, The Queen’s Gambit was another factor for the spike in popularity of the game.
Named after a popular chess opening, the series follows the story of a fictional chess prodigy, Beth Hermon and her rise to world champion.
The series portrays the intriguing, fun and intellectual aspect of the game as well as its profitable end. Statistics show that over 62 million households watched the series within the first month of its release, making it the most-watched series in the month of its release. after the release of the series, sales of chess sets skyrocketed.
Today, You can win huge financial prizes at local, international and world tournaments. Also, the game has created employment opportunities and other avenues for income generation like streaming, journaling/blogging etc.