26 November 2020

Queen's Gambit Staying Power

Last month's Yahoo post Queen's Gambit Mania (October 2020) -- where 'Yahoo' is a code word for chess in the mainstream press -- started,

Of the 100 chess stories that appear at the end of every month on Google News, three or four on the same topic will signal strong interest in that topic from the mainstream press. What to say of 15 stories on the same topic?

Another month has passed and the mainstream interest in the blockbuster Netflix series continues unabated. It's possibly the biggest mainstream chess story since Bobby Fischer died in 2008. While working on the 'Mania' post, I captured the Google 'Full Coverage' page shown below at the end of this post.

It goes without saying that the chess press coverage was even more maniacal than the mainstream news coverage. Kudos for the most intense chess press interest go to Chessbase. I counted ten stories, many of them with user comments, to which I could have added a few more stories:-

As for mainstream news sources, The Guardian tops the list of stories that I noted during the past month.

The Netflix series appeared unexpectedly on my radar at one other time during the past month. Near the beginning of the month, one of my pages zoomed to first on the 'Top 10 Pages' for my domain, eclipsing the perennial leader, Index to the World Chess Championship (m-w.com). The new leader, a page I wrote in 2006, titled Top 10 Myths About Chess (ditto; 'People say the darnedest things about chess'), is frequently in the top-10, but rarely leads it. At first I was baffled, but then I noticed the last myth was:-

10. Women can't play chess as well as men • To date it is true that women have not performed as well as men in chess events. There are many possible reasons for this. One may be that male players are often expert at making female players feel uncomfortable at chess events. The Polgar sisters have gone a long way to convince the chess world that women can play very well. Perhaps one day we will discover that women can even play better than men. No one really knows.

Thanks Beth Harmon, Netflix, and Walter Tevis, for making us all think in new ways about our ancient game.


Google News 'Full Coverage', end-October 2020

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