Perhaps the most unexpected trend of the year is that chess content has seen a significant surge in popularity on YouTube in 2023. The Google owned platform revealed that videos related to chess have been viewed over 4 billion times so far this year. The rise in interest can be attributed to various factors, including the success of Netflix’s show “The Queen’s Gambit” during the global health crisis, which led to a boom in chess content on both Twitch and YouTube. Not only this, but various chess websites, such as Chess.com, have done all they can in promoting the game to a younger audience – which seems to have been extremely successful.
Prominent chess players and content creators, such as The Botez Sisters, GM Hikaru, and Gotham Chess, have capitalized on the game’s resurgence, contributing to its widespread appeal. YouTube acknowledged the creative approaches taken by content creators to incorporate chess into their videos, citing examples like comedians in India and Ludwig’s chess boxing spectacle.
Interestingly, the interest in strategy board games extends beyond chess, with Japan experiencing a resurgence of the chess-like game Shogi, which has earned over 350 million views on YouTube in 2023.
Twitch has also witnessed a surge in chess-related content, especially during events like the PogChamps tournament series, where top streamers compete against each other with substantial prize money at stake. The popularity of chess content on both platforms showcases the enduring appeal of the game and its ability to captivate audiences worldwide.
Even though chess has been “solved” by computers, this has not stopped the competitive human spirit, with new players flocking towards the centuries old game. Whether this trend continues is anyones guess, but for now it seems that chess is stronger than ever.