Checkmate! The chess business is suddenly booming

November sales are three times last year's levels, one chess store owner said.

11/27/2020 8:04:00 PM

Chess is suddenly one of the coolest games topping wish lists this holiday season and retailers are struggling to keep it in stock.

November sales are three times last year's levels, one chess store owner said.

Phil Bray / NetflixNov. 27, 2020, 3:46 PM UTCByAlyssa NewcombChess, a game that can be traced back at least 1,500 years, is suddenly one of the coolest games topping wish lists this holiday season and retailers are struggling to keep it in stock.The game’s popularity can be explained by two big factors: People are spending more time at home during the pandemic, and the popularity of “The Queen’s Gambit,” a Netflix show that follows fictional chess prodigy Beth Harmon.

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After the show premiered in October, sales of chess sets spiked by 87 percent in the United States, while book sales about the game rose 603 percent, according to market research firmNPD Group. The sudden gains come after flat and negative growth in those categories, according to the report.

“As Covid-19 hit, board games became more popular, and I’ve consistently commented in my reports that the basics will do well, chess being one of them,” said Gerrick Johnson, an analyst at BMO Capital Markets who covers the toy industry. “But again, no one knew chess would explode. Now it’s kind of too late. Retailers can increase orders and the makers can ship what they have from the warehouses, but they won’t be able to make more and satisfy demand until next year.”

"A number of parents have called me and said they watched the show and wanted to get their daughters involved in chess."Jeff Myers has operated The Chess Store, an online retailer devoted to the game, since 1999. He said he’s never experienced demand like he’s seeing in 2020.

“Me and my wife watched ‘The Queen’s Gambit' together and thought, ‘Wow this is a great show’ and we wondered if it would help the business,” Myers said. “From the day we watched it until now, business has really picked up.”The Chess Store’s November sales are three times as much compared to the same period last year. Myers also said the average order size is “way up,” with more customers choosing to purchase higher-end chess sets.

With demand surging and the coronavirus also complicating his supply chain, Myers said it’s been difficult to keep certain items in stock.“Because of Covid-19, we have seen a big hit to our suppliers overseas. In India, where I get my quality wood sets, they’ve been locked down. Our inventories are way down because our suppliers aren’t able to operate or are greatly reduced,” Myers told NBC News. “Our supplier in Spain has been able to work for the most part, but our delivery was about 60 days late. And another supplier was supposed to be here a month ago.”

Mark Kurtzman, owner of The Chess Exchange in New York City, said he’s been busy fielding phone calls from parents interested in getting chess lessons for their kids. Before the pandemic, he used to run tournaments for kids every month. While those are canceled, his network of 22 instructors are still teaching online and through socially distant, masked lessons in person.

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“A number of parents have called me and said they watched the show and wanted to get their daughters involved in chess,” Kurtzman said. “People are excited because it’s a cool series. I saw it and thought it was great.”While demand is high in 2020, everyone who spoke with NBC News said they believe there’s only a limited period of time for them to enjoy the surge in business.

“I think we have a year window here where we’ll see business doing well and interest will be there,” Myers said. “As more people watch the series over the next few months to a year, over time the business will do well, but I’m sure it will start to fizzle and sales will eventually return to a little better or what they normally are.”

Read more: NBC News »

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OK. I got made fun of for chess club in elementary school. But NOW it’s somehow cool?!?! Wtf Thanks to Netflix 😂😂 It’s not cool until it’s on TV JodgeCapito you need to watch The Queens Gambit if you haven’t. and adderall will soon be popularized and abused by kids. it’s already abused by rich families, wall street bankers, lawyers, and medical students.

Denver Broncos Have No Quarterbacks Available For Sunday Game, As All Three Stricken With Covid-19 Chess is the 1 NBC....let's throw this shit out there and see if it sticks 😆😆😆😆 Do they sell a chess game that can be projected upside down on your bedroom ceiling? That would be a great gift for the holidays.

Already been playing with my daughter Shogi game is booming in Japan now because a young genius player came out. We are playing it over the net. So i would assume pills and booze r doing well As if people weren't board enough. Ok I'll show myself out. If someone gets me a chess set for Christmas I'm regifting it. Consider yourself forewarned

I like chess, not great at it but know the basics and some of the students in my after school program liked to play so I bought some birch board, paint, and nuts & bolts and they made these sets from scratch to take home. 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼 ♟♟♟♟ My smarty-pants five year old can beat me in chess and I’m pretty good! It’s an awesome game.

So they took Bobby Fischer's story and made him a woman? Checkmate. The international dignity of the United States has been destroyed with this widespread fraud, and democracy is in danger and President Trump should deal with fraudsters in accordance with the law!😌 Imagine Netflix producing hit series about having sex...

anti-Marxismlist! On my opinion, the human society is running on these: 1 technology define theoretical economic aggregate 2 labour define gross economy 3 finance system define distribution of wealth from gross economy Way to go Anna taylor joy. Bringing sexy back to chess. Guess just something else to throw into the garage after a year 😆

You might ask how can chess be an interesting movie? Take my word for it interesting is and under statement. I give it a 10 rating. Excellent show! Netflix keeps putting out impressive programs, especially since I love non fiction and docs 🥰 I own a chess board, but only know the basic rules. Giving someone a chessboard is not unlike giving them a pet: the amount of effort needed to appreciate the gift far outstrips the thought put into it. Try out Chess 960 if you don't have the time to become a grandmaster!

I feel like chess is one of those games people own that becomes decorative and every now and then a guest comes and asks “do you play?” and you’re like- “I *could*” while crossing ur fingers that they won’t ask for a demonstration And over half will collect dust a few months from now. Thank me later. Horses are second highest in demand because of Yellowstone No not really I just made that up Sorry to be a neigh sayer

That's because chess is how you solve difficult problems. Checkmate People are going to be really surprised when they don't see chess men on the ceiling, LoL You can’t pay me enough to play it... even if it looks cool 😎 on 📺 TV CNN The Queens’s Gambit is clearly one of the best shows in 2020 I’m finally cool.

everything is hot when you slap the right pair of tits on it It's a game of rules with fair play that people long for and they are not seeing in their political leaders. If you lose you accept it and start the next game. The Queens Gambit Netflix...Good show...I should rekindle my Chess as well. Yaaay! My older brothers taught me the game at age 5. I began beating the occasionally at by age 11. I unfortunately never taught my daughters, but will not make that mistake with my grandkid.

Promoting the Holy Whistle. Lets help wildlife on roadways. Website: USA2020 america Transportation savingwildlife roadways roadtrips wildlife driving 50states australia native jesus iowa CedarRapids iowastrong nativeamerican Certainly a cool game. Wish I could play it well. Chick flick for the times

Same thing happened when 'Searching for Bobby Fischer' came out. I am aligned with Chess! 3 opponents simultaneously. Winning 3 of 3 or 2 of 3. That was my days. Just play it on your phone with gamepigeonapp it doesn't get sold out there. Chess Is the penmanship of board games. Just stop trying to make it happen.

Such a great movie! Women are being lied to again. Chess is fun but will get boring if you play enough of it. Try Go. nycsouthpaw Is this like when they say every once in a while that Latin is cool again? FIDE_chess World's greatest game. JoMajority I enjoyed Queen’s Gambit a lot. Anything that keeps people off social media and spending more time thinking rationally while learning to lose with dignity, I fully support.

Planning you day outside of your house uses some of they same type of thinking that chess moves require... the body and the brain always tell us what we need to know when we listen... Headline next March: “Chess sets are the top item for sale on Craigslist.” Another NXIVM satanicqueenilluminati doppelgänger. Gotcha! Enjoy jail!