19 February 2019

Millennial Chess?

Read it? No, Reddit. Take, for example, a post from a few months ago, Talking About Chess Engines (October 2018), where I noted,

The interest from Reddit.com is somewhat surprising, although the site shows up increasingly in chess related searches.

Recently I was talking to one of my nephews and the subject came up. I learned that he was a keen Reddit user and I made a mental note to look into it more deeply. It turns out there's an age gap involved, as the following chart shows.

Source: Google based on Distribution of Reddit users in the United States as of February 2016, by age group (statista.com)

Taking into account the three years that have elapsed since those statistics were calculated, the interest in Reddit comes mainly from the Millennial generation. That's explains why I'm not more familiar with it -- I'm from the Baby Boomer generation.

The main Reddit chess page is Chess News and Stuff, which starts, 'Join the 121k people in the r/chess community' The first time I made a note about the site was mid-2015, when a Google search on 'chess reddit' returned 'About 1.890.000 results'. Today that same search returns 'About 26.500.000 results'. Continuing with the statistics, one of the Reddit top posts made today, Chess is actually a pretty popular game, says,

Right now we have: 62,000 on chess.com 24,000 on lichess. That alone is a pretty big amount when compared to the "big" video games nowadays. According to Steam charts, we'd be in 4th place, above Rainbow Six Siege, Team Fortress 2, Warframe and many other popular games.

I'm not even including the people who are playing chess over the board right now or sitting at their board studying chess books, or grinding tactics on chesstempo. Quite a few other chess websites and apps have not been counted. We may actually have 100,000 concurrent players of this beautiful game, a pretty big amount even by todays standards. Maybe less if there is a big percentage of players who remain "online" in chess.com but idle, but even 50,000 concurrent players is pretty healthy.

The post goes on to ask, 'Why is the /r/chess subreddit not as big as other games which have similar number of concurrent players?' Maybe it's a generational thing.

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