Online chess is gaining popularity all over the world. A game which was once only considered for intellectuals and people hesitated to play it, is now slowly becoming a part of pop culture and mainstream media.
Chess has recently become popular amongst the masses. Earlier, people thought of the game to be boring and held other similar misconceptions. Recently people realized how mentally stimulating and interesting it can be. Players who recently started have claimed the game to be so engaging that they cannot go a single day without playing it at least once. Chess players who weren’t as popular before have suddenly gained followers on social media. Their talent and hard work are finally being appreciated.
This sudden shift seems to be quite unpredictable but even the statistics have shown an increase in the number of people who play chess online. It is certainly a proud moment for Indians because chess was invented in India. Now it is not available for a limited number of people but everyone has access to it. This is a huge factor that contributed to the popularization of chess amongst many, and they are as follows:
After the outbreak of COVID-19, people have been living in isolation at their homes. Many lost their jobs and some worked from home. But everyone had free time on their hands because most places were closed. People could finally develop a skill and work on a personal project or just relax. Some chose to play chess online because there was so much time that they could finally discover something new. Regular players could practise even more. Chess became a cure for boredom and this is how the numbers spiked.
In the early 2010s, people were uploading and streaming videos of themselves playing a video game. No one understood this when it first began, but such videos soon gained popularity and people made multi-million dollar careers out of it. It is similar to watching a football or cricket match on TV and getting a kick out of it. This is also the case for Grandmasters and Chess champions who stream videos of themselves playing online. The watching or viewership on these videos also increased in the lockdown. People now watch chess gameplays with the same enthusiasm as watching any other sport or videogame.
Online Chess Championships
Tournaments and championships cannot be delayed, especially when the game can be easily played online. So there were international tournaments with world champions that were streamed on platforms. These were promoted on social media and the number of people who watched, increased exponentially.
Understanding chess is difficult, most never learn the basics or gameplay because it is never taught. This gap has been filled by YouTubers who have entire channels dedicated to teaching chess and even chess commentary where they break down a famous or well-played game for their audience. These YouTubers are the backbone of the growing online chess community.
In the past 5 years, stand-up comedy started booming in India. Stand-up videos were seen on the trending page and comedians gained a considerable amount of following. Since the lockdown, comedians have taken a keen interest in playing chess. This influenced their audience and chess gained recognition in their fan following. Comedians now play chess online and stream, people found this to be very entertaining and it now has a newfound audience.
Comedians were streaming chess and so were professional chess players, somehow they started collaborating. People witnessed a fusion of comedy and chess, something that was never done before. They loved to see how serious looking chess players were cracking the wittiest jokes and comedians were playing chess with dedication. This concept is so odd but enthralling that people who never played chess started learning from observation and were sucked into the world of online chess.
Comedians On Board
Comedians on Board is a special chess tournament only reserved for comedians who compete against each other in chess. This is streamed on Samay Raina’s Youtube channel who introduced this concept. He can be accredited for this link that was formed between comedy and chess.
The increasing popularity of chess is quite evident. Many of us acquired new skills during the lockdown & learned best chess moves and maneuvers by playing chess. This couldn’t have been possible without online chess games, they introduced this beautiful game to many new players. It is all about looking at the bright side of things, we barely get time for ourselves and now we have plenty. So it is only fair to master a new game like chess which improves our logical and creative thinking.