‘Honestly, this sucks,’ says Chess.com as its servers can’t keep up with Chess’s explosive popularity

The popularity of Chess is nothing new: This is one of humanity’s most enduring games, with our ancestors playing some version of it since (at least) the sixth century. In that time it’s gone through lulls and peaks of interest, which in the 20th century were usually sparked by world championship matches between the likes of Fischer and Spassky, or Kasparov versus Karpov.

In the 21st century the great players remain, arguably greater than ever, but the game’s booming popularity in the last couple of years is probably down to the smash-hit Netflix show The Queen’s Gambit, the knock-on effects of Covid lockdowns, and the simple fact that a quick game against another human being is only ever seconds away on your phone or PC.

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