The Queen's Gambit Has Driven A Huge Increase In Chess Sales

The chess-focused miniseries has done great things for the game, judging by chess sales.

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The Queen's Gambit, a recent Netflix miniseries about the rise of fictional chess prodigy Beth Harmon (played by Anna Taylor-Joy), has been a huge success for the streaming giant, scoring the biggest debut ever for a scripted limited series. The ripples of this success spread much further, though--chess itself has greatly benefited.

A recent report from NPD states that chess-related sales have spiked since the show debuted in October. In the 21 days following the show's release, chess set sales increased by 87% in the US, and sales of chess books leapt up an incredible 603%.

NPD Group also reports that across its first nine days on Netflix, US homes spent a total of 40.8 million hours watching the series. To put this into perspective, finishing the whole series takes under seven hours.

"The sales of chess books and chess sets, which had previously been flat or declining for years, turned sharply upward as the popular new series gained viewers," said toy industry advisor Juli Lennett. Chess spending was flat in the 13 weeks leading up to the series' debut, ahead of a huge spike.

Former chess world champion Garry Kasparov served as a consultant on the Netflix show, and he told CNN that he believed the show would do wonders for chess. "I think this series will do a great job promoting it further and I expect now a boom, because it helps to refute the image of the game of chess as something that could turn you into a nerd -- or just to make you crazy," he said.

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