Chess captures minds during COVID-19

Chess+captures+minds+during+COVID-19

We all have habits to pass the time.

However, for myself and many others, chess was the “knight” in shining armor to cure boredom.

During the summer, a couple of chess games against family members would eat up an hour or so. I did it, among other things, to put the phone down, as the phone was and is an addiction I struggle with.

Although I have been playing since elementary school casually, with nothing but time this summer, I played more regularly.

That saying, I was not too surprised to discover chess’s popularity rose this year.

A FOX article reports that Chess.com has seen records smashed of new participants during the pandemic with over ten million new members. Gift shop Q-Boutique, in the World Chess Hall of Fame in Saint Louis, MO, reports a 76 percent increase in chess set orders online compared to a similar time frame in 2019. He notes orders also saw a 200 percent spike after the release of Netflix’s The Queen’s Gambit, the new coming-of-age drama centered around a fictitious young chess star Beth Harmon.

Fox interviewed more people in their article. Nick Barton, director of business development at Chess.com. He believes the rise in chess is due to people wishing to stay engaged with something. Two-time US women’s chess champion Jennifer Shahade concurs. “Chess, in some ways, is like meditation. You’re thinking about one thing so hard that everything else is shut out.”

“With so much time available it’s good to have something like chess where you can spend hours figuring out new strategies and ways to improve your game,” said Rohan Kini, a teammate of mine on the OPRF chess team.

The surge in chess is an example of the saying “the more things change, the more they stay the same”. The time we have is the change, yet our desires for enrichment remain.

If you are interested in chess, you have multiple options.

Lichess.com and chess.com are wonderful chess websites, this vulture.com article lists praised chess movies, and the OPRF Chess team meets multiple times a week. The coach, Phillip Linninger, can be reached at [email protected] .

Chess has excited many minds this year; is yours next?

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